The Adventures of Two Old Hippies in India ; Searching for Bliss Ananda PT4
April 2, 2023
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
—Saint Francis de Sales
Eight days later and I was still sick but getting out a little more each day. I felt so weak, it had taken a lot out of me.
I managed to find a better pharmacist, who gave me antibiotics and rehydrate powders, so hopefully that would help.
I finally found the strength to drag myself to The Hidden Garden of Dreams café, an old favourite of mine and a beautiful spot, so I could have a non-curry-based breakfast. It’s a wonderful, peaceful jungle oasis in the centre of Arambol, and unless you know where it is you will never find it. I enjoyed a couple of healthy juices there, and half a pesto panini and a black coffee.
To my excitement, I noticed that Jessica Savano was there (https://www.youtube.com/@JessicaSavano). She is a well-known You Tube vlogger, who earns from the ads on her vlog posts, and so lives a nomadic, travelling life. She’s a bit of a hero of mine and I’m envious of her lifestyle; I wonder if she is living her Bliss Ananda?
I didn’t initially go over and say Hi though, as I realised that I was still far from well and needed to return to my bed to let the antibiotics do their stuff. But when she came in my direction and said: “you seem really familiar”, I said, rather dumbly in return, ‘Hi Jessica, I am subscribed to your You Tube channel’.
She asked my name and queried where she knew me from. I explained about Hippie Kushi Waking up to Life (https://www.hippiekushiwakinguptolife.com/), which included my popular Facebook group, blog, and books. She said, “oh yes, I come across you online, you have shared some of my videos on there.” We then sat and chatted, and she was just lovely, a real hippie nomad, who spoke about not fitting in in her own country (the US), which I could really relate too. I told her about my illness, and she admitted I looked quite green and should head home.
She then told me about an issue she was having, where her laptop had been stolen by a taxi driver at the airport. She of course needed this laptop to edit her videos and put them online. I said she could probably get a new one reasonably cheap in India. She agreed and said, “its only stuff, and stuff can be replaced, I’m not going to let it get me down.” I liked her attitude. As she left, she promised to join my Facebook group, but more importantly, said she would like to meet in a few days if I felt better by then. This meeting really cheered me up and when I staggered back to my hotel, we messaged each other and spoke a little more. The adventure was really taking off in Arambol, despite my ill health.
Me with Jessica Savano
Arambol, Goa, India (Hippie Heaven)
Another week later, and after a strange, sleepless twenty-four hours, I suddenly felt a bit of clarity; was I reaching the end of that horrific virus. I manage to eat a breakfast of eggs, toast, fruit salad, a mango lassi, and a black coffee, consuming the lot, my first full meal in a fortnight. I immediately felt immensely tired after not sleeping for a day, and so I went back to my room to rest. As soon as I lay on my bed I was out, sleeping for five hours.
When I woke up, the fever was broken, and I felt human for the first time in ages. The worst of the virus had finally left me.
I quickly showered and got dressed ready for my first Arambol sunset. The sky was clear and sunny at last; it was going to be a good one.
“Happiness blooms naturally in the hearts of those who are inwardly free. It flows spontaneously, like a mountain spring after April showers, in minds that are contented with simple living.”
Let me tell you about this amazing little town in Goa, this wonderful Arambol.
I first came to Arambol about ten years ago, and it blew my mind. You enter the town through winding hill roads, passing a huge catholic church, then suddenly you find yourself in hippie heaven. A street full of shops selling colourful clothing, trinkets, and tie-dye sarongs, take’s you downwards to the beach and the cliff path. Beautiful Portuguese colonial houses sit side by side with brightly coloured hotels, guest houses and bars and the streets are alive with activity.
For me, it was like stepping into a scene from the late 1960s; hippies ride by on Royal Enfield motorbikes, hippies stroll to yoga classes, or vegan cafes. Yogis and sadhus advertise their morning meditation sessions or evening lectures, as live bands play improvised prog rock at many of the town’s restaurants and bars. The vibe is hip and alive but also deeply spiritual.
If you hit the beach after 4.30pm and walk up to the area in front of The Love Temple, you will find an amazing scene of happiness and joy personified. Hippies sitting on the beach with their wears laid out in front of them. The hippie beach market sells incense, homemade jewellery, artwork, books, and spiritual readings. These western longtimers must make money somehow, so that they can continue living the dream in Arambol.
“Passports, paying taxes, obeying the law, and many things may be necessary to pragmatically live freely, but there is another way, the Rainbow way. All people can participate with a nation of free people. All people are free under the Rainbow flag, whatever skin tone, culture, religion, creed, personal or tribal identity; That is, all the people who are sincerely committed to a cooperative peace and good will, a sharing of wisdom, effort, and resource.”
For a Rainbow Nation-Rainbow Medicine Eagle
Behind the beach market are the drum circles; long-haired and dreadlocked westerners and amazing looking locals sit on benches in a half circle making high octane music on multiple bongos, hand drums, and whatever other instruments are available. The feeling is electrifying as long-haired half naked hippies dance in a crazed frenzy to the improvised beats.
Pink robed Hari Krishna devotees dance and sing up and down the beach, their number growing as joyful hippies join them to dance, sing and clap with tiny symbols, chanting Hari Krishna Hari Ram. With the sunset turning the whole scene a deep orange, the Arambol hippie sunset is something to behold and I for one was forever changed by it. Being in this environment opens one up to so many possibilities; this scene of joy every sunset here in Arambol is surely a moment of Bliss Ananda.
Once my strange and heavy virus left me, many beautiful things started to happen. I started meeting some amazing human beings, some really special people.
After a delicious breakfast of fruit salad and muesli at Secret Garden, I was exploring the shops looking for some Ali Baba trousers. I looked across the street and there stood a man that for some reason I felt a great draw to. He was an Indian guy, in an orange sarong, with tattoos all over his body, his long black hair was tied in a topknot, and he had a painted brow like a sadhu. He was well muscled and very handsome, and as he stood outside a shop surveying the scene around him, he smoked a cigarette whilst listening to music through some earphones, standing like a dandy with a content look on his face.
I walked right over and asked politely if I could take his photograph. He smiled and answered in a confident British accent, ‘yes, why not’. The photo came out great, but I wish I had talked to him more as there seemed to be so many contradictions with this character. Later, when I got back to my hotel, I was checking through the days photos and noticed one I had taken of a poster of a sadhu sitting crossed legged with his eyes rolled upwards meditating; it was the same guy, his name was Tripi Baba! But I had not taken a photo of all the poster, just the image of the sadhu and so I did not know what it was advertising. This guy fascinated me, I had to go back and find out more.
The next day I walked back to the main road and found the poster on a wall up a side alley. The poster was advertising ‘Master Tattoo Artist’, Tripi Baba; he is a tattoo artist, wow, what a complex character. Then I noticed behind me, a little further up the alleyway, the tattoo salon. I walked up inquisitively and peeped in, and there he was in all his glory plying his craft putting a Ganesh tattoo on to the right calf of an Israeli lady. He saw me looking in and came to the door with arms open in welcome, ‘hey brother, you took my photo yesterday’, I felt slightly embarrassed and said, ‘yes, and then I was intrigued to find out more about you, so, you are a tattoo artist’, he smiled that beautiful smile, ‘oh yes, the best in India’. He laughed at his bragging and the Israeli lady in his salon joined in, ‘he is the best, really’. I showed them the photo, and they both agreed it had come out great. He told me I needed to come and have a tattoo sometime, I said I would, and meant it. Then we fist bumped, and I was on my way, a little confused as to why I had been so compelled to go there. It is so weird how you can be drawn to someone’s light like that; I hope I will meet him again.
“The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.”
—Norman Vincent Peale