Now I’m going to be honest with you because I promised myself, my family and friends that I would reveal everything that happened on the trip…the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m not going to hide what really happened from you and I think in admitting my own faults here I hope we can both go on more of an enriching journey into the future.
I call Paresh early in the morning to see if his offer to visit his family is still standing. He thinks about it for a moment then happily agrees. He gives me directions and I saddle up n’ jump down stairs. The following video outlines what happens next.
Paresh arrives 30 minutes later like a knight in shining amour with a friend on another bike. He introduces me to his friend Samir and says he wasn’t sure how much luggage I had with me and it was possible that his 50cc scooter wouldn’t have had the strength to hold all the weight so he brought his friend to help. This first incredible gesture of compassion came after no more than the 30-minute conversation we shared on the train. Not once did he raise his voice at me for getting the location wrong.
On our way back to his house we stop by a local religious celebration in the middle of nowhere where thousands of the rural towns people gather at the 400 year old ‘temple of light’ to express their ambitions, doubts and fears with the gods. It’s not long before I realise i’m the only foreigner here, a powerful sea of curious eyes continue to pour in…”now I’m in India” I think to myself.
Paresh and his friends show me around and pass me a few bananas to offer their gods. Paresh mentions that the banana is lord Vishnu’s favourite fruit coming from the purest of trees being green and full of life from top to bottom. I am then welcomed into a friend’s “hotel” of which is practically a mud hut with a few benches and a light bulb hanging from the ceiling. I discover this is not a place to sleep but instead a place to buy chai tea and a few other nibbles. Paresh knows the owner personally and the man says that many of the town’s people will be sleeping out around the temple tonight and he will be there to provide much needed food and drink. I am gifted a chai as a special guest.
By 9:30pm we decide it’s time to return home so we split with Paresh’s two other friends and journey back to his parent’s house…we travel on dark and bumpy dirt roads for more than 20 minutes and I have absolutely no idea where I am. My trust is with Paresh and his trust is with me. By the time we get back it’s around 10:30pm! Certainly late for dinner by most families standards. Before we enter down the gravel pathway his parents have already turned on the light and his mother, brother and father are all standing outside ready to welcome us in. The father sits me down outside to “have a look”. He has a vibrant electricity in his eyes, he is unable to speak much English but he certainly speaks strong gesture!
He’s wearing a red beanie, a grey sweater, short shorts and flip-flops. He proceeds to stare at me from behind his bushy beard and big circular glasses. After a few swift moves of his arms and eyes strongly pointing towards the picture of his god above the door I get the go ahead and I’m quickly welcomed by the rest of the family. I place my things down in the corner of the room and Paresh asks if I would like to have a shower. I notice they have pre-boiled a huge iron caldron by wood fire for this hot water occasion and humbly agree. “You will be fresh!” says Paresh with a twinkle in his eye.
I dip the small plastic bucket into the larger hot bucket of water and throw it over myself. I share a brief moment and attempt to re-collect my thoughts. By the time I come out the smell of a hot fresh curry has filled the air. Mmmmmm I’m starving! They roll out a plastic children’s play tray because they had heard that ‘western people’ normally eat from high tables. I choose not to question it and the curry comes out fresh from the kitchen delicately presented in front of me with intricate care and detail.
The dinner is delicious and we all have a laugh at how uncoordinated I am at using my hand to eat. After dinner I decide to show his parents some of the work that the GoodVibers had completed in Barcelona, I pull out my laptop not really thinking much of it and begin to screen a few of the social experiments. Together with Paresh translating I am able to explain what my mission in Spain and through India is about.
His parents are very pleased to hear of my mission and aspirations. Paresh then politely asks if he can show his parents the film he has just spent the past 6 months working on. He thought that they would have had to wait until the official screening a few weeks later but he is able to show them early. We watch the heartwarming piece and everybody is very proud of Paresh and his work. We want to stay up talking but it’s certainly time for us to get some rest before our big day tomorrow. Paresh kindly offers his metal bed and chooses to place himself on the hard concrete floor for the night. A truly honest gesture from a truly honest man.