Last but sure as hell not least, I returned to the wildly diverse and beautiful India. The food, the mountains, the landscape, the culture, the people-I deeply love this place. This and Germany are two places I really hope to spend some time living. There are too many things that happened and too many people I’ve met to fully cover what I experienced during my month stay. Sorry, my wife! But I had to have an extended stay of a month there just to explore an infinitesimally small fraction of the magic that is India. Next time, we go together!
First week, I taught and judged S.I.T. Muthbed in Delhi. These people are so damn hungry for this dance, and there are multitudes of them. In the coming years, watch out for India. This country will most definitely be coming up. Also, I learned a little classical Indian dance from my friend's mother, and a fan is wearing my autograph. If you really want to make a cute kid and aspiring popper's day, go to the Instagram page of nikhil7657 and write something.
Next stop, I had the privilege of being in the Himalayas where I judged and taught for Face of Dance in Haldwani, not far from a place called Kanchi Dam where I had visited. In Kanchi Dam, lived a man that was guru to several Westerners that became big influences to this world. For one, you may have heard of Steve Jobs. Also, one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Ram Dass, and devotional singers, such as Jai Uttal, Krishna Das, and Bhagwan Das. The views in the Haldwani area were stunning. What a place to hold a competition outside surrounded by mountains. Since my work is now finished, the next final weeks of my tour will simply exist for the sake of exploring.
After Haldwani, my friends, Aastik and Rimi, traveled to Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world. Everywhere people are singing praises throughout the day as the Ganga River rolls right in the middle of the city. It’s beautiful how revered animal life is here. I mean, look at this baby cow. Someone took the time to place a blanket over it just to keep it warm. This place is like nowhere else on earth, and the love and friendliness of all the residents and visitors like myself is enough to warm a planet a thousand times over. Oh, damn, this guy's getting sappy now.
Last place to visit, Tosh and the Parvati Valley, 8,000 feet in the air. Never have I been to a place where it felt like I was in a different era. The trip is rife with sharp, harrowing turns on a primitive rocky road that is sometimes only wide enough to hold one vehicle. But the destination is most certainly worth it. I stayed New Years Eve and the following four days about a 15 minute walk outside of the Tosh (not a town) village in either what was the Sholom Cafe (another word for a place to stay and have food prepared) or a ten minute walk below there at another cafe that is home to a close-knit crew of five very special people, a couple of them being bboys. The economy here is mainly sustained from travelers visiting these cafes, apple orchards, and hash, which I’m told in the warmer months this valley is filled with. Most of these cafes are not exactly hotels but perhaps something as small as one room to sleep, with a tandoori (old school heater) in the center. I made some good friends in this valley and had some beautifully still moments there that are difficult to describe. It was often challenging for my Western mind that must feel productive to accept their pace here, which was slower than the rest of the world where concerns of politics or the rushed madness of a city simply do not exist and hopefully will not for a long time. As I’m sitting here typing, the essence of this place still resides within me, where talks of spirits and certain deities native to this land play a large role in the lives of the people that live here, where I’m dwarfed by mountains, and where a deeper presence of something at least to me is felt. So much to write, but I’ll leave it at this for now. Thanks so much to my dear friend, Aastik, for bringing me here to this world that moves on its own time, regardless of what the rest of the planet is doing. I am really indebted to you, buddy.