Sunday, November 23, 2014
I slept for 10 ½ hours on Saturday night! Man! Did that feel good!
It took a few hours to pack up, check out and take a taxi back to the Delhi Airport. Before I left the manager created a bill with a pencil and a scrap of paper. He wrote:
Rs 688 – Taxi from Airport
Rs 23 – Bottle of water
Rs 1411 (I think he added it up wrong!)
I paid it gladly. $23 for 2 taxi rides to a nice hotel that cost $14 / night? Sign me up!
The flight to Ahmedabad was short and sweet. I got a bottle of mineral water from the Himalayas, and a vegetarian sandwich that looked like a cross between a Samosa and a Hot Dog. It was good.
I was met at the airport by Urmil Ved and Dr. Rtn. Gunjan Jain, another Rotarian from his Club, I think, They wisked me quickly to EDI and checked me in. I was the only person from iRYLA staying here that night – all the other early arrivals were staying in a different University about 15 minutes away.
After a while they took me to that other University where all the early arrivals, which included most of the International Participants and 3 of the Counselors, were getting to know each other and learning an Indian dance.
When they were done dancing I showed them the Arm Wrestling game we sometimes play at RYLA.
We hung around there for an hour or two, meeting an endless procession of Rotarians who were all extremely polite, friendly and as hospitable as anyone could ever be. Then we all boarded a bus (it was great to see Luke Pasick again and compare some notes about our separate adventures in India!) and drove to Adalaj, a small village about 20 minutes away that is home to a famous Step Well built by Queen Rudabei in 1499. It’s 5 stories deep, but they didn’t allow us to descend in the nighttime.
We walked back to the bus and I met my first “Holy Cow!” Along the road.
We went back to the University ad they served us an authentic Gujarati meal on a Tali. It was very good, especially a thin white Curry that I thought was a soup!
Then it was back into someone’s private office for more introductions.
Urmil drove me back to EDI at 11:30. On the way we had a long chat re religion, God, and Prayer. To make a point, he told me the following story:
In a small village in the countryside there was a famous Saint who presided over the local Temple and all the villagers came to him once a week and he taught them how to pray to the Gods correctly. They left him food and a few coins and in this way everyone lived contentedly. Until one day when three wandering beggars happened by and they stopped and made camp on the far bank of the river than ran past the village. Some of the villagers were curious and went to see what the beggars were doing. They came back and told their friends that the beggars were really holy men and soon many villagers were taking their small boats across the river to see the strange men.
The Saint noticed that half the villagers had not come to the Temple this week and he realized that his livelihood was in jeopardy. So he rowed his little boat across the river and confronted the beggars. “What’s going on here?”, he demanded, “What nonsense are you telling these good people that is keeping them from coming to the Temple to pray?” “Oh, nothing important,” one of the beggars told him. “We just taught them our little prayer that we made up ourselves. “What prayer?!”, the Saint said, “I demand you tell me.” “We just say, “We are three. You are three. Please help us.”
The Saint laughed loudly and said, “You ignorant fools! That is no kind of proper prayer! You have been duped by these ragged charlatans! Get back to our village and get to the Temple and pray to the 3 Gods properly.
The people all got in the boats and went to the other side, with the Saint coming last to make sure they all obeyed him. But he heard a loud commotion on the water behind him and when he turned around he saw the 3 old beggars, running across the surface of the water toward his boat. “Wait!” they cried, “Don’t leave yet! First you must tell us how to say a proper prayer, so we can pray correctly, as you do!” What is your prayer, oh Saint!”
The Saint thought a minute and replied, “Well…I think I might change it now. I think maybe it should be, “We are four. You are three. Please help us!”