The road to Bodhgaya from Ranchi is long: an 8-hour bus ride, then a 30-min bus ride, then a 10-min rickshaw ride. But I rarely get bored of looking out the window. Just when I think my giddiness over the colorful trappings of India has faded, the country finds new sights and sounds to throw at me.
Everywhere there were women winding red string around big trees on this day. June 8, it was. A Saturday. I don’t know if this is a routine prayer or if it was a special day. The women left with huge stripes of red painted from their hair parts down their noses, and some were wearing leaves in their hair.
We crossed out of Jharkhand (the state where I’m living) over a small ridge of hills and then the state of Bihar just sprawled out in front of us. My jaw dropped a little. It was like descending into the floodplain that time forgot. Just flat, flat, flat, and villages of straw and mud that look like they haven’t changed much since the Raj.