What would you do if a scruffy, raggedly dressed, dehydrated, sunken eyed, foreigner turned up at your doorstep, looking for a bed?
I found an absolutely fantastic family, and group of friends, who threw open their doors, their cupboards, their fridges, their showers, and welcomed me inside. I cannot believe the generosity, warmth and compassion I'm being surrounded by here in Mohali. And they tell me, that they are the privileged ones, being able to host me.....
I met Amit and Nandini the other day. They were on the motorbikes, and they asked me to come stay. The hotel I arrived at off the train was very expensive, and in no better condition than any other I had stated at, and I was drained. Completely drained. I desperately needed some TLC. I rang the numbers they had given me....no reply. An hour later I rang again. Amit answered. He doesn't normally answer land line calls. Too many marketing calls, but this time he did. 10 minutes later, he calls back. I'm to cycle across town to The First Precinct, to his father's house.
The city is in fact very beautiful. The cleanest and best set out I've seen in India, with lots of shade trees along wide roads. I'm impressed. The city is divided into Sectors, rather than suburbs, but Mohali is actually in another state, so is a Precinct. The hotel staff had no idea, but once I get to the area, and see a map, it's really quite easy to find the right house.
Tony, (Colonel Satinder Pal Singh Puri, Retired) and Raju, Amit's parents welcome me. Straight away it's cold drinks, food, cold showers, yes that's what I need, sleep, more food and drink, more sleep......
For the last three days I couldn't have asked for more. I've been taken to see the sights, taken out for meals, had amazing discussions with Amit, Tony, Nandini, and Sameer, and been given every opportunity to recoup. A blessing.
They have booked me a Volvo bus for this evening to Delhi Airport. They have helped me box up Fiona. We couldn't find a bike box, so Fiona is disguised as a washing machine. I've met the father of Raju, a local "sage" or "oracle" and had an amazing chat to this outstanding 80 year old. I've learnt about Auroville. Google it. It's an amazing concept, working, right here in India.
I've been enlightened, revived, inspired. I'm very excited about flying to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan tonight, but reluctant to leave. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Puri family. You are amazing.
So what would you do, if a scruffy, raggedly dressed, dehydrated, sunken eyed, foreigner turned up at your doorstep, looking for a bed?