Jaipur, Rajasthan, 8:18 p.m.
Finally, dear Delhi departed—huzzah! Not a moment too soon, I swear. I hopped a pre-dawn ride with my friend Raju’s driver Mukesh, who was returning to Jaipur at 6 a.m.—worth waking up early to grab that easy flow. Groggy as I was, it felt great to enter incredible and evocative Rajasthan again, leaving Delhi far behind.
Mukesh and I are old pals of sorts, if language-free ones—he ferried me about quite a bit on my first true Dharma sourcing mission here several years ago. Always interesting to spend time with someone when verbal language is largely missing from the communication equation. He knows about as much English and I do Hindi: “photo, tea/coffee, thank you sir, coming (as in ‘Jaipur is coming’), midway” (though that’s cheating because it’s the name of the main Delhi-Jaipur highway stopping point of food dhabas and chai walas).
Actually, I know much more Sanskrit than Hindi; all that time learning yoga asanas and chanting kirtan has paid off in kind. What Hindi do I know? Not much! And I’ll prove it here, by brevity, spelling and translation: Danyawad (thank you), nahin or nayee/nay (no), thik hain (OK, or something close to it) and my old standby, acha, which means something like “ah” or “I see” or “yep.” Pretty weak conversational tea, believe me—so here for me, it’s all about the twinkly eye contact and the heart’s intention! Lucky for me, India is about nothing if not twinkly eye contact. I fall in love at least several times a day with passing strangers and rickshaw walas and our shared moments of eye connection, nods and smiles, all in recognition of some deeper soul connection that America has managed to largely bleed out of its daily social interactivity. Our loss, in a sad and big way.
So, Mukesh and I shared a ride unpunctuated by any need to catch up on the latest news or blues to keep us amused. Still, we shared warm smiles and a hug upon me meeting him in front of Delhi’s Imperial Hotel as we had planned through Raju the evening before. In fact, we shared one of those blessed moments of twinklyness on the phone, when Raju had me on the cell and Mukesh on the landline, and was brokering the details of the meet. When I said, “oh, is that Mukesh who used to be Induji’s driver?” it all came back to Raju that of course we’d met many times, and he then shared with Mukesh that I was the passenger and we all laughed in a friendly round of “Jai Sri Krishna!”
Sometimes a little Sanskrit goes a long way.