Sunday, December 23, 2007

Welcome To Eeendiya!


Selva, Serap, Ayse and Gursel

This is the week of the guest. I have lost count by now of the number of people who have passed through our house in the last few days. Everything that could possibly go wrong has gone wrong but then it's all part of the fun I guess.

The Turks arrived on Thursday. First Gursel and his wife Serap (his "new" wife as everyone keeps referring to her, since he was earlier married to Aysegul who could not make it this year to India) in the morning followed by Selva in the afternoon. Gursel and Serap arrived minus their luggage and it took three days and umpteen phone calls to Emirates Airlines to trace their bags. It was Id so all the offices were closed on Friday and earlier nobody seemed in the mood to work. Finally yesterday the airline office said the bags had come but that Gursel would have to personally collect them from the airport. When he and Serap returned from the long and tiring trip to the airport Serap fell quite sick with the usual vomiting and diarrhoea. Also they came minus their sleeping bags which had been apparently filched from their rucksacks.

As for Selva who arrived on Thursday by cab, it took her two and a half hours to get to our place because the cabbie didn't know where Mahalaxmi temple was - which is one of the landmarks in Bombay so apparently they kept going round in circles till they finally found their way home. For a Bombay cabbie not to know where the Mahalaxmi temple is, is like a cabbie in London saying he doesn't know where Buckingham palace is, or a Parisian taxi driver saying he has never heard of the Louvre. But that's how the modern day taxi driver in Bombay is, and anyway what is important is that she got here in one piece and was glad to see us.

Walter, Dustin, Tara, Anja
Meanwhile the last lot of guests, Walter and Anja who had returned from a five day trip to Benares and were supposed to take the train to Goa along with Anja's daughter Tara and Walter's son Dustin, discovered at the train station that their tickets were not confirmed and they had no seats after all so all four of them landed up here at past one o'clock in the night. I was in bed but the Turks were still chatting on the balcony, so I presume they got some kind of welcome and they slept in the drawing room on the floor. They have now decided to fly to Goa.

Serap is better and everyone is just lazing around while I sit at the laptop. We will soon be ready for lunch. Tomorrow the Turks and I (along with my parents) are headed for Neredu 2 so you'll hear from me after the 12th of Jan when we return to Bombay.


Merry Xmas and all the best for the coming year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Modern Indian Wedding

I am not a great fan of large scale gatherings and generally avoid things like weddings and funerals. Not that I have anything against people marrying or dying – it’s got more to do with my increasing unwillingness to compromise on what I wear and what I mostly like to wear, regardless of where I am, is blue jeans or some kind of variation on the theme. You get the picture. It is ages since I shopped for wedding wear, the last time being when I was shanghaied to Bloomington Illinois way back in ’92 to attend my brother’s wedding. Having finally got there of course I was mighty happy to be part of the scene but that’s another story. Since then there have been other occasions but when pressured into attending a wedding or party I find myself increasingly doing it on my own terms. Which means showing up in casuals in the midst of dazzling silver or gold embroidered apparel overlaid with sequins and making up for it with a glittering smile (adequate metal in my mouth makes this quite feasible) and good behavior if necessary.

A few days back I was quite pleased to be able to be part of a wedding without actually having to attend it. The neighbor’s daughter was getting married and the first I heard of it was when I saw the foyer of our building being decked up with roses and multi-colored garlands, and a huge pandal being set up on the lawn. I must say, this speaks volumes, either for my status with the neighbors or my inability to remember functions to which I’ve been invited. My friend Marlis’s excitement was palpable. Her jaw dropped when she discovered that we would be able to watch an entire Hindu wedding ceremony from our balcony upstairs without having to trouble ourselves being sociable to a large number of people who had gathered for the event.

So this was when I discovered what a modern wedding is all about. The bride’s people had gathered in the compound and were milling around the gate to receive the bridegroom whom it took over an hour to get to the venue from about two hundred yards down the road. According to tradition, he was accompanied by a regular brass band belting out wedding standards which perforce included a slightly off key version of “Come September”. The elderly photographer fumbling around with a bulky SLR and a bagful of lenses, seemed almost redundant. Each person in the bride’s entourage happened to be touting a digital camera, some of whom even photographed my friend and me grinning at the spectacle from the balcony.

“You see how hospitable and welcoming India is,” I said to Marlis. “We organized this event especially for you. I mean they could have had the wedding a couple of weeks before you arrived or some weeks later but it is your happiness that counts.”

Finally the bridegroom arrived, perspiring and now and then pushing aside the veil of flowers which was obviously asphyxiating him, but in good form nonetheless and swinging and waving his hands to the tempo of the music. By now it had switched to a kind of Bhangra to which a party of elderly turbaned men, part of the baraat, were kicking their legs and waving their arms with gusto.

The actual wedding ceremony was mercifully short – not more than about an hour and a half long, during which time the bashful couple circled the fire seven times, exchanged rings and took part in umpteen other rituals to cement their union. (“In Germany the whole thing lasts less than twenty minutes” said Marlis). At the end the bride and bridegroom were pronounced man and wife and the guests slowly made their way back to the entrance where a silver horse drawn carriage awaited the newly weds.

In style the young couple clambered in and prepared themselves to journey off into a new life together. I got ready myself, to wipe away a tear when the bride suddenly whipped out a mobile from I don’t know where, maybe from under the folds of her ghagra or from a handbag hidden from sight, and started yakkety yakking with fervor before the coach had got going. I wondered how her newly acquired husband felt about this and whether I should start feeling sorry for him, considering the bride’s first action on getting married was to commune over the mobile. I needn’t have. He pulled out his own mobile from out of the pocket of his jacket and busied himself with it as well as the coach slowly pulled out of the driveway. I played around with my digital camera wishing desperately I could capture this scene for posterity but it was too dark and they were too far away for my flash to have an effect.

”Oh what the heck,” Marlis said later with an indulgent sigh. “You never know. Maybe they were really talking to each other.”

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Pace Gets Faster

The last days we've all gone down like a bunch of skittles with colds and coughs and runny noses beginning with the maid S, who passed it on to my mother who passed it on to me. A the cook got her cold and cough independently and has been going round sounding like a woebegone foghorn and also been sleeping it off most of the day. My cold has slowly retreated meanwhile which is just as well because the season of guests has got underway.

Sumana and Olav

Last week Sushama B and family were down for a wedding of a close friend's daughter so her daughter Sumana and Sumana's husband Olav spent a couple of days with me - the various members of the B family were parked in different places. The wedding they attended seemed like a remake of Monsoon Wedding, with numerous bashes involving singing and dancing and general merry making.

Ravi and Sushama


Last night Suhail arrived with Aude and confirmed reports given to us by other friends about Alitalia. That they make a fuss even about serving water on the flight. (Though Suhail said he waved his hands constantly at the stewardesses passing by and managed to get his fair quota).

Right now the two are sleeping it off after which Su will probably show Aude around Bombay and we'll spend the rest of the time catching up on all the news.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

People's Week

Ishwar and Sheila - down from Canada

This past week has been a real "people's week" bringing old and new faces together. There was the visit from two friends of Dwight's from Toronto - Ishwar and Sheila - who are on a three month vacation. Having spent a month in Europe they landed in Bombay and spent two days wandering around Colaba and Elephanta. They are now chilling in Goa, before they go to Bangalore (which incidentally is where I am headed as well, this coming week). Both Sheila and Ishwar are in the mental health field and so, also interested in the work we do here.

A former classmate, Ketayun also turned up last week and we spent the whole morning exchanging gossip about the people we knew and had studied with. As a result of K's insistent search for old friends I also managed to locate Nazneen who was one of the three students in the arts division at BIS. Those were the days, when a class had nine pupils, six in the science division and three in the arts section! So Nazneen answered my mail and it turned out she was on her way to China for a conference on the Montessori method and I told her I too would be out of town the next few days so we decided to catch up later on.

Then out of the blue Lygia called up and we spent a looong time catching up on all that had happened the past ten years or more that we lost touch with each other and now plan to meet for dinner or some such thing when I return.

Right I'm off to bed now (or maybe I'll see if there's anything worth watching on TV.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Returning To India - The Land Of Festivals


Returning to India hasn’t been as tough as I thought it would be. This is what I wrote to friends I’d left behind in Germany a couple of days back. In Europe they often ask me about my dual life, the one I lead during the months I spend in Europe and the life I lead back in India. In actual fact it is a bit of a pain I suppose, exchanging (among other things) the clean orderly environment of the west for the grimier, garbage filled, chaotic streets of India. Somehow it didn’t seem so bad this time round. I reckon that with time it gets easier, to slip back into the old routine and on this occasion I even found myself luxuriating in the feeling of being home again. Bucket baths, (which I love) being able to eat with your hands, being able to live and work at your own pace rather than to adjust to that of your host in whichever city you happen to be visiting. “I’m happy to be in Bombay again,” I mailed a number of people.

I’d forgotten about Ganesh Chaturti. Two days after flying back from Frankfurt I woke up from my afternoon nap to the dhoom dhoom of a deep bass which sounded like it came from the flat above us. Neighbor’s planning a bash tonight, I thought a bit woozily and went back to sleep. Over the next half hour it got worse. When I finally made my way to the guest room which doubles as my office and which faces the road, I discovered the noise wasn’t coming from the neighbor’s place at all but from the street outside our house.

“Ganapathi”, beamed our maid S at me who had spent the entire afternoon gawking at the spectacle unfolding below. She seemed simply delighted with life. Huge loudspeakers had been set up just outside the gates of our building to welcome the holy procession to the sea which was preparing to start from some enclave close by.

The noise predictably got worse with time. I found I could no longer work. I could no longer think, no longer write, no longer do much more than just listen to the thump and clash which reverberated along the entire street. The drumming and the booming at some point seemed so much like they were happening inside my head that I was threatened by a very real headache. With some luck I found that by closing the door of the room facing the road and escaping into the living room I could avoid about fifty per cent of the furor and even clear up a little space in my brain to think.

What were the festivities about, anyway? Ah, yes it was all centered around this elephant god who was supposed to smoothen your path to success. At times, noise in India brings on an amnesia which makes you forget your own name. The ruckus seemed to make mincemeat of any sense which might have been originally attached to the ritual. It was the birthday of Lord Ganesha wasn’t it. The day on which he was believed to uplift mankind with his very presence. Although Ganesha himself has been revered privately for centuries, the festival was popularized by the freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak, in order to increase people’s awareness of the freedom struggle. Ganesha himself stands for wisdom and intellect. Freedom, wisdom and intellect however seemed to be the last attributes which the horrible sounds emerging from the road reflected.

So what did those sounds reflect? What was the drumming really trying to say, I sat and wondered and it seemed to me, the noise was actually a reflection of the frustration and boredom which characterizes a large part of today’s youth. “I’m going crazy, I’m bored, save me from the burden of repression” seemed to be the main underlying message being banged out by the drum which lacked any sense of rhythm or musical quality. As with so many festivals in India, Ganesh Chaturti too – at least according to me – has lost its original significance. It is no longer about wisdom and intelligence and brings with it none of the sense of peace and sacredness which a spiritual ritual is supposed to be about.

At night, when a couple of huge idols in the vicinity had at last rolled out of sight to make their way to the sea, the world fell silent again. Lying in bed after dinner, listening to crickets chirp and the waves of the ocean lap around the rocks beyond the garden wall I sensed peace making a comeback in my life. In those last few minutes before being overtaken by sleep I felt I was once more in touch with something sacred.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Musical Evening

Petra, Tilmann, Thomas and Lulu studying chords of "King of the road".

Petra came over yesterday to say goodbye. Incredibly my time in Germany is coming to an end and although on the one hand it feels like a long time, on the other hand it feels like just yesterday that my parents and I were sipping wine at the airport lounge in Bombay, on our way to Munich. Strange thing time. Very difficult to really grasp.

Petra

Unlike the last time I was here when we made a lot of music, we hardly got together in the evenings this time round, to play the guitar and fool around. So I asked Petra to bring along her guitar and for the first time last night we gathered around the dining table for a jam session, with Lulu, Thomas, Tilmann and Petra on the guitar and me accompanying them on the harmonica. All the good old songs were turned out. Leaving on a jet plane, King of the road, Bee-bop-a-lula (whooo man!) Yesterday, Five hundred miles. At the end of which everyone sighed and wondered why didn't we do this more often.

Today is my last day in Prien. On Friday I join my parents in Munich and Saturday we fly back home. It always feel a bit sad to leave friends behind but on the other hand I'm also looking forward to getting back. Ariela and I have great plans for this coming year. There is a possibility of her making a

Tilmann


film about Samuel in which case part of the filming will be done in India and I will get a chance to help her. Other plans are to do a few joint groups, both in Germany and in India - to form a sort of friendship circle where it will be possible for us to work together. More about this when we meet.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Ride On the Chiem Lake


View of the shore, from our boat on the Chiemsee (the Chiem lake)

The last couple of days the sun appeared in full force again. Ruth also made an appearance here yesterday and we drove down to the lake. We had to return the car to A. at around noon which didn't leave us much time but in the hour or so we were there we decided to rent a paddle boat on an impulse. There was no time for me to back out and so, amidst of visions of me tumbling into the water and having to flap around till I was rescued, I clambered gingerly onto the tiny rocking boat. But once we took off it was fun. There was a cool breeze blowing and before we knew it, it was time to return.

Ruth on her way back home

We had a fabulous buffet lunch at the Chinese next door where for under 6 euros you get a choice of at least 8 dishes, including just about every kind of meat and also a decent choice of vegetables. I was so stuffed that I could have easily skipped dinner. Only being greedy I didn't of course. It would have been difficult to say No to the juicy steak which Thomas had cooked and the fried onion and mushrooms which Ose (who dropped in yesterday evening) had tossed up.

With Felix the usual games continue. Today we got back to playing Joseph and Maria with a limp little teddy serving as baby Jesus. In between Felix metamorphosed from Joseph into Tee-Wex (Tyrannosaurus Rex) and went round stomping like a great big dinosaur would probably do, kidnapping and eating up all and sundry including this large cuddly duck made of wool named Tante (Aunt) Suzanna and her baby daughter "Peeps".

A and Tilmann who left for Munich at around noon are still not back. Thomas, the kids and I are done with dinner, Felix is in bed and I'm doing some last minute mailing and posting before I make my way downstairs.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Visitors from Paris

Suhail posing for a photo in Shasha's "chicks" pajamas

Once again, Suhail and Shasha flew down from Paris for the weekend. Actually they were supposed to get here Thursday night but Suhail arrived late at the departure gate and they wouldn't let him board the flight so they had to take one the next morning. What happened was that there was a bomb scare on the airport train he was taking and all passengers had to disembark. He lost twenty minutes figuring out how to get to the right terminal and by the time he arrived the gate had already closed. Anyway they finally showed up on Friday morning and we had a really good time. Did a small meditation together with A on Saturday night and wound up going to bed at the crack of dawn.

Yesterday was a pretty busy day. As Suhail and Shasha were leaving Walter and Anya who live in nearby Ebersberg, dropped in to say Hi. They are both therapists and among other kinds of work they do "water therapy" in a special warm water pool, which they claim is very healing. Walter is one of the early students of Samuel whom I got to know years ago. He and Anya got together through their children. W's son Dustin met and started to date Anya's daughter a couple of years ago and along the way the kids both discovered that their parents attended workshops conducted by a weird man called "Samuel". Anyway, shortly after W and A arrived the weather started to clear up and the sun actually made an appearance after what seemed like days so we drove down to the lake for a coffee, then walked around a bit before they dropped me back home.

This morning I woke up from out of a weird dream in which Samuel had come to India and we had our workshop in a big shed on the edge of a busy road in Bombay. We were lying down, meditating while people walked by, often stopping to stare and to sometimes point fingers at us and laugh. I don't think I'll bother with interpreting that one!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Rainy Spell

Ayse's garden (she now lives in the house across the road from Samuel)

It rained heavily the day we left Prien for Switzerland. I mean not just rained, it poured as we started out, though it cleared up later on and parts of the journey were even somewhat sunny. But as we neared Solothurn it came down in sheets, almost like a tropical downpour. Luckily it stopped for a few minutes when we reached Rupert and Brigitte’s place in Lüsslingen, long enough for us to dash in without getting drenched. We found out that it had been raining heavily for over a couple of days, and part of R and B’s house had got flooded the night before we arrived. Everyone was making jokes about Noah and the great flood and it being time to build an arc and escape to safety. I thought of our flat in Bombay which gets regularly soaked during the monsoon and told people that I thought this kind of thing happened only in India where the fittings were bad and the doors and windows all had cracks or were not waterproof for other reasons. The subsequent days were not too bad and on Saturday the sun appeared for several hours and it was mostly dry.

Sabine B

It was great catching up with old friends, many of whom are now willing to pitch in to get the trainers group in India going. Brigitte has offered to do a course in body work and Sabine B whom I recently got acquainted with, is a musician who would love to do a workshop in India based on music therapy. I stayed at Ayse's place. She lives a lot of the time in Switzerland now in a beautiful house with a garden frequented by many of the kids in the community. The side of the drawing dining room overlooking the garden is sheer glass and gives out onto a patio which is semi enclosed. Brigitte

Apart from people at the workshop, old friend Jean Pierre came over to Ayse’s for breakfast on Saturday with his wife, Karin and their two kids. K. is going to have a baby and yet planning to come to India for the workshop in December, when she will be seven months pregnant. She was uncertain about it and they had earlier written to ask me what I thought. When I forwarded the mail to our friend in the village he remarked that they had had several women come to to the village who were pregnant and everything had been fine. As long as there were no complications to do with infections a person might already be carrying he felt it ought to be all right. Of course it is one of those things. After hearing it all you have to take full responsibility for the decision you take and JP and K felt that having got all the pro’s and con’s they would still like to come to India.

The workshop itself was a masterpiece, as I never tire of telling people. One of the best I’ve done with Samuel or for that matter with anyone. What we all realised is that you cannot bring healing to others until you yourself are healed and so that is what it turned out to be. A workshop with a real healing touch.

The night we returned to Prien we discovered it was Tilmann’s birthday so naturally we opened a bottle of wine to celebrate and sat up till almost three in the morning. The weather is cold and wet and last night in spite of it being technically “summer” I was forced to turn on the heating. And Feli and I are back to roaring like dinosaurs and chucking plastic balls and soft toys around and at each other.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tyrannosaurus Felix

After all the games Feli and I have been playing it finally happened. Last night I actually dreamed about a robot. We were at a party and there was this robot in black with a masked face, serving drinks. At some point Ayse went up to him and gave him a kiss and he turned into a man – still in black but with a human face and wearing spectacles. This morning Feli came downstairs early and I told him my dream after which he related six dreams to me, centred around a mixture of spiders, robots and dangerous sharks.

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The weather has been holding up which is a pleasure because it is possible to spend time outdoors. Sat on a bench downstairs for over an hour yesterday with Sammy sunning himself by my side and purring away loudly.

Ariela left left for Switzerland yesterday. She took a train because she wanted to meet someone there who is to help her with a film script she is working on about illegal immigrants in Germany. A. said it is weird but she began the script several months ago and then in the middle of it, the cleaning woman was arrested. It felt almost as if her script were coming to life. Anyway now she wants to meet this ex-policewoman called Jutta who is part of the community around Samuel because she feels Jutta will have a lot of information on the subject of illegal aliens. Thomas and I will drive down on Wednesday morning and reach Lüsslingen by late afternoon. I will stay with Ayse who lives opposite Samuel.

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Sonya is currently cleaning up the kitchen. She is the new household help and she comes from Croatia. Her husband works in a restaurant in Prien so at least her status is legal. I think from now on Ariela will be very careful before employing anyone. Sonya has a four year old daughter called Adriana who sometimes comes with her and is extremely chatty. When I asked her her name she said “Atheliyana” and I thought it must be some Serbian or Croatian name I’ve never heard of, until I heard her mother calling her.

"Atheliyana"

With Ariela and Thomas away most of the day yesterday (he drove her down to Munich to drop her off at the station and returned only after six in the evening) Lioba and I took take care of Feli along with some help from Lilly. We spent two hours in the evening playing sharks and whales and dinosaurs. This is a very simple game in which Feli plays the dinosaur or some other dangerous beast and comes growling at us and making fierce faces and we have to whimper and moan with fear and it can go on for hours. Lioba was exhausted at the end and said she would have to take the train back to her hotel because she was too tired to walk.

Tilmann wants to visit his father in the afternoon. I mistakenly killed off the old man in a mail to my parents but it appears that Tilmann’s dad is in an old folks home near Munich and suffers from dementia.

(For the next few days I'm away so most probably wont be able to write until I return at the end of the week or early next week. Have fun meanwhile!)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sunny Weather

Thomas relaxing in the courtyard in between renovating the downstairs apartment


Lioba and Felix
The last two days in Prien have been sunny and warm so we've been spending a lot of time outdoors. Now that the doc downstairs has vacated the premises and the B's have the whole building to themselves we make full use of the little courtyard which has been laid out with benches and a table. It's especially pleasant sitting out in the afternoon.

In addition Lioba is in the vicinity for a few days. She's rented a room in a nearby village and walks down most afternoons to Prien. Lioba (the name means "love" in Latin - at least I think it's Latin!) is Brigitte's sister (the therapist in Lüsslingen) and works in an institute in Stuttgart for teens and young adults with learning difficulties including ADS. (Attention Deficiency Syndrome). She supervises the tests which are administered and then decides where to place each person. They can go for further training in a whole lot of professions including catering and carpentry and when they've graduated they're helped to find employment.
Lioba's cowboy pose

Tilmann

Lulu and Felix are both away at the moment - Felix only for a couple of hours - his baby sitter Julia has taken him for a walk to the mini golf course near the lake. Tilmann has gone shopping for tonight's dinner and other stuff we need. It's one of those rare quiet spells and Ariela is upstairs making the most of it.








Dracula Duo: Lulu and Felix

Thanks to the good weather I've been able to start walking outside, and was able to hobble to the Chinese restaurant this afternoon and after that, to the local supermarket and back, without any help, though with Lioba at my side. That did me good although when I got back home I discovered I had a shoe bite. But Tilmann gave me a plaster to stick on it and now I'm resting the foot a bit.



Lulu, off to help at the stables for another week, before school begins

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Some Pics

Finally I managed to find an easy way to connect my camera with the computer, with Tilmann's help. Tilmann is the guy who's rented a couple of rooms on the ground floor and is often in and out of the house. His grinning face and cheerful nature make up for the lack of sun on cold and cloudy days.

Anyway here are some of the people I already wrote about.

Irina and Ose. Irina is the musician who gave the piano recital at Ose's place the evening we arrived in Munich. She lives in Hamburg and is married to a guy from Togo, who runs a restaurant in Hamburg.

Julia and me. Julia is the daughter of my old friend Sabine and lives in Frankfurt

Ten month old Aidan. (Julia's baby)

















Jenny, the au pair from Bogota (Colombia). She makes a great dracula.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Busy Days

Felix with his flying dolphin

Been super busy entertaining Felix. This morning we watched a couple of short documentary films, one on dinosaurs and the other on Egyptian mummies. He has probably seen each of them a hundred times. At one stage Felix turned up the sound so much it hurt my ears and I told him not to do that. He gave me a reproachful look and explained. "You don't understand. I love dinosaurs so much, the sound has to be loud." When the second documentary came to an end he said that when he grew up he wanted to be a "dinosaur researcher" and a "mummy researcher".

The other day we went to the lakeside for lunch, Ariela, Felix, Lilly, me, Ose whom we had visited in Munich and her friend Irina who is a music teacher and who had given a piano recital at Ose's place the day we arrived in Munich. After lunch, Lilly lights up a cigarette and Ariela looks and sounds most unhappy about it. Feli says to his mother in a most matter of fact tone, "Mama, don't look at Lilly just now, then you wont see her smoking."

Apart from Felix there has been a spate of visitors. Andrea came over a couple of days back and is here again today. Right now she is with the kids in the workshop downstairs where they are busy painting pictures. She's come with her 9 year old daughter Ines who is quite a handful. She and Feli make quite a pair, dashing across the house and screeching at the top of their voices. Julia, my friend Sabine's daughter, had visited yesterday with her ten month old baby Aidan, and Aidan's baby sitter, a really nice young woman from Colombia in South America. She reminded me quite a bit of a South American girl I used to know in Paris in the days when I was an au pair myself - Graciela, who was from Venezuela. She had the same quick mind, the same sense of humour, the same warmth. Jenny's year in Germany is over and she returns home tomorrow, so now Julia will have to look for a new au pair. Meanwhile I have an invitation to stay with Jenny and her family in Bogota - anyone want to join me?

I've been taking photos but it's a bit of a pain transferring them onto the computer. I do hope to get down to it at some point though.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Getting Away

There comes a point in your journey when, having checked in for the flight and had immigration clear you, you heave a sigh of relief and put your feet up. Of course your bags still have to be x-rayed and your body to be patted all over by some listless deeply uninterested security officer in a khakhi uniform but at least for the time being you've got through a couple of the big hurdles.

So thanks to my parents who were travelling business class I was able to wriggle alongside them into the business lounge with access to free drinks and snacks and having crossed the threshold almost immediately regretted it. It was smoky, packed, and the three of us at least initially couldn't sit together. Outside we would have been part of the hoy polloi but at least there was a lot of space and you didn't get the feeling you were in a cramped delux prison cell.

As I sat feeling a bit disconsolate at first, a nice looking hostess passed by and gave me a really nice friendly smile. That made me feel a bit better. She brought me a glass of red wine and I thought of what a difference "the personal touch" makes, though at a slightly later point I caught her smiling not only at everyone but at everything, including the walls and the sofas and I realised that the smile had frozen on her face and she probably wasn't even awake but sleepwalking.

The flight itself was super uneventful. We landed in Munich at around noon, checked into our hotel in central part of town and went on to have a pretty good time over the next three days, meeting many old friends, including Ruth who had accompanied me to India in January and Ose who had treated me with homeopathy during the time I was recuperating from my broken ankle in Prien.

Thomas picked me up yesterday from the hotel and we came to Prien while my parents went on to Champaign in the U.S. where they will spend time with Vishnu and Peg.

More in the next few days, just wanted to say Hi and all is well.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Ingmar Bergman - An Unlikely Tribute

Ingmar Bergman is dead. The morning papers brought me the news. I went through Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s tribute to the master, over coffee and cereal and then, as I usually do while reading the newspaper, turned the page to see what was next (a follow up on the recently released Bangalore doctor, Mohammed Haneef, bird flu in Manipur and Rajiv’s dream – according to Sonia - about a woman president in India). A couple of minutes down the line I suddenly realized my brain wasn’t registering what my eyes were reading, at all. The reason was this funny lump in my throat which refused to go away, which I was eventually forced to acknowledge and look at.

I realized it had to do with Bergman. Funny, I thought. I seldom react this way to the death of public figures, no matter how sorry I might be at their passing away. The last time anybody’s demise had affected me personally had been over twenty years ago when J. Krishnamurti, one of my favorite philosophers and teachers (whom I never personally met) had died, leading me to babble sorrowfully a day or two later while lying on the psychoanalyst's couch.

What was it about Bergman that now made me feel sad? It struck me that it was not only to do with his own death, but with the passing of an entire era, that is to say, with the graying of an entire generation of youngsters who imagined time would stand still and that they would never see the wrong side of forty, let alone fifty or sixty as some of us are doing. Bergman in my mind is inescapably connected with chicken rolls oozing mayonnaise eaten in the dark, loud arguments about the merits of his various films and silent giggling. There was the time when some of us went to see “Wild Strawberries” for example (I think it was at the Excelsior) and sadly enough the only thing I remember today is trying not to choke over the shock in the voice of a German friend among our group, who had nudged me and muttered in a panic stricken voice, “Retts – there are retts in this hall!” while the rest of us watched a large rodent scampering up and down the aisles with more than a little amusement.

It’s not only the image of scuttling rats in cinema hallways which Bergman brings back when I think of him now. It is also memories of a bunch of us exuberant film buffs getting together after every show to dissect what we had just seen and experienced. Mostly we would land up in the pocket sized PG room which the B’s, a mad, carefree couple in their late twenties, had rented on Peddar Road, just round the corner from where I lived. So, over drinks and snacks we’d fill the air with the sound of our own voices as we argued and fought with each other over what had just been screened. Some of us loved Bergman’s pensive, often dark treatment (me) others intensely disliked his style though most of us agreed that his last film “Fanny and Alexander” a fairy tale cum horror story centered around the get together of a rambling, adulterous, philosophical family, was possibly his best offering – a positively magical piece of work.

On one occasion we’d been so preoccupied tearing each other to bits over some obscure aspect or other of a movie we’d just seen, we’d completely overlooked the shortage of food at home, which came to our notice only when our stomachs began to rumble in unison at about ten at night. Please note, this was before the days of fast food service when uniformed, decorous young men on motorbikes rumble to a stop before your door bearing a stack of thin crusted cheesy pizza or a plate of tandoori kebabs to fill the cavern expanding in your belly.

On this occasion, someone was obviously required to go and fetch some food but because nobody wanted to break up the party and step out we eventually decided to cast lots. A young fellow called Golly (I never figured out how or why he got his nickname), became “it” and wishing us a melancholy goodbye, set out to fetch us all biryani from the closest Irani restaurant a couple of kilometers away, while the rest of us continued to pour ourselves generous measures of rum from the B’s waning stock of liquor and to wax eloquent on the meaning of life, death, relationships and dark areas of the human soul, topics which Bergman’s movies invariably threw up.

Half an hour passed. An hour passed. There was no sign of Golly returning and remember, again, this was before the days of the mobile when you could track down each cough and fart of a loved one who had strayed. An hour and a half later, when we called up his home with bated breath, imagining the worst, we were told by Golly’s mother that he had returned a while ago, finished his dinner and was already in bed.

Oh well. It is ages since that happy group disbanded for various reasons. The B’s who had decided to turn into responsible adults and to complete their joy in life by producing children, packed up and left for Pune which they figured was a more healthy place to bring up kids than Bombay. Two of the group went on to become well known film critics. One of the couples emigrated to the U.S. Golly got married and had kids of his own. And I dropped freelance journalism to become a psychotherapist.

That’s life. We don’t meet that often any more and when we do, of course it’s not the same. Not really. I don’t expect or even want it to be the same and yet, thinking of Bergman today keeps bringing back that funny lump in my throat.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Happy Couple Finally Get Hitched

Chandran and Meher who met through our music med group roughly three years ago finally made it "to the alter". Well no alter in this case, only a ceremonial fire which I missed, since it was scheduled for the evening and I had to return home soon after lunch. (Which was fabulous). Music med types can look forward to a get together very soon at their place and meanwhile here's a pic:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Visit From A Kindergarten Buddy

Rani, my kindergarten buddy from Queen Mary's had visited earlier this month. This pic was taken by Aparna, after Rani's trip to Ladakh. Well these days Rani and I are civil with each other but time was when ranting, raving and throwing objects at each other seemed to be an intrinsic part of our relationship (which I sorely missed when she left India for the U.S. way back in '72.) Since then she's settled down in Baltimore with Peter though she does visit Mother (India) quite frequently. Rani, though she is my age, is still full of beans and it is sometimes rrrreally difficult to keep up with her. She teaches grade one (I think) in Baltimore and the kids there love her. So that shows you her physical age at least.

The rains seem to have done the disappearing act. It is getting warm and sultry again and there is to be a power cut for most of today - from 10 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening, so I am preparing myself for a long sweaty haul. And also here at the computer before breakfast so that I can wrap up today's mailing etc.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ornery Things

I no longer dread going for a haircut the way I used to some years back. My hairdresser (I think they prefer to be called "hair stylists" these days) is either getting used to me and my hair, or getting mellow. Time was when, no matter what I told her, she would send me away with hardly any hair on my head, with me wanting to go and hole up somewhere till I looked a little bit less like a plucked chicken. Dwight was there on one occasion I remember, he had also come for a haircut (which she did quite well) and back in the car, every time he glanced in my direction he went into a fit of giggles. Now my hairdresser not only asks me how I would like to have my hair, she actually does what I want. She still can't resist asking me every time if I don't want it short and when I fix her with a grim look and go "NO WAY" she smiles this indulgent smile and snips off just the bit I want her to do away with.

Vijay came along with me. He's what the Germans would call a "Kumpel". A good guy to hang out with, have a beer and a cigarette with (yes we burn up the weed once every two or three weeks, so like today we just bought ourselves three cigarettes to share between two of us which we really enjoyed.) Vijay is good to go shopping with, whatever you want to buy - clothes, electronics, CD's, anything. After he patiently sat through my haircut we dropped in at my parents' apartment though they weren't at home but luckily I had the key. Missed seeing Mishi around - it was the first time I was visiting after she died. And then we topped off our rounds with lunch at the club.

Am now back home and since it's raining and I can't sit out on the balcony as I usually do in the evenings here I am at the computer, updating my blog.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Comments about the monsoon


A comment from an irate citizen on the recent floods in the city: "In Bombay everything has been going down the drain except the water."

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Monsoon Day

pic by Suresh Dhaadve

It's been raining heavily since last night and the gray skies and frequent downpours, the flooded roads everywhere in the city bring back memories of school days when heavy rains justified a respite from school. Memories return, of the jubilation with which we would dump our school bags in a corner and settle down to some pure schoolgirl fun. I would run off to my pal Aruna's place. Aruna who was a classmate, happened to live next door and we would while away rainy days sitting companionably together on her bed surrounded by a heap of comics which kept us occupied and eating hot chips, toast or bhajiyas which her mother would produce for us at intervals.

As usual the rail traffic has been disrupted so Sudha and Sharat who were supposed to come over this morning are not able to make it. Parts of the city are very likely under water. I haven't yet watched the news. Our city fathers chant the same old mantra every year about how "this year it will be different and we will be prepared." Like hell. As one irate reader commented in today's newspaper, the government is not and never will be prepared so we ordinary citizens better be.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Enter The Monsoon


The monsoon has set in and high time too! We have been at the end of our resources, struggling to keep awake through the heat and humidity. All of a sudden it has cooled down but of course muggy spells in between are still to be expected.

Yesterday there was a bunch of people from the neighbouring slum colony, all of them standing on the rocks just outside their door, gazing raptly at the gigantic monsoon waves rippling through the sea and crashing on the shore, sometimes spilling over the wall around their hutments. In the picture here you see the view from our balcony at high tide - the sea comes in almost to the foot of the garden wall. It's great. The sunsets are a treat - when there are any to speak of! Dark clouds intermingled with startling shades of orange and pink. An artist's paradise.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Weekend Jinks

Once in a while it does good for Aunties like Sudha and me to revive ourselves with what Suhail calls "Eng bled". Su does this hilarious imitation of his south Indian neighbours in Bangalore in the days before they moved to France. Well last weekend Moll (Aparna) and her husband Shivraj came over to cook us a steak dinner which lasted the entire weekend and included two fiercely competitive rounds of UNO (Saturday and Sunday evenings) which lasted till almost two in the morning and was unbelievably noisy. Sudha and I decided to represent the Kannara Saraswat Mahila Mandal and Aparna and Raj played for the Mallu team. After making an initial fuss about never having played the game Sudha and I (actually I) won hands down. Shine on Kannara Saraswat Mahilas! Ha ha ha. (Of course I am not wholly Saraswat, one quarter of me is Tambram).

The steaks were delicious. There were three marinades - a mango pickle marinade, a pad thai marinade and a classic one with olive oil and rosemary. Mmmmm.













Incidentally Shivraj who handles the guitar with almost professional aplomb even serenaded my parents after dinner and before they returned home.





Thursday, June 07, 2007

When A Child Is Abandoned

I read about a four year old boy called Om, in the Bombay papers this morning. He had been found abandoned at a railway station in the city. The report is accompanied by this picture of a really cute kid with big rather sad looking eyes and behind him you see the social worker who found him at the station. He had been sitting next to a suitcase containing his clothes, some toys, a pair of shoes and a watch.

Anu Khan was on her routine visit to the central station where she interacts with juvenile ragpickers and beggars, when she saw Om sitting alone. An hour later when she passed that way again he was still there and talking to him she discovered that his mother had left him there saying she was going to get tea but she never came back.

The kid has apparently been abused because the police who took him in and sent him to an orphanage discovered a burn mark on his arm, left by a hot press. He admitted that his mother was bad tempered and had hit him badly on the train for crying.

It isn't only in India that children are abused or abandoned. I still remember the report I read in Time magazine years ago, about a four year old girl abandoned by her mother and the mother's boy friend on a highway somewhere, who was later spotted by the police. I guess it must be happening all the time, all over the world.

As far as I'm concerned it's the ultimate nightmare and I can't even begin to understand how this can happen - how parents can abandon such small kids without batting an eye. What happens to those kids? Are they ever able to trust any human being again? Why do we let each other down so badly at times?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Open Letter To Richard Gere


All those who have been following the outcome of the "Richard Gere- Shilpa Shetty Kiss" several weeks back will find this perspective interesting and maybe even agree on what the writer, Sudhir M, has to say about it. Incidentally my friend Suman mailed me the letter a few days back. Here is Sudhir:

Dear Mr Gere,

On behalf of the Indian people I regret to inform you that your offer to apologise for violating the modesty of an Indian lady is rejected!

We, the people of India, do not accept such acts of lewdness and open display of affection in public. What you did was morally wrong and socially unacceptable in India and has hurt the feelings of every Indian.

Let me demonstrate to you the enormity of your error. Even Vatsayana, in his epic Kamasutra, has not dared to depict any kissing scenes. He explains and depicts various positions for sexual intercourse but none for kissing. Likewise, our temples all over and Khajuraho in particular depict explicit sexual scenes but none of male and female forms are ever shown kissing each other. This kind of intimacy is simply not acceptable. That is why you will never see men and women kiss each other in India.

We are proud that we do not engage in visible exhibition of our affection. We have other ways of showing our caring love and affection and respect for women. Mostly, we show our respect for women by raping them. At times it is done in groups of several men which is our way of paying tribute to the strength of the female form that it requires enormous effort by men to subdue.

We also love and respect our women enough that we force them to get a handsome dowry from their parents at the time of wedding and then throughout her life. This is done to ensure that she is able to lead a comfortable life. If for whatever reasons, the parents are unable to fund the dowry requirements, we normally tend to kill our brides by burning them or pushing them from the roof a tall building or force them to commit suicide to save them from discomfort and guilt that she was unable to provide a comfortable life to her husband and his parents and his uncles and aunts and his nephews and nieces etc.

Mr Gere, in India, the female form is equated with Devi i.e. Goddess. We very firmly believe in this and that is why we have no hesitation in piling her with all responsibilities, hard work and hardships. In many parts of our country, when a man dies, his wife is expected and made to self immolate only to save her from the guilt of not having been able to protect and save her husband despite of her being a form of goddess.

I hope it has become abundantly clear to you that we care and respect our women enough that we cannot accept your immoral behaviour. Had you proceeded to rape Ms Shetty (with a condom on, of course, in line with your prevention of AIDS advocacy), we would probably not have found the act as offensive. While you would be in trouble with the law, the people of India would have not had any issue with you as this is a common occurrence for them.

I hope you have learnt your lesson and in future rape an Indian woman before engaging in the heinous act of kissing her in public. We could be in trouble with law in both cases but at least if you rape her, people will not say that you are inhuman, insensitive and immoral. Moreover, in case you do commit a rape, the law is likely to take a while to catch up with you because unlike kissing in public there are so many rapes happening everyday. And then you are likely to get off on a technicality.

Sudhir M is a common man from the streets of India and can be reached at sm789@yahoo.com

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A New Cat On The Scene

Vishnu and Peg have won the race to get a new cat. Here is a pic of Mia and some news about her from Vishnu:

We brought home the 1-year old cat that we saw at the vet last week. They kept her for a few days to have her spayed and a night extra for her to recover partially. She has been home for two days now and is gradually exploring the house a little more each day. Peggy's original
thought was to name her Jeannie and subsequently I came up with the name Mia which Peggy liked because the cat miaows and is moderately vocal. She doesn't have conversations with us like Lucy, but gives a little trill when she feels a little insecure or wants some attention. Also, when she sees something unfamiliar, she gives a very brief soft growl, as she did when she saw the bath tub for the first time.

I am sending you three photos of her that I took this afternoon when we were all sitting on the patio, just before grilling some sirloin steaks. Mia is quite affectionate and gregarious but doesn't like to be carried like Lucy did. She likes to sit with us on the sofa or on the coffee
table and trots after one of us whenever we go from one end of the house to the other. Sometimes she runs in front and gets in the way so we have to be careful not to trip on her or step on her.

One of the photos shows her sitting on the leather Eckornes recliner, to which she has taken a liking. She will probably fight with Mummy as to who gets to sit on that chair. In fact, she wanted to get on when I was sitting on it and looked at me like Mishi used to look at you when you were using one of her chairs.

She is like a cross between Lucy and Mishi. She has the same colors that Muthu did has and a rather narrow face. Peggy calls her monkey-face sometimes. She can be greedy and usually tries to lead us to the laundry room where her bowl is kept. There's just one unpleasant habit she has. She sometimes farts, rather stinky ones and pretends she doesn't know anything about it. She did it several times the first evening we had her, less on the second day and
less today.With luck, it will taper off. It could have been due to her being on anaesthesia and being constipated for a couple of days.

Well I'm hoping to get a new cat here in Bombay too, but since I am leaving for Europe in August and will be away for about 6 weeks, I think I will wait till I get back home in September before I go hunting for a kitten.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Marve Retreat

Our retreat at the beach shack in Marve, with Pankaj and gang generally went off well but Jesus! How noisy the place has become! We deliberately chose to avoid the weekend and to go there during the week and yet we were bombarded by motor bikes racing up and down and disco beats blasting the air from passing car stereos. The worst was being woken up at one thirty in the night by a string of firecrackers that went on for over ten minutes and these included several ear splitting "atom bombs". It felt as if the craziness of the world was all concentrated along the strip of beach outside our house and I am wondering if it isn't time to say goodbye to this great place which has been home to us for so many years. To add to all this we ran out of water by the second morning - the municipal supply just didn't get to us. So the "boys" patiently stood and filled bucket fulls of water into the tank from where it is piped up to the bathrooms, from a storage bin next to it. But generally we had a good time so I'm not complaining.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Off With His Head!

A couple of days back our cook A entered my room in a flap. "Something to tell you," she said, "But let me finish my work and then I can talk." Before I could die of curiosity she settled down on the couch and started pouring out this dramatic real life story, of what had happened to her the previous day as she was getting back home from work at about nine in the evening. She had just crossed the maidan over onto the road leading past her house when she saw a fellow slowly cycling along. Behind him, unknown to him was a guy trotting after him with a chopper. Before anyone knew it the guy with the chopper had knocked off the head of the cyclist and run off and as A said, her hands and legs "liquefied".

What shocked her the most was the fact that she knew who the killer was, it was a young man who lived in a nearby building, whose father was respectably employed as a driver or something. Whooo! Anyway A had her wits about her because before anyone could spot her, she dodged into her building and once back in her room, collapsed onto the bed. "If I had "bud payshur" she said, "I would have had a stroke by now or I'd be dead." We figured out that both guys must be members of rival gangs, that too gangs related to some big time mafia dons about whom one is always reading in the press. (Later on I learned that the boy with the chopper was arrested by the police).

At times like this I see how far apart our lives are, A's and mine, although we don't live all that far away from each other. Violence seems to be built into the environment of working class people. The other day during our fortnightly get together T also spoke about how volatile the atmosphere in slums and chawls is. The least provocation can set off a really bad reaction. Must be quite a task to maintain any degree of sanity in those surroundings so when I do see people succeed at it, it awes me.

Friday, May 11, 2007

May Meltdown

May is the month in Bombay when you shower after breakfast and before you've thrown on any clothes, want to head straight back for bed. Each moment, each step, each word practically, costs you tons of ENERGY. Sometimes I just stand around doing nothing and am fascinated at the way my face, neck and other parts of me start to drip. A whole month or more to go before the monsoon sets in. Sigh.

***

Are Indian politicians growing up by any chance? Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's remarks in the Lok Sabha about the influx of immigrants from U.P. and Bihar into the city sparked off quite a reaction among members of the RJD, BJP and Samajwadi parties. But whereas in the old days they would have been pelting her with tomatoes, rotten eggs and chappals, this time, members angered by her statement just "protested". Of course their protests effectively stopped the house from carrying on with any work until Sheila Madam apologised. Laloo, not known particularly for his sense of maturity, took everyone by surprise by saying that although she was wrong, it was time to leave the incident behind and move on.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Another Great Cat Says Goodbye


Barely a week after our cat Mishi left us (in Bombay) Vishnu and Peg's (my brother and sister-in-law's) cat (Champaign, Ill.) took her leave as well, at the age of about eighteen. Here is an excerpt about Lucy, from Vishnu's email this morning:

I know how sad you and Mummy must be at not having Mishi around any more. We also feel that way about Lucy. Peggy said that most cats are cats people like in spite of their personalties. With Lucy, there was no “in spite”. She was sociable and affectionate and introduced herself to people who visited her except very small children since they tended to chase her away. She spent a good amount of time following us around from room to room and often sat on the tables next to our PCs when we used them.

She was quite a hunter in her prime, and we remember 3-chipmunk days and 3-rabbit days in
Bloomington. Once she jumped up into the air and caught a bird with both of her front paws while she was about 2 feet off the ground. She also chased Wim and Margaret’s cat, Melody, around their house which embarrassed us, especially when we were talking with Wim and Margaret right in front of their house.

The funniest incident I remember was when she left half a mouse for me on the patio doormat in Bloomington. She had eaten the top half which must have been the tastiest and left the rest for me. I tossed it over the fence and she brought it back within minutes and put it right back on the doormat. Each time, I tossed it father away, and each time she retrieved it and looked at me as if to say, “Now don’t do that! I brought it for you!”.

This brings back shades of Mishi too, who used to be quite a hunter in her heyday. Not to mention a number of other cats who have lived with us in the past forty years, each of whom we remember with amusement and some amount of horror (the gruesome offerings we've been made!!) but never without affection . Cats - oh well. I don't know about you but for all their quirks I do find it difficult to live without them.



Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Adios Mishi

Born some time in December 1987
Left for the happy hunting grounds April 30th 2007

Mishibishi

As great and eccentric a cat as the rest who have graced us with their presence.
Had a horrendously loud and raucous mew and often vented her feelings during our evening meditations.
Loved being hit all over by a fly swatter. Especially after dinner.
Mad about pizza - any kind.
On the nights that she decided to sleep on my bed she drove visitors out of my room by 10 PM by screeching at them to GET OUT.
We'll miss this crazy cat.



Thursday, April 26, 2007

Summer

The heat and the humidity are catching up with me so my brain is not at its best right now. What I like to do most is to listen to music, read and yes, clean up, because that doesn't take much brain power as such. Last week Tukaram, the two ladies and I took a look at the spare room next to the kitchen where the ladies have been requested to sleep. The things that emerged from it were amazing.

At first, the two beauties joined me in looking up at the loft and gawking at the odd looking heaps and bundles with which it was crammed. They very cooperatively seconded my feelings of disgust though they didn’t quite as enthusiastically back up my suggestion that we start to actually deal with the mess. Well, at the end of about two hours we had found stuff which had been rotting there for I don’t know how long. Mouldy slippers belonging to my grandmother, moth-eaten cardboard files, a huge mysterious trunk filled with holes which had been shrouded in a faded cotton sheet, whose contents nobody had bothered to check for a lifetime, because, the two maids, (when asked why they’d never bothered to take a look at it) said, “it was locked.” So we broke open the lock and found that the trunk was quite empty. There were not even any rats or roaches in it. It turned out to be the one my mom had taken with her on her first trip abroad when she’d sailed to England to join my father in the summer of ’53.

Well, the room is looking a whole lot cleaner and more respectable minus the junk. And now there is this huge loft up in the study where I'm working right now, begging me to also take a look and relieve it of the rubbish which is decaying in it. I will, soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Computer Hassles

My computer's on the blink. I haven't been able to use it since Sunday and the computer engineer who showed up yesterday whisked it off for god knows how long, saying there was some problem with the motherboard. So I have swiped my father's laptop and am watching him do a restless jig in the background. What to do. I told him I use it a lot more than he does and that it makes more sense for me to have it than for it to be sitting around in his flat so he can look up his mails for five minutes every day. He sighed and gave in. He probably thinks, first it's my shirts, then it's my camera, then it's various other knick knacks I've bought, now she wants my computer. Yeah, that's what daughters are for, to help lighten their dads' loads in life so they can walk light and easy on this earth.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Tantra Session

Lyn who passed through Bombay on his way back to San Francisco last week, conducted quite an interesting session for us last Saturday evening, based on the "Tandava dance" He talked to us before that about Tantra being the philosophy of acceptance and oneness, rather than an attitude of rejection which negated all desires.

Lyn had spent six months in India on this particular trip, and visited Kerala, Auroville (which sounds like an intriguing place) and Chennai where he met George over lunch. It's not his first trip to India either, he's been coming here since the late eighties - almost for twenty years. Anyway it was fun talking to him and we also exchanged a lot of music on his last evening here.