“If the rhino runs, we must run in a zig zag or climb a tree.”
We shuffled our feet nervously in the leaves on the jungle floor.
“If we see a bear then do not run. You run, bear run faster. Do not climb. You climb, bear climb. If bear come we stand in a group and we make noise. Stick,” our guide waves his thick face-high walking stick, “is for bear.”
“If we see tiger we are quiet and meet him eye to eye. Do not run.”
Extract from Chitwan National Park: “If we see a tiger, we are quiet and meet him eye to eye.’
Purl Interrupted is the travel journal written by whoever I was before I became Deadly Knitshade. My camera and I spent September to December 2008 travelling in India and Nepal with “two sticks, string and a backpack”, joined by three manly companions (I was the only girl).
It was one of the most fantabulous periods of my life so far. Witness epic train journeys, dances with angry cows, ancient ruins, jaw-dropping views, cockroach nightmares, near-death rickshaw rides, the Taj Mahal (at long last), unexpected knittings, ghastly toilet facilities and a whole lot of monkeys.
You can read it all here by clicking the arrows on the images below (you can click the magnifying glasses for sneak peek at picture) or jump to the Purl Interrupted category.
Best take along some peanuts for the monkeys.
Delhi to Jaipur: “She is very old and gets sick when she travels.” (groooooaaan)
“She is very old and gets sick when she travels.” The girl explained, “She must sit by the window”. Granny moaned in pure Bollywood style. We looked at the Indian men stretched out on the bunks above, one to a bunk, opening a sneaky eye to watch the proceedings and then hastily shutting it when they saw us watching.
Delhi: “Beeeeeeeeeeeard? Beaaaaaaaaaard?”
A cry of “Beeeeeeeeeeeeeard? Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeard?” outside the fort, that stopped us in our tracks and ended with us haggling for fake facial hair with a small boy who assured us he paid at least 25 rupees whenever he bought his.
Attari: “Hindustan!” “Pakistan!”
Sat in the VIP area of the most patriotic crowd I have ever been a part of, watching men with fans on their heads attempt to almost kick themselves in the face while marching, while the throng around me chants football-crowd-like songs at a just-as-patriotic, just-as-loudly-singing crowd across the border.
Amritsar – Diwali at the Golden Temple: “Are you happy?”
I was accosted by a whole crowd of Sikhs outside the temple who stood around giggling as a small boy, with arms much stronger than his skinny frame let on, tied my head scarf on so tight I worried I may have to surgically remove it after.
Amritsar – Jallianwala Bagh “An everlasting symbol of non-violent and peaceful struggle for the freedom of India”
In 1919 General Dyer, of the British Army, was called to restore order to the city as unrest had broken out over an emergency British law that allowed them to imprison Indians suspected of sedition without trial. The general ordered his 150 men to open fire on the 2000 peaceful protesters occupying an open space surrounded by high walls.
Amritsar: “You my brother. You my sister.”
Gap-toothed rickshaw driver to the rescue! He lead us out into the street next to his chugging steed “No worry.” He told us through his festive grin. He motioned to the boys “You my brother. You my brother. You my brother.” Then with a pat on my shoulder “You my sister. Come. I find you room.”
Chandigarh: “You remind me of the babe.”
The maze is 20 hectares of pure imagination, twisty passages, armies of wobbly-legged stickmen, spindly ponies, growling stone hounds, hobbling rocktagenarians clutching clay pots, wavering-necked graceful but gawky swans and peacocks with shards of mosaic feathers, and colourful boogie-ing bracelet maidens.
Rishikesh: Revenge of the Still-Mooing Steak
Before now I have had no reason to fear the cow. I have cheerfully chewed my way through still-mooing steak for as long as I can remember. They must have known, though I have been veggie since we got here, because three days ago the cows took back the power…
Aurangabad to Dehli: “What are you weaving?”
“Don’t worry. The cockroaches won’t hurt you.” by a smiling be-turbaned Sikh youth as I got warily into bed.
Aurangabad – Ajanta and Ellora Caves: “Please, picture?”
It is quite frankly all kinds of magnificent to stand in the dark with the cool cave floor beneath the soles of your feet, peering up at a carefully and adoringly carved image of so many people’s faith.
Arumbol to Mumbai: “Jesus loves your clothes”
having my clothes washed by Jesus (a large Indian man in a white shirt with the word Jezu emblazoned in bright red on the front) and his grinning, giggly wife (who found her joke that women’s pants cost less to wash than men’s because “they’re so small!” so hilarious her smile took over her whole face (she hadn’t seen how big my pants actually are at this point.
Arumbol: “Why like this?”
Safely relieved of at least some of your money, it’s either that or a “Why like this?” the seller lament that leads you to much soul searching. Why am I like this? What’s wrong with me? Should I want a mango? Am I lacking something?
Palolem to Arumbol: “The hell was full…so I came back”
So I’d like to introduce you all to the wonder that is the Indian Road. The Indian road is like a montage of every major genre of movie all conveniently played on the widescreen that is the windscreen of your you-want-taxi-lady?
Mumbai to Goa: “Chicken lollipop? Chicken lollipop?”
Night train food seller songs “Spring rollllllll, chickeny rollllllllll” “Soup. Soup. Tomato soup.” “Cheese sandwich?” (that one got me sitting up straight. Cheese sarnies and curry. I was born to eat here). “Chicken lollipop! Chicken lollipop? Chicken lollipop?” insistent look, shake of head, shrug.