Friday, February 27, 2009

The Ganges

sordid and sacred, longing to be naked,

arms extended to a river whose

depths are not measured in fathoms

or feet.

but the meat on the outside and

the inside of hands clasped

together above the surface.

with pining hopes and despairs,

the amorphous yearnings of our bodies, minds and spirits

hurdle themselves from the ghats.

unimpacted by the coolness they descend,

dictated by the current and their

will to be still.

to lie prostrate on the bottom.

nestled behind the corpses and the ashe, the tears of their

fathers, sisters, brothers,

daughters mothers... humanity.


cleansed and released from the

burden of repetition.


The Ganges

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

to bodghaya

a stream of thoughts.

the morining of my departure for Bodghaya i decided to step out and get a bit of food for the train. a fellow, a yound fellow had been in the same spot every day i left the confines of my abode. everyday he'd ask if i needed a ride. every day i would say no. on this day he asked the same question but my answer was different. i asked him to take my picture. he was joined by another man. a quiet one. after the image was captured i asked them both to coffee. they accepted.

we sat and talked for a bit. the original fellow had to leave. but the older fellow, 25, named VIJAY stayed. i started asking him questions about politics. about INDIA, about PAKISTAN.

He talked for a bit and then interrupted himself mid-sentance and said simply, "i am not qualified to talk about such things. i am illiterate. i can't read or write accept the things that pertain to me directly." he then added," i can talk about Shoe Shining that's what i did as a boy." the conversatin began in earnest from there. he asked me if i'd like to come to house for lunch. to meet his parents and his three children. i said maybe some other time i would have to leave soon. he said "there is no other time but now." i took him up on his offer. we drove 30minutes outside the city, arriving in time for lunch prepared by his sister. knowing my time constraints he'd called ahead. we listened to pop music going and coming and talked about marriage (2x for him), children, aspirations all of it in a brief period of time. a picture is included of his sisters wedding. he dropped me off and goodbyes were exchanged. i hope to see him again.

the train. won't spend to long here other than to say that i shared a compartment with 3 well informed INDIAN gentleman. each adding to the conversation in there on way. we talked for 5 hours. one man was 73. a civil engineer in the INDIAN ARMY for a number of years. he's was Regal, graceful and engaged. well educated and an effortles communicator, He seemed from another time. a colonial time. he was a 13 when the British left.

as the dialouge continued people began to open up. another man in the compartment, 40 with two children, living in Sydney talked about having just taken 9 months off to be with his father in NEPAL. the first time he'd ever done anything like that. he's a mechanic for FERRARI (how odd) and works 6 days a week. makes a lot of money. he has a 16 year old daughter and a 6 year old year old daughter. work prevents him from spending time with both. he had his 6 year old come and stay in Nepal with him for 2 months. as he was telling this story his eyes lit up and his smile grew exponentially. his last statement was " i never knew that fatherhood could be like that"

In Bodghaya

Bodghaya is where Buddha found enlightenment. the home of the Bodhi Tree. currently in it's 4 incarnation as the original was chopped down by an angry woman. but not before a sapling was taken to Sri Lanka. it was then transplanted back to Bodghaya where nature played a hand in it's demise. a sapling was taken and replanted.

my emotions are running high right now so i'll refrain from the obvious. as the obvious for most of us is not so obvious. it's sacred and should be kept as such. but i will offer, for those wanting to read an insight and one more story.

...i'm sitting here under the Bodhi tree, watching people as they see it for the first time. the same unobstructed, beatific contortion as mine only reflected behind different shaped eyes.

it's sui generis. it is special. it's more than a tree. but does it want to be? something great for humanity happened here. a milestone in moral evoultion, from one man to many.

the tears, the laughter, the reverance. the reverance hangs thick in the air. like a boundless army without weapons, people come here with all that they have to give. they give it.

then take a break only to give more.

...then they recieve, as i've recieved, in direct proportion to what they came willing to give. i've seen it.

it's not just this spot that this happens but holy spots around the world of which there are many. does one shine brighter than the other? it doesn't matter. it's the intention. the willful intention of the people who come with an open heart that makes this palce and so many others like it splendid.

even as i write this people are looking for a place to hang a Golden Flag.... as i'm writing this guess where they hang it.... right above me.....

now an abbrievated story. i met a Tibeten monk. that's right a monk. fated i suppose because we turned around at the same time without bumping and looked at one another. we talked for a while then both agreed that we should go to dinner. we met that night. he and his best friend, another monk named Geshe. i was nervous. very nervous. i think my first question was, ''do you guys meditate?'' they calmed me and the conversation continued. we talked for a couple of hours. he offered to meet me again the next day. we did so at 5pm and took a long walk. we talked freely and without inhibition (with language as the only obstacle) for a good while. he asked me about my life. i asked about his.

he asked me about America. not about money, or lifestyle or opportunity but about Human Rights. that's the only question he asked. really. and it was rhetorical cause he already knew the answer.

i then asked him about China. i said are yoo angry with China. ''no no no'' he said. ''for China i have Punja.''

''Punja, all the same''

then he added

''i must have done somthing to China in a previous life.''

i thought about this for a while. wanting to really understand what he meant. i asked him a question. i said '' so what about your friend Gashe? you care for him. you love him? how would you compare Ganshe to China?''

he looked at me. i didn't think he understood the analogy so i held up two hands side by side and said, '' China...Ganshe.''

he said,''yes. the same.''

he walked me back. i hugged him and i must tell you i got emotional. over two days we spent 5 hours together. he hugged me back. without emotion. as if this conversation could have or could not have exsisted. he was ok. either way. Punja.

i watched him walk awayi was happy that it did.

hope you're all well. happy and well. much love. thak you all so very much for participating.

i will send pictures of that wich i've described when i get to a computer that is capable of doing it.

leaving for a train now.


Friday, February 20, 2009


they say that India is officially a casteless system. unofficially though...

after speding time here, scratching the surface of Indian culture, i believe it exsists. it exsists within us. officially/unofficially it doesn't matter. i can only speak for myself but i believe this to be true. i am a VAISHNAV(trader/craftsman), a KSHATRIYA (warrior), at times a BRAHMIN (holy man) and a SHUDRA (Untouchable). sometimes i can be all of these in an hour. if i'm lucky, a week. the holiest can be untouchable and the untouchables i know, can be as saintly and beatific as DEEPAK CHOPRA on an episode of OPRAH.

welcome to DELHI.

all of my experiences en masse couldn't have prepared me for country. the magnitude of hues, the volume of smells (from rancid to pungent, savory to downright aromatic). all of it. the foooooodddd. the food is a culmination, an amalgamation of all the complexities of a culture with this many years under it's belt. (i sound like a food critic) you can taste it. all of it in one bite.

i had dinner last night in Connaught Place. a very nice restaurant called VEDA. i'm not sure what i ordered but i may as well have asked for a poker to be brought from the fire and placed on my tounge. literally i was about to pass out. laying there, mouth full of water, gurgling, i saw a Indian man sitting next to me who had ordered the same dish. he looked at me. took a bite. chewed.... chewed... swallowed... beat... beat.... hand to brow to wipe the sweat. other hand to bro to wipe the sweat. he leaned back in his chair. looked at me and winked.

but after the fire dwindled there it was..... i've never tasted food better.

there's so much to tell really. so much.

had an amazing day today. went to a Bahai temple. never been to one before. the Bahai's and me have a lot in common. they believe in the commonalties of all religions. the universal truths. i was beside myself in that sacred chapel. a chapel in the shape of a lotus bud. i found myself an hour later barefoot and hooded in a sikh temple. my rickshaw driver was Sikh. he needed to stop by his temple. i went with him.
still smiling.

i met a woman my first day here. i asked her what she thought INDIA'S greatest strength to be. she said population. i asked her it's weakness. she said population. then she humbly offered... " what India has to offer... what INDIA has to give.... if it doesn't loose it way, is non-violence"

i'm here. i'm safe and i'm happy. i hope you are all the same.

love to you.