Saturday, January 5, 2013

Manju Brings Eggs

In a city where even eggs are considered taboo, it's hard to get that full, satisfied feeling that only a good chunk of protein will give you! I brought several bags of whey protein powder to make shakes and smoothies, but forgot that I'd be here in the dead of winter. Who wants a nice, ice cold frosty smoothie when India is in the throes of one of the coldest winters ever?! Thank God for Manju! Manju lives in the next town over and raises chickens for eggs. She is an original widow in our necklace making program and a strong witness for Christ, having been a Hindu who converted through a miracle healing. Every couple of weeks she comes by with two flats of the best fresh eggs for me. Her eggs are usually my favorite meal of the day, no matter how I cook them. And my protein fix is satisfied for the day!

Don't Wait Another Moment! Learn a Dirty Little Secret About Me That I Am Not Proud About Now!'s been ____days since I've taken a bath! It's so cold here, and there is no escape; no place to find total warmth except under my blankets, which I loathe to crawl out of in the morning. The thought of exposing myself to the chilly air is unbearable! My propane space heater does nothing but heat up what's directly in front of it, leaving everything outside the direct radiant heat range in frozen space. I have written a poem about taking a bath more recently that I have taken one. There! Now you have it! A dirty little secret about me!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holy Cow - Watercolor

Maybe this should be in my photography blog, but since I'm in India and this does start out as a photograph, and I need to get this blog started, I figured this was as good a place as any to get started.  And I'm starting with one of my personal goals for my sojourn in India - watercolors.

This is my original picture, snapped on the way down to the Yamuna River in Vrindavan.  I loved the way the cow stood out against the brilliant blue walls, and the angularity of the walls next to the soft curvy cow.  The cow was like most cows in India, just happy to stand there forever while I photographed him at every angle while my companions continued down to the river.

I liked the composition colors so much, I thought it would make a nice first attempt at watercolors.

Notice any similarities????

Honestly, all during the day I have conversational scenarios of all these great and clever things I could be writing in a blog, and then when it comes right down to it, I just can't get started.  Maybe like watercolor painting, I just have to do it; hopefully my paintings will get better with practice and the sights in my mind's eye, like the words in my brain, will flow effortlessly, eloquently on to paper.

Just for fun, I took a photo of the watercolor cow and applied several filters to it.  Personally I like the cow grunge with all the filters applied, and ultimately would like to see my paintings head in that direction....I think...

                                    ...I've least!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Best Laid Plans....

I thought I was going to be so much more consistant at keeping up with this journal.  I was hoping for daily writing, certainly something I aspire to.  However, between extremely busy days; electricity down and lost internet connections, I have all the best excuses in the world...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lessons from the Taj Express

“In learning to know other things, and other minds, we become more intimately acquainted with ourselves, and are to ourselves better worth knowing.”
-       Phillip Gilbert Hamilton (American author)


Moist blackness, staring out through bars dirty, paint peeling; widows.  Rhythmic rocking accentuated with metal over imperfect metal punctuated by arrhythmic rattles.

Doppler harbinger suddenly swooshes one long continuous horizontal light window as a passing train sucks by then disappears with two red glowing orbs vanishing into more moist blackness leaving behind a horizon of distant twinkling lights that fall in and out of the black hole of trees.

9pm Monday evening Taj Express from Mathura to Delhi is standing room only.  A black greasy ceiling fan intermittently whirls invisible caresses of hot malodorous humid air upon us.

Chai wallahs snake through the isles: a legless beggar drags by with eyes at seat level, out stretched free hand cups several paises, beckoning for more.  An elegantly sari-clad women leans across my space and in very practiced English says, “Excuse me” and tosses an empty chip bag into the rushing void outside…


When the train had pulled into the station at Mathura, I clamored from the cold damp cement floor with the rising masses preparing to be alternated swept and then push-and-shove into the coach already packed with people spilling out.  I was stopped dumbfounded in my tracks by a man at the entrance who hesitated, and with a swoop of his hand, bid me enter the train before he stepped out.

This gentle step out of his cultural norm signaled to me that he understood and acknowledged mine.  I was not part of the collective Indian society, nor could I successfully act the part.  Doing so only made me look arrogant and ugly. Accepting the foibles and follies of your own family are one thing, but often are not looked upon favorably when an outsider tries the same thing.  Such encounters with their subsequent tweaks of consciousness are a welcome nudge forward in personal knowledge. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Primitive Post

Etched on a primitive writing tablet using an ancient stylus, somewhere far away....

"I've been without electricity now for almost three days.  No phone, no computer, no Facebook!  No way to charge anything, including my camera battery.  How long can one survive without electricity?  I'm about to find out.....

...PS If you're reading this post, it means the electricity is back on!  yeah!!  I will survive!!"

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Wind Blowing in my Hair.....

Imagine looking down on a huge ant colony, with the busy freeways of ant life…every ant just trying to get where ever it is they have to go as fast and as direct as they can – sort of a purposeful chaos.  Well, that’s kind of how the roads are in Vrindavan.   And today I was careening down the Vrindavan ant-people-cow-dog-monkey-bullock-camel-horse-car-bicycle-rickshaw-motorcyle-pedestrian Freeway of Chaos perched sidesaddle on motor scooter.

I had my reservations – I am a little cautious (don’t laugh) when it comes to matters of potential bodily harm.  I wasn’t always so cautious, certainly as anybody who knows me will attest, not a cautious teenager or young adult.  But somewhere along the line, seat belts, helmets and designated drivers started to take on a certain urgent appeal as time marched on and responsibilities mounted. 

Apparently, I’ve come full circle!!

From the moment I climbed onto the back of the scooter, wrapped a light grip around my driver friend’s waist, and lean into his back, I wasn’t worried in the least bit about not having a helmet on, or weaving in and out of traffic, dodging sleeping cows, and playing chicken with the oncoming rickshaws.  The constant blaring of horns just added another dimension to an already supersaturated sensory ride.   

When we arrived at our destination, like the end of a rollercoaster ride, I was sorry to have to get off.   But we were out to attend to business after all!  The process of renting a house in Vrindavan, and setting up a vocational/counseling center for the widows requires a lot of running around from landlord to lawyer to Vrindavan to Mathura and back again.  Now, I think all my paperwork and documents have been prepared and sent to California headquarters for input and approval.  Once all the documents are signed and we take possession of the house, it’s on to phase two - setting up a sole proprietorship business to facilitate our White Rainbow Project’s operations in India.  I’m hoping all that running around can be done from the back of a motorcycle!
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