The Countryside of India

India day begins with a burst of sunshine

After riding thru Amritsar, Delhi, Simla, and the Taj, my mind was set. NO MORE CITIES, even if the streets were paved with gold. I wanted to reclaim the countryside for my tour, my soul and my sanity. I set a route to the south along the western Ghats, even into Karnataka. Then I would swing back north to Calcutta, fly to Bangkok and continue.

What an immensely rewarding choice that was. For many weeks and thousands of kilometers I saw nothing but fields, softly wooded hills, rice paddies and small towns. One could hear farmers cussing their bullocks to pull on the yoke. Often it was so quiet you could hear children singing in hindi in the schools, if I was not singing aloud myself amidst the cool, shaded country roads. It was a classic example of the difference between touring and 'sightseeing'. Yet what beauty on any one of my days was greater than this sunburst that awaited me one January morning north of Goa?

The Indians pointed out to me that Hinduism is the only religion that believes that we, ourselves, are part of God and all the creations around us are part if him also (rather than just "in his image.") This view seems to have great merit, as Kipling's Kim might say, when the simple joys of just 'being' in India sweep repeatedly over you. It gave me goose bumps. Here I would be in a restaurant, having an omelette, chapatti, and chai for the umpteenth time. It would sweep over me: look where you are, look how far you have come. Look how far you still have to go--all on your own effort.