Two nights ago we took the mother of all trains rides, boarding our 3rd class AC sleeper car in Calcutta and disembarking this morning in Pune, the home of Bhagwan Rajneesh's notorious ashram. The train ride was a bit like a sanatorium with everyone cough and sneezing all night (us included). I thought I'd caught my cough/cold from the dust and smoke at the Kumba Mela while Kathleen believes hers came on from all the auto rickshaw exhaust in Varanasi. In any case virally we're full-fledged Indians.
On board the train we met Shakti, a 51 year old Indian woman who was returning from her daughter's wedding. As for being an unconventional Indian she pretty much takes the cake. And much of this comes from her 10-year involvement in the Osho world. While she was forced into an arranged marriage with a man she did not care for, she made sure her daughter's life would be different. And it has been. Her daughter graduated from medical school and just married a man she's been living with for the last ten years. Her stuffy father did not approve and boycotted the wedding. And for the last 10 years Shakti has been living apart from her husband...and taking in much of the Osho message of sexual freedom.
The Osho center (called a meditation resort) appears a bit like Esalen does today. Something that was inspired by someone who is no longer here...and with travellers from all over the world arriving to grok what's left. The cafes here are populated by Europeans and Australians wearing maroon garb. I'm tempted to join for the day...how could I travel so far and NOT take it all in? Same time the whole thing looks so dizzying...
Meanwhile we need to find some cough medicine!