2 September 2019 – 6:56 am
I woke up today with the sounds of nature all around me. Roosters crowing, peacocks hollering, birds chirping. Rain pattering on roofs, thatched and unthatched. We are staying at Krishna Ranch for the week, a farm located about 12 miles outside of central Udaipur. We arrived yesterday, after a 12 hour journey by overnight train, an altogether distinct sensory experience.
I find it hard to sleep when the place I’m staying is so alive. I find joy in being up with the animals, especially when surrounded by a seemingly endless range of mountain peaks.
Above is a journal entry written by Dani on one of our first mornings at Krishna Ranch. The five nights we spent at this beautiful farm were filled with self-reflection, bonding, nature appreciation, and exploration of Udaipur. The lovely staff – led by owners Francine and Dinesh – kept us happy and well-fed. We took walks around the property, observing antelopes, monkeys, and a 200-year-old mango tree. Surrounded by horses, cows, goats, and dogs, we had a relaxing and insightful introduction to Rajasthan.
From the open-air restaurant above guest rooms, we ate nutritious, vegetarian, and local meals prepared by chef extraordinaire Narani. One morning, Narani asked us to help her harvest mung beans from the farm. We spent about an hour picking the lentils that would be used in dal for lunches and dinners. This was our first collective act of service, and allowed us to learn about food sustainability and local agriculture.
The BYI cohort learned more about each others’ goals, beliefs, and values through team-building exercises and cultural awareness sessions. We watched our first Bollywood film, Dangal, which highlighted women’s empowerment through wrestling. During our final night at Krishna Ranch, we had a candle-lit ceremony in which we symbolically ignited new passions and burned those fears and concerns which we wish to leave behind. We exchanged Rakhi bands, a Hindu bracelet traditionally exchanged between brothers and sisters, and affirmed our commitment to caring for and protecting each other during our journey.