After my yoga practice and breakfast at the guest house, I met Raj at 11am as agreed. First, he took me to meet his 69-yr-old “uncle” at the guest house where he works. He has also worked in a local silk factory for 30 years! We had a lovely lengthy conversation together where his uncle did most of the talking which I enjoyed, taking in his aged wisdom and experiences. One thing that stuck was his belief that a place is only holy if the people who live there are holy. And to him, Varanasi isn’t any more. He felt like the city is hustling and bustling and people are living out dramas. They are people making buildings to Gods but God is one and God is within. We all need to find our peace inside. I told him I enjoyed our talk and would come back again, eager to see how the silk factories operate in Varanasi.
Raj and I left for a crazy bike ride 8km to Sarnath, outside Varanasi. No crazier than usual, just amidst all of the traffic and mayhem that partially make Varanasi what it is. Luckily, by now I was used to being on the back of a scooter or motorcycle in India. When we arrived, Raj told me to enjoy waking around and he’d wait for me until I was finished. He explained that he couldn’t join me without being an official guide. I saw plenty of Indian tourists walking around so suggested he come but he insisted I enjoy Sarnath solo. I asked what if we were a couple. Couldn’t he join me then? But truth was, we weren’t… and in my eyes, weren’t going to be so okay… then yes, I would walk around and took Sarnath in on my own.
After my time there, we went to his house where his mom was playing a game with about eight other Indian women. They were friendly but quite engrossed in their game so Raj and I just sat in his room and talked with the door open to the room where his mom and friends were. We ate a late lunch (just Raj and I) and I had him take me back since it was getting dark. Throughout our time together, I felt a bit uncomfortable by the way he’d look at me and his obvious feelings. He asked if I had someone in my life on the way home which gave me the opportunity to tell him I had a boyfriend. Truth is, I am in an open relationship with a lover I had in the Bay, but I figured a change from a lover to boyfriend label made the most sense in this situation.
I agreed to connect again at Aarti but not until Tues as I needed a break from the attention and wanted some space. Especially after Raj finally confessed all the feelings he had for me in his heart, despite my saying I just want to be friends, have a man in the States and am not looking for romance on this trip. It was time to back off since my words weren’t getting through.
When I got home, I had the gift of a FaceTime date with my family for my niece Alayna’s 6th birthday. A perfect way to end the day!