all smiles

Allahabad Travel Blog

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it's 11:52 PM AND Scott is in bed and I'm across campus with wet hair since I just bathed with HOT water for the first time. That, on top of a really good day for each us has brought true smiles to our faces. I had a great trip into town, and I have signs that I'm on my way to a full physical recovery. Guruji talked with Scott for about 10 minutes and Scott wanted me to relay part of the message to his mom and dad.."tell them not to worry, ..Swami Satyam said to Scott...that "I will not let you stay here longer than planned unless I have a written consent from them. You're a good kid. "

Today I thought Scott was finally more himself and he said the same thing to me so maybe we've each adjusted to all that India presented us with and we're finally in the groove. We had great laughs tonight, high hopes (yet no expectations : ) of good things coming from our meditations, and anticipation for our trip which leaves tomorrow. Varanasi is our first stop. I've seen the bus and it's similar to a greyhound, so pretty nice : ) 

I made some nice friends today too and am getting to know ashram staff more and that's really feeling good too.  It looks like I will be taking this laptop on the trip though I still have no idea of connection opportunities but I think we're going to try to investigate better phone options,,,,so David Lynch can call his boy whenever he pleases without costing us all an arm and a leg. Not to imply that he's been doing that a lot....yet.

We hope you're all well. I could chat for hours and hours about my day today....saw so much, felt so much, learned so much. this certainly isn't for everyone, but is for me.  One day at a time. 

Love & Laughter Always,

Deb (and Scott)

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Well it’s happened, I got the traveler’s diarrhea and accompanying sickness. I sent all the gory details of my fairly awful day to Carlton…didn’t think it was blog worthy. Unfortunately on a scale of 1-10, I’m at about a 3.5 today and that’s being strong about it. It’s an hour by hour thing here now. I’m of course going to try to continue to make the best of things and the best decisions but still find little solace in what is planned for the rest of the trip. In short, I really enjoy experiencing India in terms of the train station and the crowds of people and the shopping areas and the Mela and the conversation with military (they seem to be the ones who know the most English) and the animals and the diverse dress. But for me my experience at the ashram has been less than exciting and the fact that my travel partner feels the opposite about it all….meaning he has more anxiety out in ‘the world’ and feels better at the ashram, doesn’t help things. So, our next leg of the trip leaves in 2 days….should be enough time for me to get better if in fact all I’m experiencing is something that will run (god, so not funny) it’s course with the help of Imodium rather than having to use the antibiotics I have which I feel like rationing….it’s so early in the trip and I don’t want to use them if I don’t have to. So, I’m writing this and sending it because we just got electricity back after a night of not having it again. I should clarify…..the hard and simple life here in India is something to get adjusted to but my problem is that I actually feel like I’d be more comfortable and happy living in the tiny shacks outside the ashram than in here sometimes. Hopefully this will change or I’ll find a solution. I’m concerned that going on the trip with the same people may be worse….but I just don’t know…it may be better. I may not feel this trapped feeling.


I’m so cold and so tired now 12:42 in the afternoon….don’t know when I’ll get around to sending this as I have to walk a ways and I might not be up to that for a bit. Though I’m feeling stir crazy in this room… much noise….tons worse than NYC or the loudest city you’ve ever experienced in the states. Not exactly retreat conditions to my mind.


Scott is fine and he says he’s super quiet because he’s trying to deal with all the discomforts etc and he tries to get into some meditative mode to cope…but overall he says he welcomes the discomfort because for him it’s a personal challenge to deepen his practice (kriya yoga) and stop seeing the duality of it all (that these things are not bad, not apart from God). I know the whole line of thinking…..I’m just in a different place about it all.  So, we’re two travelers facing the same things but experiencing them very differently I believe.

I will say this….it is driving home lessons and perspectives about the world and my life…and that has to be all good.


Now if I could only go sit in the sun and watch a mongoose for awhile with a cup of hot tea in my hand……that would certainly help things. : )  I’m still smiling…hope you are too.



I just had an idea…I’m going to go up on the roof to try to get warm…not far from a bathroom or my bed…. : )  see…solutions….it’ll be like sunbathing on the beach, right?!


Well I’m back from the roof….that was a very good idea, although I’m still sick I feel so much better for being outside and getting some warmth from the sun….and later, scott’s blanket. When he came around we had a chat about stuff up there on the roof and it was kinda nice. He turned in his money for the upcoming trip and after feeling better even for just a short time I felt better about it too. Remember that any tough stuff there is to deal with here was simply tougher being very overtired and cold, if just those two things get better I think everything will feel/seem better. I couldn’t figure out how to get the gas stove working in order to make some tea that I learned I could make nearby….I’ll find out soon though. Turns out while I was on the roof something else happened around here and now we don’t have any water in the bathrooms. C’est la vie…I was too tired to wash my hair anyway and due to overzealous (not really it turns out) packing, I have plenty of anti-bacterial stuff for my hands etc.


I also enjoyed my time on the roof because I was alone for much of it and the short chat with Scott was good and later he read a book while I rested all rolled up in a blanket…I fit right in with all the locals who clearly are wrapped up for temperature control, protecting against the sun and keeping the flies and other bugs away.


I wanted to mention earlier that the scene right outside the ashram door is straight out of the Christian feed a child commercial….that’s what it looks like all over….the children playing in the mud and fields and not clothed or somewhat clothed and the animals and the shacks (homes) and the insects and …. The smiles.


I can see how quickly and easily one could befriend any family or individual if staying in the same area for just a bit. I’ve come to know faces and the children especially the young girls get so excited to see me let alone if I talk and gesture to them. And the contentedness of this one baby who seems to often be sitting on the ground on this moist soft sand nearby is quite something. So cute and somehow so simple and right for here.


I couldn’t help but to think of my niece and nephew and how (Hi Cindy) protected they are from all that could harm them and the drastic difference with the way these babies are raised. Of course that Feed the Children advertisement also includes scenes of children with physical scars of disease….lost limbs or partial limbs and other maladies….this too I saw the most of at the Mela as many were looking for handouts of any sort.


Some things really strike me…..even in the books before I arrived I was amazed by the flower garlands…so many and so beautiful. And then all these vendors (people sitting on the ground with wares in front of them) selling these leaf bowls with some flowers heads sitting in them…I so want to learn how to make these leaf bowls…I think they use them for eating out of as well as a container for the flowers which I believe they were selling for people to offer to Gods/Gurus during the Mela…maybe to place in the (offering) holy Ganges as well.


Something else that strikes me…..The men are generally so small framed and thin yet seemingly so strong. The physical labor is constant…from pushing and pulling vehicles to carrying our 100 + pounds of luggage on their heads and walking up and down tons of stairs, to the construction project going on next door to our guest house. It really is neat to watch how the building is going up without barely any modern-like/metal tools.


I’m pretty beat but trying to stay up this afternoon to insure that I can sleep tonight. I don’t think it’ll be a problem. I’m just hoping my digestive ailment is over by the 16th when we start traveling again. And tomorrow I really need to hitch a ride to a bank not to mention a washcloth for Scott (story here) and let’s see what else in on our list…laundry detergent, pomegranites, tea, disposable camera since mine seems fairly useless now….and whatever else.


The washcloth story (I’ll tell you all because I’m stuck here lying in bed and it seems like a good thing to do) is that I noticed this washcloth in the room as being one of mine, acquired by Scott during his time staying with us awhile back…so I tell him so and he said I could have it back after the trip…I did particularly like that washcloth and it’s mate was missing it.  So he informs me up on the roof today that regrettable he had placed the washcloth on the balcony railing to dry and the wind took it away down down down into the pile of trash below. He seemed really bummed. So, I told him that finding something like a washcloth in the market shouldn’t be that hard…..he said he didn’t want to do that…I kept pressing as to why (gee, I thought maybe he just really liked that washcloth or something and nothing else would do) and get out of him that he really dislikes and would like to avoid making any transactions with people selling things like that….ooooh I said, really? No problem, I love it, I’ll do it for you. ….he says, hey great.  So there….progress with communication. I will help Scott avoid or get through the stuff he doesn’t like and maybe he can conjure up some tea for me today…or maybe a boiled potato!  See?  We’re just fine.  Oy : )  Off to the bathroom again.


Back again…and now the electricity went out again, so I’m going to shut down the computer much for plans to get this posted/sent over the internet shortly. Hmmm. Go with the flow (geez, I can’t say words like that without thinking about diarrhea. I just read more about it…..I’m so trying to determine when I should take the antibiotic instead of just the Imodium and rest…cuz I know that’s just a stopper and doesn’t cure anything…either my body has to cure it or the antibiotic does I think.


Nap time.

Have a great day.

Deb(and Scott)

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I’ve never been big on such holidays….but the absence of it here makes me want to do something Valentine’s-Like or at least doing something with it next year…hey I just figured out why someone cutout a little heart and stuck it in the bathroom on our new replacement mirror.



Blog Feb15


It’s 6:03am and I’m in a very dark dining hall trying to get an internet connection before our morning meditation with no luck. The walk here alone in the morning was very nice. I am in very different spirits today and quite glad for it. Maybe our week initiation is over and we can really begin to get into the groove of everything. I still have sickness symptoms but I do think I’m getting better on the diarrhea front, not so much on the respiratory/sore throat stuff which I was less concerned about really. This weather has many people hacking and coughing etc. I’m sure I also feel better because I was in bed for 10 hours. Scott went to the meeting for our 3 week trip and passed the details onto me. I feel better about going now…not just for having the details….it’s hard to explain…I just do. It’s going to be really something I’ll tell ya. Returning no later than March 8. Not a sightseeing trip…the goal is to deepen one’s meditation practice. We’ll be visiting key places that have significance for Kriya Yoga Gurus over the years..Scott and I know of these places and people and incidents. Still, there’s no question we’ll get to see plenty of sites and I’m not as crazy about museums and such anyway so this may be good. I do want to inquire about seeing Mother Theresa’s resting place as well as her mission hospital.


Just saw my first mosquitoes…I think they’re attracted to the computer screen.


We are asked to pack light…so I do think I’ll be leaving some of my stuff here it turns out…but again, for some reason I’m feeling better about that. I don’t know if this laptop will come with me or not…if there’s little opportunity to ever plug it in or use it I won’t. I’ll ask today…I have to meet with someone about the trip since I missed the meeting yesterday.


They’ll be boiling water for us along the way and cooking. Some evenings we will be sleeping outside. No bathrooms on the bus so that will be done roadside, which for me is a much better option than most bathrooms. Packing only the things I NEED may be tricky since half of what I have is for just in case scenarios…but I think I’ve got it figured out. Still no water flowing in our guesthouse so I’ll have to figure out a bathing solution before we head out…maybe another house.


I do like the morning…for those of you who think I don’t cuz I never see it…..naw…I just need to be well rested and then it’s quite nice.


I still will be working to stay warm….man it would be nice not to be so cold and damp all the time.


It’s 10:50 and I thought I’d check for internet connection again…no luck. I preconditioned my expensive high filter water bottle for the trip just now. Everything is feeling better around here including a good several hours in the meditation hall. Everyone has been asked to do at least an hour of wheat prep today…’ve seen this before ….sifting wheat grains out from little pebbles and whatnot.


During our trip the group from the ashram will be buying and preparing food all along the way… a traveling kitchen. It’s actually quite amazing. I’ve also now learned that Varanasi is on our itinerary. Yea! It’s been on my mind’s itinerary for some time. Now I don’t have to manage that trip later on.


The plan for our remaining days is still to return to the ashram after all our traveling with the group and then make contact with a very special and gratious family in Delhi to help us make all necessary arrangements for the last couple of weeks which will allow us to sightsee in Delhi and Agra (Taj Mahal) and maybe Hardiwar (Himalayas) etc. Navin, in Delhi is the brother of Arjuna who lives in Solon with husband Muna and two children. Their guidance and caring has been invaluable to us and we are most grateful. I’m looking forward to seeing Navin and family again. I’m sorry that I don’t know his wife’s name….she prepared us a wonderful meal at their home in Delhi.


New people come to the ashram everyday. Interesting.


It’s warmer today…. : )  ….. and we are to expect more of the same on our trip I think.


Yesterday Scott announced to the entire group of my ailments… lots of inquiries today from people…oh my.  Turns out it is rather common even with this group …to happen time to time I guess.  Hmmm.  Still, I could do without that experience again though honestly because it was short lived, I managed well enough.  I’m just a bit weak today. I tire easily  up and down all the stairs that up until now I was welcoming for the exercise.


I’m actually getting excited now for the trip and have to think carefully about packing….light is always best. But c’mon…I’m still new at this so some niceties from home are comforting sometimes and make me feel human (gee I think we’re supposed to be working to feel more Divine) or at least remind me of who I am.  Uhhh, who am I by the way?  I’ll let you know if I find out. I think I knew once…’s a remembering process I do believe.  I’m glad to share the news that I feel happiness and joy coming on.  It’s a very big relief. This must be who I am.  : )  Love to you all.  Deb

















photo by: royalrider