The couple were unhappy at having to spend time away from their children. Additionally, Ringo found the spicy food disagreed with him – an intolerance caused by a childhood bout of peritonitis. He had brought a consignment of baked beans with him, and feasted on especially-prepared eggs while in Rishikesh, but found it not enough to entice him to stay.
It’s all a bit hard to remember now. I was only there for two weeks, then I left. I wasn’t getting what I thought I would out of it.
The food was impossible for me because I’m allergic to so many different things. I took two suitcases with me, one of clothes and the other full of Heinz beans (there’s a plug for you). Then one morning the guys who were dealing with the food said, ‘Would you like some eggs?’ And I said, ‘Oh yeah, sure,’ and the next morning they said it again. I thought, ‘Oh yeah, great – things are looking up.’
Then I saw them burying the shells. That was the first of several incidents that made me think that it was not what I thought it would be. You weren’t supposed to have eggs inside this religious and spiritual ashram. I thought: ‘What do you mean, you’re burying the shells? Can’t God see that too?’
We came home because we missed the children. I wouldn’t want anyone to think we didn’t like it there. I said it was like Butlins holiday camp, we had learnt by then that you could say anything and they’d print it. It was a good experience – it just didn’t last as long for me as it did for them.
Additionally, Maureen had a phobia of flies, which were all but unavoidable in Rishikesh.
Ringo came home early; he couldn’t stand the food and his wife couldn’t stand the flies. It was understandable; he was a very British lad. There were curries and spicy food – and he has a stomach that gets upset easily (probably due to the peritonitis when he was a kid). Maureen didn’t like the flies – if there was one fly in the room, she would know exactly where it was at any given time. I remember her once being trapped in a room because there was a fly over the door. So obviously conditions in Rishikesh were not ideal for them.