Kumbh Mela Part 3

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Here we go, wandering around on the main bathing day. Chad and Cerrie brought dry clothes and just changed in the boat so we didn’t have to go back to camp. Then we moseyed about the Ganga. Along with ten million other people. NBD. Keep in mind it’s also 3AM when we start. We get to watch the sunrise. This is the first (and only) sunrise I have ever hated. Stupid sun.

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Then I reach my breaking point. Half the group had already gone back to camp 2 hours prior, but I had stayed, convinced I would see the Sadhus. When it was clear that wasn’t going to happen, I put on my cranky pants and declared that I was going back. Bobby and Greg wanted to stay; Chad and Cerrie wanted to come with me.

Eric Hematisfingerpoint takes India

Eric Hematisfingerpoint takes India

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don't let this smirk fool you. i am NOT happy.

don’t let this smirk fool you. i am NOT happy.

So we leave this guy:

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in action

in action

and these guys:

we started taking photos of them, too

we started taking photos of them, too

…and headed back.

All I can say is, THANK GOD Chad and Cerrie came with, because they showed me this “shortcut” which is as close to heaven as I’ve ever been in this lifetime:

an ashram being built

an ashram being built

Which technically isn’t a shortcut, but a construction site for a new ashram. We simply ignored the “Do Not Enter” signs and blasted on through, laughing and skipping merrily through the wide open spaces with joyful abandon.

so much space!

joyful abandon

Meanwhile, THIS is what those other fools had to deal with:

i die

i die

can you spot bobby? he's the brown one

can you spot bobby? he’s the brown one

My group arrives back at camp 10 minutes after the others who left 2 hours ago. More proof I would have died on that road of death. It’s 7AM, and I feel like we’ve already put in an entire day’s worth of work.

Thus begins our day of waiting. You know why we can’t leave? Because it’s the main bathing day, and no cars are allowed to come in or go out. There is literally nothing to do. Literally! We are in the middle of nowhere. The camp offers no entertainment other than sleep. There is no town to explore.

Some of us get sick.

"it was the chai!"

“it was the chai!”

Some of us break the beds.

yep. it crumpled after i sat down.

yep. it crumpled after i sat down.

Some of us attempt sleep. And I say “attempt” because in honor of the main bathing day, the camp counselors erect a crackling loud speaker that reaches to every corner of our camp and someone with a very nasaly voice proceeds to read Hindu prayers for SIX HOURS STRAIGHT.  Without pause. There was no escape. Then Lorelei had a breakdown due to not sleeping in 4 days and the incessant chanting. I laughed at first, thorougly entertained while she screamed and threw pillows in her delirium, until I realized it was real and someone needed to get her a benzo. This religious festival had us unraveling at the seams….

*Photos by Greg Bryan

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4 Responses to Kumbh Mela Part 3

  1. Ahhh, Grasshopper…..nirvana can only be attained now by returning to the holy city of Houston and dancing to exhaustion. Only then will you be liberated.

  2. Barbie says:

    These pictures with all of their beauty, grit, colors, warmth, movement, confusion, humaness made me well up this morning. Now, I must go back to read it. I was caught looking at the pictures and not the articles 😉

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