20 May 2006

more neilu notes

ank and i met mali's uncle last night. filmmaker. saw one film called redefining peace, which gave an inside view of some amazing women from india. they were only part of the 1000 women world wide picked for the noble peace prize, cause we are all fighting for peace in each person, each household, each community, you get the idea. so let's broaden our perspective for a minute.

some clips from our conversations with the uncle: the filmmaker is an artist that has power, the power of an artist is necessary to create but the power can also destroy the creativity, find the balance and don't forget that you are not powerful but the middle man/the connection, the middle class is so so necessary to make things happen to make people/politicians listen and do something, you never hear about the villagers being slaughtered so don't forget the importance of the middle class, lots of talk about adavasis in india and their land being taken up by mining aluminum, 97% of the aluminum is used for self defense, what's up with that?, japan is about to buy out kerala's entire water mobilization, so the government can give up any responsibiity of actually thinking and start signing off on documents (probably just hitting the official papers with a rubber stamp) , so the government starts acting like a corporation, and the corporations start gaining the real control and manipulating countries, so i ask who is doing the thinking? but don't worry, this activist says that he has a good group of friends and is not alone in his struggle, the group is big, the support is there, he had to unlearn a lot of his learned stuff from his youth, and people either say that the smoking and alcohol is because artists are a different breed and strange or that they are doing such great work that they need the influences, funny how society deals with feelings of the other, the other that is doing what no one can criticize, the other that shows each person how they have given up the struggle and become satisfied with what they have been told is good, but we all know. we all know. if you can't meditate, you probably just can't stand listening to yourself. so start listening cause... i'm getting off track here.

there is so much more. there is always more. but i will have to leave time to eat all the mangos, pineapple, and jackfruit that has entered my life. thanks to ankur and gandhi, fruit has entered my life in an overwhelming fashion, and i am loving it. if you don't know about the jackfruit, there will be pictures soon. it resembles a prickly cocoon with an alien lifeform about to hatch, comes in various large sizes and shapes, contains fruit you can just eat when ripe or not ripe or cooked or not cooked, nut/seed thing inside you can cook and eat, stringy things, and sticky gooey messy stuff you can only get off with oil (coconut oil is all you find here, too bad, but you just gotta live with what you got here, maybe i can bring back a couple of jugs). and yes, this is where the taste of the american bubblegum has come from. i plan on living off jackfruits for the rest of my stay at kanavu, so i must go climb that jacka tree now and cut off some dinner. it is also a great way to interact with the villagers and party cause everything gets sticky.

maybe i can spend a minute describing kanavu? impossible, but try to imagine a place where all your water comes from two wells. so an average day involves a bucket or too to shower, unless you are male and can go for a dip in the river, a bucket for cleaning clothes unless it is the monsoon and everything is wet all the time anyway so why wash, and a bucket or two for bathroom flushing. remember everyone in india eats with their right hands, connect this with the previous line and you will also only use your right hand. waking up between 4 or 5 starts with tabla playing, singing, meditation and followed by martial arts around 6 and cleaning/cooking chores around 7. everyone eats rice and beans with lots of hot stuff at 8. then, the daily weaving of these 40 students goes into full swing. some are away in other parts of india or abroad studying, others are "oncampus" in the library, reading, writing, creating pottery, singing, cooking, farming, working in the office and on the computer, playing music, travelling "offcampus" to do projects in town, or collecting jackfruits for everyone's enjoyment which involves a few kilometers of walking with the alien cocoon on your head. lunch is betwen 1 or 2. nap. evening singing and dancing begins around 6, dinner at 9. so now you know what we are up to. so if you need some motivation, just think about this place, the daily work that is being done, and get off your XXXX and learn to play an instrument or something. you might just fall in love.

ank has also reminded me of what i forgot in my previous post. the aunt also said that it would be a wonderful thing if ank could just settle down and make his mom happy. maybe there are others that would be happy if ank settled down, i don't know. but feel free to express your thoughts by yelling really loud at 5pm india time, when ank and i clean our hut, light the candles, and pray. that is the best time to reach us. otherwise, our minds are probably busy, just until we get enlightened.

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