On the way back to the village, a Sadhu was walking behind or ahead of
me, something like 200 - 500 m distance (but don't trust my guess on
meters). We kept this distance out of some sort of mutual, unspoken
acknowledgement of privacy. While for any mountaineering standards I
wasn't wearing proper walking shoes, this man was barefoot. The road
was harsh, plain stones. At one of the Chai Dhabas, the few on the
route that provided pilgrims with the much needed hot and cold drinks,
perhaps instant noodles and for sure various cookies, I saw a few
bleeding scratches on his feet. The chai was tasty, the cookies matched
well, everyone's legs were resting. Half with words half with gestures,
I asked the shop keeper to give the Sadhu some water for washing, I
pulled out a leucoplast pack from my first aid purse and gestured
towards his wounds. He looked a bit confused, then smiled, washed his
feet gently and allowed me to stick the (not so) magic tapes on the
open skin. Strangers. What a nonsense word. We smiled at one another
and resumed walking, same 200 - 500 m distance, but perhaps closer at
heart. Not long after, I sadly saw the tapes getting off his feet. The
path was dusty and uneven. As I reached the village, a flue-cold hit me
like no other winter. Krishna poojari, my host, whom I friendly call a
bit weird (if only for keeping a pot with lettuce next to the picture
of his guru on a small worship table) kindly offered warm food, chai, a
bed in a dorm far too empty and far too large for that temperature.
Before going to my 'room', he said "Take this, you will need it" -
handing me his one and only cooking/heating gas heater.
The Sage: I walk this path for the same reason.
Mira: Was there a reason I was walking for?