February 11, 2011
I have been in India now for 12 days, and I have yet to see a cloudy day, let alone rain. However, I am not feeling very well. A few days after arriving in Tiru I got rid of the cold I obtained in London, but then Monday night I got sick again during my first night in the tapas room. Still not feeling great – definitely have some kind of cold I am fighting, and I have very little energy both mentally and physically, and basically I just want to hide in my hotel room. So that is what I am mostly doing.
I found the recommended book shop yesterday and bought a neat little novel about Indian classical music – right up my alley. I also bought some tea and treats at a store, and am sitting here enjoying these things as I look out my window to the crashing waves. It sounds rather delightful, but I am still feeling crumby. Travelling, as wonderful as it is, takes a lot of effort and energy and preparation. Because I left this early part of my journey largely flexible, it has also meant that I am often concerned with where I am going to be staying – and my mind has often been occupied with how the hell to fill my days leading up to Varanasi. I can’t seem to figure out how to secure or confirm my 2nd class train ticket going there either. And, Pondicherry, though situated on the obvious beauty of a beach, is a tremendous let down as far as the Aurobindo ashram goes. It is unspeakably poor in its user-friendliness to visitors, it is spread out over a vast area, and it seems in most ways completely stuck in the past. I was expecting a modernized (well at least semi-modern) institution but the librarians did not even know where I could find an internet connection – let alone have one – and I have been here for almost 2 full days and have yet to find one of the three contacts that I was directed towards.
I had hoped to have this time as a truly scholarly period in my travels, and figured that this ashram would be a good place to do some research, write and get some feedback. It has not. I am doing some reading and studying, but my Kindle is not functioning properly (please, just don’t ask) so that is also a bit of a kick in the pants. Well – I truly believe all things happen as they need to. So given these conditions, I am just relaxing and recuperating and enjoying the fresh air.
Last night I went for a stroll on the beach, and found a sandy spot near the pier where I joined some locals for a wade in the sea water. It was surprisingly warm water to me. I also saw some ridiculous wooden planks tied together that are apparently used by some men as boats to go fishing. Un-frickin-believable that they go into the sea with these things! Holy crap do they have courage!
Also, after the pier, on the beach front, when the business district is cut off – the rest of the beach front property is basically slums. WTF?? What is going on here? Why the hell is this – which in the Western world would be considered by far the most coveted property in the city, covered over by derelict shacks and the unemployed? It is literally a km from the heart of the tourist area, too. Crazy. Where the hell do the rich people live, then?
OK – it is time for the ashram lunch. Hope it is better than yesterdays, which was bland and crappy.
OK - better afternoon. I was able, finally, to connect with two Aurobindo scholars here who had intelligents things to say about what I am writing about - and perhaps more importantly showed me some striking books that I was not aware that will help a lot.
also, a major relief is that I very haphazardly found my way to a cheap guest house further down the beach - (150R) which will take my booking for as many days as I want. phew! so, with that security, I have planned a day trip to /Auroville tomorrow (google it, it is a very cool place) and hopefully eat some good hippy food there.
Lots of love to everyone! The last few days I have really been missing some people, places, pets (pet) and other home comforts. honestly, I would have loved to stroll into Full Circle today for work, and come home for a quiet dinner. Seriously. some days, eh?
ok. Namaste, i guess.