Pootle list #28: 4 of 50 road-trips in India
In July of this year, dusty and jaded, I went to my doctor, complaining of soul tiredness. She listened, with the right reverence, to my listless heartbeat, and intently peered at me over her bifocals. Drawing out her prescription pad, she wrote in beautiful calligraphy:
Physically healthy patient, dark circles around eyes, suffering from brain fog induced by vitamin deficiencies.
Diagnosis: A weary heart, exhausted by battling city traffic, dulled into ennui by stupid people and a colorless existence.
Prescription: Take the one lane highway out of Calcutta to Raichuk by the Ganges. Book last minute accommodation at Ganga Kutir.
- Gaze. At the mighty Ganga (disguised as her distributary, Hooghly), before and after all meals. Think deep thoughts regarding the melding of the muddy horizon with the pregnant monsoon sky. Appreciate the Instagram-worthy photo opportunities; catch a raindrop or five
- Research. All about the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. That will be your penance for not paying attention during geography lessons in school.
- Be mightily inspired. By the magnificence of the rivers, and the recent reading of the Hungry Tide. Vow to visit the Sunderbans before 2016 meanders its way out
- Feast on the color green – the intense colors of the paddy fields, tucked against palm tree and other fauna. You won’t know their names, so you can make up some. Sip on shades of red, the heart of the hibiscus contrasting with the pink of the bougainvillea
- Walk endlessly. Carry those massive umbrellas that can skewer tigers. Have the husband hold it over your head when it rains. Have the husband hold it, neatly folded down, when it doesn’t rain.
- Drink. Several liters of beer for hydration purposes. Have three meals in the space of one. Wind up breakfast with govind payasam, in which the rice grains, fat from absorbing all the rich milky and cardamom flavor, float in saffron scented dreams.
- Burp. Loudly.
- Read. Whenever and wherever you can. Carry both physical hard copies and a loaded Kindle.
- Daydream. To the music that only the soft rains in Bengal can create
Don’t call me if there is an emergency. You won’t be able to. Your phone will be out of charge.
Not one to ignore such sound advice, I followed it all to the T. I must say this doctor knows her stuff – am happy to recommend her to friends and family.
The doctor is 100% imaginary, you do know that? The ‘beautiful calligraphy’ should have given her away.
Did you know that Ganga morphs into Padma in Bangladesh? And joins the distributaries of the Brahmaputra, to merge into the Meghna, finally draining into the Bay of Bengal – such a long journey from the the icy cold of the Gangotri Glacier in Himalayas.
What would it be like to tell her story?