The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ― Rumi

If ever in the past I had pondered (which I did not) what I would be doing on Valentine’s Day 2016, it would not have been this:

–  Participate in morning yoga on the Ganges River.

–  Ride on a rickshaw through Murshidabad, India, watching buildings from the British colonial era along the way, and passing numerous Saras Wati altars, complete with Indian music blasting at each site.

– Visit the Katra Mosque, the oldest mosque still utilized for prayer in India.  Then have an impromptu photo shoot with a group of beautifully clad Indian teenagers visiting the mosque.  (After we photographed them, they asked if they could have a picture taken with them.)

– Enjoy seeing scores of Indian children run along the riverbank, excited at the sight of our boat.

– Walk through the small Indian village of Baranagar and being spontaneously invited into the home of a proud farmer, happy to introduce us to his family.

– Marvel at the beautiful detail of several Shiva temples, considered to be among the best examples of Bengal terra cotta art.

– Swing a bat in a cricket match, on a field shared with goats and cows. Thanks to much practice at bat with my dad while growing up, I actually hit the ball (not impressively, but a hit nonetheless.)

– Dance with young Indian children during their Saras Wati festival at dusk.

– Start to cry when our waiter, Rahul, brought glasses of rosé to our table at the end of the Valentine’s dinner.  😕  Good grief.  It’s still there, just below the surface. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by love.


Saras Wati and Saris

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


We had an early start this morning, visiting the village of Matiari.  This town of 20,000 inhabitants is more prosperous than many, due to the local brass industry.  Skilled workers pressed hot brass into flat sheets, which would later be made into plates.  Artists chiseled intricate designs of peacocks, elephants, tigers and even butterflies into the nearly finished products.  By the way, these skilled workers are also farmers.  The reason for our early visit was that they had to return to their crops after their brass work.

As we walked through the village, our entourage of curious children grew.  Many were decked out in their finest for the Festival of Saras Wati later in the day.  While in India I’ve been using my iPad for photography.  Although somewhat awkward, it keeps my photos ready for quick upload when possible.  It’s been fun watching the faces of the local kids when eyes see their images on the larger screen.

This afternoon we had a demonstration on the wrapping of a sari. It’s much more complex than the longyis of Myanmar we wore last year. A sari is full of folds and moves quite beautifully.  We each had a matching bindi placed on our forehead.  I’ve learned that the bindi is ornamental.  Married women identify themselves with bright red coloring in the part of their hair.

Another stop later in the afternoon.  In the meantime, the sights from the boat are amazing.


Om Nama Shivay

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” 

― Mahatma Gandhi

This morning we visited the town of Kalna in the Burdwan District.  There was nowhere to dock our boat, so we were transported to shore by sampan. We visited an amazing Hindu temple and walked through the market.  Because tomorrow is the festival of Saras Wati, the town market was particularly active.  Saras Wati (goddess of wisdom, education and learning) statues were for sale everywhere.  The people have been so warm and welcoming.  I’ve had many requests to have my photo taken with people; once again I think it’s the tall thing.  The Burdwan District is one of the largest rice producing areas in India.  We’ve seen women working in the rice fields while their children wave to us from the shore.


I’m trying hard to understand the many gods and their incarnations in the Hindu faith.  Our guide, Sachi is most patient with our many questions.  He’s a very intelligent and equally enthusiastic guy, and a Brahmin.  It’s fascinating!  I have to go and listen now, or I’ll miss too much.