We had been riding for 2 hours and were ready for a break, I saw a group of men fighting with sticks so we went over to them to see what all the fuss was about. They all cheered when they saw us watching and invited us into their community by offering us a stick. we all surrounded a drum and the beat started building up, we began to circle to the rhythm hitting each others sticks to the beat. The old men invited us to sit with them, offering their crisps and a chai tea. We were given a bang lassi which is a cannabis drink that gives you the perfect high. It was served out of a large bucket and everyone was helping themselves, All the villagers were dipping their cups in with the biggest smile on their face. even the children were having a good go at it. They made us feel so welcome and the community spirit was beaming through the wooden shacks and dusty roads. We were invited to view theirs houses, meet their wives and children and they even tried giving us photo frames off the wall as gifts. not one word of English was used, only hand gestures and smiles. It’s these rare and unforgettable experiences that make travelling so addicting.
(Pictured on the left with the old villagers)
The Baba lived in a small cave built into the side of the mountain, it was positioned in the heart of the monkey temple. He lived in a circular room where he sat in the center, photo’s of his gods surrounded him along with portraits others had gifted him. Chilled Indian music played and the fire crackled in the background. He was a man of few words, his is face was covered by a shadow. The mysterious silhouette sat only 4 feet away but you couldn’t make out any features of his face. He picked up his chillum gave it three taps on he brick and started stuffing it with his herbal remedies. Once he lit it, he taught us how to smoke it using a hand bong and we passed it around only taking one hit at a time. Our man Jaanvi who we met down hill. Helped translate some of our questions. He had been living in this cave for 3 years, he still goes out to buy groceries but most of the time he is here happy living a simple life. He spends his days smoking weed and meeting new people. A Baba is a spiritual leader and the weed helps him keep that door to spirituality open.
(The Baba, pictured on the right)