In Varanasi, among the 2000 or so temples, is a charity-run hostel – Mukti Bhavan (‘Salvation House’) – where the guests come to die. The room tariff includes the wood for the funeral pyre. To be clear, this isn’t a centre for suicide. Not an Indian version of Dignitas, the Swiss one-stop-shop for euthanasia. The very old and very sick come here, when death is imminent.
Danger comes from unexpected places in India. Perilous roads, the ever-present risk of shitting oneself. We had a long list of potential hazards. But little brown Geckos were not included.
Budget travel brings an unavoidable level of intimacy. Oversharing in extremis. De-briefings requested and given after each visit to the toilet.
Carried by a motorcade of tuk-tuks through the dark, dusty streets of Delhi looking for a hotel room. It was like we were caught up in a surreal Nativity Story interpretation. THIS was the adventure we wanted… wasn’t it?