There is a term used here in India that foreigners find, at times, frustrating to say the least.
Say you wanted a wall in your house painted blue and you find that it’s actually been painted white. You start arguing with the workmen that they’ve got the colour wrong but they insist it’s blue. The argument sways to and fro: you insist it’s the wrong colour, they insist it’s the right colour.
Then...you will be told: “It is whatever you want it to be”.
That little pre-amble sets the scene for the following:
Take two clueless Australians, an even more clueless driver, a local guide only too willing to help and you have all ingredients for a classic “You idiot” moment we had up in Dharamshala.
We (Paul reckons it was just me but he never said otherwise) reckoned that as we were in Dharamshala, the land of the Dali Lama and all the Buddhist influences ergo the Bodhi tree that Buddha sat under and found enlightenment must be close by somewhere.
So...we tell our guide: take us to the Bodhi tree...you know, the one Buddha sat under.
Off we go up into the mountains, up what can only be described as a goat track. Higher and higher we went up the mountain, getting more and more worried about the road conditions and where the hell were they taking us ??
After about 40min on this goat track, through endless pine forests, we come to a clearing and a cafe (the “Sunrise Cafe” I think it was called).
Some pretty nice views of the mountains and the valley below. Okay...great, but where’s the Bodhi tree ??
It’s over there the guide tells us, not pointing to anywhere in particular.
Not finding anything, we ask him again about the Bodhi tree. He tells us it’s back down the goat track a bit.
We hop in the car and drive. When we asked if we’re close, the driver and guide spoke amongst themselves (probably to say...”For god’s sake, tell them somewhere to shut them up !!) and upon the next clearing; stopped the car and pointed in a vague direction in the forest.
Paul and I went down that vague direction and found.....a pine forest.
We did actually find something that wasn’t a pine tree and decided on the spot that this would be our Bodhi tree (see photo).
I can hear the voice saying: "It is whatever you want it to be".
For those of you that don’t know, the Bodhi tree is actually in Bodh Gaya....in the state of Bihar....across the other side of the country (here’s a photo of it):
You idiot !!!