03 August 2006

reintroduction to gujarat (part two)

you can't beat india. an especially not gujarat. it's the fundamdentalist heart of the indian experience. of mine, at least. in all its beauteus and terroible, tasty and disgusting, divine and profane ways. i tried to fast on the train train and was forced delicacies i had dreamt about for weeks. i tried to take the bus, avoiding _scores_ of autos looking for an easy fix, and eventually capitulated to a guy offering a ten point ride (the bus is six) closer to my uncles' house. unbeatable. if on principle, to stand with the common man (or collapse, writhing, perhaps) i wouldn't have budged for less than five points, the gods would have made it happen. just to spite me. or to teach me, rather. my principles are so small compared to their reality.

i arrive at 8h00 to my uncles' cool living room. he is barely awake, huge, and kind. the family took a four day trip to goa, for 3700 points per person. free cocktails and mocktails from eleven to eleven. swimming, dancing. breakfast of eleven items. lunch of twenty-two itms. afternoon breakfast of four items. evening meal of twenty items. five star. AC rooms. very good time.

i find myself regretting not being there, though it would have obvsiously been hellish. instead i was meditating and practicing music ten-twelve hours a day with my best friend. free cocktails and mocktails eleven to eleven (dude).

"what is your program next?"

i tell my uncle, slowly, about my plans. the words come down to me from the ether, as if i had been beyond them all this time and just now could exhale, floating through a stratosphere of pure thought, ossifying into concept, to the realm of clunky verbal symbolism once again. the malayalam was gone. i was truly back in gujarat, in gujarati. surrounded by urine, pollution, and truly massive cows.

"i'm going to start a farm, an ashram. plant 108 fruit trees on my mother's ten acres of land. provide a space for meditation, yoga, art. where people can stay"

"VERY GOOD!" he's only lauded me once before, when he read "bar" alongside "restaurant" on the "o bigode" business card and discovered i too took part in the illcit pleasures of the sacred vine.

no, not that sacred vine.

"you will stay in one place, develop your mother's land. you can travel 15-20 dayseach year to the world that remains to you, but now you are stable. and you will finally make money. all this time you have been studying and spending money, we have been investing in you, and now you will make money."

he pondered a bit more, grew in felcity.

"before you were some selfish. always traveling, studying, for yourelf. now you can give back to society, share what you have learned, and take their money. in your own style. you like these mental [mansic] things, this meditation. good! now you sell it!"

one can only nod. nine months in the mothers womb. one can only nod.

"you must understand, now. you can't go anywhere without money. you have to pay for train tickets. now they can pay! it's not that you must think about money or focus on money, but you always need money and you must have money always. that is all."

i nodded.


nb: im planning on perhaps using the above as a sort of epilogue to my stories about the salt march privelege, the gandhi march, which i walked last march/april. it seems just about right.

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