dare011From day one, Mark and I were in full agreement that this is all just a dream and that we are completely free to play with it. We have now reached the six month point, and very little has changed.

Our attention is constantly drawn to very serious things like pollution, poverty, education, etc., but we still manage to have fun with just about everything we do.

One way to stay in tune with the flow of life’s multitude of options is through daring. The very act of daring contains within it an action that is difficult and challenging – a path we would normally never take. It is in taking these unusual paths, that we break out of our routines and experience the vitality of a life on the cutting edge. Daring is something that only really works when you play with someone who is willing to take on your dares. I have always felt inclined to meet a dare so long as it falls within acceptable range; of course, it’s the willingness to keep questioning and testing this range that is the key.  In my experience, it’s rare to find others who are of the same mindset. In the realm of the dare, Mark and I are a perfect duo.

There are hundreds of examples of little things we’ve done. Our dares are all over the board. For instance, one time, when we were walking through stopped traffic, Mark dared me to sit on the back of a random guy’s motorcycle, without asking, and get a ride through the intersection. I did and it taught me the huge lesson that this opportunity is always there and has always been there; we just rarely surf life in this way. Since then I’ve tested it again on my own and it seems to be a valid option for getting around. :)

dare03Mark will sometimes brave dares that seem totally over-the-top – such as kissing a wooden totem pole carving on the lips in a restaurant full of waiters and customers, or spontaneously massaging the feet of a masculine Rajasthani man in traditional attire.

One episode that seriously amused Mark happened when I was sitting in the passenger seat next to the bus driver in a bus full of ornately dressed villagers from Kutch. He dared me to simulate driving the bus all the way home from Gandhi Nagar. I took it up – the whole way – with gear-shifting and all, much to the confusion and dismay of the driver and passengers. Mark simply explained to them that I was crazy, as he rolled with laughter for much of the ride home.

There was a time when I stepped under a waterfall of rain coming off a roof during monsoon, and then walked a great distance home without a shirt on (since he refused to give it back). Or the times we both rode facing backwards on the backs of motorcycles to the enjoyment of the fellow commuters.

Even in Delhi, we have kept it going. The first school we came across when going out to gather peace letters was the Army school. It seemed pretty natural that this would be a tough sell for acquiring letters of love and friendship, as these were the kids of officers who are trained to see Pakistan as the enemy. But we embraced it as a challenge, and successfully pulled it off, getting some of the best and most artistic letters yet.

When it felt like we were falling into a rut, I decided it was a good time for us to walk into the dream. I saw a holy looking Sikh man with a two-foot long white beard in the back of van. I challenged Mark to get us a ride home in that van. When we went up, we found out that it was actually a taxi… and they were asking a little too much for the ride. In the spirit of following the idea through to see what happens, I agreed to the price, however only on the terms that Mark drive the van. The man surprisingly agreed and Mark took the wheel for a seriously precarious drive through Delhi traffic.

Mark wasted no time following this up, calling me on a statement I had made many months before on a brutally hot, summer day, when I said I could drink 7 glasses of sugar cane juice. Mark had been blown away by this statement, and so I increased it to 8. I knew I could do it easily. Now months later, we were passing by a sugar cane stand, and Mark dared me to drink the 8 glasses. This time, the situation was totally different – the day wasn’t very hot, I had just eaten a meal, and wasn’t at all thirsty. My original claim meant nothing under these different circumstances, but he wanted me to prove I could do what I said. dare02With much difficulty, and having to flirt dangerously close to vomiting, I put away the 8, plus one extra, making it 9.

At times, these actions may be perceived as childlike and irresponsible, and they may eventually cause us to lose some of our credibility. All in all, though, it is an important lesson in not taking anything too seriously. If we get a few looks of disapproval, or if things occasionally backfire, well at least we enjoyed the ride and were guided not by fear, nor by the measured rules of social acceptability, but by the ever-flowing, infinitely creative play that is life.