It was National Heritage Day in April. A friend and I had just gotten into town the night before. The day before was rough. She was fighting off a blushing cold, I was impatient, and April happens to be the hottest month in Hampi. If you can bear through the heat in the cafe's with cold lassi or by the river the sweltering humid air slowly soothes the aching muscles and feverish headaches.
Throughout the month of March I've been posting a lot of photos from my time in India. I have only written small quips and given momentary inclusions describing the scene around the photo but, I haven't gone much into the depth and recollections that those moments hold for me. I don't like just putting it all out there, so accessible, and vulnerable. It's all so personal you know? During this last week of March look out for some more in depth looks at my time in India. Because come April it's going to be a much different ball game.
Anyway... India is constantly on my mind. Even eight months after my return I am still there. If you haven't noticed that over the month of March I have been uploading, sharing, and commenting on my time in India. A time that is very much the fuel behind my current and upcoming endeavors. The A to Z April Blogging Challenge is coming up and will be focusing on these fresh opportunities and adventures, and turning my focus forward.
Until then, I leave you with this week's Sunday's Finest...
"To save a family, abandon a man; to save the village, abandon a family; to save the country, abandon a village; to save the soul, abandon the earth."- Passage from the Mahabharata.
"Man is not the master of destiny, but a wooden doll that is strung on a string ..." - Passage from the Mahabharata.
I've been so busy lately. I know I keep saying that, but I really have.
I'm giving myself till Friday evening off from blog work, travel planning, organizing, and sticking to my schedules.
Also, the Full Moon got me feeling all sorts of out of it. I just really need to laylow and chill for a few days. April is coming up and so is the A to Z April Blogging Challenge, as well as some top secret adventures. After writing my THEME REVEAL post yesterday I realized how quickly things are going by, happening, and coming up. I've been working really hard and I've decided to do nothing but read, journal, go to my yoga and dance classes, hangout with my dog, and sleep in no particular order, time, or reason. I set so many deadlines, due dates, and goals for myself that sometimes I forget to let myself appreciate how far I've come so far and let myself just chill out... I still have that college kid mindset and rhythm rolling through my veins and brain. "There is always something to be working on," I use to tell myself in order to keep me from procrastinating. But then I remember... I graduated.
"Oh Lord, I’m on a permanent holiday I’m going outside to play I ain’t gonna slave away Not for no corporate Babylon I’m never gonna be a pawn in their manipulation games" -Mike Love, listen HERE. (he's amazing)
If you're interested in lunar forecast and astrology please check out one of my favorite blogs Mysticmamma. Always giving one of my favorite interpretations of the lunar year. Click HERE for the details regarding today's Full Moon Lunar Eclipse.
Before I sign off for a few days I deem today Wednesday March 23, 2016 @ 8:00am MST to be Baxter (the basset hound) Appreciation Day.
These photos are from a school in the center of the village from the The Village Side: Part Iphotoset I posted the other day.
The village is a few hours outside of Bangalore in the middle arid farmland, orchards, and the occasional coconut tree. The village is a sponsored project site for Citizens for Social Action (CSA) which is a small non-profit social action/justice organization powered by student volunteers at Christ University in the city. CSA recently had brought fresh and clean well water to the community, when previously a fresh water source was miles away. Though there is only one well in the village now women and their children do not have to walk as many miles to the nearest fresh water source. In addition, CSA had recently put in a few street lights through the main streets of town making it safer for the same group to walk home later in the evenings.
The school kids were all very excited for the Americans to come and see them that day. No matter where in the world I am, I am not very good with children. I was lucky enough to have a 'big flashy picture taker' as they said, which they loved seeing their pictures on the screen after each and every click of the button, and gave me an opportunity to capture these really amazing moments.
Inside of the school buildings which was no larger than half a basketball field I was shown every piece of paper than had been colored on, paper cut into dolls, and favorite books in languages I didn't know. I was looking up at the first picture below, knowing well who I was looking at, and thinking how prevalent their faces were. Like the Lincoln and Franklin.
"Father of the country," she tugged at my arm and pointed up with her other hand up at the photos above. She giggled, "don't you know Gandhi, you silly, don't you know Ambedkar. I know who they are, you silly"
We had, as a group, been in India for a little over a month and spent the majority of our time in the city and in supreme tourist accommodations whenever on guided tours with the school.
The village, was obviously, much different. Not only was it rural but it was simple. If you have ever been to an Indian city it is anything but simple. "Villages are how most people in India still live," one of my professors from Christ University reminded me as we discussed the difference of experience in the city and from the village. "Even though the cities are manic, over crowded, and very, very, busy most of our people live in places like this."
One of the American students made a comment on the bus back to Bangalore that I haven't been able to get out of my mind since the day we spent in the village. Something along the lines of how she thought the villages would be much worse, that she expected a scene from Slumdog Millionaire.
The professor laughed (so did I inside) and reminded her, "Oh, Hollywood never understand India. That's why we have our own industry. Slumdog Millionaire is American movie about northern slums in places like Delhi... so silly. [That] movie was very good, opened many eyes around the West to realer picture of modern India, showed our love and passion for music... but is not India, India is not as dark, as scary, as dangerous, a place as your country tends to believe. Yes many live in improper conditions, but love the land they live on, love working that land, it is a way of life, way we live and wish to live for long time to come. Would it make your experience more memorable and cathartic for your stories for your friends back home to see Indians in destitute? Do you not rejoice in seeing Indians elevated?"
She never answered that question. The bus fell silent the majority of the ride home, except the conversation he and I had started earlier in the day and the radio station that the bus driver deemed his favorite.
Check out these photos I took last year in a small village just a few hours outside of Bangalore in Karnataka, India.
Check back Tuesday for Part II of the photos I have from the village.
(Click on the individual photo and a scroll through menu will appear and photos will be enlarged.)
Village life is vastly different than life in the big cities of India.
*All individuals in this photoset were asked if their photo could be taken prior to actually taking the photo. Always ask for permission to take somebody else's photo regardless of where or what culture you are in. I've been on both ends of the camera in regards to this matter and believe it to be polite and respectful for both ends to acknowledge that it is alright for a photo to be taken.
Sorry for this week's late morning edition of Sunday's Finest. I celebrated a good old friend's birthday last night and ended up staying up too late. I'm more of a bed by 11pm at the latest kind of gal and I was up till 4pm last night.
It's the first day of Spring! Last night and all today I'm spending the day noticing and appreciating the Equinox and the coming of longer days and more sunshine! I have a lot coming up this Spring and I can't wait to get started. So congratulations you made it through winter and are still here to celebrate the coming of the new planting and growing seasons! "You can cut all of the flowers but you cannot keep the Spring from coming." - Pablo Neruda
“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” - Ernest Hemingway
"Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just…start." - Ijeoma Umebinyuo
These photo were all taken at Elephant Parks in Southern India around Karnataka and another in Kerala (last two photos). Most of the elephants have one or two guides around or near by the elephants. It's amazing how calm they were despite having hundreds of people gawking around them throughout the day.
Most of the parks are reserved as sanctuaries for the elephants and land for the communities who have lost their own due to deforestation, urbanization, and environmental changes in the last few decades. Traditionally working with elephants is innate within the foundation of Indian culture so these parks serve as an attempt to capsulate a divine part of their recollection of existence. The amount of tourism that these parks attract within Indian themselves generates enough income to support the upkeep of the community working around the elephants.
And this is coming from someone who hates the circus and the San Diego Zoo.
The title doesn't lie. I found this little guy in one of the many markets around Bangalore in Karnataka, India. He was just sitting on the middle of the curb deep inside the market and just by the alleyway entrance into the meat market.
Girls were screaming and shrieking bloody murder as the men working around the areas would toss bits of pig fat and cow bone up in the air and towards the direction of the oncoming American girls. Who could blame them with the reaction and comedic show the foreigners gave them on a slow day in the market.
Just beyond this little guy's stoop I watched as wives and old men waited for their freshly harvested chickens to take home so they could prepare the nights dinner. The sound of the chicken harvester machine sent a narrow shrill chill down your spine at the first echo of from across the street, but soon became apart of the elegant chaotic white noise of its surroundings.
The girls who cried at the sound of the fresh cut chickens and sight of relentlessly washed but still blood drenched streets; found comfort later in the air conditioned restaurant down the street over their chicken tikka masala and hot chai.
I bet he's the biggest alley cat that side of town. He seemed like a fighter and that his mother taught him how to survive, and not how to just get by. No hawk will ever be brave enough to swoop down on him.
At the time the only thing I could compare him to was my cat back home. I'm sure she was sun bathing in the windowsill. I see the different between them today more than I did then.
Wild things, street creatures, alley aristocats, and scavenger hawks do not feel sorry for themselves... They do not have the time to contemplate what tomorrow may bring. They are reduced and thrive into a day, a day that could end, a day that could bring them to tomorrow.
Their reduction is what keeps them going. Keeps them keeping on, in pursuit of prospering in the lowly subjugated place at the bottom of the pyramid. If you're clustered in the bottom, as the foundation for the top of the pyramid to thrive on... there is only one direction to go from there.
This photo was taken on my first day in Bangalore, India. It was at a small cafe down the street from my apartment in the Koramangala neighborhood. I saw chai on the menu and ordered it.
This specific cup was one of many I would have, because it's true; India runs on chai. There is nothing like a fresh cup of masala chai on an early morning.
I would prefer and recommend the street vendor down the road who sells it from a big tin jug off the back of his bicycle.
The best time to go is right before sunrise, right before the monkey's wake up. It's much more peaceful of a climb up if the guards aren't awake yet. Buy a coconut and masala fruit from the old man and woman at the bottom of the stairs before you start you ascent.
"Once having set up her idols and built altars to them it was inevitable that she would worship there. It was inevitable that she should accept any inconsistency and cruelty from her deity as all good worshippers do from theirs. All gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise they would not be worshipped. Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion. It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom. Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood." - Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God
"Fear and love are the deepest of human emotions."
"Okay. But you're not listening to me. There are other things that need to be taken into account here, like the whole spectrum of human emotion. You can't just lump everything into these two categories and then just deny everything else." - Donnie Darko
Everything up there is nothing more than a dream within a dream.
Jasmine flowers entwine in your hair, "Hindu name, American girl. Indian Jasmine flower," the old woman says as her husband pours you another cup of fresh masala chai. The flame keeping the pot boiling blows in the wind and the indiscernible brother of one of the family members e on the blanket adds a few more twigs and pieces of bark to keep the flame alive.