Spirituality infuses everything here

Jasmine Patel with a baby goatJasmine Patel with a baby goat.
Udvada, India.

I am having an amazing time in India, and think everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.

I’ve been wandering around the streets all day to really get a feel for what life is like for people. I am really touched by how spirituality infuses every aspect of people’s lives here. When they open their stores and businesses in the morning, they burn incense, chant or pray. At a little temple right outside the train station I watched people leave flowers, bow down, or just walk by and stop for a moment, close their eyes and offer a prayer for a safe journey, or give thanks for a safe journey. Right next to the temple at a little mosque, the same thing was going on. I was really touched to see the sincerity with which people offer their quick little prayers. And it’s done so often throughout the day. These actions really create a nice atmosphere and environment, despite all the pollution and crowds.

I am really in an animal lover’s heaven. There are all kinds of animals all over the streets. I’ve been petting and hugging cows, buffalos, goats, lambs, dogs, kittens, chickens, etc. A little puppy wandered into the community co-op where my grandparents live. It’s a tiny little thing and I was worried about it, so I fed it some milk and sat with it for a long time. The little kids saw what I was doing and came to see how they could help. Well, the good news is, the entire community decided to adopt the puppy. So the little kids collected money from everyone who lives in the co-op so that we could take the puppy to the vet to get its shots and get it treated. (It has mange). I was willing to take it to the vet and pay for its treatment, but it was so nice to see how the entire community pitched in for this and everyone really loves the puppy.

Monkeys hanging out. Mahableshwar, India.Monkeys hanging out.
Mahableshwar, India.

This tribal/community living really has its benefits. It’s difficult to explain, but different from co-op living in the US. You’ll just have to experience this for yourself sometime. The only downside is that I don’t get much time alone. And since I tend to be a loner, it feels a little strange to be surrounded by people all the time. But there is so much love here that it really doesn’t matter. And I am taking time for myself everyday to meditate and take walks. It’s very peaceful.

Now for some fun news — I actually drove a little auto rickshaw down the road to my grandparents’ place! This afternoon I was coming back from the city The road was almost empty, so I convinced the driver to let me drive. An auto rickshaw is a small, 3-wheeled vehicle. It was fun. You just have to remember that they drive on the opposite side of the street here.