I was doing a bit of research about tuktuks yesterday (yes, I’ve finally learned how to spell tuktuk), and when the Wikipedia article reminded me that they feature in Octopussy, I couldn’t resist the temptation to put this video together. It’s only rough, and could probably do with a better outro/ending, but it made me chuckle.
John’s girlfriend Anna is a photographer. Of all the amazing photos she took in India, this is my favourite, taken at the ashram in Rishikesh the day before we left.
John worked unbelievably hard on this trip, far harder than would ordinarily be expected of a PA. My gratitude to him cannot be put into words. Without his support, I could have done none of the amazing things I did. I now regard him as one of my best friends, something akin to a brother, and hope that, one day, I’ll find a way to repay him.
The journey home yesterday was just as long and tiring as I expected it to be. In all, John worked out, we were on the go for over forty hours. We got back to Charlton at about twelve last night absolutely knackered, but both extremely proud of ourselves for having made it. India was a trip of a lifetime; it was absolutely incredible. My head is now buzzing with ideas and questions. It is a place of so many contradictions. For one, I was struck by how in places like Delhi and Jaipur, there are modern, up-to-date buildings of the kind you find in any western city – the cinema we went to, for example – while all around them are vast swathes of derelict, dilapidated shanties desperate for repair. It struck me as a kind of perverse juxtaposition, as if the city was trying to appear modern while not giving any attention to the areas which need it most. I now want to research it to find out why India is the way it is.
Most of all, though, I want to start working out where we’re going next.
To be honest I’m not looking forward to tonight. This is our last day in India: this evening we catch the night bus back to Delhi, then after a few hours wait there, we board the plane to the uk. However at this very moment I feel I can deal with anything. I just had the most sublime ayervebic massage from two local experts here in Rishikesh, and it feels like I just downed about five beers. The feel of their hands as they nimbly rubbed my body felt like nothing I have ever experienced before. My body is loose and relaxed, my mind is clearer. The trip home suddenly seems much less daunting. What a great way to end an absolutely amazing trip.
I honestly think that what John did for me yesterday was nothing less than superhuman. Not far from here, across the Ganges, is a cleft in the rock which people can climb up to see a waterfall. John and Anna wanted to go see it yesterday, so we caught one of the local jeep taxis there. It was totally inaccessible, of course; there was no way you could get any type of wheelchair up those steep steps. Instead John proposed to give me a piggyback all the way up.
The last twenty four hours have been quiet something. I don’t feel tired, although technically I haven’t been to bed. We are now in Rrishicesh,up in foothills of the Himalayas, having caught the night bus here. It was an eleven hour journey, but on Indian night busses passengers get their own compartments with full sized beds, so I was able to sleep most of the way. Believe me it was quite an experience.
Yesterday was more lazy and relaxed than the long, busy days previous. I think we needed it. After breakfast we came back to the hotel and pottered around a bit; i wrote and surfed the web while the guys sorted a few things, and in the evening we went to the cinema. Anna wanted to see Dumbo, and, simply because it was by Tim Burton, I shelved my reservations about Disney and went along with it.