Buying clothes

Poonam Garments, stall no. 12. Great deals on Kurtas and Dhotis.
Old Delhi rooftop. Even the slummier structures have a beauty in their decaying facades.

One task we had to take care of in Delhi was to shop for clothes. The destinations on our trip were, in order, Kumbh Mela in Allalabad (a spiritual festival held every 12 years), Vrindavan (the birthplace of Krishna), and Rishikesh (a holy town in Northern India, at the foothill of the Himalayas).

I practice a form of Vedic meditation known as the Householder’s technique. It is a simple effortless meditation twice a day, between 20 and 30 minutes. For the six years I have been doing it, I have experienced a huge increase in my own ease and well-being. The technique is priceless. I would not trade it for anything. Life is still sometimes challenging, but I have an easy technique to meet those challenges, and I have found it possible to access vast and unending reservoirs of happiness and bliss, even on a “bad” day.

We practice meditation in the Shankara tradition. This requires attention to a traditional form of dress, in this case being male I was expected to wear a Kurta, a long white cotton shirt, and a Dhoti, a long white cotton rectangle tied like a skirt, and sandals. The way the Dhoti is tied is a signal to Indians that we westerners are practitioners in the Shankara tradition and it shows respect to the devout of all traditions, not just ours. We set out to one of Pankaj’s contacts in old Delhi’s marketplace to stock up on Kurtas and Dhotis.

I neglected to pack sandals, so I kept an eye out in the marketplace for them, but the sandalmakers I found used leather, not good for a vegan. I asked for non leather sandals, and the proprietor proudly produced a pair of fancy Ali Baba style curly-toed creations, not quite my thing. As a result I spent our time in Kumbh Mela rocking Kurtas, Dhotis and gray Chuck Taylor lowtop sneakers.

Next: Gandhi’s home and the spice market.

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