First days ‚outside‘

5 days ago I left the ‚protective bubble‘ of the Vipassana center, where I stayed for the last 3 1/2 month. On the way back to Bihar/Rajgir to continue the peace walk.

First everything went somehow normal to Indian standards. From a tuktuk to a bus, another bus and a bus to Gorakpur. Already a 16.30 there. Earlier than I expected. I thought I maid get her a train from Gorakpur to Hijipur – a ticket at the ticket counter. But arriving at the train station I realized, not everything is in a normal mood yet. Only extra CROVID-19 trains where running. Ticket counters not open. Hmmm. Surprise.  Don’t make sense to me, that all the busses are running again, but not the trains. This was also the info I got in the center, that everyone can go now, whereever they want.
Ok. What to do. I decided to get to Kushinagar. All the government busses don’t cross the state borders I had learned in between. Kushinagar was still in Uttar Pradesh.
In Kushinagar I found a helper, T-Roy. He has a little cafe there, also Vipassana practitioner, and he loves to help people. The monestaries have not opened yet there guest rooms. So we try at a hotel. I got sprayed with with some bleaching fluid which hurts on the skin and I protest. Desinfection ok, but not bleaching. And no soab at the public sink…..
Just in front of the police station, the people jump away, when arriving……
Finally I arrived at a hotel,  little bit more expensive. … they accepted me.
In the public only fifty percent of the people wear masks.
The Vipassana manager, Mukesh, of the Kushinagar center calls me a bit later. I had contacted him already in Gorakpur. I can come to the center, stay there, also for longer, but I have to get in quarantine for 4 days there – I came with a bus and not by private transport. But I dont want to stay. In this case it does not make sence To travel from one Vipassana center to another.
To diguest all of it, I take a day break to mentally ajust with the outside world and what happened to me here…..

After that day break I continue my bus journey and I arrive in the evening in Patna. Quickly I get away from the bus station and find a hotel bed again.
Next morning the people at the bus station send me from here to there.  The bus starts at area 3. Arriving there, the bus to Rajgir leaves at gate 1. But I just come from there. This went on for some rounds. Patna bus station is a total chaos. Busses drive through mud and passengers have to reach there busses by getting through the mud. No costumer service. Finally my bus is to find at area 2. I ask every bus driver in that area and suddenly ‚yes, this bus goes to Rajgir‘.
Luckyly no bleaching spray anymore.

After a night of sleep I walk towards the peace stupa, 6 km outside of the town. A police officer stops me. You can’t get there. ??? Still lockdown. After a while I understand. Sights are still closed in this time, while most of the public life goes on normal. I did not know that.
In the net it’s also not easy to find this information. And I trusted what I heard in the Shravasti Vipassana center.

Maybe around 10 days ago I read a message on the German foreign ministry ‚Auswaertiges Amt‘ that the lockdown in India continues until the 30th of June. That was opposite of what I experienced. All the members who where stuck in the center since about 2 month, left for home. Getting advise from the Vipassana center teacher, by letting him know, that I feel a impulse to continue the peace walk, he just said, I should wait until the 8th or so of June, because at that time all the hotel will open again. So I was surprised,  that the German foreign ministry had a wrong information in there travel advises. And thats very unusual.
But now I understand. Somehow the lockdown is still active, but practically only the sights and other official institutions are closed…..

All together, the authorities did not take the chance to establish more hygiene in the country, except of hand sanitizer here and there. In Bihar maybe 50 % of the people wear a face mask, maybe 50%.

I still feel, being here is right. My heart gave the impulse to continue walking. And on a practical level, yes I agree, but this can be only done with my heart. My head, my mind/interlect can’t contribute to much. So the challenge is, to give everything up, except the guidance of the heart.

I am not a big fan of adventure. There is always already enough adventure happening inside, I often say. This becomes now another level….

Tomorrow. 21.6., summer solstice, the peace walk continues….


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