We broke for a soothing masala chai straight from some stranger’s kettle and, moments thereafter, plummeted into pulverizing rapids—somehow, neither the most jarring nor disconcerting of dichotomies that day. No, merrily whitewater rafting down one of the world’s most befouled rivers takes the cake or, rather, the Indian gulab jamun.
Of course, if I’d known then what I know now, Delhi Belly wouldn’t have been the only reason I spent so much of my time in India puking buckets into battered squat toilets.
But, alas, there I was. Adrift in a raft. Surrounded by strangers. Somewhere along the gravely polluted Ganges river. In the middle of the Himalayas near Rishikesh, India. I was just a few months into my backpacking journey through South Asia—a six-month escapade when I’d promised myself I’d say “yes” to everything, if only for the story. Including this afternoon of whitewater rafting.
Hindsight is 20/20.