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Day 34 of The Candid Odyssey

Fortunately, we are alive. Our time for Moksha hasn't come yet :) But the time has come for the next train. Yes, we are leaving Varanasi to Patna, the capital city of Bihar state. Similar to Varanasi, Patna is also one of the most continuously inhabited places in the world, home to many ancient empires and world-renowned scholars. I am not going further on the facts, because you know it's easily available information. But we should admit that it's hard to track and present historical information. That's what the Bihar Museum has done exceptionally. The museum presents ancient civilizations of the Indian subcontinent in the best way possible. We never know the significance of history until we dig deep into it. We feel much appreciation towards history now, which we judged as a boring subject in school. What we find boring today may turn out be interesting tomorrow, and vice versa is also true :)

What's harder to find is the wisdom and revelations from our own experiences, right? That's why we are on this journey wandering and meditating like Buddha did. And here we are, in the same state in which Buddha attained enlightenment. The Buddha Smriti Park in Patna city tries to recreate that nirvana experience. A modern, spacious, well-maintained meditation park along with the Buddha museum and the Buddhist chants playing as background music all across the campus. A perfect place for meditation. So, will we attain enlightenment today? Who knows. For me, “enlightenment” means attaining a greater understanding of life. It's not something that's going to happen because of some intense meditation. It will happen gradually, as long as we try to understand life deeply. The more our understanding of life will be, the more enlightened we will be. I guess we are enlightened to some extent then ;)

Patna seems to be growing rapidly. We can see construction going on almost everywhere we go. Mainly on the transportation and attractions. Including the historical landmarks like Golghar. A large stupa-style granary of the 18th century, with renovations going on. Still, a lot of people are here for leisure. Some children playing cricket, some couples photo posing, and some girls dancing for short videos. Happy place it is. It would have been great if we could get on top of the Golghar so that we could have a holistic view of the city. Unfortunately, the stairs are blocked. It's evening now but we still have plenty of time. There is this Gandhi Maidan, which is a large field for recreation and events. We could sit there in the grass field and do nothing! By the way, we still tune into the live evening satsang for which we are getting answers to our questions. I sent them questions on more sensitive topics like charity, marriage, and reproduction. Guess what, they have started to skip answering those questions. And that ends our participation :)

Our stay for tonight will be the train to Siliguri, West Bengal. Surprisingly, we freely got upgraded to an AC coach today. In case you didn't notice yet, so far, we usually travel on non AC coaches. That's good because we get to feel the air, experience the real culture, and interact with common people. The only benefit I see in AC coaches is the availability of pillows. Still, we don't need it because we already have one - our rucksack. :) The train is departing late at night, so we still have time to kill. And that's why we are going to the Patna Marine Drive viewpoint. A viewpoint beside the Digha-Sonpur Bridge, a very long rail-cum-road steel truss bridge across the Ganges. Marine Drive Road is so wide. Some are having birthday parties beside the road. With cake cutting, fireworks, and even bike stunts! It's not just us, there are a lot of people here to enjoy the same. And lots of food stalls too to treat them well.

If we recollect the last few places that we visited, what caught our attention wasn't the place, but the people. The happy faces. Maybe because we didn't find the attractions attractive enough. Maybe because we weren't looking for how happy people were earlier. Maybe because we are missing that happiness within ourselves. Hmm, the last one seems like the root cause. We appreciate happiness most when we miss it. And we are missing that a lot right now, in this lonely journey of exploration. It's okay, we don't need to be happy all the time. Otherwise, happiness itself will lose the value it holds. Life should be a mixed bag of emotions, isn't it? Fundamentally, we are evolved to survive, not to be happy. Blame evolution :)

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