People Watching Until the First Monsoon Rain

Glancing down from the second floor of the Café Nirvana, I see two kids in bare feet.  They can’t be more than five or six. They’re wearing shabby, dirty clothes and placing their hands out politely.  They’re not pushy.  After being ignored, they dance merrily together along the road, probably to the next place where they’ll ask for a handout.  I think:  Gosh, talk about being shorted by society.

I see more men than women walk by.  Many of them sport moustaches, even the young, although it’s more prevalent amongst the older gentlemen.  I think:  What a blast from the past.  This is real old school.

I feel a sore throat.  I’m not sure if it’s a cold or if it was caused by the sultry, still, contaminated air.  Exhaust fumes constantly become one with the breezeless Delhi air.

I witness scammers, shoppers, and north Asian, North American and European transients.   Tan-uniformed cops walk by carrying batons.  

Stray sick dogs desperately try to find food.  A Cow is grazing on rubbish.  There are no trash cans.  Like in many developing nations, it’s commonplace to drop your trash on the ground.

I smell marijuana smoke as four bicycle rickshaw drivers congregate for a street-side session below.

People drive cars, motorized rickshaws, motorcycles, scooters and even an occasional SUV and truck pass through the Bazaar.  I think: This is bizarre. This should be a pedestrian walkway, but that would take away too much of the chaotic flavor. Horns beep from every direction. I see a new Chevy go by.  On the back window sits a big white playboy bunny sticker.  I think: Who likes America?

People suck up the late night stickiness.  Bob Marley blares from the tourist café I’m sitting in.

An older, western looking man strolls by.  His long blond, gray hair and beard signify the potential labeling of a throwback hippy.  He’s wearing loose, light colored, traditional Indian clothing.

Suddenly two street dogs are fighting over something and causing a huge commotion.    Two blond girls walk by quickly, easily brushing off two desperate touts.  

It’s late.  The café is getting ready to close.

Rain starts to fall in buckets.  This is a shocker to me as I haven’t seen any rain here yet.  I ask the owner:

Is the monsoon here?”

Yes, this is the first rain of the monsoon.   Tomorrow the temperature will be a little bit better.”

It’s gonna rain for a few hours isn’t it”?

I think so.”

I walk back and get drenched with everyone else.  Many people are happily embracing the first rain.  Some adults but mostly children and teenagers are  dancing, playing, yelling, and running around in celebration.

In sandals, I am forced to walk through grand puddles.

After the five minute walk to my hotel I enter my room, throw off my wet clothes, hop in the shower and scrub the living hell out of my feet as I have no idea how much trash is mixed in with those puddles that became so big so fast.


5 responses to this post.

  1. LOL Mountain Gods I use that loosely. As my friend used to say: I am the center of my own universe. If the universe is infinite. Then how can I not be in the center of it?


  2. I’ve just arrived at the Ganga river. I learned it as the Ganges but that must be the English name. Here it’s called the Ganga. Are there river Gods? Some may believe so. Personally, if this place or the Himalayas can aid me in discovering or rediscovering my own personal, deep, inner God, then I’ll view the trip as a great success. 🙂 That said, India won’t necessarily cause enlightenment. That’s something you can find anywhere if you really want it. Wherever you go, there you are.


  3. Looks like you’re getting closer to the mountain Gods?


  4. DAVID: Thanks. Nice quote. Hey, the place is fun for a day or two but gets old fast. I’ve just arrived in Rishikesh and have already walked through more street parades and more chaos that wildly functions while on my way to finding a place to bed down.


  5. One of my favorites, great write up. It’s short and sweet but the details you provide really make it all quite VIVID. I will never fade or get lost in the daze though I will disappear and join the street parade.


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