Postcard #33: White hippies

At the seaside town of Gokarna, we stepped out into narrow streets which were alarmingly filled with the most aging white hippies I have ever seen outside of the Oregon Country Fair. It was no surprise that night, after roasting ourselves in the hot sand and rinsing in the Arabian Sea, that we would stumble upon a bonfire and drum circle on the beach. I mean, the first faces we saw were the weary visages of white hippies, hair in knots, dressed like locals, topless, in dhotis, listlessly dragging their flip flopped feet in the street.

For Hindus, Gokarna is an important pilgrimage site for the worship of Lord Shiva. For vacationers, for many Europeans, Gokarna is an unspoiled beach perfect to escape the hedonism of Goa. For white hippies, I can only imagine that it’s an pleasant and inexpensive cadre in which you can do downward dog on the beach with an actual dog below you on your mat. It’s a place where you can forget the material world, procure cheap accommodations, where there aren’t any bed bugs or too many roaches, shit in a communal hole, so long as you have the appropriate Rudraksha beads, strung on a string by a sadhu. By night, you can express your wild animus fireside with other like-minded individuals. The Arabian seaside of upper Karnataka is THE spot to pursue the ascetic lifestyle of your wildest dreams.

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