The three of us really wanted to stay at a peaceful place for a longer period after the intense time in Baba’s native Bihari village and Baba´s Food poisoning drama in Bodghaya. We definitively needed a large amount of relaxation!
What a better place for that than the beautiful countryside of Almora in the Himalayas, which we had only recently discovered?
We checked into an even nicer guesthouse with a large garden and found out that most of the accommodations in Kasar Devi include a kitchen. When you have traveled for a long time, you eventually get tired of eating out at restaurants, which are all offering mostly the same kind of menu. Having a kitchen made us more than happy, and it was also a way to save some money.
Someone had offered me a thick Indian cookbook for my birthday. First I thought that this person didn’t like me very much, because I had to carry the heavy volume with me through the whole country. But Pagli and I, both of us love to cook and we eventually went through the illustrated pages with the same excitement as a couple of teenager boys would do while reading their first playboy-magazine.
I love good food and admit that eating is something that makes me very happy!
Besides of spending much time in the kitchen, we wandered a lot through the beautiful lush green nature of the monsoon scenery, admiring the diversity of colourful flowers and collecting chanterelle in the forest. When it rained, the temperature cooled notably down and then Baba, Pagli and I would sit on the bed wrapped in blankets, drinking hot chocolate prepared of fresh milk coming directly from the buffalo, while telling each other stories or singing bhajans to the sound of Pagli’s Banjo.
The time had come to think about how life would go on from now on. Here I was, sitting in the middle of a small piece of paradise with my sadhu…
…BUT THEN WHAT?
Baba was not keen on living in Europe and not by a long shot I would dare to take him there to do any silly job and press him into the speedy western society. He was a free spirit and taking him to the other world would more than sure make him fade like a cut flower. Neither did I want to go back to the ignorance of an office job.
Life is too short to live only for making money that one will probably spend anyways in things that don’t really bring along any happiness and eventually will decay.
I could not come up with any alternative lifestyle, that appealed to me and that I actually would be able to put into practice in the west.
I loved Baba just as I loved India, even if at times the country made me really crazy. So, why not try to build up a life somewhere here? Of course, it is a place very far away from “home” and it was a big decision.
But my life-philosophy is:
If you don’t try, you will never know!
What was the worst that could really happen? Europe would not run away and I could go back there if I needed to do so anytime.
Now, the question was where in India?!?
I remember how Baba’s family in Bihar suggested us to build a house there in the village, as they owned a lot of land.
HA! NO WAY!
I would not survive there for even a month without going completely nuts!
On the other hand there was my beloved Rishikesh. But buying something there was too costly and everyone in town knew my Baba as he was part of Rishikesh’s sadhu society. A picture of dozens of sadhus coming to sit day and night at our place to enjoy chai, chillum and chapatis came to my mind. Nothing bad about that, but on a long-term that was not really an option!
We decided to give Kasar Devi a try, we really loved that place. People are respectful, there is the tourist season when to meet nice people from all over the world, but also the off-season to enjoy the peace of the simple village life. The climate is pleasant, too, as it never got unbearably hot, though the short winters can be pretty chilly.
Only a couple of weeks later Baba found a small piece of land that we could afford. This went so fast, that I interpreted it as a sign that things were flowing towards the direction they were supposed to.
Time had come to start a new adventure: The beginning of a new life in a new place