Travel Notes from Varanasi, India

11:56:00 AM Jerik De Guzman 30 Comments


It's been a long journey from Delhi to here. I slept in a three bunk sleeper bed, and i had to bend to drink water. Wow! Good thing, some peeps from the train kept me company. I have to tell you about my bunk mate who was so intense, a few minutes after, he was meditating and motionless. He is piercing me and i wouldn't be surprised if he knew what i was thinking. I always say, that people from India look at you at a very special way. When they look at you, you know you will be remembered. Good thing, my timing is perfect. There's a festival here, and i have seen tradition to the core and to the full. When i say there's lots of people here, is a major understatement. I am right here in Varanasi where i've always wanted to go. I am in the holy city of Varanasi and i think my time here is done. I've talked to many people from here, and slowly i am getting the answers i was looking for.

A wise man from India said to me last night while we sat in front of his house that i don't listen. I need to listen first, then think, feel and then i could open my mouth. Such wise words from a man who hasn't even gone to high school. His friend, who's a brilliant story teller, told me his fictional story of Kuri kora. I am not even sure if the spelling is great but i've been eating the snack everyday. I don't understand half of his story but i knew there is talent in this man.

But one thing i will never forget is that he said to me. Your feet should be the head, the head should be the feet and the feelings/ the heart in the air. He must have sensed how ridiculously hard to understand what he said. He said to me, we've become part of the future and the change, we are left not knowing how it is to be happy and simple. 

In Varanasi, the streets become narrow and i lost my money in things that i've always wanted to do. I am at a shitty internet shop in Kisha Guesthouse, directly infront of my room is the temple where they burn bodies. I woke up at around 4am (i don't have a watch and my cellphone is useless - charging is impossible here) and i've seen smoke coming out of the temple, while the fireworks are carefully laid out one by one. I knew i wouldn't take photos. Imagine if one of your loved ones died, would you want a outsider taking photos? I am ashamed of those tourists who snap a photo for the sake. I went around and always find myself making a gesture before i take any photos.

I have to tell you that as days pass by, i am slowly becoming a part of the world here. Before, people always confuse me for somebody else. Now, people look at me and just smile. This morning i meditated in front of the biggest ghat. I have so many photos, but i am saving my battery for when i go on my next trip somewhere. Last night, i had the weirdest drinking session with three babbas and my good ol' Indian friend. They had whiskey and they were smoking joint, while i drink my Kingfisher (Extra strong at 650 ml), of course. I've spent money on unnecessary things and a lot of people are cons here, too. Yet, i felt i knew this would happen and i let it happen anyway.

Today, i'm quite unsure if i should stay here longer or it's time to move to Rajastan. My job here is done. Oh, by the way, don't tell my mother. I shaved my head today. It was a magical moment that i've always wanted to do. I shaved my head because i had to sacrifice. I want to wash away all my sins. And i knew leaving my hair near the steps of the holy river would somehow cleanse me of my troubles. I had also been blessed by a high priest and chanted words i could not understand. It's a blessing that i owe to my family. I threw a garland in the Ganga river and i left with a promise that i will be back better. I hope my simple feat, they would understand.

I miss home but i am looking forward to more exciting journeys here in India. I am changing and re-born.

x Pinoy Boy Journals

30 Comments:

flipnomad said...

... send my regards to the invincible force that roams in varanasi... ;-) i love it there... the place resonates within my soul... i became a poet, a searcher, a child, an observer, and nothingness enveloped me in varanasi... sorry for sounding weird... but words arent enough to explain what i feel about varanasi... glad you visited that awesome place :-)

wow! i just remembered what flipnomad wrote about varanasi.
i just started reading your updates while on the road.
share more of your stories pre and add photos too.

i told myself i wont read ur blog abt India bec I'll be super envious. haha pero I still did. glad ur enjoying it there. chck out the north. the place where Dalai Lama is, there is snow there during Nov. kaso North yun eh. anyway, sana maka-hiram ka ang pang convert. lage ako nadadali s charger kase kakaiba nga yung outlet ng Pinas eh lage ko nakakalimutan bumili ng chrger. try asking the hostel baka maka barrow ka ng pang convert.will wait for your photos and stories. :)

Parker said...

I admire your courage, facing the unknown in such a strange place. Have you found what you are looking for?

Munir said...

I read post and I really appreciate your courage and glad you are enjoying there

Ed said...

gift of words and a thirst for meaning. Thank you for your updates on India, Jerik! Feels like I'm really there experiencing your stories. :D

I can sense how fulfilled you are upon visiting Varanasi. I heard lots of stories from Flipnomad and Varanasi is one of the places i want to visit alone. I admire you with the part when you mentioned that you would rather respect the families of the dead bodies being burned by not taking photographs. Some photographers can be very insensitive regarding this matter. Can't wait to read the rest of your stories!

chris said...

wow! you survived india.Gusto ko rin sana pumunta jan kaso parang its too overwhelming.pagkanagkaroon na ako ng lakas ng loob yan na ang susunod ko na destination.napanood ko sa tv yang varanasi ceremonies.nakakakilabot.

@flipnomad i was just reminded now that you're my invisible mentor and my greatest travel idol!

@journeyingjames grabe nauna pa tayo magkita bago ako maka-reply! Thanks man! Let's travel soon!

@thepinaysolobackpacker Late reply but thankfully, i was able to find one for 100 rps. okay na pero kapagod after so many failed attempts. he he Ituloy mo na ang India, Gael!

@Parker Bro, i just did. And i was a little bit overwhelmed but as days pass by, slowly i am realizing again why i was there in the first place. Thanks! Let's hang out soon!

@Munir It's a beautiful trip and i couldn't wait to go back. India has taught me so many things that now, i cannot stop thinking about it. Thanks Munir! Keep reading PBJ for my India stories.

@Ed Ang bait mo, bai! Thanks! I'll see you guys in Cebu soon. Gagawa ako ng paraan to travel there asap!

@Micamyx|Senyorita I am just there traveling. The least that i could do was show courtesy. Thanks Mica! Let's travel to Dagupan soon. I miss my mom's hometown.

@chris Wag ka matakot. The best ang India. Although it's a bit overwhelming, there are places and experiences that are light and funny. If you want an experience like no other and truly enlightening, visit India!

happysole said...

gosh! mukha ka nang Indian! :)

doi said...

after having read Flip's blog about Varanasi and now yours, it gave me more reason to visit this place Jerik. Am glad you found the answers you were seeking. Hope I find mine too. Happy travelling! :)

Anonymous said...

Jerik, I couldn't help but post a comment here. lol! I love how you described your experience in India. I went there and I felt like that place is "majestic". Their culture is very much alive even up to this time. It is like you are being transported to a different world. My stay there was pretty short, only 3 days and 2 nights. I saw the beauty of it, but mostly, I felt nothing but the heat. It is just so hot. Yung araw parang nasa paanan mo. I was actually really planning to go to Taj Mahal, but when I was there, they said it was closed... Jusko naman. Were you able to see Taj? -Cherry

Hey Happysole! Quite surprised that on my 3rd day, locals from the province asked me for directions in hindi. :)

Doi!!!! It's been a long time! Yes! Thank you very much!!!

Hi Cherry!!! I know! India is trantic... it's a totally different world out there. I feel blessed to have been able to visit this wonder. I went to Taj Mahal before going to Varanasi. It's equally majestic! It's not too hot when i went (around November). I would definitely come back to India in this lifetime. Take care, Cherry!!!

Noy said...

Great post. I just discovered your blog and I like what I have read so far. Happy traveling!

nik rielo said...

wowowowoow! i normally do not read word by word of any blog! but i did here! your story is so moving. i want to go to varanasi in no time. haha. i just love your story. nice jerick!

wow feel na feel ko yung journey mo sa pic palang. I wish makapunta din ako dyan. :)

@Noy Salamat!!! :)

@nik rielo Super sorry for the late reply. i remembered, bakit nga ba di ka pa nag-India? Punta ka na! I'm sure, you will love it there, too.

@adventurousfeet Feeling ko you will go soon. Pero, let's always go back to our home country and travel here. Sobrang dami ring magagandang mapupuntahan and experiences. Thanks!!!

Wow Jerik!

Sana makapag-India rin ako soon.

Darwin | Tracking Treasure Tara! Masaya sa India. Mapapaisip ka talaga. ;)