Eventually everyone comes to Rick’s

Chronologically you’ve already had the next episode embedded in 2017 so if you missed The people in the restaurant  aka Murder in the Mansion pop over and read it here.

I’m struggling writing to you about being a Temple Junkie this last few days so I’m just jumping up to today. Patience is a virtue and you’ll get your temples in due course. We arrived in Pondicherry about lunch time. This once French colony does still have a very French feel and look and it’s not just that the policemen wear caps that make them look like they’re straight off the set of Casablanca! Anyway the hotel’s on a dingy road down the corner from the bazaar and I nearly didn’t get out of the car. Lucky I did because inside this heritage mansion’s grotty exterior is a beautiful boutique gourmet hotel – best yet this trip even without a roof top pool.

After lunch of BBQ prawns and lemon rice followed by chocolate pudding (it is a French colony remember) and sending off my washing, I decided on a walk. Karthik decided I needed company and he also needed a walk. Continue reading “Eventually everyone comes to Rick’s”

Blessed in Bangalore 

As I said, this is a trip of firsts for me, and my trip to Bangalore was the first time I’ve been invited to stay in a family home. A family home with four dogs and three cats was also a first! I felt totally at home the whole time – thank you.

I did spend a lot of time around the house relaxing, talking, feeling so welcome and loved. Even Toffee the cat loved me, although he mostly wanted to eat my feet. We ate in because the lady who prepares the family’s meals is a wonder and the food amazing. I thought I was doing so well on the spices, but then I found out that she was making it mild for me. I would come back just for the food, and the love.

Each day I went for a walk. These photos are from my longest walk through the neighbourhood, I do so love India. Other days we walked around a local park, reclaimed from an old quarry. The park was always full of kids squealing with delight, runners, old folk walking their grandchildren. I saw one lady every day walking briskly in pastel color coordinated tracksuit sets. On our fourth passing on my last day (we walked in opposite loops), I asked her how many laps she did each day. Five to ten, she replied.

The streets nearby were green and tranquil, well appart from dodging the two-wheelers and not listening to their horns. And maybe I did a little shopping.

And finally some cows, although, there really must be a ban about plastic bags soon. Any of these lovelies eat one of those bags and they’ll die, horribly.

I was very blessed on my last day to be taken by a friend of the family to the local Hanuman temple for prayers and blessings. Very special. Very happy. Very blessed.img_6853

Of course Zorro shouldn’t be in my blog or the kitchen, but he just saunters in quietly when no one is looking!

Got up Saturday, thought it was Sunday

Well I got up Saturday all in a rush to get to the pick up point for my trip to Monet’s Garden. Arrived at the tourisme office, checked in… and was told I was a day early. Doh. So I thought I’d take a bit of a stroll since I was up and about. I eventually got back to the apartment 13 km later.

img_3987First stop was the outside of the Palace of the Louvre, which of course is now a museum, one of the largest in the world I’m told. Just a short perambulation through 22km of galleries. No I didn’t go in, it’s funny I don’t seem so much to want to go inside. Not even to use the metro. I’m happy outside in the sun walking and walking and watching and walking. And stopping to drink expensive Perrier while watching… people as well as cool clouds, I do like the clouds.

And I like the glass pyramid.

Then it was a walk along memory lane, also known as Rue de Rivoli to see the hotel I stayed in 19 years ago (and couldn’t afford now) and to have brunch (is it still brunch at 3pm?) and hot chocolate at Angelina’s. Continue reading “Got up Saturday, thought it was Sunday”

Walking into yourself

Can words truly ever describe that feeling? A feeling I know, but I’ve never heard anyone else try to describe its sensory overload. Well not that I remember. Maybe I was blind to their words. Do we all feel it, most conceding the failure, the abject inadequacy of words to convey something simultaneously so real and utterly unreal. Or are we too scared to try to reduce something so precious to words and risk shattering the crystal intensity of the moment. 

I tried once to describe it as being as though you’d woken while your soul was still off dancing with the faeries. Your body functions but your mind is in cotton wool, like the analgesic afterglow of codeine. And so you walk and walk and walk until somewhere on your walk your soul finds you. Your skin tingles and everything is ultra real, your senses heightened. You’re still separated from everyone else, you don’t want anyone else to break the magic of the moment. A moment when only you can be so agonisingly aware of the perfect reality of everything around you. img_3717

I’m still not sure though that it might not be the opposite to your soul being missing, maybe instead you have too much soul and it dislocates you just out of phase in your time space continuum. Out of phase you are separated and so can see everything. Isolated in an etic un-reality that is the most real, but most external perception. You are totally safe out of phase and so you walk and walk and walk. And you experience the world of the others as if for the first time in the most vivid, exquisite skin tingling intensity. 

picture-028And you are utterly alone. And that is part of the bliss. 

The clarity of your thought and expression is agonising. The silence is tangible, the profound silence within the music of Mozart. But it’s Mozart in your heart strings, a cello vibrating on your skin not your ears. 

You want it to stop because you can’t function. You have things to do. Did someone steal your soul? Are you even still alive? But you don’t want it to ever stop because it is so peaceful, safe, so terribly real. It will stop, you cannot hold back the time forever so you revel in it. When you stop being afraid you plunge in. Total immersion. 

061I said maybe it feels like you woke while your soul was away dancing, but sleep is not all that induces this feeling. Walking on the beach, alone, maybe in the rain, always wind and crashing waves. Walking. Walking. Walking at the interstices. Your soul relaxes, stops trying to hold you together in space and time and convention. Waves pound. Your soul breathes. It flies up up, dancing with the clouds, flowing over the skin of the ocean to roll full of joy in the breaking waves, drenched in spray rising up and up, shaking laughing like a sea sprite. Racing alone along the sparkling silver roads of pure reflected moonlight. Invigorated. Cleansed. The dirt and condemnation and strictures of civilised life are washed away. You flow to your own shape. Exhausted. Refreshed. The salt spray and sweet rain sting your skin. There is utter clarity in your bubble of life, of vibrant livingness that extends to the horizon. And that tremulous hyper sensitivity is safely protected by a force field penetrated only by moon and waves and wind. 

day-20-375-wedding-preparationsSometimes it happens when I travel. Maybe it’s why I travel alone. I walk. I observe. But I am separate, other, I don’t quite belong.   I feel like I see everything, absorb everything, taste the texture of everything. I am in my safe living bubble. Is no one else truly alive? Can no one else see? People are rushing, speaking a language I don’t understand. I have none of their pressures. I’m inside but outside. Some smile at me, I must still be alive, still visible, still real. I speak to buy chai or coffee, eye contact, smile, touch finger tips. But I am different and my difference keeps me separate, safe, aware. And so I walk. And walk Watching. Tasting. 

I think Hildegard got it when she described herself as a feather on the breath of God. And John of the Cross, the exquisite joy of relinquishing all else, embracing the empty darkness of night that your soul may bathe in the balm of God. The mysterious power of the empty tomb. Arjuna letting go outcomes and being the arrow he was created to be. The sublime insight of expectations obliterated and release of simply being, flowing into a nothing that is everything. Expectations, desire have no place here. I am simply totally alive. 

The woman I’m learning from this week calls it returning to yourself. Some clever men whose work I respect called it liminal, leaving behind familiarity, being open to see the world inverted, and to return changed. That sounds so prosaic, so orderly, I hope they smelt it sparkle.