On our day off this week, sixteen of us went rafting on the Mother Ganga. Most of us were prepared to get wet, so having our first day of rain since starting our training wasn’t a big deal. The lightening all around us was a little more concerning, although I seemed to be the only one counting to see how close it was (one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four – thunder). The guide really wanted us to enjoy jumping into the river, so there I was, desperately trying to keep my head above water while just as desperately trying not to picture new parasites getting into my system.
The rapids were fun and wild enough to thrill everyone, yet for me the real thrill was starting the trip surrounded by steep mountains and wilderness, eventually paddling past elaborate temples and ashrams as we floated into Rishikesh from a new perspective.
Mixed into the beauty was the reality of steep rivers of refuse feeding into the Ganga, the stench of rotting garbage, and the clear mountain air replaced with the visible exhaust of tuk-tuks, generators, scooters and trucks. Ever-present are the people lining this sacred river – bathing, washing clothes and dishes, and making offerings.
All of a sudden I looked around and realized two weeks have passed, and soon I will be on my own to process this whirlwind adventure. Until then, I’m doing all I can to keep my head up through the rapids and appreciate the rare moments I can simply lay back and float.