Mr. and Mrs. Bhasin, who took such good care of me.
4 a.m. in Delhi and I'm tormented by
mosquitoes bent on finishing me off, having already sufficiently chowed
on my hands, feet, neck, ankles, shoulders and back. As much as I hate
to kill any animal, my non-harming attitude is quite weak at this
lay in a hard bed, that's quite comfortable, except for my larger than
Indian legs, which dangle my feet off the end of the bed. I've stayed
2 days at the home of my friend Vikrant's parents, Mr. and Mrs.
Bhasin. Mr. Bhasin, an elderly thin man with a stern voice, is
dismayed by my laisez faire attitude and open-ended itinerary. He
questions me at length about where I will go, how I will get there,
and my budget. I know where I want to go...but not much more. He
sighs in frustration... Mr. Bhasin immediately assumes responsibility
for me, as if he were my father and I was lost in a far of and
We set off after lunch, for a phone card and money. Mr. Bhasin promptly decides which phone
plan is best and how much my annual budget should be. He also
determines how much money I should take out for the next month. I'm a
bit overwhelmed by his directness, and India,
and willingly give in to his advice ~ entrusting myself fully to his
care. I'm truly grateful that he has taken such care of me. I should
add that Mr. Bhasin also has a wonderful smile and infectious laugh. When he laughs and smiles, especially over our evening
whiskey, I feel at once part of the family and totally at
Now I'm part of the family.
Bhasin is a warm and sweet woman with silver hair, bright brown eyes,
and a smile that makes me want to fall asleep in her lap.
Sufi and guru stories to me, and we talk of her former work with the U.S. and Israeli consulate in India.
Also, she is preparing to see her guru for 4 days. I'm fascinated by
the guru phenomena. I feel like I want a guru, but am turned-off by
the blind, unquestioning devotion it requires. But Mrs. Bhasin seems
relaxed, at peace, and happy. She advocates that each person find and
follow their own way, and eschews the fanaticism I associate with
ardent religious fervor. So my mind is open.
Lotus Temple in Delhi, India
Yesterday brought a blitz tour through Delhi
with my driver, who was borrowed from a nearby family. Over a span of 4 hours I visited the Lotus Temple
, Lodhi Gardens,
Jantar Mantas, and the Indian Gate.
radio spit out tunes from an old cassette tape that had poor covers of American Pie as well as
Eminem, and Justin Timberlake. I laughed from the backseat at the
absurdity of it ~ as we sped past scooter rickshaws, cars,
construction, and women and children in rags.
My driver on my tour of Delhi.
Driving through Delhi
in the back of the chauffeur driven car put me into the space of comparing
the extremes of Indian life, and my life. At home I looked up, and saw
all those with more than me. I embraced my inadequacy - in income,
lack of home, "coolness"...whatever else, and everything else. Those
feelings and thoughts are still very much present, as is the wafting
thoughts of what am I gong to do with my life. But here, life is
different and in a sense "richer". Children beg and perform cartwheels
between oncoming traffic for a rupee or two.
Men haul huge sacks or
bricks behind peddle rickshaws, and women and children emerge from
corrugated metal homes that line the freeway. Huge temples pierce the
smog, beautiful sari-clad women crisscross the street, and huge malls
rise from arid dirt. Here I feel in between ~ neither rich nor poor.
But I'm only a new tourist in this place, a tourist to this ancient way
of life - but also a culture pushing to modernize. It seems we all
struggle to stand, while gravity relentlessly pulls us down.
To prepare for India, I've read Eat Pray Love and Holy Cow. Comparing the two in the smoggy
Delhi dust, Holy Cow seems a much more honest portrayal of India
. Granted Elizabeth
Gilbert never saw the outside of her ashram. But also it seems that
EPL reads like a Lifetime movie - urging that enlightenment is 3 easy
Sarah MacDonald of Holy Cow roamed India in search of spirituality. Her adventures showed her the multitude of pathways to God, and the reality of living
tested and crumbled the budding spirituality as it formed. Still the
vast and chaotic world provided faith that triumphed, at least partly,
over the cruel, harsh, and meaningless violence living life
These amazing instruments at Jantar Mantas can supposedly tell the time, date, and equinoxes in both the eastern and western hemisphere. Its 12:00.
I've now turned to the Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. In the
introduction, I find a paragraph that reminds me of my quest: "Like
Santiago, the shepard boy, we all need to be aware of our personal
calling. What is a personal calling? It is God's blessing, it is a
path that God chose for you here on Earth.
Whenever we do something
that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend. However
we don't all have the courage to confront our dream." He explains the 4
obstacles to realizing our Personal Legend: 1. Belief its impossible;
2. Love for others and fear of hurting them when we abandon them; 3.
Fear of defeat; and 4. Fear of realizing the dream for which we fought
all our lives.
And they are huge.
strongly recommend that anyone who has not read this novel, at least,
go grab a cup of coffee at Borders, grab the book from the shelf, and
read the introduction, its worth the $3.50 latte.
- I'm reminded of the T.V. news I watched while crossing Indian
Customs. The T.V. Caption read, "Let them Cheer", and the news was
covering girls' attempt to cheerlead in India.
It flashed between girls dancing in clubs, and stock footage of
cheerleaders in sweats. Last night I dreamt of Katie leading a
cheerleading video, with many dancers. But the camera kept focusing on
her. I think there might be a future in bringing her cheer talents to
1.1 billion people in the throngs of modernization. For this advice I
ask only for 1/10th of her fortune...