Sunday 23rd August – Josh Reid
Our last day at the Garden of Peace started the way any day in India should, 6am rooftop yoga! Needless to say, our session the previous morning had left us chomping at the bit to give it another go. The boys’ attempts were marginally better this morning but from the brief looks I got while I was attempting to put my legs behind my head, the girls looked like naturals. Katherine even managed to pull off the head stand, essentially the boss level of our introductory morning yoga classes. My personal favourites from that morning were the forward roll (standard grade P.E., I knew you would come in handy!) and the leaping frog, which I’m sure is fairly self explanatory. I also have a slight suspicion that some of them weren’t actually yoga poses and Ramu just threw them in there to watch us attempt them…
Despite my lack of yoga skill, the session had admittedly left me feeling relaxed, not to mention hungry. Breakfast was to the same exceptional standard as all the other meals we had been served during our time at the GoP, but to my surprise four of our party chose sleep over food, the four that never came on our night walk! The caring souls that we are, we made 4 extra bowls of food and brought it up to them, who knew the place done breakfast in bed?
After breakfast we were left to our own devices for pretty much the rest of the morning, we chose to spend this time relaxing and looking back on the hectic week we had just experienced. It dawned on us that we were past the halfway mark, and already we didn’t want to say goodbye, not to India, not to the Garden of Peace, or Ramu, and certainly not to each other. It’s pretty amazing how quickly people will bond during an experience like this. But just like everything else in India, the time passed quickly and before we knew it, the girls had to go get their Saris for that evening fitted. Meanwhile the boys were treated to Dorji, our favourite Tibetan’s, exceptional music, played through a small speaker which was picked up by a microphone which was connected to a big speaker that played the music out on to the school grounds. India really doesn’t do normal. As was necessary, we showed Dorji some classics from Scotland such as Calvin Harris and The Proclaimers.
Soon after we were given our Dhotis, a traditional Indian garb. I admit, they are not the easiest things to put on, but with the help of the locals we all managed to get ready for our farewell dinner and after a lesson on how to walk in them we went out to the school grounds to get our pictures taken. By this point we were beginning to feel like it was our high school prom, but we didn’t mind.
After our brief photo shoot, we were lucky enough to attend a concert put on by a local band. They performed a selection of traditional Indian songs, naturally this was nothing like anything we’d ever heard before but they were certainly wonderful, it was a pleasure to be able to just sit and listen, minus batting the occasional beastie away!
We proceeded to have our final dinner at the school, I really will miss the food. I don’t imagine my flatmates will be keen on having sambhar and rice for dinner. We ended the night as a group on the roof where we reflected on the time spent at Gandh-King-Mandela farm, I don’t think any of us are going to forget it. Finally Ramu led us in some laughing meditation, if you don’t know what that is, it consists of you laughing for a few minutes. There’s not a joke told, or a funny face pulled, you just laugh hahaha. Apparently doing it for more than 5 minutes a day is advised against. We happily took part, and after a few words we all went to bed grinning. The adventurous among us decided to sleep on the roof, we had been told there was less bugs there than in the rooms because of how high up it was, we certainly knew it was cooler up here. So with nothing but a straw mat underneath me, I lay down to sleep on the roof of a building in the middle of India. I was just hoping it didn’t rain.
Josh Reid – A first year physicist giving his take on his time in India