We recently reached the official half-way point of the semester. What.
To mark this milestone we spent the night at the Krishnamurthy Centre on what I would like to call the outskirts of Banaras- though I’m really not sure that is appropriate. We decided to take a boat along the ghats to get there. As you leave behind the last ghat, even though the loud sound of the boat engine remains, the banks of the river get lonelier and greener. As you step off the boat there are no other people to contend with, no temple bells, no slightly maniacal man trying to sell you postcards- a quiet moment of joy.
After a short walk along the road, nestled amongst the comfort of huge trees that provide shade and comfort, is the Krishnamurti Centre. It was a perfect setting for our Midcourse retreat. The students definitely needed a day away from Banaras and the instructors realised we needed one too. We learnt a little about J. Krishnamurti’s teachings and his education philosophy, took walks on the beautiful grounds and reflected on our time on the course so far. There is a a magical trail that runs through the property. A student I was walking with said she felt like Tarzan was going to come swinging through on a vine- another moment of joy.
As we returned to Banaras, re-energised by the clean air and the restful day, students fell back into their routines. A few hurried off to Hindi class, while others made ISP appointments. Our students speak so highly of their ISP mentors, that we are often jealous we can’t join in on the fun. They all seem to have settled into a kind of rhythm with their ISPs and are eager to learn as much as they can in the short time we have left- a moment of relief for the instructors (and joy).
It is in these little moments of joy that we all remember why we are here. It’s easy to forget when you’re in a mass of people who all seem to know where they are going, while you struggle to find an inch, a centimetre of personal space. It’s easy to forget when a blaring horn scares the shit out of you for the 17th time in a day. It’s easy to forget when you are so tired and sticky from the endless heat that you fall asleep at 7 pm.
But then we go on a morning boat ride and there is finally a nip in the air. We find a peaceful cafe and get coffee with our friends. We see a beautiful, stone carved necklace that a student made. We speak to a friendly member of the Dom caste and he invites us to the burning ghats for a personal tour.
When we find these little moments of joy we hold on to them, savour them and are reminded that it’s the little things that make the big things.