Early morning I hike up the mountain. It takes me about ninety minutes from the backside of the temple complex to the peak of the sacred mountain. I walk up fast, carrying only one bottle of water I pick up at a stall adjacent to the temple. I offer this water to a local, but instead of taking a sip she thinks I am gifting the whole bottle (that could be resold). I buy biscuits instead. And offer the biscuits to a guide who denies too. I walk alone and it feels good. It has been some time since I’ve taken a decent walk up a mountain, climbing limestone rocks with hand and feet, and enjoying the view behind me every ten minutes. The temple and the town are down there, and the noise of the traffic is like an audible fume creeping up the mountain behind me.
The view from the top is beautiful and I install myself to meditate. I am 31 years old, I believe I wrote a phd in philosophy once and I have no idea about meditation, yet I just sit down, chest unveiled, and do nothing. The rocks are still greasy with ghee from the big fireworks party and my pants get dirty. A British woman walks up to me and says:
“Are you meditating?”
– “I guess so”.
It is funny to see a seven-year old child meditating. Why? He can’t be serious enough to… but meditation learns to see the vanity in our serious undertakings… he can’t possibly understand what is means to be silent inside… but we were all silent inside before we started speaking… there is just no crap in there that needs to be taken care of by means of meditation. Yes.
I ask the mountain some questions, including the classic “what are we supposed to do here?” and the answer she gives me is “live in such a way that you make other human beings smile, and also nonhuman beings.” Then we have tea with a Hindu whose guru is away. Could be contribute some cash to fix the plastic that covers his hut? The message of the guru sounds familiar: all Gods are the same and Love is the greatest. I say goodbye to the British lady and an Indonesian Dutch man who plays to be very interested in Charity Travel. Go on, the world is your stage, you may play. Let’s all play. And then the descent begins. Well, what happens is that I lose the trail a couple of times but I make it back just fine for lunch.
In the afternoon we say goodbye to Nehru and Ruby and hop on a bus to Chennai/Madras where we will take a train to the north. It will be Yeon’s birthday tomorrow, too.