Most Recent Revelation: We’re the Next Generation of “Old Hippies!”
Time in India is much like a rubber band. Usually the rubber band is stretched tight, making each moment last indefinitely. But when I look back over the last days, weeks, months…the rubber band of time shrinks up into a blur and I find myself wondering how it all went so quickly! It’s too easy to slip into the relaxed pace of life here and there are plently of characters everywhere to keep things interesting. More than ever I feel the truth of the vendantic teaching that life is a divine play and we are the actors...
The last weeks in Gokarna have been idyllic. I sped my shantih days munching fresh fruits and vegetables, taking tea with friends, walking the beaches and hillsides, and most importantly, playing the guitar.
In fact, I am addicted to the guitar. I have pulled out a few of my old favorites (Cat Stevens, Beatles) and learned a few new ones (Riders on the Storm) as well as some Indian devotional songs (barjan). It feels a big relief to finally be making music. I feel somewhere deep in my soul that making music - along with cooking and dancing – is a simple and essential spiritual act. Although I suspect I have more natural ability for singing than for playing the guitar, the guitar is a natural extension of my spirit; a salve for my soul.
I marvel when I understand that I have only begun to uncover my spirit. And I am overwhelmed by my great fortune to be here in India, a place where I have the time and opportunity to properly cultivate it in the next year. And there is no shortage of visa-challenged (Italian, Israeli) travellers to remind me how lucky I am.
Indeed, I have met many wonderfully interesting and insane people here since I arrived five weeks ago. Most of the westerners are older, long-term hippies. They are mostly Italians and Germans, along with Israelis, Austrians, Russians, French…and even a small handful of Californians. That is, I rarely meet Americans at all, but the few I do meet (or hear about) usually hail from California, and I have heard about a couple other Californians somewhere on the beach.
If it doesn’t kill you…
...it makes a great story! Sometime over the last week I decided to take a room on the beach. The guesthouse I happened to choose was filled with Russians. Now, I have heard that Russians are very hard, much harder than Israelis even. This explains my interest in getting to know them better (and my interest in riding the Trans Siberian railway from Moscow to Beijing, and being made to cry by some unsympathetic Russians...). The first morning I awoke, put my shawl and went to the café to take tea. There I met my first Russian who first offered me an apple and then offered to teach me the Russian version of backgammon.
We had been playing for nearly an hour before I suddenly experienced a sharp stinging pain on my left arm. With a cry I jumped up to discover a large, fantastically coloured centipede of sorts - bright yellow claw-like legs with a red and green body – drop from my shawl. The little beast was a fast one and I jumped up to make a video of the alarming-looking thing. The Indian cooks came out and immediately killed it, not realizing that it had already stung me. Then my Russian companion decided he had had enough of the antics and insisted I sit down and finish the game. I ignored the burning pain in my arm and obliged.
After the game was finished I decided some ice could be helpful for the pain. When I asked the Indian men for ice, they gave me the look of death. I asked “danger?” The grave expression on their faces will be forever imprinted on my brain. Within a half-hour I hitched a ride into town on the back of a cow dung collection truck (don’t fall!) to see Dr. Mallan. I showed him the video of the creature that had its way with me. He cleaned the wound, gave me some pain meds, and advised me to come back if it got any worse. All in all it was nearly eight hours of strong pain followed by several days of soreness and nothing more, but the look on their faces…wow. I was lucky it was not much worse.
But this is the stuff of memories, no???
After the next full moon (22nd) I will be once again making my way north to Delhi. In Delhi I will visit doctors and immigration officials as well as purchase warm clothes (it’s below zero!!) and a guitar tuner before heading back to Haridwar and Rishikesh. The idea is to stay some time there for study and sadhana (spiritual practice, likely in an ashram) and when I am ready, to move East toward Almora for settling in. I am dreaming of a cooker, a tulsi plant, a lemon tree, some solitude and an inspiring view of the Western Himal.
Bus! Basta! Enough! This note is to let you know that I am well and happy and loving and missing you all very, very much. With greatest appreciation for my dear friends and family who so valiantly continue the struggle on the frontlines of the western dream world,
with love always,
The thing growing on my eye has not disappeared. I calculate its life at almost three months now. I am preparing once again to implement urine therapy, but have also taken to putting neem oil on the spot. It seems to be helping. I think.
Someone finally explained to me that it is not an infection but something caused by extreme stress. This may explain why it first appeared back in Delhi. In any case, I have full confidence that it will disappear with proper, regular application of urine. As soon as I start it. Which is very, very soon now.
Lola Bites Back: And Other Inspirational Tidbits
- Name: Lola Bites Back
- Location: Bissingen an der Teck, Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany
Laughing all the way...
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Most Recent Revelation: We’re the Next Generation of “Old Hippies!”
Monday, January 07, 2008
Still In Paradise
Too many things have passed since I last posted...it is impossible to recount even a tiny fraction, but I will try anyway. Please forgive the poor quality writing; I'm baking in a slow-as-molasses internet shop and hoping to escape very soon..
On the motorbike we headed south along twisty forest roads along the Western Ghats to Jog Falls, then South again to Kollur, a holy place famous for its Mookambika Temple. We passed many many lakes and rivers and trees and cows and ended up at Malpe Beach near Udupi. We saw vegetable markets, fish markets, vanilla beans and betel nuts, dodgy trucks and eagles and garbage and camels and baby kitties. For New Years Eve we bought six mackerel at the fish market (50 rupees) and cooked them on a campfire at the beach. I removed their heads and tails (fish heads!) with my beloved swiss army knife, flinching each time I had to break the spine. I was surprised when they tasted good and relieved that it was too dark to examine them closely.
We took some great videos and pictures from the trip and hopefully they will one day get pieced together with some music. And thanks to my many guardians, we had almost no problems (we tipped over one time on the sand). And except for the Good Luck Hotel in Hannovar, most of our guesthouses were clean and relatively benign.
But now we are back in Gokarna (a.k.a. paradise) and I am giddy and overwhelmed by the possibilities for 2008. I have no doubt that big things are heading my way, but couldn't possibly say what they will be. I feel only that my chest will explode with excitement and anticipation.
The last weeks I've met many inspiring people - many of them could be referred to as "old hippies" - who have helped me to clarify my own understanding of what makes a quality life. Quality Life, for me at least, is a simple life in the nature. This last year has been spent on The Circuit with other western tourists, but I am now tiring of this perrenial life on the go and dreaming instead about having a cooker and a lemon tree. Oh, and I finally bought a guitar, an Indian one that is not special but good enough for me to practice on. I'm a bi nervous to travel with it, but where there's a will, there's a way.
After my visit to Delhi I will return to Rishikesh for a couple of months of recalibration. Another repetition of Swamiji's lectures (I sent my notes to LA!), some consistent yoga practice and the freezing Ganga will have me full-strength again in no time.. From there the idea is to settle down somewhere in the mountain. The mountain makes me strong.
Internet is painful here and I have been thwarted several times in my attempts to update this blahg..But Delhi should be a great place for full updates, and I should head there in the next week. I love you, all...
with greatest affection,