the weather down here has been unseasonably warm lately – the last couple of days have been in the 80s! it makes my impending travels seem all the more difficult to believe. am i really going back to india? apparently!
last night lara and i had our annual dinner at her house – a chance to drink wine in honor of my sister and make tons of food and watch a movie, just like we would always do with erika when she was here.
this time we drank some bottles from erika’s most extensive wine collection – one of which a vintage from when i was only 9 years old! we made a bunch of roasted broccoli and little potatoes and trader joes delicacies and watched the best exotic marigold hotel. of course, i am attracted to movies about india, but all the more so since my grandmother (who doesn’t do this sort of thing) went to see it 3 times in the theater!
before the movie i read lara’s tarot cards and was delighted to see some really positive cards in her future. so many people i know, myself included, are going through times of massive adjustment and change right now, and she is one of them. it is comforting to see that, while my future remains obscure, some people are starting to come out the other side of this fog.
it is my last week in sarasota, at least this time around, and of course it is filled with a certain amount of anxiety, though i try not to let it take me over. i’ve been dreaming strange dreams and channeling a mixture of wild hopes and sudden discouragements. i suppose it is a good time to get back to india.
the last time i made this journey was six years ago, timing strangely in line with the festival that is one of my main reasons for wanting to go again: the kumbh mela. this year happens to be the maha kumbh mela, which is apparently only something that happens every 144 years – after 12 kumbh melas comes the mother of the melas.
i don’t remember knowing of the festival or really considering going. there are risks involved, not least of which included being trampled in a stampede among the tens of millions of people who will be there to take part in the festival. however, i realized just now that i was, in fact, rather close to the action of the last kumbh, the ardha kumbh mela, since i had headed north from my home in kodaikanal in march to meet up with my sister in delhi. usually, the festival lasts through february. i’ve even been to the city in which it will be held this year, the location of the confluence of the ganges river and the yamuna river. apparently (or rather, invisibly) there is a third river, of the ethereal variety, that also joins with the two earthly rivers at the same spot, but is invisible to the naked eye, called the saraswati.
the only other time i was in this place, allahabad (yes, that allah) was when i just got back from nepal to india and had very recently realized my backpack was stolen from the bus in kathmandu. my memories of allahabad are of a very dusty area of town, outside of the city proper, where my traveling companion and i were changing from the bus to the train to go back to delhi. my load was very light, since i only had a small bag and my guitar. even my body was light, since i had caught a bad case of amoebic dysentery in kathmandu and dropped all the pounds i’d acquired from eating rich indian food every day for months 🙂
this time around, i will start light – i do hope to bring a guitar, but i’ll have to buy a new on in new york or india, since my little darling, stella, is coming apart at the seams – a combination of bad glue, old age, and too many different climates over the years.
wrapping up my sarasota days and planning on a trip to new york, complete with a show at sullivan hall the day i arrive, planning a subsequent trip to india, and potentially a trip to egypt on the way back to this continent – has my head spinning with places, names, dates, possibilities, responsibilities, dollars, currency exchanges, visas, you name it!
all i can do is have faith that it will all be alright in the end – and if it isn’t alright, it isn’t the end! (best exotic marigold hotel was a really nice movie, btw – if you want to see what india is like without going, it is a good place to start!)
love and miss,