12 May 2006

Neilu tells stories after 4 weeks with Ankur

So it has only taken a month to adjust enough to post some news. As I look back in the journals to April 16, you have to imagine a night out with Ank's family. Taking a trip to the farm house, I find myself in a room with two of Ank's aunts. One starts repeating herself saying, "Ankur is so smart, so smart. Just loot at this Gandhi walk he did. It is incredible." And the 26 days smack in the middle of it all, all of India, IS incredible. And it is so good to know that even family, with all their looks of discontent and voiced opinions on what you wear, facial hair, and what you do with your time (i.e. when are you going to get a job?), can sometimes see that life is about the experiences created by you. So I just want to take a minute, cause I don't get many in India, to say what an amazing thing Ank has been able to do, to keep walking (nonstop).

Maybe to get some perspective, a description of my only hour and a half alone in India will bring some color to the picture. My journal describes me walking with my backpack in Trivandrum (the southern tip of India). Zapped into infinite time space, public roads full of men asking me to catch a ride in their rickshaws, to eat or sleep at their business, one man follows me down the street and says things I still do not understand, everyone waving their hands "this way", is this the next intersection? India seems full of paths crossing with people, lots of people, able to show the way. So make the right decision because the rest depends on this infinite moment. So no, I continue walking, trying to find a back street with maybe less stimulous, less people, maybe? Should I go to the quiet temple, no not now.

Okay, here is a tree where I can, maybe, read? Silly, of course, to even think... young beautiful woman comes out of her work place and offers me to stay inside her business or in the garage type structure just in front of me. Really, I just want to be near this tree! She walks away, and the brother comes and waves for me to follow him. He is a fortune teller. The sister says if I want, she will translate. As difficult as it is to communicate, no thank you, I have to try since Ank is waiting for me. So she also offers a place to stay over night, lunch, whatever she can. What did I do to deserve this? Then brother enters with a very long stick in his hands, walks by, and starts poking at the tree I am sitting under. The mangos begin to fall. I run around gathering the fruits that krishna is pouring from the sky. Do I take all these fruits? Why all for me? I try to leave some for the brother, but once again, no thank you is a difficult thing to communicate. But I make it out in time to meet Ank, and India just keeps giving and giving.

The first sign I saw in India, just outside of the aunt and uncle's home says, "PRAY, it works." I can not tell you how many people have led the way, prepared and eaten food with us (includes loads of food prepared by the one only master chef Ank), told us their stories, and just helped us along the way. We are now living with a community that is a place full of dreams. If you translate dream, you will discover the name of this beautiful place, Kanavu. About 40 children of all ages up to 25 live here and sing, dance, farm, meditate, practice martial arts, clean, cook, and study every day. All the things I have been looking for seem to be in this one place. There is so much to learn and so much to give.

Just as a warning, if you ever go to Sri Lanka, don't take all the books you brought to read over the next six months with you. Because your legs might just decide that the climb up to Buddha's footprint are not up for the journey. And then, you will find yourself in the mountains with lots of other living, breathing, creatures. Of course, I have not seen enough creatures yet on my journey. But at Kanavu, every night people have to scare the elephants away with wild yelling, so the adventures are just beginning, I am sure.

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