Walking with the gods

Walking with the gods

Today we moved higher up the valley, to stay with our friends Shalini and Dam at their beautiful home stay For a While.

After the rainy weather of the last few days, we woke up to deep blue skies, so we decided to stop half way to Galihar village, at a little place called Tung, so that Himmat could finally fish, and I could also stretch my legs.

So I left the men fishing and walked the remaining uphill 6km, which isn’t any great distance in itself but boy oh boy, this being India, was it an interesting 6km.

Just about everyone I passed wanted to know where I was going.

One young girl, once she had found out where I was headed, said “You’re alone?” in a tone of amazement.

No, I told her, I’m with my husband, who’s fishing.

Fishing?! Where?

The questions didn’t stop, so I stemmed the flow by asking where she was headed, and we eventually parted company both of us much wiser about the other’s plans for the morning.

I chatted with an elderly lady stitching canvas shoes while her goats were feeding, way down below, by the river.

As I reached Bathad village, I heard the distant sound of musical instruments, and to my delight I met a small procession, all male, and largely consisting of young boys, carrying the “devta” (god). I asked the man carrying the god where they were headed, and he told me Galihar.

I’m going there, too, I told them, to smiles all round.

I walked with them for a it, but:

(a) I’m not sure whether women are supposed to walk with the devta or not

(b) I’m not sure whether non-Hindus are supposed to walk with the devta or not

(c) no-one was wearing a mask

(d) no-one was social-distancing

and finally

(e) it was easier to film the procession from in front

So I roared ahead, filmed them, and arrived at Shalini and Dam’s.

When the music of the procession got closer, we all went onto the path to watch, and it turns out that many of the boys were their students during lockdown, when Shalini and Dam taught the village children English.

Sweet.

As I said, an eventful 6km, chatting, and walking with the village deity.

There really is no such thing as a dull day in India.

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