Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shimla walks...

Seems it got cold today here in Shimla. The sky is overcast and the sun is not shining as it
was yesterday at this time. Oh well, can’t control the weather, it does what it wants to do and we must adjust to it. The hillside I can see from my window seems to be coming alive, with voices, crows cawing, music blaring from somewhere as another day dawns. I meant to get up and walk this morning but somehow I’m not in the mood for it. I walked my feet off yesterday, first in the morning doing a healthy walk down the Mall, along the Ridge to the other end of town. It seems
the thing to do here early in the morning, lots of people doing a morning walk back and forth through town. I did an hour walk and then plopped myself at the Indian Coffee House for breakfast. It’s a nice old place with comfy seats and woodened paneled walls. Very old school
and classy. For the first time I had coffee, since the Indian Coffee House doesn’t serve tea (well who knew?!?). I feared that drinking coffee after so long would make me bananas but it didn’t. The quality was a bit above Nescafe, so I was fine.
Most of my days here will be spent writing three reports for my jobs. I break up the writing
by taking walks around town, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. My afternoon walk has been up to the Jakhoo Temple, a steep climb up a hill through the woods to the temple honoring Hanuman, the Monkey God. It’s hard to miss it given the giant orange statue that looms high above the trees that can be seen from down below in town. He watches over all of us as if to
protect Shimla and its people from harm. Legend has it that Hanuman dropped a sandal on this hilltop as he was flying by and thus it has becom a revered place. Another version has it that he stopped to rest here after his big battle with Raven the evil king in Sri Lanka. I like Hanuman, he is becoming a favorite of mine, right after Ganesh. He is brave and strong and seems to help people when things are not going their way. I like to hike up and get support
from the Monkey God in these contemplative days of mine.
I like to go pray at the temple, sit and think about what's going to happen next. It helps me to know that everything will be all right.
Of course what is a temple to a Monkey God without monkeys. Lots of monkeys! They are interesting creatures and sometimes when I look at them, I can see a bit of human in them.
Emotions in their eyes, the way they walk, lay around, communicate—it’s just like us really, just on a more primitive level. They lounge around picking bugs off each other, hiss and scream, chase each other from a marked territory, fight over food, love their young, play with
each other--so interesting to watch them. If you’re not careful, they will snatch your things and carry them off. The other day, one monkey snatched a man’s glasses and went up on the roof
with them. He offered the monkey something else and the monkey dropped the glasses and grabbed the other thing, quite a clever way of getting your specs back I must say. After visiting the temple, I stop for a cup of tea at the Shri Mahavir Café before heading down. It’s a nice place
to watch people and enjoy the sunset up on the hill.
My favorite place to eat thus far is the Embassy Restaurant, a peaceful little place with a
gorgeous view of the town. The dining area is perfect in the afternoon when the sun fills the space, shining in from the small little windows that take up most of the walls. It’s a glorious
place to sit and eat delicious home cooked meals served up by the proprietor, a lovely man who is a devotee of Krishnamurti. The restaurant is covered with little stories, quotes and anecdotes from lots of people both famous and not famous so it’s a nice distraction as you sip
your banana lassi and wait for your food. It’s my lunch spot and I’m sure by the end of the week I will have tried everything on the menu. As I pay the bill, the kind gentleman tries to get me in to a philosophical discussion and talk at length on Krishnamurthi, which I entertain
for a few minutes before I carry on my day.
It seems like a good day to stay indoors today. Bit overcast and cold, possibly rain later on? Well, in any case I have oodles of work to do and I can’t exhaust my fingertips blogging all day. May today be a productive day so I can spen more time enjoying later in the week.

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