Day 35 & 36 - Birthday Rest Days

 Surprise birthday cake

Surprise birthday cake

It was my birthday weekend and being the birthday whore I am, I decided to reward myself with an extra day of rest as I prepared for the final 147km of my walk.

I sat on my verandah for the sunrise - listening and watching the life on the Kaveri awaken. My attention drew to the woodpecker pecking away on my window, confused by its own reflection. Time stood still at this very moment and I realised where I was right now was perfect.  These are all personal experiences and hard to convey their significance. For so long though, I had lived in a chaotic world where it felt impossible to shut off my mind - my body and mind so far apart to enjoy my daily life. To now, just sitting here in complete silence enjoying my surroundings, felt simply bliss.

 Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

 Blessings by the Kaveri

Blessings by the Kaveri

Birthday celebration was to rest. I did let it slip that it was my birthday to Dinesh, the manager of the property who then went out of his way to ensure it was a memorable one in its own right, including a surprise cake and a personal tour Srirangam. He was like Valenteni Rossi on his motorbike as he flew around the village and into Srirangam - this was by far the most touristy place that I have been on the walk to date, largely due to the attraction of Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus and the largest complex in India.

 Swimming in the Kaveri  

Swimming in the Kaveri  

It took this long, but I finally had a swim in the Kaveri River, as for once it actually looked clean enough to have a dip. Fingers crossed I don’t get sick. The day was topped off by dinner at the next door neighbour’s house - they cooked up an amazing vegetarian banquet - produce all from their garden. I arrived with the table set up in the living quarters as the only bit of furniture in sight. It was lovely to see the enjoyment and interaction of the family of 12 all under the small house. The kids were congregated around the TV - watching in hysterics - a contagious emotion where we all found ourselves joining in, the rest of the family were all relaxing and enjoying each other’s company with the mum relentlessly piling up my banana leaf with food.

 Dinesh - massive legend

Dinesh - massive legend

I spoke to Dinesh and asked about the sleeping arrangement as I noticed many Indians sleeping on the floor, whilst the obvious - being space - a premium. A lot has to do with tradition as many in rural India believe sleeping on the floor is better for the back after a tough day in the field.

Whilst today was a far cry from a birthday bender that I have been accustomed to, it was nevertheless a memorable day.

Change and resistance. Like bread and butter. Although I’ve been on the cusp of making the changes I knew I needed to make, I stared down the barrel and refused to budge. I stubbornly chose to stay in that exact very place due to the fear of uncertainty that real change brings. I reflect on those not in a negative light but rather the lessons, the laughs and pain that had led me to this moment. I am so grateful, I see the pain of the past as a cheat to learn to live the best life possible that importantly I am happy and content with.  This adventure has taught me to be so grateful that I am alive and been given the precious gift of human life and that I am going to do everything in my power not to waste a moment of it.

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