Departures (2008–…): Season 1, Episode 3 - India: Sacred Ground - full transcript

After a long flight to India, Wilson and Lukach meet up with their friend Monica in New Delhi and take a grueling train ride to the desert just outside of Jaiselmer. Following a camel excursion into the desert, they head off to Varanasi to witness the daily mayhem of a bustling Indian city. Wilson and Lukach develop a new appreciation for the depth of India's different religions before flying to New Delhi for the annual festival of lights, Diwali.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
(upbeat music)

- [Scott] We left the
Middle East for India,

arriving in time for the biggest

and holiest day of the year.

Diwali is an enormous festival of lights.

It's an important time to be here

and a great way to experience
Indian culture at its best.

(Upbeat music)

Justin and I are dropping everything

and just gonna travel
the world for a year.

I gave up quite a bit of stuff to do this.

I just always thought

there's definitely something
missing like traveling.

(upbeat music)

That travel bug gets in you

and it's got you one whole year.

Was by a blink.

(upbeat music)

(upbeat music)

We flown into the capital
city of New Delhi.

We're here to rendezvous
with our friend, Monica,

and then hop on a train to head

into the desert state of Rajasthan.

- Just gotten out of the
airport in New Delhi.

There's so much smog.

The sky's like brown.

- This is like a real first
flavor of a third world venture.

- I have no idea what to expect.

- First things first, I
gotta get ahold of Monica

we're gonna grab a rickshaw.

She says she's pretty close to the airport

so hopefully pretty close is pretty close.

(speaking in foreign language)

(upbeat music)

My buddy, Neil, emailed
me and put me in contact

with a friend of his, Monica,

who's over here doing a bit
of an internship for school.

So we're gonna hook up with
her and she's going to act

as a bit of a tour guide
and a translator for us.

All right, driver,

I've got directions written down.

He's asking someone where it is.

Here comes the verdict.

- What's the word, man?

(speaking in foreign language)

That sector house number 23.

- [Driver] House number.

- House number 23.

(speaking in foreign language)

Sector, I don't know plot number 3.

(speaking in foreign language)

Close to Delhi International School.

- Delhi International School.

(speaking in foreign language)

(horn honking)

- [Justin] We're in the wild, wild west.

- [Scott] Wild, wild east.
- [Justin] wild wild east.

(upbeat music)

- Getting directions
here, getting directions.

Sector, sector.

(upbeat music)

(engine roars)

Well, I just called
her 'cause I don't know

what apartment she's in, but
she said she'll just come down

it would be easier,

so, I agree it would be easier.

- It would be easier.

- Welcome.
- Thank you.

This is Justin.
- Nice to meet you.

- [Scott] India is a culture shock.

You're dealing with all kinds

of different pollutions, air
pollution, noise pollution.

There's mobs of people, endless traffic.

It's really just sensory
overloaded in every direction.

- [Justin] India is
like right in your face.

So many people, the noise, the animals.

This is definitely gonna be a test for me

for the next couple of weeks.

- So we're on the way to
the train station right now

and due to religious
processions the traffic's crazy.

(upbeat music)

- We're gonna spoil those
kids we're gonna find

somewhere else to go up.

- And this is called (indistinct)

(traffic drowns speaker out)

(honking drowns out speaker)

(engine roaring)

- We're heading way into the desert

to the fortress town of Jaisalmer.

I think this is gonna give
us a really good snapshot

of Rajasthani culture.

In order to get there

we've gotta take an agonizing train ride.

(upbeat music)

- We're gonna really
strain with the mess here

'cause of the pandemonium.

(upbeat music)

How many hours? 16.

- 18.

- Why 18?

- We found out that it's a dry day today.

It's one of the days where
they don't sell liquor.

So there's no hope of
getting off at any kind

of train station on route
and picking out that.

- Hopefully one of these stops
I'll get ahold of somebody

to hook me out with some booze.

- I don't know, I hope I
don't like lead him astray

but just telling Justin, oh yeah, just,

talk to the conductor,
money does everything here

you never know what you may find.

- Money goes a long way.

I got a pack of velvet and
hope I can bribe somebody.

- Probably Gray Goose would be nice.

- Whisky, rum, vodka, anything.


Any alcohol in here?



- He'll probably get arrested.

If this train has a brig he'll be...

- Apparently some guy
down here has something

so, I'm on the right track.

(upbeat music)


- No way.

- He-Mans.

- X X X.

- For sale to defense personnel only.

(upbeat music)

- My tummy is rumbling already.

- We've got

11, 12,

14 hours.

- But the little bit of rum.

- Name Monica.

(soft music)

- Be on the road for this long so far

sometimes I just wake up at night

I don't even know where I am.

You see all these people and
they're on the way to work

and I can just think to myself

that's something I gave
up for the next year

and, instead I get to
wake up every morning

and watch other people at work

and it's different culture and
it's a different way of life

and it's always new.

(soft upbeat music)

- I'll show you what we
have in the bathroom.

This is the toilet.

There's no water sink, just
pretty much you gotta squat.

(faintly speaking)

No toilet paper,

lucky I brought some toilet paper

and some people are away thinking bringing

I didn't say anything to them

'cause they don't want me
to use their toilet paper.

(soft music)

- Well, after 18 hours
on a train to come out

to the heart of the desert,
we're here in Jaisalmer.

We're actually gonna stay
in an 800 year old fort,

apparently that's where the hotel is.

(upbeat music)

You get inside the main gate
and you feel like you've gone

two, three, 400 years
or more back in time.

It's this dust bowl feeling

and these claustrophobic tall walls

that kind of surround you.

(upbeat music)

- It's pretty gnarly, man.

We're on our way into the desert.

- I know it just seemed a
little counterproductive to

travel 18 hours on a train
just to stay in the city again.

We came here for the desert
so let's go see the desert.

(upbeat music)

- [Scott] I think we've taken
the deepest far as we can go.

So getting the Jeep in a bit of trouble

as far as sand and things.

- We're talking about renting camels

to climb the top of these dunes.

Well, we're trying to
convince them to let us

just take the camels and
just go off on a row.


Which was the fastest
one, high-performance.

- This one.

(camel grunting)

- What's his name?

- [Indian boy] He's named Lao.

- Lao?
(speaks in foreign language)

I'm gonna rename him something else.

His name's lollipop.

(camel grunting)

- Let him lean back.

(camel grunting)

- I am fat.

(bell ringing)

- I like that my camel has a cow bell.

- I've never filmed from a camel before.

(upbeat music)


(upbeat music)

- C'mon faster, faster.

- You think jeez, if this
10 year old kid can do it

I can do it,

and they'll let you take
the camel by yourself

and it was a lot harder
to control than I thought.

(upbeat music)

- We've pretty much gotten to the top

of this dune range here.

And I think just over the crest

we'll have a beautiful view
of this whole desert scape

so, enough resting let's go.

- You want me to show you how it's done,

let's go.

Let's go up, up, up,

come on Lollipop up.

(bell ringing)

(upbeat music)

- [Scott] Monica need like many
years experience to do this.

- He did not listen,

Lollipop, you did not
listen to one word I said.

- Okay, well was pretty good.

I think Justin and Monica
had a good time too

I mean, it was just a great
way to see the sunset.

And what we really wanted
was that complete peace

and quiet and serenity,
and we definitely got it.

The kids that were
selling us the camel rides

were selling everything
else that you can imagine.

They're also I think,
just trying to hawk us

on coming down here to
check out this Rajasthan.

- Traditional dance and dinner.

- [Man] Yeah.
- That's cool.

(drumbeats playing)

- Walking into this place,
I had a funny feeling

it was gonna be kind of a tourist trap.

And once we got inside and sat down

everyone inside were locals

and they were all just there
to appreciate their own culture

and the Rajasthani style of dancing

and see what they were
doing and the colors

and the music was a wonderful
slice of life around here.

(drumbeats playing)

(upbeat music)

- I mean, Jaisalmer getting here has been

nothing but a pain in the ass

'cause you can't fly here.

- That train ride is something you wana do

once not twice.

- Somebody is getting their ass kicked.

- The fort that's raised up

and you can see as you're
coming in on the train

and it's really
impressive, you get inside,

and you start walking
around these old streets

and, it looks like the
place is falling apart

from the roof down of these places.

And yet there's still so much intricacy

in the architecture.

Even like what you see behind me,

the sandstone and everything
is just carved out

so meticulously you'll
have one building that is

just made out of loosely cut bricks

and the building right next
to it looks like a palace.

- It's gorgeous, now we're
gonna spend the rest of the day

kind of sightseeing the sides of the

in the fort here and
checking everything out.

(soft music)

- I thought I should
get to cover up a little

'cause India is like a

typically pretty conservative culture.

And although like the weather here is warm

you'll see women about to walk by

they're wearing full Indian outfits.

(upbeat music)

- I have to admit when we were
facing a 20 hour train ride

to come all the way out here,

that was a little bit uneasy about

if it was all gonna be worth it.

But, I now I have absolutely no doubt

in my mind that it was
definitely worth it.

(speaking in foreign language)

- Is this silver?

You flash a little money

and then suddenly they
won't leave you alone.

No, no.

- Oh my God.

- Lets get out of here.

- All for 100.

All for 100.

(upbeat music)

- Since it was an agonizing
18 hour train ride out here

and we have to take another
18 to 20 hour train ride back.

We're coming prepared this time, 500 yeah?

Thank you.

We're coming prepared this
time and getting our own liquor

and not relying on trying
to find some secret stash

on the train.

Check out this.

There you go.

Who's driving this thing.

- Who's driving.

- All right, there he is.

- As pimped out as this thing is,

he has to put his own little rip cord

and kick start.

(engine roaring)

(group chanting)

Grabbed a couple of auto rickshaws

to take us out to nearby cricket field,

but we got there and the place was empty.

So we've convinced these rickshaw drivers

to let us try out their auto rickshaws.

(engine roaring)

(speaks in foreign language)

I don't think they like
a us going very fast

in these things.

(engine roars)

They thought you were
gonna dump that thing.

(engine roars)

It's not a very responsive vehicle.

Both braking, steering, accelerating.

(upbeat music)

- First one around the cricket
field back to this sign wins.

(engine roars)

(upbeat music)

- It's a great day in Rajasthan.

- You had the inside corner, dude.

Tie, I can't pass him.

I was going a little fast and
I couldn't take the inside

so I always had to take
it wide the whole time

and then I almost hit those kids, so.

- Drive fast turn left, that's Hindi car.

(upbeat music)

- So, we're just about
to board a 20 hour train

back to Delhi.

(upbeat music)

- [Scott] We're now facing
another 20 hour train ride back

to Delhi, where we're gonna
hop on a plane out to Varanasi.

- 14 more hours.

- 14 hours on this fucking train.

- We're very close to Jodhpur

and we're on booze.

- Please give me money.

(speaks in foreign language)

- Please put it away.

- 20 hours.
- 20 hours back.

- 20 hours back.

- Indian train experience's done.

- You gotta go back to work.

- Yeah, I gotta get my key
before in a couple of hours.

- Hopefully we'll see you again.

- Yes, definitely.

- We just have to cab to
head over to Delhi Airport

so we can catch a flight
from Delhi to Varanasi.

Flights here are dirt, dirt cheap

and they save a lot of time.

And I think we've had enough
train rides to last us

for the next week or so.

Varanasi, kind of represents the epicenter

of the Hindu religion.

It's one of the holiest
sites on the whole of Ganges.

- We're gonna die seriously

boom, boom.

Oh my God.

I just wanna get out of this car.

I noticed he had the seat-belts
don't work back here.

You're probably the worst driver ever

probably I've ever got.

- I know 10 years of driving

so I have not killed anybody.

No accident, no killing.

- Wait for it your day is coming.

Yes you will kill somebody.

I wish you the best in life

and I hope you don't get an accident,

I hope you don't kill anybody,
but the odds are against you.

I can't believe I'm not dead.

Nothing seems organized

everybody's just running across
the road every which way.

I just want a calm environment
right now, just be quiet.

(horns honking)

Stop honking, stop.

(horns honking)

- Oh, this is what it's like at nighttime

it'll be interesting
to see in the daytime.

Monica hooked us up

straight called some favors
in like this at this hotel.

Finally we have a room and
that's all that matters.

To add to the fact that
we just, A, have a room,

we, B, have a room with a
perfect view of the Ganges

and we're literally on
the bank of the Ganges so.

- I don't give a shit about this room

I don't give a with the view.

- It's gonna be nice to
just get a good sleep

and attack Varanasi in the morning.

(upbeat music)

You see this as daily life

and you think back to daily life at home.

And this I mean what a contrast.

It's like being on another planet.

- We're getting an
entourage now here in India.

- There you gotta make
faces, you gotta go.

(children laughing)

Hindus believe that if they die here

or if their body is
brought here after death,

cremated on the banks of the Ganges,

and then floated down the Ganges,

there'll be broken into
the cycle of reincarnation

of death to life, life to death.

You go straight to heaven.

- This is a very, very holy place

for the living and for the deceased.

- I mean they bathe here,
they washed the clothes here.

They boat here, they
live here, they die here.

This river is everything to Hindus.

- I couldn't see myself
bathing in this water.

- To them, this river
washes everything away.

(upbeat music)

I love how peaceful the streets are.

- Very peaceful.

- There's a lot of aspects about India

that could be overwhelming,

and, perhaps the most overwhelming

is just trying to walk around
the streets during daytime.

Everyone's out to try
to sell you something

or tell you something
or show you something.

(upbeat music)

- This alleyway is probably
one of like a million

and it's the same store over
and over and over again.

And I don't know how any of
these guys make any money

because it's the same stuff.

So this whole market is
saturated with the same

trinkets and cups and
bracelets and textiles.

- There's a lot to see here

there's a lot to get used to.

It's a big, big culture
shock and this isn't the kind

of place that you wanna do to follow up

your Caribbean cruise or something.

If you're patient and you're open-minded

it pays off every second
corner has something

that completely surprises you.

- It scared the shit out of me.

(upbeat music)

- These are the cremation ghats

at the side of the Ganges,

and they're burned between
two and 300 bodies a day here

before the remains are
put into the Ganges.

It's open to the public, it's open air.

And if you walk along the
riverside, you'll see it

there's no missing it.

- And watching somebody
get cremated right now.

And it doesn't bother you that much

like seeing that stuff like
when people burning and stuff

but it's just, you gotta sit back

you gotta take it all in
and it's pretty heavy,

it's real heavy stuff.

But at the same time

there's life,

there's life all around this place.

There's little girl right
here and she's full of life.

(upbeat music)

This is the big moment for them

as far as the next step after death.

You gotta sit back and watch it

and appreciate it and take it all in

and then just understand that

every culture does something different.

(upbeat music)

Varanasi is one of the places

that was number one on my list.

And coming here and seeing everything.

I mean, I had no idea
of what I was gonna see,

but when I came here it was more than

100 times, 1000 times more
than I could ever imagine.

- Being patient, being
understanding, respectful.

They're all kind of things
you gotta keep in mind

when you're here.

It's really easy to
come here and see this.

Coming from where we come from
and cast judgment and say,

well this isn't the way
things are done back home.

That's really shocking and that's wrong

but it's even easier to say

now I understand this

and well, this is the way
things have been done here

for many, many years.

And this isn't my home,

so, you come here and you see it

you're a visitor.

(upbeat music)

(bell ringing)

- I feel bad for the
next country we'll go to

because I can see a monkey
driving a cab and be like,

yeah, I saw that already.

Or I can see a dog putting out a fire

and I'm like, that
happened in India twice.

Okay, how much do you want for it?

- 200.
- 200?

30 rupees.

If there's a star in here, I'll look bad.

- He loves getting harassed

'cause he turns the
tables and harasses them.

- If you guys are starting a
deal, this is a star stamp.

- Sun, sun.

- You're saying sun, I'm saying star.

- But sun and star are the same thing.

- It's not the same.

- I got these two little things as gifts

for my mom, my sister or whatever.

But he started off 500 for one,

and I got two for 150.

And that's the key.

- 50 rupee all box.
- I'll take it.

- 50 rupees.
- For one box.

- Yeah.
- You rip me off?

- Oh what a deal you got.

- You ripped me off.

(drumbeats drowns speaker out)

What really amazes me is that

this happens every single night.

All these people come down

just shows you how much they
believe in their religion

how much of the religion
is part their life.

This is something that looked
like some sort of festival

that we were just lucky to catch.

And when you find out that
it happens every single night

and then that gives it a whole new spin.

And you look at it in a
completely different light

and think, geez,

this is how dedicated these
people are to their religion.

(drumbeat music)

(upbeat music)

Just when I thought that India
couldn't shock me anymore

than it already had, you come Varanasi

and it just, it shocks you again.

- Religion here is so
strong, is so powerful.

- They have these specific
ceremonies that they do

to cleanse themselves in this river

that means everything it's so important.

And, to them, it washes everything away.

It washes sin away, it washes
anything you put in it.

It's just a renewal.

- We wake up at five in the morning

and they're out there on the banks

every single day, every single day.

That is their life, that is life.

- This what these people believe in

and this is what's gone on here

for hundreds and hundreds
and hundreds of years.

- You can read about it.

You could see movies about it.

You can see pictures of it

but you can never experience
something like this

until you hear and actually
physically taking in

what this place has to offer.

- It's so hard, and in
just a couple of days

not knowing anything about
Hinduism to come here

and try to grasp it all.

(upbeat music)


- You planned that, you planned.

No I shouldn't be kissing the holy cow.

That's a sign.

Here we go again.

I have learned while driving in India

not to look out the front window.

We are leaving

and we are getting on
a plane back to Delhi.

(upbeat music)

When we're situated as far
as where we're staying,

it's kind of like all these
little back alleyways and stuff.

So it was hard for us to get a rickshaw,

so we met this guy who
was like our neighbor.

We hopped in the back of
this, and now we're on our way

kind of hitchhiking a little bit,

but, it's cool that we
got an open top here,

cruise to the city.

- Today is Diwali, this is the day.

And we're trying to kind of
beat out the sun right now

because as soon as the sun goes down

this place is gonna explode
in a ball of fireworks.

And, we also have to get
our own fireworks as well

as probably a couple of gifts or something

for Monica's extended family

that we've been lucky enough to be invited

for Diwali dinner and ceremonies.

(upbeat music)

- Happy Diwali.

Happy Diwali.

(upbeat music)

That's pretty sweet free ride.

- Yeah I know.

- Happy Diwali.

- How are you?
- Good to see you.

- How are you happy Diwali.

- It's all over festival here in India.

- We should probably get our stuff.

- Lets pack in an hour and a half

and we need to get lots of
stuff with the (indistinct)

(upbeat music)

- It's a busy market it's like

trying to go out Christmas
shopping on Christmas Eve.

- We gotta pick up fireworks

for tonight's big celebration.

It's a festival of lights

wouldn't be a festival of
lights without fireworks.

So what brand of fireworks
would you guys like to get?

- There's some big ones small
ones like the very kind.

- I guess you have to buy dry fruit,

firecrackers or crackers
they call them here,

and desserts.

So there's basically three
things you need to buy.

Three things.

No English.

No Espanol, no?

But three things you need to buy.

- It's kind of a tradition to

when you arrive at someone's
house, bring a box of sweets.

Like these kind of
different Indian candies.

- Diwali is perfect for me

'cause it involves blowing
up stuff and eating sweets.

(upbeat music)

I transformed.

I had to buy a new shirt, man.

I felt like so under dressed 'cause look.

- [Monica] Like a rhinestone cowboy.

- I know.

- [Scott] Diwali is
the festival of lights,

and it's probably the holiest
and most important day

in the entire Hindu calendar.

Everyone lights off
firecrackers, lights candles,

and the entire city is lit up at night.

Monica Zandt, has invited us over.

Every culture has something
that brings everybody together

and for India, it's Diwali.

I love learning new
things about the culture

and this is a big one.

This is the biggest thing of the year.

(speaking in foreign language)

It was really something
special to be here in a home

doing this whole process and
seeing this whole ceremony.

It's really something
else to be able to see

all of these different cultures

and religions traveling around

and to see how close we all are.

(speaking in foreign language)

- The blowing of the crackers

is actually a manmade tradition.

Tradition is lighting these.

So basically we're lighting these candles

to show that we're celebrating

and to show that you're happy

and anyone else share this with them.

And also we're setting outside the doors

wanting to invite the (indistinct)

and have them on a special day.

- More sweets.


- For you I love you.
- [Scott] Thank you so much.

(upbeat music)

(firecrackers blasting)


- Ready, rock it.

This is how to do it.

(firecrackers blasting)


(firecrackers blasting)

There's no other way to describe this but

a war zone, a friendly war zone.

(firecrackers blasting)


(upbeat music)

I can't wait to get up on the roof

and see what's going on over there.

(upbeat music)

- [Scott] From day one,

India has been an eyeopening experience.

I'm having a blast so far

and I can't wait to see what
else India has to offer.

(upbeat music)

We've seen firsthand that India has

a really diverse religious
and cultural side,

but it also has a very
diverse geographic side.

And it's time to see the
other aspect of India

and that's the adventure.

Tomorrow, Monica, Justin
and I are gonna head out

and see the Himalayas for the first time.

(upbeat music)