16. 6. 2016

In the Nirvana Camp, Barkot (EN)

After the city of yoga, Rishikesh, I arrived to the Nirvana Camp on the shore of the holy Yamuna river about 8 km from a town called Barkot. (The whole journey here was an adventure and I want to share it with you in another article.) I stayed there with the staff of the camp, volunteering, preparing the camp for the season. I arrived 25th of April and I was there for twenty days in the end. 

Nirvana Camp
In the mornings I took a walk to the hills and was watching the camp from the forest.

Getting used to a new place

Waking up early isn’t the main problem here, I listen to the songbirds long before the sunrise. But as soon as I try to get myself out of the blankets the cold air makes me to regret and I usually crawl back in. Such a luxury to feel the fresh air after all those weeks in India waking up covered in sweat! After some time of snoozing I start hearing the noises of the staff walking around the camp and I get out of the bed at once, just in case I would think about it too much again.

Stretching and greeting the neighboring hills and the river, and of course the people, I am deciding on what to do first. Sometimes I sip my tea, sometimes go for a walk in the woods and sometimes I unroll my yoga mat and practice for a while. My body is already out of habit to feel cold and the morning air makes me a little bit stiff. As the days go by I get used on it and start my mornings with meditation and sun salutation before it even turns up.

Nirvana Camp
When the sun wakes you up

Discovering the rhythm of my "new home"

I have discovered a certain routine in the life here even though the first four days it seemed that such a thing didn’t exist here. The time the people woke up, or how many of them were in the camp, what did they do... But after the fourth day things got more repetitive maybe due to the opening of the season and I have noticed more effort and regularity in the work of the staff. 

Nirvana camp - the staff
When we all help each other a lot can be done!
Since those few days there are about ten people including the long term staff, the manager and the guard, and some boys from the neighboring villages working as part-timers . Seeing them around here reminds me of our typical summer jobs in Czech. The atmosphere is quite similar and the age as well. They wake up quite early, as I said, around 5:30 a.m. Before starting the work there must be tea, black with lots of sugar. While I take the first morning hour for myself they start their work. Sometimes I don’t really see what they are doing, but surprisingly they are clear about it and the things are get done. Refreshed after my morning routine I start helping them if I see that there is something to do (which is not always the case). We have been preparing the tents and the camp area, but my work is mostly around the garden. I picked it up myself, it is a job easy to understand and quite flexible in putting my own effort without asking all the time what should I do. 

Around 9 or 10 a.m. the breakfast is ready. Sometimes I help to prepare it or at least watch in the kitchen and learn about the Indian cooking. The typical breakfast includes mixed veggies and roti, or parantha or potato parantha. It is quite heavy and oily and gets us going till the lunch served usually between 1 and 2 p.m. For lunch we always have rice and dahl and for me they always have some sliced tomato, cucumber and red onion, a salad as they call it. I think I had never eaten as much of raw onion in my life as here in India, but it is one of the few choices when I want to have fresh „salad“. Often there is time for rest after lunch, the weather reaching its highest temperatures, so the atmosphere becomes a bit lazy. 

Chapati, vegetables and tea
Afternoons are when I have more time for myself, I go for a walk, rest and read, write and edit pictures or do yoga. It really depends, whenever I feel like I already have some routine, something changes. But generally speaking, around 5 p.m. I start watering the plants and go on with that till the late hours. 

The dinner is for me the most expected meal of the day as it is usually served quite late when I am already starving (solved recently by buying some bananas and biscuits ;). And it is also the meal on which preparation I am participating the most. Normally we have mixed vegetables, depending on the availability of things in the kitchen. Potatoes, tomatoes, egg plant, zucchini. Indians like to keep it simple and it doesn’t require that much time. Unlike roti (chapati), the Indian bread, which we prepare every night for everybody and which is really a time-eater. 

Nirvana Camp
And when the sun tells you it's time to go to bed
After dinner I lay down and sleep, rarely reading for a while or watching a movie. Few days I couldn’t do even that as the electricity went off. Life is simple here :)

There is a lot of beauty and tranquility in this simplicity of life. I am mostly left to myself and my thoughts, there are not many opportunities for conversation as we don’t share all necessary communication means. It leaves me with lot of guessing what are the people intending to tell me from their gestures and faces and body language. This situation brings new challenges, not only in the communication with the others, but especially with being the only one to distract myself. Everyone who tried that knows, how annoying we can sometimes become for ourselves.

Nirvana Camp - staff
All my lovely men together. I felt like a princess with their care! Thank you

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