23 April 2008

zero waste india

you wouldn't guess by the gutters full of plastic bags but india is
going zero waste. it's happening. the future. happening. now.

we made it nasik after two days of hectic non-bicycle travel, visiting
baskar save's farm in umaragaon on the way. let it be said: there is
no relaxing sentimentality in joining the industrial travel movement
after three weeks on a bicycle. none. everyabout the cycle is better
except the lack of gears. the AC is silent, the meditation
ever-present, you can start and stop whenever you please, it is
pleasantly free, easy, and clean. no waiting. no bus stations. no
pollution. minimum bumpiness, especially with tomas' slovakian seats.

pilgrims! start your bicycles.

but due to the mountains being manlier than we are, we left our horses
with mahesh kothari's school for deaf children in navasari, and took
the petrochemical route to nasik. one day at baskar save's farm -- i
took some notes, they are forthcoming -- who developed through his own
research a fukuokan approach to horticulture in gujarat. amazing
bounty and beauty, peace and prosperity, a la vez. it's amazing.

and then a few more buses to nasik where 50 people of various
generations states and languages have gathered to teach and learn
about waste. it's a week long conference where we all take turns
cooking and cleaning together. each day there are various sessions,
casually and intentionally disorganized, giving us an opportunity to
learn from each other. movies and music at night. the occasional dip
in the local river. and really good people and conversation. so much
love in the world and so so ever so clear

that plastic is not the way. it just doesnt go away. one of the
clearest messages i took away from a talk and slideshow by alex,
earlier in the week, is that there is no such thing as "throwing
something away". There is no such Away. Every Away is Somebody's Here.

so what do we do with all this plastic we generate, if throwing it in
the garbage doesnt get us anywhere, and burning it releases toxic
dioxins into the air, and landfills leach toxicity into the soil. they
have tried everything in the last fifty years and none of it works. it
seems the only option is to Stop Generating Plastic, to stop viewing
waste as an option. we are learning to reuse and upcycling everything
we generate and, more importantly giving consumption patterns and
levels, to stop consuming.

Not accepting food and drink that come in plastic packaging.
Working ecological consciousness into desire.
Taking responsibility for our trash.

What if everything piece of trash we generated we had to wash and
store under our bed. How long could we keep consuming? How many
planters would we make out of plastic bottles before we gave up and
found a better way.

Just some basic notes from the zero waste meet. other nice
conversations about city farming, worm compost, sanitation, how to
talk to people and not offend them, the possibility for a sustainable

And safe and healthy and finding mangos. Will head out to near
Sevagram and Paunar and Wardha and Vasant and Karuna's farm on

one love,

back to mangolandia.

18 April 2008

wheels no longer turning...

another automatic response from ankurbhai's electronic secretariat:

ankurbhai is currently in the office and away from his email.

he and tomasji have just ended their cycle yatra in the town of
navsari. we stopped to take a side trip in automobile to see dandi
(where i walked a couple of years) ago and go in automobile to the
dang forest to check on a school for blind children up in there.

when i conceived of this journey last october, it was limitless. when
i got to india and talked to nirali about it, it would last two or
three months. eventually i realized it should take me to vasant and
karuna futanes' farm in maharastra, and when i heard about the
zero-waste meeting in nasik on april 21st, it seemed natural to end it

continuing this trend and flow, we shifted the destination to umargaon
(baskar save's farm, the fukuoaka of gujarat, so they say) to avoid
unnecessary hurrying and mountain crossing.

in the same spirit, when we realized we had 1.5 days and 130 km to go
from navsari to umargaon, i was persuaded to back away from the
challenge and chill out. so we did. and celebrated with french fries
(indian style, as is everything else in india) and mangos.

lots of beautiful mangos. lots. mango season is finally upon us.

tomorrow we'll take the morning train to see baskar save and the day
after a night bus to nasik for the next segment of the infinite
intersection. india is as indian as ever.

we cycled over 500 km in 13 days, with 4 rest days. rested with 13
families, ashrams, farms, and institutes. all different. a run down to
come. so much reflection. i intentially have kept very little record
beyond the addresses and phone numbers, so instead of abandoning my
contacts and writing a book as i did last time, this time i will
endeavor to stay in touch with the families. and not spend more time
writing books.

so it is. one hearty and encompassing love to all being, including you.

14 April 2008

ora world mandala in mexico strikes again

tomas world episode one through six

animal peloton

horn OK please


this place was one big solar cooker


we can give you everything, except privacy.

on the road still...

april 14th
near mandvi, in baruch district, gujarat

at the house of one girinbhai shad, replete with broadband internet
and playing children and lipan mudwork and mango trees. it's been an
interesting parade of characters all disguised as organic farmers over
the last two weeks (we left on the first). nature cure center to
commercial farms, some hardcore spiritual slavedrivers and a few
people committed to personal sustainability and doing no harm. young
personal management advisors. seasoned mango farmers. all god's
people, naturally.

tomas and i are keeping in good health. tomas had diarrhea for a day
and we somehow kept him still long enough for the ayurvedic and
personal cures to work. we suspect the interdit sips of slovak liquor
he took in the bathroom were the real curative drops.

there are still people out there who make their own soap and spin
their own clothing, and we have been blessed enough to meet them. i
dont know what else to say, a little stuck in this world and hard to
reach out. but the blessings blow down in tons like the sugarcane
harvest -- we cycle for 4-5 hours in the morning to arrive at a house
in the country, to people we've never met, a name we heard perhaps
just the day before. and they make us tea and lemon soda, cook us
lunch even though they are fasting, cry when we leave. it's something
more than incredible. i am so proud to be somewhat indian, to be able
to look at tomas, amazed, and think, "yes, this is our india".

that much is sure. everything is ours. a guys looks at my flute for a
few minutes and we talk and by the time he asks the price -- perhaps 3
minutes later -- its not how much did your flute cost or how much did
the flute cost but how much did Our flute cost.

nice like that, you know.

tomas has been gifted with some genius drawing talents. evidence to
follow, shortly.


back to mangolandia.

05 April 2008

hard saddle's gonna fall

dearest friends of mangolandia

from the saddle again. day 6 in the morning and by some miracle of the
hindu work ethic and the (more likely) spirit of capitalism, there is
a cyber cafe ("mercury") open at 7 in the morning.

feeling the slightest onset of a cold and avoided the typical morning
chai in favor of holy basil, cardamom, turmeric, and dry ginger. i
hadn't had a cup of tea in two months and have been up to three a day
on the yatra.

submission is the name of the game. so far we've been to two organic
farms, one sanitation center, and one cousin sister's house. it's just
the beginning. yesterday was our first 50 km day. it's trucking along
nicely and nobody has been killed but the roadside dogs.

we pray for them as we pass.

just checking in.