feels so near i can almost taste it, yet somehow, almost exactly, half a life time ago!… what does become of our younger selves… the river of time and all that malarkey
… edit… adding brief words, belatedly, to what is but a supremely lazy ‘memories of yesteryear’ repost…….
curious as to the provenance of this snap… i remember that we were in a pub car park, somewhere in surrey… with mum and dad, hence the dreads scraped back out of sight, suspect mel would have taken it
summer early 90’s… i’m either just back from prague or the caves in granada… or possibly even south america, but don’t think it’s that late time wise
not one of my pics, as i didn’t take a single one till the kids were born, old photos are somewhat skimpy on the ground
ah what became of that carefree fellow?… guess the young are seldom carefree… just my concerns would have been along the lines of ‘where am i sleeping tonight, wheres the next party!’
oops, it’s become a maudlin’ morning now… i’m shocked my socks match… thats what happens when you dress soberly to please the fogies
and more importantly what became of those groovy deckchair shorts… missing them sommat grevious! x
Say ‘cheese’, say ‘squee-ee-ze’… India partakes in its daily attempt to set a new world record for number of sentient beings in a confined space (ala 1970s Blue Peter phone boxes and minis!)… this time as we wend our way around hair pin bends, tumbling down through the Tamil Nadu foothills of the Western Ghats (think Alp sized mountains, without the cable cars, neglected due to continental proximity to the humongous himalayas)… on every bend, there is a collective flabbergasted ‘oof’ of crushed torsos, overlaid with the higher trill of women’s voices… I one of the the lucky ones… with a seat, through dint of having been stuck on the bus, forever, since it and seemingly times beginning… India has a knack of making you feel like a speck amongst a billion, whisper it, soto voce, Kerala and most of the western states, do not have the sense of the high tempo madness… the numinous of the Nadu…. for all the senses the dial turned to 11… ego bamboozled midst a soup of sensation… pounding bollywood tunes, pong of armpits, a bird of paradise blur of colourful saris
a day of contrasts: dawn amongst the tea plantations of munnar, awash with myriad green… watching the malabar giant black squirrels somersault amongst the top of the highest trees… fighting off the equally black crows… truly giants, the size of a monkey, kali black with the fiercest of red trimmings!… a loooong bus journey, 6 hours when it should have been 3… to end guzlling masala dosa, lawks the flavours, just outside the majestic gopurams (gateways) of the Sri Meenakesh temple in Madurai…. proper cream crackered. g’night, snooze good x
‘The Shape and the Shaping of Wisdom’… Indian Geezer, in a full moon party T-Shirt, comes up to me in a restaurant, whilst I’m guzzling a somewhat delish vegan buffet with Alix and Tim, he says ‘sorry to interrupt, but are you by any chance 1028 milligrammes?’… I just about have enough savvy to appreciate it’s a lsd reference, so presume he’s either trying to sell me some, or wants to buy? anyway conversation trundles along, apparently I am a dead ringer doppelganger for a legendary trance dj… who’d a thunk it… blooming old school hippies!… confusion resolved, turns out in his younger days, our new found friend was a tamil rapper, from madurai… he proceeds to give us a stomping, passionate, nailed on lyrical rap! bravo! on querying the lyrics it’s a conscious spiel, as to how we have to honour the sunshine and the farmers for our food… groovy… nowadays he works with a more jazzy collective and plays us a song off his phone, cinematic buzz… Next talk turns to his youthful adoration of eminem, shows us how he has the same tattoo on his left hand… says that gandhi would have approved of eminen! kinda ‘authentically, living out, and telling, the story of his life’… in the background, his gentle shy wife is holding the baby…. bubba gets in on the act, gurgling and smiling chubby cheeked adorable… quite a presence, for such a small lumpen thing… baby is called ‘Sith Robin’, which means, the shape and the shaping of wisdom… dad then takes a selfie, so, in time honoured fashion, I get him to reciprocate and snap one for me… ‘chinni’, sugar, is the tamil version of ‘say cheese’… before he leaves, as a finale, the fellow sings us the sweetest, most soulful of tamil ballards… a beautiful timbre to his voice, a powerful resonant song
anyway, just thought to share, on the hoof, this travelling vignette, from 30 or so mins ago xx
‘one selfie please?’ invariably accompanied by a broad grin… I beam back in my most robust Brian blessed tones ‘YES Of COURSE’, then more softly add the coda ‘can I take one too’… arms are extended and we jostle within range of the fish eyed lens, this most modern of fandangos, and I do my upmost to look less wrinkly than reality. Indians love selfies, I love selfies, truly it is a match made in heaven. here’s but a few from my collection (was gonna include one of lakshmi the pondy ganesha temple ollifant, but didn’t come out in the collage)
For obvious cultural reasons, its almost invariably a youngish man, or a group of lads out together, usually middle class affluent, with enough English to ask for name and good country, often conversation spirals off into cricket ‘Ben Stokes’… tho in chennai there was a pastor, slicked down, tamed bouffant, white shirt, white trousers and, impressively, white shoes!
Smart phone magic has come to India, the hugest change since 10 years ago… of course it has its uses… making travelling so much easier… I love most the way every tourist place you go there’s a gaggle of youth posed in silhouette against some scenic backdrop, concocting a social media portolio.
… and as I’m clearly in a wafflesome mood…
my fave so far was sitting in the bus footwell, legs dangled over the edge, out of chinglepat… whereas the beachfront in pondy is how modern India wants to see itself, a throng of prosperous middle class families out guzzling both ice creams and samosas, life as a promenade… the truth is the chennai wealth has only spilled over so far… off the obvious track chinglepat is the norm, dusty, glut crowded with people, India, eternal, the same as ever… Chai, Rickshaws, Family, Temples
anyway my travel companion and I bought each other sweet milky coffees… I thought his name was Dougal… but now suspect he was travelling to din-dugal… he spoke almost no english… yet brandishing phone showed me some pictures from his life… his beautiful waif thin wife in a colourful sari… and… mostly… pictures of machines… big industrial machines… he was a mechanic and proud of it… if there ever was a Tamil Nadu equivalent of Bruce Springsteen, his songs would be for and about Dougal!
Mahaballipuram and Tiruvannamalai
Such the lazy life of the lotus eater… already 2 weeks have ambled by since these…
Mahabs was exquisitely carved 1500 year old sculptures, you can stroll across the rock strewn hill and often have a cave temple to yourself, places for pondering, equally as it was Republic day and a Sunday, a cheerful and curious mob of locals would descend. Pool for when too hot
Tiru sacred Shiva fire mountain (Arunachala)… An enormous ancient temple, city within the city (India, bedlam in microcosm without the cars!), 4000 years people have worshipped here… contrasted with the serenity of the Sri Ramana Maharishi ashram, and a barefoot nature walk partway up the mountain to his meditation cave
Shanti Shanti Shanti
Nahmaste… And all that jazz! I’m in India for a month, tis the usual bewildering bedlam bonkers… 10 days in Tamil Nadu so far, huge amounts of fun and some profound-ity. Gurus and Scooters! Splurge more words and holiday snaps when serenity arrives.. In transit today (ie bit bored)… 34 years since I was first here (yikes!)… we’ve both changed and not… Modern, Ancient, Sacred.. Go Gandhi Ganesha! x
(from a few days ago)
ooh eclipse in oz (g’day cairns!)… reminds me of the one i stumbled upon by chance in bagan, myanmar.
2 old pics by simon who kindly dashed about giving out cut up x-ray paper to protect the eyes of the locals
i was perched atop one of the ancient temples all on my own, majestic, powerful, profound stuff!
for this one apparently we’re best off with rituals in watery subterranean places (sea life center?!)
i’ve had a mega busy week, doing loads of interesting amazing things, but also struggling with some of both my own and other peoples darkness (possibly the same thing?!)
not really for facebook tho, which usually best when kept frothy and fluffy!
but wishing you all peace, insight, a gentle opening to the forces which engulf us… and of course love x
ha. mid 90’s, drive away extravaganza, new york to miami, hurtling along thru the kaleidoscope of leaves on the appalachian sky way, plummeting to the sunshine, then dog legging up to san fransisco via.. er.. south america, a punk extravaganza in austen, alburqueque, sunrise at the grand canyon… and .. and… AND… adventure ..and.. and taco bell quite often… thanks to mel for exhuming the pic — with Richard Pendry.