November 30, 2010
Pushkar is a small town built around two sides of a sacred lake. The first thing you do when you get to Pushkar, I was told, is to go to the lake. Then you go to the temple dedicated to Brahma.
The lake is small, you can walk around it in 30 minutes, if you are not stopped by curious or you don’t take pictures. It’s different from Varanasi because here they built some basins at the border of the lake, where people bring their offers (mainly flowers and coconuts), wash feet and face, wash the children and pray for a few minutes. Sometimes they bath completely and wash their clothes.
When I first came here yesterday, two Indian boys asked if I had prayed. No, was my answer. Why not? Don’t you respect our religion? No, it’s not that I don’t respect your religion, but I don’t usually pray or I pray when I feel like. They didn’t get upset, they just wanted to explain me how it works here.
There are some steps leading to the lake. One of these staircases is called “Gandhi Ghat” because when Gandhi died some of his ashes were scattered here. Shoes are forbidden 40 feet from the lake. So you walk on this floor full of pigeon excrement barefoot; or with your socks, if you prefer. Some ghats are full of people feeding pigeons with corn or some other seed. Then a dog comes, scares the pigeons, and these fly away and I’m sure sooner or later they’ll shit on my head. Why do they do it? It reminds me of the pigeons in St. Mark’s Square in Venice; feeding the pigeons is forbidden now there, but I have a picture of a young me feeding them.
It’s nice here, it’s very relaxing. The low white houses that face the lake and the drums in the background create a nice atmosphere. There are continuous weddings and celebrations going on.
Around Pushkar there are mountains with other temples. In the mountains live the Babas, those strange men that decide to leave the family and the comfort of a house to live of berries and meditation.
This is the only Brahma temple in India. I went there in the morning. Quite similar to the others I’ve visited, many small altars, gods statues that I don’t understand. It seems like they are the usual three deities that have reincarnated many times. In this temple the altars are in particular dedicated to Shiva, his wife and three children, of which one is an elephant. Another god is a monkey. I can’t remember the names.
Apparently writing a blog didn’t help me much. When I called home yesterday, my mom suggested I won’t go to Africa. It’s better if I get a job and do something with my life. As if I hadn’t worked so far in my life. Of course, there are people that worked more then me, but there are also those that have been traveling for 2-3 years or forever. The problem is that in Arzignano you don’t meet these people, so it seems something out of this world. Working and making money is everything. Maybe I say this because I’ve been lucky and I was never hungry, but I am not interested in making a lot of money or owning an expensive car. Of course you should think about the future, and save some money. But a couple of months won’t make a big difference. It will be difficult to travel once I’ll have a stable job and in Italy you can only go on holiday in August, when everything is more expensive and places like Africa, India or Middle East are too hot to travel. I’m actually not sure I will go next year because I’m a bit tired, need some rest (travelling full time is not relaxing at all). But I don’t want not to go for the wrong reasons.