I strangely woke this morning thinking about or dwelling in my mind on a quote from Mahatma Gandhi
“What was an apology for a bath room was unbearably dirty, the latrines were stinking sinks. To use the latrines one had to wade through urine and excreta or jump over them.”
Page 356 of the Autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi - Navajivan Publishing.
I found this book in the Gopi restaurant here in Hampi, and thought I would give it a try. I am not much on reading slow books, so I say try because I was not sure if the guy was going to blather or be interesting. I have found the book very interesting and an easy read. I am almost finished and am looking forward to the ending because he must surely wrap up his thoughts.
What is wearing on me? The Hands.
I am not paranoid and definitely not a clean freak, or in anyway holding to a policy of absolute cleanliness. I live in rooms full of disorganization and clutter, which to me is comfortable. I however am a person that believes that having my body, clothes, and all my possessions clean is important, and strives constantly for higher levels of cleanliness while traveling.
I was listening to 1 German and 1 Swiss girl tell me how you should not shower, and that it was not healthy. I told them,
“I know the Germans and the Swiss do not shower, that is obvious.”
I do not shower for my benefit as much as my benefit of being my attempt to be the least offensive to anyone in my area. Plus if people were to enter my room constantly I would clean it constantly to be the least offensive, and to not draw attention.
But the hands and fingernails are so dirty often on the India people that I become noxious. I almost left a very good restaurant in Hospet the other day because of looking at the hands of the server. I am slowly becoming accustomed to the country and I am able to see the underlying dirt in the country. The government has obviously adopted some very organized programs for water, but the people are culturally very dirty people.
It is wearing on my nerves and I am trying to find cleaner places to eat. It is very difficult and I believe impossible in the end to find a clean restaurant that is 1/10 the level of the western world. Outwardly it can appear clean, and by you walks a waiter who is ridiculously dirty. Dirt that is or has been on his hand for weeks if not forever in nature.
I had a girl ask me why I carried cooking supplies in my backpack and I do believe that cook your own food is better than to eat the local foods. I find that I eat lots of processed or packaged goods to avoid the sharing the hygiene of the India people. Gandhi was a rich boy by all practical measures and was cleaner.
I have learned very slowly that most people do not want to travel to countries like India for one reason. They are dirty, I do not think this is a good reason, and believe that 5 Star Hotels do not stop a culture from invading the Kitchen. It does do a good job of masking and hiding the real situation though.
I am working and mulling over in my mind how to clean my world to the level of a “Clean Freak.” One of them people that spends their whole live sniveling.
Sort of an I think it was Jack Lemmon’s character Felix from the show “The Odd Couple” that would best demonstrate who I am thinking should be happy.
I am positive this type of person would be in agony in most countries and place out of their ultimate control, but I do believe that a person could enter Hotels and clean themselves to this level for living. They would have to stay longer in each location though. But there is also an art to recognizing and finding a clean hotel. It has almost nothing to do with the Star System and that to me is a hindrance, because they want a reservation and it is difficult and very expensive to say you do not want to live in a place that you have already reserved. To me cleanliness demands that you have a choice and no reservation.
FOUND A PATH IN INDIA TO FOLLOW
Gandhi started an Ashram or some retreat for his Satyagraphs or people that held firm to truth and it is perfectly in my mental path I have planned to leave Hampi. It is called Sevagram in the state of town, eastern Maharashtra state, western India.
An “Ashram” or normally the Yoga Ashram is a faddish place for the travelers to pay to visit here in India. It is very complicated to connect the words together with the meanings. There are people using words like Ashram, Sadhus or Vishnu, Ayuredic and all the words of India culture, Sanskrit, Hindi and who knows where they came from or originated. That is the problem.
The definition of these words complicated and to say Ashram although is correct in the India culture; it is better to say,
“I am going to a location where they have religious retreats with an emphasis on Yoga.”
This is a “Yoga Ashram.” I am sure I am saying or defining incorrectly this word Ashram, but that is OK, I am trying to show that the word is hard to define, and people just idly using these words are to me demonstrating faddish, trendy, naïve, or maybe in some instance outright stupidity. But fads and fashion are about me or you trying to be better or in competition with others.
I got a haircut the other day. It is very short and very conservative, or maybe very similar to the India men’s haircuts. I do not like to get my haircut and avoid this to both save money and I do not see a real vanity reason to look so clean cut. But the other day I realized that my hair was not conservative and I was wondering if I was attracting crazy people to come talk with me. I am constantly trying to find a way to by natural means attract or repel people. I am constantly learning about myself and have come to realize that I wish the ability to be completely anonymous at any time. I feel better to blend into the woodwork and not stand out in any manner. This is my haircut in many ways, and is just me trying to blend into the normal society. Note that this is not me trying to blend into the normal traveler society as I see the dress up like clowns and are screaming to be noticed. I am talking about the normal Western world. I do not like ties, but to not wear a tie to a funeral would be to bring attention to yourself.
I am not sure why I feel better by not bringing attention to myself and I am sure many readers would say that writing this blog is trying to bring attention to myself. I am trying to bring attention to my thoughts, but not to me personally. I wish to have a travel community of people that are enjoying life, but I only want to be a member of this community.
Well, I am going to have fun with Gandhi, and it follows along one of my favorite books. “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau. I cannot say he is one of my favorite writers. Most of his book to me is just rambling, but his book Walden and the Essay on Civil Disobedience is a favorite book. I do find that I have adopted a Gandhi and Thoreau way of simplification of life. I am constantly trying to make my life smaller and simpler. My whole world of possessions is now carried in a backpack, and my thoughts are in a computer.
I would say mostly I do not like the distractions and cost of maintaining the other types of possessions like a car or house. I have more time to read and enjoy life, and do not have to work as much.