Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year

Season's greetings to all. I have made it to Gokarna, home to Namaste, Paradise, Om and Kudli Beaches. I have no idea that it is the holiday season. No reindeer, no Santa and most importantly... no snow.

I'm managing with nursing my injuries back to health but it is an arduous task. What makes it so difficult is dealing with everything by myself. I'm not going to discount the efforts made on every one's part to help me out, but what I'm saying is that without the love and caring that I am usually surrounded by, it makes things difficult.

I was crestfallen this morning upon waking up and for the first time while travelling I no longer wanted to be here. I know I just have to get through the next couple of days and I will be surrounded by those people I've met along the way.

As for my plans for New Years... I have none and quite honestly after reading an email last night I have no desire whatsoever to be in the area that I'm in. I have a few options: Bangalore (but both people I know there are not available), Hampi (Doctor's place) and Mumbai (Shekhar whom I met in Benares). So it appears that my inauguration to 2007 will be spent with, myself and eye. Someone told me once that the way you start your year is how the year will unfold - interesting. To top it all off I have no visa to enter Pakistan again so that means I have to get a visa before the 17th of January - which means Delhi. My mother is coming to Pakistan on the 19th so it will be nice to be amongst momness and familial love.

For right now... I've shed tears, frustrations and am tired and weak. A nice little hello to lift spirits might be in order... I know I'm the one that usually does it... but today I'm asking for a little bit of help and a kind word.

The holiday season is usually when all of us get together with long lost friends, loves and family. I'm definitely missing that aspect of Toon right now. I had a great telephone call yesterday and it was the first time I remembered what I have in Canada. I miss you all and Genvieve... thank you for being on the other end of that phone.

madLove from India.
~k xxo

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You are beautiful...

You Are Beautiful is a simple, powerful statement which is incorporated into the over absorption of mass media and lifestyles that are wrapped in consumer culture.

This statement and the context in which someone finds it gives meaning to its message and purpose to this project.
The intention behind this project is to reach beyond ourselves as individuals to make a difference by creating moments of positive self realization in those who happen across the statement: You Are Beautiful.

Intention is the most important aspect of the You Are Beautiful project in its idea of purity. Graffiti and street art are an act not a style, but stylistically large corporations have been copying and using the 'urban decay' look to sell products.

It all comes down to intention. Nothing is sacred. Everything that has a perceived value becomes commodified. Companies hire out teenagers to slap up stickers and posters, and pay their fines when they are caught by the police. This is not street art, but a marketing campaign.

The reasons why street artists are doing what they are doing, in the way that they are doing, is not simply to question their surroundings; but to provide alternative perspectives, meanings, or values to those of consumerism.

Advertising elicits a response to buy, where this project elicits a response to do something. The attempt with You Are Beautiful is to create activism instead of consumerism.

You Are Beautiful uses the medium of advertising and commercialization to spread a positive message.
Projects like these make a difference in the world by catching us in the midst of daily life and creating moments of positive self realization.

Taken from the manifesto of www.you-are-beautiful.com

Always wear clean underwear...

Do you remember your mom always asking you to make sure you always had clean underwear in case you ever got into an accident?! Well, let's just say it was a good thing I had clean underwear on.

I decided to end an argument between two cows with propelling my motobike into them at roughly 30-40 km/h. Yes, three's a charm - it was my third accident since owning the bike. First one leaving Pokhara in Nepal, the second outside of Bangalore, Karnatika and theis one outside of Panjim, Goa.

I am also glad that I wear gloves, helmet and full face coverage. I am as very lucky individual. Apparently I wasn't listening and this one had to leave me with an injury or two. The accident couldn't have happened in a better place (all things considered), ten meters in front of a hospital. I went in covered in dirt and blood. They cleaned the wounds and wrapped me up. Meanwhile, Oded and Nitsan (the two glorious gentlemen whom I shared sunrises, accidents, repair shops and many laughs) loaded my bike up on a truck and were taking it to the mechanics they knew in Mapusa. The x-ray technician wasn't 'in' today and the chemists (pharmacy) was closed for lunch. So, I did what any crazy person would and i jumped in the Tata hauling my bike for two and a half hours. Dropped off the bike finally and went to the Government hospital for treatment. After x-rays we learned of a radial fracture.

So I am planning to go to Hampi. I met a doctor on the plane from the Andamans to Chennai that offered up her home, family and food to me. It's better than going to the hospital here where there is no one to hold my hand ;)

All you worry-bodies out there - I'm fine. Just a scratch and the inconvenience of having a large plaster splint on my hand for a couple weeks. Could have been worse... I'm still smiling.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Blacklisted...

Well, well, well...

I've had my first (well, sort of) run in with the police. I found out today upon my arrival in Andaman that 5 C.I.D. (the equivalent to the C.I.A. of the US&A) officials conducted an investigation on me.

I was apparently followed for five days to determine whether or not I was a threat to the general public. They followed me from Port Blair to Havelock Island.

You're probably asking yourselves, "What did you do this time?"

This time... I'm innocent ;)

Somehow the information reached local authorities that my parents were of Pakistani descent. It mattered none that I was a Canadian citizen and my parents have been in North America since the late 50's - nope, not one bit.

Apparently they came to the guest house with myriad questions. I was apparently suspect looking carrying around metal boxes and chains. These are from my motorcycle and are handy luggage to care for ones belongings. Although amongst the crack-down investigations team, the most flamboyant person to have come to Andaman Islands was indeed a terrorist.

This is really the first incident where I have had any difficulties with having Pakistani blood running through my veins. It's quite sad that the genius' down at the Indian Central Intelligency Department came up with this theory but if there are any 'boom' that transpires in the next little while... I'm the usual suspect.

Look alikes what...

I've recently found out I'm famous. That is to say that Naveen Andrews from the ABC series 'Lost' is famous. I have sufferred from mistaken identity here in the Andaman Islands and it does have it's perks. I have to admit with a little bit of cococut oil and a clean shave that this guy does resemble me.

Thought I would share the discovery...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Projecting what may come...

Well, I have to say that I'm one hundred person certain that one can project their intentions and manifest them into creation. In English, that just means that I've dug myself out of a hole and am breathing much lighter now. I have had the support from local business owners, travelers and friends. I must thank two people in particular, John James Alexander and Emily Maria Berchick. Without these two people my life would be even more complicated than it is already. John is a human being with the most amazing light and presence like no other I've met with a heart reaching the ends of the galaxies. Emily has been nothing but understanding and has been carrying my sorry self in Port Blair resulting in a self defined 'dirt-bag' characteristic. I can go on and on about these two extraordinary people but anyone who has had the honour of meeting either of them knows what I'm talking about. So in case either of you two come across this blog, I'll say it once more - Thank you, thank you, thank you ;)

I have come to witness an amazing paradigm shift. I've read about people practicing magic or what seems like voodoo or even just creatively visualizing their 'destiny' or 'life' but I have to admit that yesterday it happened with such intensity that I've converted. It started when I gave some thought to what was happening in my world and how I was responsible for it. I narrowed it down to the time that I spent in Varanasi. Time in the last couple of days in Varansi were tight. I had spent an entire day with the owner of the Harish Chandra Ghat (the place where they burn bodies all day long and set them off into the Ganga to complete the circle of life). During our explorations we found ourselves having chai with a silk owner near the Ghats. I can't remember his name for the life of me right now but he was gracious enough to sit with me and discuss beliefs and traditions of India, not to mention clarifying some of the religious tales I've heard that were just plain wrong. We spent a couple of hours in discussion and I was also curious about this famous Varanasi silk. I've had material for suits presented and gifted to me before but I have yet to have one made. So I thought, why not?! We went to the tailor to custom make me a tailored suit. We're not talking about your double breasted suit here, this is the traditional garb to the area, a kurta (koor-ta). So I had one made and the day that it was ready I was getting ready to ship my bike to Kolkata and had to be at the train station well in advance to sort everything out. This left me with no time to go pick up my suit. So basically what I did was earn myself some seriously bad karma. I stiffed a Varanasi silk man who's very good friends with the man who burns all the bodies in Varanasi. I'm not too sure if anyone knows the abilities of some of the individuals who reside in the 'smashan' but I'll tell you one thing... I'd never want to upset one in any way - I did.

So the first thing that I needed to do was set my intentions to correct the karma and the wrong that I had done. Nonetheless, as soon as I took responsibility and set my intentions the Verse shifted and the world seemed very different. Things just started falling into place like an easy setting on Tetris. There were situations that presented themselves to me and I just simply placed the thought of what I would like to have happen and it would be acted out to the script. It was an unbelievable display of what could be accomplished in my world if I really applied myself to it. I have no explanation of the 'voodoo' that I was doing but I was doing it and effortlessly.

My world is now very much changed because of this and I am thankful for this boon. I will cherish it, nurture it and use it wisely.

So to all that laughed, worried and prayed... thank you.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back in the ones and zeros...

It's been an experience. Let's catch everybody up on my current situation...

At present this is the predicament I am in: I had my bank card taken in Kolkata. I had shipped my bike from Varanasi to Kolkata and upon picking it up the supervisor in charge did not believe my signature was my signature (too flamboyant for Indians apparently) so I had to produce all my signatures on all my cards in order to retrieve my bike. In the frustration the card must have slipped under some of his scattered paper work. I went back the next day to get it and everyone shrugged their shoulders and looked stupid (sorry, frustration fueled that one). So, my main means of obtaining cash was now gone. I did however have a Visa card unfortunately I had my Visa shipped to me in Pakistan so it has no PIN number that I can use in an ATM machine. I am reduced to taking out cash advances from financial institutions. Normaly this would present no problem whatsoever, however I'm not on the mainland. This tiny little island has no bank that can facilitate my transaction.

Alas, there is/was some hope. There is a company called Island Travels in Port Blair that allows cash advances for a nominal fee of 10% of the transaction - can't do it. I'm currently residing in the most spectacular sunrise viewing resort and still have my guest house in Havelock. I haven't been able to go back to check out due to the fact that I have absolutely no money in my possession. It's hard knowing that you have money but really no access to it. I have to wait until Monday to try the State Bank of India, they may or may not accommodate me. If they do not, I have an option of getting people to book airline tickets, charge them on my credit card and take their cash. This is ridiculous, but this is the situation I find myself in.

I transferred funds from my bank account onto my credit card only to find out today that it won't be credited for 5 business days. I'm literally stuck in the islands.

There is a little hope left and I'm holding on to it and nurturing it so that it may grow into support from the Verse. Things are looking up and after I catch a 6am ferry (2hrs) back to Havelock tomorrow and then return the same day only to return back to Havelock the very next day. There is an Isreali saying that perfectly describes this... 'balagan'

Monday, November 20, 2006

Le Paradis Perdu

The 'French Fries' whom I traveled with in the Andaman Islands, Gokarna and Delhi conjured up a small video that sums up the Andaman Experience. Enjoy the show, or as the French say, appr├ęciez l'exposition ;)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The islands blues...

There is something magical about this little corner of the world. Again I find myself amongst the world travelers seeking quiet, beaches and sun. Everyone has their story, some of which I am still finding out on a daily basis. I have found myself pulling at myself in all directions. I am torn from my practice and am just existing - existing in paradise doing not much of anything really. It's quite like it is at home and the daily rituals. I am struggling to find something here on this island. It's around the corner for I have seen the clues the verse has left on my way to this way.

I am completely starved for words to express the funk that I'm transitioning through. I have yet to seek out my own solace in surroundings. It is necessary that I do so immediately. I am writing this down just to remind myself. I've been stuck in thought and my mind can weave the most interesting patterns. Too busy trying to plot, scheme and plan my upcoming days, weeks and months. I come up with a complete blank - this is the way of India.

No schedule, no plans, no anything. The chaos of spontaneity and lazy life has lost it's luminous luster. I feel like the sterling tea set that's been left out, victim of neglect coated in a black tarnish that no one is willing to take the time to polish. No one is right, there is only me, myself and eye.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The vanishing point...


I am going offline for some time. Please feel free to peruse the myriad images I've captured with a lens at www.flickr.com/photos/iamkhayyam.

I will return at some point in time. I am off to Havelock Island where there is no internet, no phone - only sand and sun.

My thoughts and prayers are with those whom I love and some of those whom I don't love so much either ;)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Four full moons since...

I have no real concept of time as I have stated before. I don't know what date, day or time it is anymore. I simply tell time by how many full moons I've witnessed. My first fool moon was in Pakistan during the wedding of my closest brother. The second came while enduring the chicken pox in Dharamsala. The third was experienced in Nepal while traversing mountains with motorcycles. The one I am currently writing under has me in the middle of the Bay of Bengal. Four full moons and plenty stars in between them.

I woke up this morning to one of the most magnificent sights. The sun rising on the endless horizon of cobalt blue water. In the sun the water shifted to a cerrilian blue or to make things a little easier, the #2 Laurentian pencil crayon. The suns brilliance was so powerful amongst this setting. The rays of sunshine spread into the sky as well as across the water. The day was filled with creative en devours. I managed to write in all three of my journals, read a two hundred page book and have a movie night with a couple of Americans and some Czechoslovakians. And my pursuit to find a thermos of chai had been successful.

The sunset almost dwarfed the sunrise with it's spectacular dance amongst the clouds. The sun had a deep orange rusted look to it with a luminescence that made the sky glow. It tucked in behind some clouds as if the clouds were it's cradle. Dolphins began leaping out of the water as if to say hello and make you aware of the current moment. As I watched the sun rays beam overhead the cloud formations I noticed on the other side of the ship the moon was rising. The rising of this moon had a mirrored image of what the sun looked like going to sleep. I was puzzled for a moment for they had the same hue but on opposite sides of the globe. I have never experienced such wondrous beauty in such a short span of time. The sunset to sleep and moon rise to wake - no words can describe this event, for words are merely symbols to represent our experiences that will always be interpreted uniquely to the reader. I wish I could, but I can't.

Art requires imagination. It requires Creativity. Creativity requires experience and experience comes from your life. And your life is expressed in your art.
Bruce Lee (1940 - 1973)

Floetic lucidity...

I travelled to Pakistan in the month of May. Upon arriving I had to face many challenges. Among those challenges was the emergence of my powerful and intense lucid dreaming. I had never experienced something so real. Reminds me of "Am I a butterfly dreaming I am a person? Or a person dreaming I am a butterfly?"

There was one dream that stood out and upon waking I immediately began scratching down what I spoke:



Havva

You are the wind that found me
lying on the drought infested earth.
And carried me along on a journey
from one land to the next,
until I found a home amongst fertile land.

With the sun and the moon as my care givers,
the raindrops as my nourishment, you
provided me with everything I needed.

I was never alone.

This proved to be the ideal
environment for me to grow.
Now in front of you exists a
garden perfumed of flowers..

All of which was never possible
without the wind and courage.


In this incredibly lucid dream I spoke words, the oddity is that I was speaking Urdu and woke up and wrote it down in English. I couldn't even attempt at trying to recite this poem in Urdu now if my life depended on it. But in my unconscious gamma state I managed to be completely fluent in a language I am only beginning to gain confidence in.

There is a reason that courage was found and I will always be grateful to the 'mazing soul that helped me see what was always there. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Anger management?

Temper... temper. I've lost mine on two occasions to the point of complete hilarity upon reflecting back on them. When you get to India, one's heart pours out to those less fortunate. There is a caste system that doesn't allow any forward progression. You're either born into a higher class or lower class. That's that. It is taught very early to treat other human beings without any consideration. I would give to the elderly and the physically disabled upon first arriving - there are so many though. You eventually grow a thick skin and become immune to the sights that bring tears to your eyes, instead it's just the dust and bacteria in the air invading your pupils.

I have grown a very thin temper when it comes to shopkeepers. They continually invade your space. I understand this is their livelihood, but it grows tiresome and frustration sets in. In India the art of bargaining is just that, I found out in Nepal they don't share the same thoughts. I tell people to go to hell on a daily basis, pretend to be a complete tourist and then unleash most abusers I know in Hindi on them and my most favorite... bargaining.

I've been 'shalomed' one too many times now.

Yesterday along the Ganga a sadhu approached me and asked me for money. I got upset with him and argued my point in Hindi (I'm gaining confidence in my skills to start yelling in Hindi now too;). I asked him if he was a sadhu, his response was yes. To this I replied that if you are a sadhu you have given up all material items and everything is provided for you. Medication simply needs a monthly payment of five rupees, food is given, clothing is given and even the chai is gladly given. I tell them, if you're hungry... come have lunch with me. If you're thirsty, let's go have chai together. But you ask me for money, I'll tell you to go to hell. It's these fake-punk-ass sadhu's that give sadhu's a bad name. The real sadhu's are in forests talking to animals not tourists.

My anger management sessions have been going along swimmingly. I yell on a daily basis and get angry over the smallest of things. It is nice to see the other side so that I will be able to recognize it once again. You need both to exist and I'll just choose the path of least resistance when I get home. For now, I'm steaming from the nose with blood red eyes... Toro! Toro!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Train wrecked...

I had to make a quick run to Chandigarh from Benares on the train. My itinerary was to leave Benares and to arrive Chandigarh 20 hours later. Not a big deal but I only had the day in Chandigarh to get everything done. Then back on the train at midnight only to come back 20 hours to Benares. Approximately three days of hectic travel.

That was the plan. Plans don't always follow their set courses ;)

I got to the train station with plenty of time to spare. I checked in with a railway attendant to find out what platform I was on. I showed him my ticket, looked at the board and I was to board on Platform 4. Scored a slick spot to wait (since everyone camps out there) and sipped on my chai. In some of these chai wallas they use plastic cups, some paper cups and the most interesting of them all, little clay cups. When you're finished with them you smash them in the ground. They are very weak and if you leave the tea in them long enough they turn into mush. I watched an elderly lady that was roaming around the train platform barely squeaking out a call for aid. Everyone would ignore this frail and tender old woman. She's someone's grandmother, mother and sister. In this land where mother is so dear, how is it possible that I witnessed sadness in the most angelic sight.

As I was waiting for the train I initiated conversation with some stylish little Indians. They told me they were heading to Amritsar. I asked them if it stopped at Ambala Cantt (my stop) to which they responded yes. Everything was everything. I jumped on the sleeper class car with bags in hand. Found someone in my spot and kicked them out. Chained together my baggage and locked it up to something solid and metal. Then just sat back and was stared at. You kind of get used to it after a while. The kids I don't mind because I make funny faces and act a fool - I generally get good responses from kids. ;)

About four hours into the journey the TTE (ticket guy) comes around to check on tickets. I handed him my ticket with confidence airing on arrogance. He told me that I was on the wrong train. My reaction was muted and I simply asked him "Where am I going then?" Same destinations, just the wrong train. He told me to get out and go back to Benares and get a new ticket. Hell no, I won't go...

I managed to find an English speaking engineering student who could properly translate the situation. They gave me the green light to stow away up until Lucknow. The other train would be parked and I would have ample time to switch over. Ample time is what occurs in India in every thing one does, driving a train included. We were running an hour and a half late. This meant my big window was turned into a 5-7 minute gap to switch trains. Lucknow comes and my train goes. I'm stuck in Lucknow and I hail down some police and train people. They tell me to get back on the train I was on. I went back to the people I was sitting with before but this time around with no seat. My new friends shared theirs with me. After a few stops a sleeper was available so I caught some winks. Every time the TTE would come around the local yokels would warn me and I would hide in the bathroom until he was gone. I was an actual stow away sneaking a ride on an Indian railway.

The TTE finally discovered me while in slumber in that sleeper and kicked me out of it. All the local yokels I had become friends with made space for me... on the floor. I'm not sure if you know the condition of a cross country railway line - good thing I had that sleeping bag.

Got to Ambala and caught a bus into Chandigarh. Had a nap, had some toast and ventured out. Got all the little things done and managed to get a hold of sketch books to draw in finally.

I then had to go all the way back to Ambala Cantt for my midnight train. The trip back was a bit smoother with the exception of being 8 hours late and taking 27 hours to complete.

Funny story. Happy ending.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Some thoughts by...

How deep? Deeper than Atlantis.

Benares has a definite affect upon whomever trudges through the twists and turns of the old city, spinning you into a whirling dervish amongst the myriad sounds and smells. It felt like I was going deeper into an ancient city and the further along I went I thought to myself an ancient civilization.

I have only taken in but a few things Benares has to offer. I have been fortunate enough to see the sunrise on the Ganga as people are offering their puja, bathing themselves or burning off the dead. Yes that's right, dead. Benares is well famous for it's cremation ghats. The Harish Chandra Ghat and for the deluxe version you have the Mani Karnika Ghat.

I spent the entire afternoon with the owner (undertaker) of the Harish Chandra Ghat. We watched as bodies were taken into the Ganga for their last bath, he explained the rituals behind each of the faiths and showed me the eternal flame. The eternal flame was surrounded by tridents and there is no record of when the fire was started. It is the flame that starts all other flames. I watched as the charred bodies were prodded and poked to get the ultimate burn. I sat with complete peace with nothing going on in my mind. I was witnessing numerous bodies being burned and sent out to their resting place in the Ganga. The remains of what isn't burnt (which is quite a bit I might add) is taken into the middle of the Ganga and weighted down and given to the inhabitants of the water to complete the circle of life. Hanging out in the smashan was revealing to say the least.

After the lecture on cremation processes and life in general we began roaming the streets together. I was rolling in the hood with the undertaker - the man who makes sure you burn when you die. We enjoyed some paan, chai and viewing of some famous Varanasi silk.



So my deep thoughts lie with this concept:
We can enjoy each other's commonalities but we can't enjoy our differences. The differences are what should be cherished, loved and accepted.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Happy accidents...

Well... not all accidents are happy ones, but I managed to get in my first and come out unscathed, untattered and unharmed - along with the Enfield. I was pretty much stuck in Pokhara waiting for someone to join on a bike tour. I found Ran who was going to Kathmandu and then Itay who left his bike in Kathmandu and wanted to head to Benares. This was my plan. The night before I was to leave I met up with Itzak whom I've seen in city after city. He was heading to Benares, so I joined him, Sagah and Yani. We ventured off in a trinity. Unfortunately, the first day I was going around a corner in the mountains down from Pokhara and hit a patch of diesel on the road. My back end (heavily weighted down) came out from under me. I thought my leg would be crushed and I'd be in a cast - not so said the universe. I managed to pull out of the skid and headed straight for a cliff. I slid off the cliff (pictures are up on flickr site) - all 16 inches of it. Managed to get the bike out without a scratch, definitely the strangest accident I've ever been in.

The next day my throttle cable snapped and was stuck in a village surrounded by all of it. Trying to work on a bike in the scorching sun surrounded by people who won't speak with you and only stare can run thin on the nerves. I managed to flag down a man with an Enfield and asked him where I would be able to find a Bullet mechanic. There was one 3km in either direction. The options were looking slim. It was either load up the bike on a Tata truck (you'd have to flag one down and convince them to load up the bike), tow the bike with another bike or just jump on the back of the gentleman's bike and head for the mechanic. I chose the latter. This man was well shaven with a clean moustache and a stench of alcohol. We arrived at the mechanic and I looked at the front plate on his bike - he was a police officer. He made sure the mechanic's would try and pull the wool over my eyes and flagged down a bus for me and the mechanic's assistant to head back to the bike with parts in hand.

Upon arriving, Itzak had fixed my bike and his own which he had messed up upon trying to learn how the throttle cable goes into my bike. What a happy day. So we were delayed and therefore had to do a stint of night driving in dust and off roading through it all. Called it a night in Ghaizapur a mere 71 km from Benares.

Once we arrived in Benares chaos reared it's head to our dismay. I managed to hit 2 bicycles, a bicycle rickshaw, auto rickshaw, get my leg sandwiched between my exhaust pipe and someone else's and my favorite... smoking a pedestrian. I never stopped for any of these minor events.

The day was filled with rest and some train business. Itzak and Sagah were headed for Pushkar with his Enfield sent on the train and I to Chandigarh and back in 72 hours. The following morning we went on a sunrise cruise of the Ganga and all the Ghats. Saw dead babies, goats, cows, ashes and billions of particles of bacteria. We went by two of the cremation Ghats where were not allowed to take pictures (I 'accidentally' did). The small streets of the old city that run parallel to the Ganga are the most amazing to experience - so much culture and life going on about you. I managed to see the evening puja at the main Ghat. Everyone does their pujas differently but Varanasi has to be the most flamboyant.



Happy Diwali and Eid Mubarak


To all the people that celebrate these days...

For more information in regards to these days/festivals please see the following links: Eid ul-Fitr and Diwali

I had the opportunity to experience Nepali Diwali (pictures are on the flickr page, the end of Diwali in Ghaizapur and Eid in Benares (Varanasi). It was an amazing week of festivals and culture.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Where the buffalo roam...

Once upon a time this morning I awoke at the usual seven thirty. I felt quite rested and famished. I jumped on the old Enfield and ventured down to the bakery for the freshest of fresh. Along the way I caught a glimpse of the mountains and completely forgot about the hunger. I continued on roads I've never been down just following the mountains in the picture perfect clarity. I ended up going up a road that just kept on going up. It was very difficult to pay attention to the roads with the white caps constrasting so grandly against the #4 Laurentian color of Aqua-Marine Blue. I have thoroughly enjoyed Nepal and some of the people. New friends have been found and journies continue. The moments that you share with these individuals last timelessly. And to some they don't even know how greatly they have affected me or if I have impacted them on any levels.

The assortment of global life that exists in Nepal has been refreshing after India. Although I am quite happy to be returning to India finally. I am off to Kathmandu for a brief bungy jump off of a 160 meter bridge or some such thing, then off to Varanasi or good old Benares as it has been referred to in past years. The Dilawi festival has begun and I can't wait to be at a cremation Ghat in Varanasi. Some have said the sight of partial body parts, burned bodies, dead animals rotting away in the Ganga have made them sick. I for some reason am looking forward to the smashan and it's wonderment. I have no concept of what I will be witnessing but I want to take it all in.

I miss my other life quite a great deal these days, my mother especially. I haven't been able to call from Nepal so if any of you reading this can pass on some love to my mother for me - it would be greatly appreciated. And let her know that I'll call when I get back to India. Thanks to whomever carries the message. I miss my friends and only wish to be able to share these experiences with you. This blog and what my eye captures with a lense will have to do. I am just beginning this journey and am looking forward to what flows my way. The verse rewards those that go with the flow as I am finally realizing, again ;)


The image entitled Water Buffalo belongs to Kevin Kelly

Monday, October 16, 2006

Theory of Everything...

I am currently existing in the future. The date is September 30th, 2063. In crossing the border from India to Nepal you transcend time and space. My time travel came without any explanation. Here you can see the Nepali calendar -> HERE

Here's an explanation to the Nepali calender.

I'm convinced there is no past and there is no future. Time does not exist. As I currently fill this form now, here, in the future it looks a lot like the past. Nepal must not have grown much in the past 50 years. I can't wait to get back to India and see what the future is like there... hope it's a sunny 34 degrees with clear skies, relative humidity 63%, northwesterly winds of 12km/h and a barrometric pressure of around 101.80 kPa. And back to you Phil with an update of today's lottery numbers...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The rising son in Annapurna...

There are no words to express the magnificent power that these mountain ranges have. I have made it back to the phenomenal chill lakeside city of Pokhara once again. The lakeside streets filled with people of the world maneuvering in a shanti-shanti-like manner. No worries here, just store after store selling you the latest trekking, rafting, bungy jumping, paragliding, rock climbing, boat cruising... I think you get the picture. There is a bike 'gang' here called Hearts and Tears, a Enfield motorcycle club. I have arrived back with open arms and great big smiles. There's a cast of them from all around the world. Some visiting, some living, some escaping, you name it you'll find it. Some of the older chaps hand out their road wisdoms while sipping on a beer and smoking swilly cigars while the rest of us hunch forward with big ears and eyes. The exchanges are of life experiences, some of which are absolutely dazzling and remind you to live now.

I failed to mention anything about Kathmandu. I failed because the city was the least of my favorite on this little expedition. I stayed in an area called Thamel, the expensive-rip-you-off-touristy-kinda place. I travelled with me mate Vince 'The Jeweller' and we shared a quaint little guesthouse right at Thamel Chowk (intersection) and a bird's eye view of the goings-ons. There is a great supply of eateries and dance bars. The gents and I were curious about these dance clubs, so in Pokhara we ventured in. There's a stage and mirrors and when we arrived a couple up on the stage reinacting a Bollywood video. From our limited understanding of the whole situation what one does in one of this joints is you have to order your food and dance before your meal is done. Novel concept that was right up my alley not to mention seeing three English guys try to dance. Well, I decided to try in Kathmandu. Vince and I met up with three Nepali guys, one of them lives in Tokyo and runs a Nepali restaurant. It was nice to be with some people that spoke Nepali because no one seemed to speak English there. After sitting for about five minutes something seemed very seedy about this whole scenario. There were lots of pretty young girls hopping from table to table and the dancing became less family orientated. This was a place where one goes and shops for companions. It was one of the most bizzare situations I have been in and the looks on the bar keepers faces signalled me to get out of there as soon as possible. An experience that I've never had and that I don't think I'll be jumping at in the future. The seediness of Kathmandu constantly slaps you in the face.

If anyone ever goes to Kathmandu there are a couple things I recommend: the Durbar Square, the 24-hour sandwich shop around the corner from Full Moon, the most amazing bookstore I've been to with full garden restaurant and low down chai area - Pilgrim's Bookstore (just down the street from Thamel Chowk and the sandwich joint) and the villages/towns of Nagarkot, Bhaktapur and Patan.

Kathmandu doesn't seem to sleep and neither did I. With horns blowing, people yelling, drunkards wandering the streets and the rest of the chaos... I kind of had a good time. Only because of the company I kept was it enjoyable. In India there is a concentration of travellers from a certain country that will remain nameless as opposed to Nepal where it is filled with mainly Europeans. There were some amazing sights and wish I had more time to have taken them in but alas, the saga continues.

On the bus ride back from Kathmandu I noticed a girl sitting a couple seats in front of me. The thoughts of her being Canadian, from Vancouver and that her name was Stephanie popped into my head. So at the first stop I asked, "Are you Canadian" and her response was yes. Then my second question, "Vancouver?" again a yes was the answer. Now the third, "Is your name Stephanie?". Well, two out of three isn't bad now is it?! ;) Her name turned out to be Fleury and was travelling with a young Japanese girl whom she had just met, Yuki. We arrived to Pokhara and after nourishing ourselves ventured up to Sarangkot. From Sarangkot you can view the entire Annapurna range. Our trip up was fine until the angry fat rain came tumbling down, the lightning storm while maneuvering up the stairs in the mountainside, and the fact that all the power was out and we couldn't see a guesthouse or end to the stairs in sight. We arrived soaking wet and we greeted by the sweetest little Austrian couple. We sat and enjoyed a meal together and discussed the possibilities that dawn possessed. Five o'clock the bells rang and we woke to climb more stairs to the peak. Absolutely breathtaking - we were lucky, there were no strong clouds impairing our view of the magnificent peaks. My camera was filled with at least fifty pictures of this range being lit up by the red sun on the horizon. The pictures of the area and visuals are absolutely stupend.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Come the rewind...

So I will now go back into the recesses of my memory to try and regurgitate some of the tales of what has transpired in the past week of my existence. I probably have made one of the stupidest decisions in a spur of the moment purchase of a vintage 1980 Royal Enfield motorcycle. It's the Hardly Davidson to the Indians. I was in Rishikesh when I ventured off with a friend of mine to look at the bike he was going to buy when all of a sudden there she was, Purple Reign (she was named on the way without me even knowing). I had to spend many an hour down at the mechanic's shop and you will see the shop amongst the pictures. One day I spent thirteen hours in the scorching sun with a mild cold making sure that the work was being done as well as learning a few things. This Royal Enfield family once you belong to it is absolutely magnificent. People from all over the world gather and sip on chai's and trade road/travel experiences with you. The most intriguing conversations have been in these shops where you have no choice but to spend time. The English-Brothers-Two, Grant and Graham, with sidekick of a Vince to make the three bikes sport four.

We set out on our journey with smiles on our faces and tightness on our bottoms. The first day we left Rishikesh very late and only had three or four hours on the road. We stopped in Dhampur where we were greeted like royalty. The people ushered us in to their dhubba (low end restaurant/cooking joint) and without asking was brought dish after dish. We even had someone guarding our bikes for us. They went to extremes and even made us a private room for us to enjoy our experience. The bill came and came with the tag of a five star restaurant. They milked us for all that they could. One of the gentlemen said that he would take us to his friend's guesthouse. Upon arrival, it was full. Looking further the worst of the worst cost the best of the best - they were trying to take us. At this point we told them what we thought of them and carried on. We made it only ten kilometres from Dhampur when we decided to stop at a lorry stop (truck stop) that was open 24 hours. We ended up staying there with our bikes in the back and string cots set up beside them. The generator roared through the night and with the lights on the mosquitos found us quite easily. If the mosquitos weren't finding us, the bed bugs sure were. Any exposed skin (and some unexposed) was covered in red bumps.

We would stop every couple of hours to rest our bottoms and bikes. The group of us would be surrounded within minutes of stopping with people just staring - some offerred up conversation. It was like they were at the aquarium and peering on to the endangered species of the world. The Indians would stop and always make sure that everything was all right in case we needed help. We are guests in this country and the the concept of 'mehman' or guest is hugely practiced in India.


THE GUEST HOUSE - Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


We came to the border at Banbasa and spent a couple of hours going through all the neccessaries. One thing that was immediately different were the people whom we crossed paths with. All the children would wave with ear to ear grins and even run from their homes to the road just to wave to us. It was a magnificent change of perspective - we were welcomed instead of stared at. After finishing at the border it was dark out and we chose not to travel in the late hours and made it to the wonderful world of Mahendranagar. Small little place about eight kilometres from the border. We got a nice place and freshly showered off all the travel dirt and we were off at around nine in the morning for another day of sore asses and bugs smashing into you. We ended up in some place, the name I forget, and then left. The day began with the rooster waking us at five in the morning and us on the road at six. We put in a full day to get to Pokhara. Only a mere 34 kilometres outside of Pokhara we had a delay of game due to rain. The hills are alive with the sound of music but when they are wet, it's dark and you have bus driver's hopped up on whatever they're hopped up on... it's deadly. We took about an hour and half to travel the 34 klicks and it poured the whole way. The rain was fat and stingful.

Pokhara was a refreshing change from the roadside dhabba food and it was warmly welcomed as was the posh warm shower facilities in the guesthouse. In the journey I managed to blow a seal on my oil line, just to name on of the many things that wore down over the course of the trip. The bike sits in Pokhara with Raju's Bullet Surgery and I will return to Pokhara in the coming days to mount up and ride up to the mountain tops.

I have more to say but time I do not have much of at this particular moment. Till then...

I've seen Mount Everest...

I woke up this morning on the side of a mountain top in Nagarkot, Nepal. It is approximately two hours out of Kathmandu. Miles away, the clouds blocked my view of the Himalayan range with the exception of the highest place in the world breaking through to receive it's nourishing rays of sunlight. There is much to be told of my journey from Rishikesh to Nepal, but I will not go into detail just yet. I am exhausted after trekking and looking forward to going back to Pokhara where life is a little bit more relaxed and easy going.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Purple Reign's maiden voyage...

Wanting to capture the feeling of riding in Nepal I decided to one handedly take the camera and in the other the bike. The result are the following wind infected video shorts that will take you to the mountains of the Himalayas with me ;)













Sunday, October 01, 2006

Holy cow!

Rishikesh can really grow on you. Many a person is found to have come to Rishikesh for a few days only to stay weeks to months. There is a marvellous feeling permeating through the spiritually energized air. The Durga festival is coming to an end and the festivities only beginning. People swarm the streets from all over India in long processions in every which direction. The two bridges, only supporting pedestrians, motorcycles and the 'cart' people are flowing with colors as long as the sun is shining. The Ganga wind flows down the valley and picks up as soon as the sun decides to go to sleep. The cool strong breeze coming from the glaciers of Gangotri, the closest point to the source of the Ganga, rips through to such a delightful star filled evening. There are rarely any clouds and if there are any it's quite difficult to daydream long enough to start making shapes in the clouds... poof... they're gone giving way to blue skies and scorching sun.

I have met amazing/worldy/gifted/devoted/obnoxious/crazy people and it's been absolutely refreshing. I have breakfast at the same place every morning and all the various countries of citizenship join in cross room discussions and sharing in the most amazing morning one could wake to.

Of these fantastic people are two blokes from the UK. Garnet and Graham, brothers two, they purchased motorcycles in Manali and have maneuvered through India and are on their way to Nepal.

The only constant in this existence is change - so there is a change in plans and I head to Nepal?! ;)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Oh, a snake... how charming...

The orange clad sadhu's will sometimes just ask you for money, tell you to give them money, demand money or in the odd case... perform for money.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Satsang and I sung and sat...

I had the privilege of attending a Satsang at a school my travel mate, Petra Melin of Sweden, volunteered at. It was an experience being with these children.



Monday, September 25, 2006

An armpit cold...

Armpit cold. You don't know what it is? I recently found out. On the trip from Chandigarh to Haridwar we travelled via ordinary bus. Since I was travelling with two Isrealis, everyone thinks I'm Isreali. Nevermind that, even when I'm by myself people are wishing me a Happy New Year and Isrealis roll up to me and start talking in Hebrew with me. Apparently after they serve their mandatory time with the army they ALL come to India. When they finish their time in the military they still don the military presentation. They all grow hair and facial hair long - and most of them have curly hair. Sounds kind of familiar ;)

They is a migration pattern amongst them. They start off in the north and when winter comes they fly south. I happen to be joining the migration pattern. So when I began speaking in Hindi with the travellers on the bus they were astounded and I became the number one person to talk to during the trip. At the one stop we had shopkeepers were giving me food and drink, it was nice but very odd. Everyone just loved the hair and the fact that I spoke Hindi.

After that stop the bus began filling. All the seats were taken so standing room was all that was left. In some states they allow you to sit on top of the bus, not this state otherwise I would be the first to offer myself up as the hood ornament.

Then came the armpit. The armpit was in my face for two and a half hours. It wasn't your run-of-the-mill armpit either. It was not a stanky armpit, nor instrusive, it was a rather subtle poison with greater exposure caused illness. My nose stuffed up after about half an hour alleviating me smelling anything. The only problem was that I was still exposed to the infestation. I got off the bus in Haridwar and began a sneezing fit. After the bus trip and my thirty consecutive sneezes I was spent. Argued over a taxi fare into Rishikesh and found probably the only guest house open at midnight. The taxis can't go into certain areas so we had a twenty five minute trek through ashrams, bridges and dark cow dung covered alleys.

I got over the armpit cold after a day or two and now enjoying the sun and fun.

There is a religious festival going on this week in Rishikesh and foreigners and Indian tourist flood the streets, bridges and temples. Every morning you can hear Mantras being performed over loud speakers while gazing along the Ganga River. I have washed away some of my sins in the Ganga so far. I'm sure that I would have to dip in a few more times to resolve some my accumulated sins. Truly phenomenal experiences.

The busted station...

Events in this story may contain mature sexual themes and/or strong language. Viewer discretion is advised.

So get this...

The journey from Dharamsala down to Chandigarh was amazing. My very good friend Yakob drove myself and my two new Isreali travelling partners, Yuli and Lior, to Chandigarh. We stopped at magnificent scenery, laughed the day away, lived in luxury in a vehicle rather than the 'ordinary bus'. We were truly blessed to have such wonderful company and such a gracious host. We arrived in Chandigarh only for the night to leave for Rishikesh the next day.

Everyone in India tells you that 'everything possible' but upon further investigation 'not possible'. We were given so many stories of when buses leave and where, etc. After learning my lesson once before I decided to head down to the bus station to find out first hand. I got off the cycle rickshaw and not even a second after I put my other foot down a young Sikh boy approached me.

He asked me "Where you are from?"

"Canada"

"Oh... you don't know how much feelings I have for Canada" he said and added, "I have only seen Canada from the television. Maybe you want to 'taulk'?"

In my broken hindi I responded, "I only came here to find out some information, we'll see..." The converstation was mostly me trying to speak in hindi and he in english. He followed me from information booth to information booth. After going to five different people I finally found out the information that I needed. The last bus was leaving for Rishikesh at that very moment. The next one would be at eight in the evening landing us in Rishikesh at two in the morning. Not a suitable travel arrangement.

"So where you want to go?" the boy of not even seventeen years says to me.

"Go where?" I ask.

"Where you want to go to 'faulk'?"

"Where do I want to go to what?" I say with the most puzzled look on my face. It sounded like something I wasn't sure I really heard correctly.

"'Faulk'." he says sharply.

"Where do I want to go to F-U-C-K?" I ask with complete disbelief at what was transpiring.

"Yes."

I had to laugh out loud, for a very long time I might add. Some little kid just approached me in a bus station and asked to have sex. I was quite calmly in my response, "Oh yaar, that might float your boat but it doesn't float mine. I like women... a lot. I'm sorry that I can't help you out." in partial enlish, partial hindi.

"But you don't know how much feelings I have for Canada and for you."

"Oh... I'm pretty sure I do. Thank you but no thank you."

"Please, let me put your 'panas' in my mouth for five to ten seconds, please."

"You want to put my penis in your mouth for five to ten seconds? I don't think so. I'm flattered, but you need to go now."

He realized that I wasn't into biting any pillows or redesigning the interior of any homes in the near future and went off on his way. I just can't believe that I was approached by some little kid who asked to have sex with me. What was he going to do, take me from behind, behind the bus station? Did this ever work for him? Had he ever gotten someone to respond, Ya, ok... why not? (with the mandatory Indian head nod and shake).

I understand there is a population issue in India, but I'm not sure if this is the appropriate avenue in which to explore the decrease in population.

That's my story... unbelievable but 99% true.

A beautiful pain...

I had an issue uploading all the pictures. Only two hundred of the six hundred were uploaded. I have burned them to dvd but finding someone with a dvd reader is quite the tall order 'round these parts. Luckily I found one yesterday and I will be uploading them up at a snail's pace. Then again, nothing ever moves quickly in this area. Everyone seems to have all the time in the world - a definite switch from the west.

The image is of a wandering sadhu with drummer (of course) seeking out his earnings with great showmanship. He wields a large whip in the shape of a snake and whips himself to show his devotion. The Tibetan refugees are looking on only after being scared of him to begin with. The drummer making eye contact is the most amazing part of this photo in my perspective.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Smile and say paneer...


I have arrived back to Chandigarh...

I have updated photos from Shimla, Bhagsunag, McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala. I'm off to Rishikesh today. Catch up soon... ;)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Questions on the daily...

And there is a practice which I follow every night before going to sleep. It is very simple, but it has helped me immensely, and it can help anyone who uses it. It involves only three questions: Have I lived? Have I loved? Have I laughed?

Have I lived? Have I made the best us of the time provided me during the day to grow, to learn, to develop?

Have I loved? Have I reached out to everyone I met and made them aware of the love in my heart and eased their burdens of self-mistrust and self-doubt?

Have I laughed? Have I seen the humorous side of even the most painful incident?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then it is a matter of remorse. One more day passed and I am another day closer to my death and I have not exerted myself to my fullest potential. This is enough to make me work harder then next day and try and make amends.


Three questions that must find a home within your daily rituals...

Friday, September 15, 2006

There is no try, only do...




Do something.

Actions to change the world! Have a look at a list of simple, everyday actions you can do to help change the world (and have fun while you're doing it).

Something I came across in my timeless ventures ;)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Time does not exist...

I was walking down the dimly lit winding street of Jogibara Road in McLoed Ganj, Upper Dharamsala. The moon was peaking over one the Himalayan ranges casting the softest white light upon my path. A path full of no roads and many a rock. In my concert hall between my ears Lauryn Hill was giving a performance. After hearing it so many times I thought I would grow sick of it and an album of that calibre I never could. The thought was there though and I would have been less fortunate to have disliked an album only due to hearing it too many times -- I didn't want to take the chance of wasting it. Her throaty and melodic flows flow through my body and keeps it in warmth with thoughts and memories. Someone was with me on that walk and I was definitely assured of that when I looked to my right to see a movie theatre. The only Dolby 6.1 Digital Wide Screen Surround Sound in Dharamsala. The 8:30 movie playing was Samsara. I looked at the name and stopped in my tracks. I couldn't figure out why I knew this name. I searched and then it hit me... right in my stomach. An image of someone made a guest appearance and I watched them speak the word "Samsara". Thank you for suggesting it for it was the first movie I had seen in India.

It was definitely an experience in more ways than one. I am currently surrounded by Tibetan monks theologizing and carrying on like monks do. The movie came at the right time in the right place. Something I keep finding myself in.

This morning I woke up and was sitting on the front steps of my guesthouse when a South Korean man named Ta Tha Gata strolled by, I had met him the previous evening. He is a simple man only wearing one piece of fabric intricately wrapped around his amazing physique. His hair flows like the mane of well oiled Arabian thoroughbred reaching the bottom of his back. We shared in great conversation of travels, Canada and of course hair. We walked the Kora - circumambulating in a counterclockwise direction around the temple, the Tsuklhakhang, in which there is a long route and a short route. The short called the Kora, with Lingkor being the long route. I've seen elder gentlemen with personal prayer wheels and they are twirled so effortlessly that it appears that they twirl on their own accord. Along the path there are many Prayer Mills and it is not uncommon to hear people saying under their breath Om Mani Padme Hung, the main mantra of Chenrezig (Bodhisattva) who Tibetans believe His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be a manifestation of. Reciting this mantra, it is thought that one accumulates merit.

I then proceeded to Carpe Diem, a restaurant, where I finally introduced myself to Carly - the Australian who puts an ear to ear grin on your face upon crossing her path. I was privy to a creative storm between some musicians, then off to enjoy a fine cappuccino and witness the making of fresh Muesli on top of the restaurant. I ventured out to the street and passed on my Salaam's to all the Kashmiri fellows and then joined one in three blistering matches of chess. I wish I could upload the pictures of what I saw next. A sadhu (holy man) with a costumed snake filled with fire crackers and upon whipping himself do the firecrackers crack. He was accompanied by a young boy playing a drum - a scene for all of us in the street and the Tibetan refugees staring from their windows. I will however post them when I get the chance.

I don't want to leave this paradise in the clouds. There are too many good people and exhanges to be had. Everyday has been something new with someone new. It was said once if you can't say it yourself, find someone who can. Tenzin Tsundue is a poet whom I've come across here in Dharamsala and I share with you...

HORIZON

From home you have reached
the Horizon here.
From here to another
here you go.

From there to the next
next to the next
horizon to horizon
every step is a horizon.

Count the steps
and keep the number.

Pick the white pebbles
and the funny strange leaves.
Mark the curves
and cliffs around
for you may need
to come home again.

-Tenzin Tsundue

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The maddening moistness...

The incredible moisteness of this area is out of control. I was wearing a long sleeved black shirt roughly three days ago and there was admittedly a large sweat stain on front and back. I put the shirt up on a hanger in my room and it's still got the very same shape of sweat in all areas as I had the day it covered my body. I have moved from Bhagsunag down to McLoed Ganj (the main thoroughfare). I can tell you that my Kashmiri friend who had an emotional moment with me, tracked me down to see if I had left yet. He came to ask and any one that I knew to take one of his classes. He opted to earn his money and he came to ask me to help it out in not so many words.

I was taken to lower Dharamsala for tea on the side of a mountain yesterday. I have recently found hospitality with a few of the locals. It makes a world of difference when you have somewhat of a belonging to the place you're staying in. I was invited to my very new found friend's home for dinner. To my surprise I was welcomed by a breath of fresh air. Her name was Alne (pronounced Al-knee) and she was originally from Australia. This woman has given birth the five children and has now settled in India to relax. At seventy six years of age this woman was a mere thirty four. I was intrigued by story after story and our conversations ranged right across the board. I thanked above yesterday for yesterday. It's the very thing I needed after having such a rough time. Life is sunny for the first time in a week since I've been here. I truly am fueled by the fires of the sun. Thank you.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Recap...

Let's just recap my health in the past three weeks now shall we? I was poisoned in Pakistan by chicken and found myself in a hospital with an IV and no fluids whatsoever in my body; after recovering from the absolute desaturation of my body the night before I was to leave to India I caught a cold from the air conditioner, the fan and me sweating; and now the little rash I found out to be called 'chicken pox'. Yup, that's right... chicken pox. I have the chicken pox. I never had them as I child and was bound to get them one day. One day is now and I look to the brighter side of things, I'll never get them again ;)

I have been unable to enjoy the wonderment of Dharamsala and McLoed Ganj to it's fullest. However, today I ventured out of the room and to the waterfall in Bhagsunag. I stood a mere six feet from where it met it's descent and was misted by the most magnificent crisp wind. I think that's what gave me the energy to keep on keepin on. After that, I kept walking. I walked down to Kalachakra Temple, the Buddhist dialectics institute. I was thoroughly entertained by the theological debates. The monks would state their point and all would have personalized version of the same act or motion, that is driving their hand in a punching motion while bringing the other hand up to meet with a loud slap and a "Hoooggeeeee" kind-a-sound. From what I understand it is the end of a point made or argument reached. Whatever it was, there was one big monk that kept me laughing with his version of it. I have taken pictures that I'll stick up whenever it is possible.

An interesting thing happened to me the very first day I was in Dharamsala (I bet that's said quite often). I was wandering aimlessly through market streets when I was pulled back into a direction I wasn't moving in. Didn't know why, just thought I'd better go that way. And as I looked up the road there was a store called Kundalini. I approached the front of the store and knew I had to go in as soon as I saw the sign "BELOVED PLEASE REMOVE YOUR SHOES". So I did and looked about all the magnificent Pashminas, stones and unbelievable crystals. As I was leaving the owner walked in and the room became big. He offered me chai and we sat and talked... and talked. I had recently purchased a book entitled Aghora II: Kundalini by Robert E. Svoboda and had been searching for the first one but it was not to be found in over a dozen bookstores I had searched it out in. It was Yakub, the store owner that presented Aghora: At the Left Hand of God to me to read. I was in the right place at the right time in more times than one ;)

After this I was walking back to Bhagsunag and a young Kashmiri fellow started a dialogue with me. He told me he did this and that and so forth and so on... you have to understand that with Indians there is always an exaggeration to their stories, so you just have to adjust your reality to really understand what they mean. He showed me a shop where he teaches how to make Malas, where he practices his gemology, Reiki treatments and yoga. We continued up the 45 degree slope to a German bakery. Nice little place. I was starving and here I thought this kid knew that I was. He continued on about trying his hand at business franchises all over India but he was bad with money so it all slowly came crumbling down. He is left in Upper Dharamsala just trying to make enough to get a meal each day. There was something I was feeling and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. It was during our meal when I realized what it was. It was his thoughts. They were disturbing me and I finally figured out how to translate them if you will. I said to him "You have a lot of tension, you need to get out of your head". At this he agreed and I continued, "You know that those thoughts that you have in your head right now are very bad and your mind is convincing you that they are a good idea... you know for a fact what your body is telling you - yet you ignore it and allow your mind to convince you otherwise". He also agreed with that adding that his friends also told him that he should go sit on a rock and contemplate. We continued on speaking and at the end of the meal bought him his food and told him this, "I am buying your meal not because of the stories you've told me, or out of pity - I have done it out of kindness. I am showing you unconditional love." He began crying and thanked me. Now there is part of this story that is missing. His thoughts were to try and steal from me. He was trying to concoct a way of gaining possession of my iPod and digital camera. No doubt about it. That's why he broke down. He realized that I saw right through him and instead of reacting in belligerent manner, I took the other road. He knew that I knew and couldn't believe I still bought him his meal...

It was a very eventful day in randomly non-random fashion.

 
Clicky Web Analytics