This is a standard Trainer Track Experience Assignment. The following is a rough guide. Read all of it now. It's not in any particular order. And remember, if something incredibly more interesting and valuable becomes possible for you while you are out there on the road, do not regard this list as absolute rules or as an excuse to not reclaim your destiny. Here is your mission: Let your instinct guide you to valuable experiences. Each day of your stay help three people in a profound way.
Obtain and read through a travel guide to India. We recommend those guidebooks published by Lonely Planet.
Buy the Lonely Planet Bengali Phrase Book and Hindi/Urdu Phrase Book. Learn 100 words of the local dialect, which is Bengali in Calcutta and Hindi in Varanasi, and Tamil in Thiruvannamalai - preferably before you go. Speak in the local dialect as often as possible. Definitely learn to say "Please" and "Thank you" and "Excuse me" or "I am sorry", and use them often.
Fly to Calcutta. On the way, buy 2 bottles of Johnny Walker Red Label whiskey
and two cartons of Marlborro cigarettes at a duty free shop. Sell them later for double the price you paid at New Market in Calcutta.
Sleep at the Salvation Army Red Shield Guest House at 2 Sudder Street, where you can get a dorm bed for 20©30 Rupees per night. If you can't get a dorm bed here, try the nearby Hotel Maria, or around the corner down Stuart Lane try Modern Lodge or Hotel Paragon.
Go straight to the Missionaries Of Charity "Mother House" at 54A Lower Circular Road in Calcutta. Work there. Even if they say "Go away" or "You have to apply first" or whatever, just stay there and serve. Tell them you have to. Do whatever is necessary to work there, but do not lie. Provide value at the Mission for at least 15 days.
Within 24 hours of arriving have no more than the following in your possession:
Wear "Yoga Whites" if you are a man (plain white cotton Kurta shirt and drawstring
Pajama pants) or a plain cotton Sari wrap skirt and "Showli" top if you are a
Wear sandals without leather on your feet.
Wear a money belt or pouch containing your passport, money (bring no more than
$300 cash, US$ in 20$ or 50$ bills is recommended), and your return airplane
Have a cotton backpack (not army surplus, not nylon, no zippers).
Drink only bottled water with sealed tops, no ice, no fruit juices which might have
been mixed with water, no uncooked foods which might have been washed in
water © such as lettuce. Learn to brush your teeth without use of water.
Carry in the bag your water bottle, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, soap,
shampoo, a small towel, hairbrush (if necessary), flashlight, and the other items
As a health precaution we recommend that you bring with you gelatin capsules of
Acidophilus powder. Take two of these capsules 20 minutes before eating.
Buy a Lunghi or a Dhoti (This will serve as your blanket, and your sun hat. It is
also what you wear when you are washing your Yoga Whites or your Sari.)
Bring one book to study.
Use gasoline/diesel/electric powered public transportation as little as possible.
Use rickshaws or horse carts. Best is to walk.
Spend at least 14 of the days without companion travelers.
Stay in the company of local people, not westerners.
Wear no sun glasses.
Buy only 3 souvenirs.
Bring no camera and take no photographs.
Send no letters or postcards.
Make no telephone calls except to reconfirm your return flight if necessary.
Give away no money.
Use no drugs.
Make no promises.
Do not engage in sex.
Do silent sitting for 35 minutes every morning.
Do 20 minutes of stretching every day.
Bring one journal book to write in - write every day for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Attend an evening program or two at the Rabindra Sadan in Calcutta © ask around
for what a good night would be to go. Go to the New Market, and the
Dakshineswar Kali Temple where Ramakrishna taught (do a silent sitting there).
On your 21st day, take the train to Varanasi. You must arrange this ahead of time.
Travel second class, not first class.
Get to the Dasaswamedh Ghat on the Ganges River, and from there, walk to the
Shanti Guest House to stay. If they are full, walk to another guest house nearby.
Do not allow a Ricshaw©Wallah (driver) to take you to a place because he will get a 30% commission which you will pay. While in Varanasi, spend an entire day (dawn til dusk) at Manikarnika Ghat where bodies are cremated. Visit the Hanuman Ghat at dawn. Spend a day (not Friday) at Sarnath. Where Buddha taught and take in the Dhamekh Stupa and the Archeological Museum. Remember your 3 acts of profound service each day. Have fun. Get back to Calcutta in time to catch your travel back home.