Friday, January 01, 2010

Christmas Day in Varanasi

Christmas in India is always a bit strange, without all the media hype and commercialism that we're used to in the west. Being far from family and being wintertime (Christmas in summer down under, in case you didn't realise) add to the un-Christmassy-ness, and it usually feels like an ordinary day. But this year I heard about some great free food on offer the River Ashram on Shivala Ghat. It was an unusual Christmas gathering of hippies far from home, shyly singing Sanskrit and traditional songs about Jesus and listening some stories of Jesus' healing miracles. Many of us are in India escaping mainstream reality so it was strange for me to have that feeling of being back in church as a kid. I believe in Jesus as a holy and enlightened individual but I shirk at the twisted dogma which organised religion has introduced to his teachings, which I should hasten to add didn't seem overly entrenched in the folks from the River Ashram that day. Many thanks to them for the beautiful food, convivial atmosphere, and reminder of the meaning of this holy day. (Or one of the meanings, anyway.)

"Om Yeshu Namo Namah"

The food was absolutely fantastic - home-grown veggies and salads, lasagne, and much more. Quinoa and cashew nut salad in Varanasi?! Good enough to take a photo of.

Certainly a lot better than this looks... Dinner with mucus?


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