There seems to be a separation taking shape between we tourists on this mountain.
Group A hypothesizes about our police enforced, collective curfew. Was it extended today, if so, for how long?
It’s rarely extended.
Group A sits in circles collaborating on the current state of the infection in India. What’s happening in their countries, then ultimately, they begin predicting the long term global effects of this Bird Flu.
Eventually there’s a sentimental shift where they talk of returning to their homes.
Where it’s safe.
Where it’s better.
Where it’s not here.
As soon as I start hearing “I herd” in conversations, followed by some monstrous prediction, I dip.
I call these conversations, coronavirusations.
I belong to the other group.
Group Cool B.
Group Cool B is here because this is where we are.
I know that sounds like guru double speak, or tacky political tongue wagging, but being in India, in Rishikesh specifically, in this very moment, was a choice for me.
During difficult times, it was even a goal of mine, to be here.
I’d fantasize about it.
Being around Individuals who use the word energy in 40% of their sentences.
Alas, Bird Flu has affected this beautiful expectation of mine.
Molested, feels like a better word.
My expectation has been horrifically molested and is now spending thousands of dollars on boutique therapy.
My days are becoming routine here in Rishikesh, my freedom of movement has become drastically compromised, in relation to how I’ve travelled during this past year.
Across a continent, whatever.
Not being able to visit a nearby waterfall without having a demoralizing interaction with local police, is a bit of a frustration for me, yes.
If yes could wear a Bane suit and get jacked up on a more intense Yes, that’s the yes, I’m actioning right now.
But in remembering all those moments of frustration and defeat in Africa.
Of various inexplicable Why The Fuck?
I am, at my core, respecting my choice to be here in India.
It was always my intention to allow aspects of Indias culture to preform shanti on both my body and my sprit.
To reflect on my experiences, to better understand how these experiences have impressed upon me behaviors, not all good.
For example when I’m asked for money or charged more for things I become either angry or disengaged.
Let’s call it what it is, a tantrum.
I throw tantrums now.
I’m currently trying, diligently, to knead this abysmal state of, being a baby, from my overall state of being.
What better environment to do this work, this reflective, perspective enhancing practice, than now. Here.
Of course I’d rather be in a tree house deep inside the Amazon, where my monkey butlers serve me tea and play checkers with me.
But I’m here.
And you’re there.
And my monkey butlers are probably playing Settlers Of Catan without me.
It reminds me of what a “Shaman” said to me in his dingy basement after scooping a plastic water bottles worth of grey ayahuasca
from a 5 gallon white pail.
“You want to do the ayahuasca?” he asked, extending the wet bottle toward me.
I looked around and thought, I want to be in a forest or a field with birds and space, not in a windowless basement with a mysterious weirdo.
“Here?” I asked skepticallly.
“It doesn’t matter where you are when you drink it” he said.
Mmmmhmm, I sighed.
Not believing, or really understanding what he meant.
Never to return.
Never to drink ayahuasca.
Never to have my puking unconscious body dry humped by a Peruvian construction worker.
The case can be made for each of us.
That we are empowered to use this time in isolation as we choose.
No judgements here, god knows If I had a PlayStation 4 and the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare, I’d be running around a virtual map looking for ATV’s to run people over with.
Sweet Jesus, thank you for not testing me.
Except for my hour or so a day of listening to Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban, I try not to rely too much on technology.
Because now is my moment to practice compassion, humility and to strengthen my confidence in others.
I am, Bobby Elliott, The Prisoner of Rishikesh, after all.