Jax Manhoff (2/2)

(2/2) In Brooklyn, Jax indulged in less than finer things, she burned her nostrils and her liver. But no amount of cocaine or booze could prepare Jax for a traditional Bhang Lassi. A lassi is a traditional drink the consistency of a smoothie. Bhang is a type of cannabis extract typically stronger than anything you can buy at an American dispensary. Jax split the lassi with one of the German guys and soon started hallucinating at the restaurant, she suspects the drink contained opium. Jax made the decision to cleanse her body of toxins. “India is an incredible place because there’s such immense beauty and such suffering.” Jax tugs her bottom lip with her teeth, she looks down at her hot chai gone cold. “There will be a wedding down the street and then two minutes later, a funeral and they’re carrying a dead body up the road. It’s such a juxtaposition of heaven and hell.” She thinks about the afterlife and tells me about the city of Banaras (or Varanasi), the holiest place for Hindu’s. If you’re Hindu and you die and you live outside of Banaras, typically, you’ll have your body flown to be cremated in the burning ghats. Cremation at this specific site means ending the cycle of life and death. “Banaras is a very sacred and holy place, but I was 21, I didn’t realize that. We went upstairs and looked down at it from a rooftop and I photographed it, and then in our boat and the police seized our boat because you’re not allowed to take photographs.” Jax and her friends claimed they didn’t take a photo while she concealed her camera under her coat. “So, that is, like, my war photograph. I have this incredible photograph of all of these bodies on stretchers ready to be burned.” Jax brings her adventure to a halt, she tells me she needed it to be who she is now.India changed her life, she grew up privileged and a lot luckier than most. She travels to gain perspective about life. Jax sees that suffering is everywhere and she’s lucky to be where she is. “I do my laundry at the laundromat, I actually enjoy it. It makes me feel very human, doing that. It’s like a photograph or going to India.” #classassignment #india #travel #nonfiction #journalism

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