cut short!

I am now in the expensive city of london, heading home earlier than expected. My grandpa (some call him bob) died on july 9th. Here is his obituary. He is one of my favorite people, and I will hold him and my time in India fondly in my memory. That's a wrap.


Why not let the name go with the body
since things will be
as they appear

a shambles of change with now and then an absolute
loss and most changes, re-directions not
the kind you can bend back into shape

and not even in the midridge of the overspill
an island to stop on and consider in stillness time

but only in the interweavings, flows back and
forth, under and over, around and through
does reality hold

to a single face its name and that can
on a stormy spring morning seem so underbuilt
with dream, reality and appearance flow together away

-AR Ammons


the last leg!

I have arrived at my final section of this trip: Onchocerciasis. Kate and Shane and I just trekked around Kodaikanal and Wadaikanal for a little while to beat the heat. On my overnight bus to Chennai last night, the driver stopped at ever roadside temple to leave some incense. There were many temples in this 12 hour bus ride. Now I am off to find formal Indian wear appropriate for working in a hospital setting, and figure out the Chennai bus system.

I have also put a slideshow of other photos from my Himalaya time on the left of the page, and I'll add more as I get the time. You can click on it and browse the photos at your leisure. Hope everything is going well!



sadhana forest

Greetings! Here are a few updates:

I have had some great interactions with Indian healthcare. My pal Hannah got a parasite, and her trip to the emergency room cost us under Rs. 250 (USD $5), including her 3 prescriptions. Shoes are not allowed inside the hospital. I stepped on a rusty nail and got a tetanus shot for Rs. 13 (USD $0.26). Lastly, I got food poisoning and puked in the banana pits.

I am ready to leave Auroville. I will do this shortly.
This is my friend Shane in my bed in our hut at Sadhana forest. I just started using that mosquito net because there are rats scurrying over my body.

Repo beach with Pondicherry in the background.

KATE RAY. And Marcel Sielmann of Bangalore doing a dance for me.

This is a sober dance party at 11am in the main hut at Sadhana forest.

Sunset in Pondicherry.

I am bewildered after entering the Matrimandir, the golden structure behind me which is the center of Auroville. This interior of the building came to the Mother in a vision, and contains a giant crystal lit up by sunlight. I meditated in that chamber, and now I want to leave Auroville asap.

Biking through Pondy.
Speaking of biking in this town, my friend Ryan got his bike stolen. He paid Rs.8000 for it, then flew back to the U.S. Today, the police notified us that they found it. This is because the Pondicherry police were the ones who stole it! WhoA! After bribing them Rs. 4000 for the return of the bike, there was another Rs. 4000 which was donated to Sadhana Forest. Policemen also tried to arrest me for swinging on a playground too late in Pondicherry. They tried to hit me with a very large stick, but Kate Ray sweet talked them out of it. Thank you for your service and protection.


sat on ya

Apparently (to use the words of a cherished Chemist) to comment on my posts "one has to belong to a covert organizational system to be allowed access." If this is the case, do as George did, and send me an e-mail. I would like to hear from you, and you, and you.

In other news, I am settling down outside of Auroville at the Sadhana Forest, and have developed some sort of routine thing. The place is very wonderful and fairly strange. It is the first time I've ever lived in "a commune." Though my parents like to think otherwise, despite the centrality of Sri Aurobindo's philosophies, it is not a cult. Let me describe in brief. There are about 10 huts made of bamboo in the middle of a very arid red place, where 30 volunteers help to plant, expand, and maintain 70 acres of tropical dry evergreen forest. It was started 5 years ago, and the water table in the area has risen considerably since then. The volunteers are a scattered group, from India, US, France, Germany, Sweden, Macedonia, and Australia. We do yoga at 5am, first work from 6-8, second work from 9-noon, lunch, freetime, then afternoon chores when the heat has subsided. unfortunately, the heat never subsides. I have never felt heat like this in my life! Other things of note about this place is the lack of meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, drugs, and "aggravating spices," replaced by a high presence of jaggery, fresh produce, and spirulina. My high carb mountain diet has been turned on its head. Also, no competitive games (such as cards and chess) are allowed. !!!

To escape this insulated forest and the heat, my friends and I have rented motorbikes and take frequent trips to the beach and to Pondicherry in the afternoons. Driving in India is like biking in New York, only on the left hand side. Instead of dodging cars and pedestrians, you must dodge cars, pedestrians, bicycles, motorbikes, trucks, buses, cows, funeral processions, and goats. Magnificent! The bay of bengal has great waves, and I've learned how to build an earth home. Kate Ray arrives at Sadhana Forest TOMORROW. What's news with you?

The Mother



the bay of bengal is a large bath with great waves. in the case of Chennai beaches, it is a trash-filled bath with creepy indian men who line up to shake hands and linger.

Pondicherry, on the other hand, is a gem. There is real fish and good wine here, as well as tricked out rickshaws that play Michael Jackson really loudly upon request. Two Christians have tried to save my soul in Southern India. Here is my place of employment and rest for the next 2 or 3 weeks. Talk soon, real soon.


photographic evidence

hello again. I haven't forgotten about this thing. Theses photos serve as proof that I have been inhabitting places unsuitable for the internet (or roads for that matter).
Nanda Devi temple in Martoli.

Reena and I at the Burphu glacier. Sorry for the tilt.

I kissed this sheep's head while it was alive, then watched it die. I got to help "clean" it, then I ate it. After 2 1/2 months of indian food and carb-heavy hiking rations, this meat was not good.
Ralam Gad! This was a weird place. There were a few yaks.

Obligatory Indian photo.

this is the highest (elevation) i've ever been in my life. We climbed a pass at 15,600 feet in the air. that was very cool. Coming down the other side, however, we missed the trail (due to snow) and ended up being lost for 10 more hours. That was a hard day. I think i was singing Les Mis songs while this was taken.

good morning, amanda.

May 10th, 2009 in a pasture outside of Ralam. The sign reads: "Hapy Mother's Day! I love you!"

This man makes wooden items using a water mill and metal tools. He is going to be displaced because of the 8 hydroelectric dams currently being built on the Gori Ganga. Kate: the mortar and pestle that I bought from our kitchen was made by this man. He also taught me how to fish on the aforementioned river:

I caught nothing.
Gandhi's funeral pyre.

Atop Khalia, at 12,200 feet. You can see Martoli's peak in the background.

This is a temple at DhakuriKhal from our first hike in the Pindari valley. We camped just below the pass and then did a hike at sunrise. VERY NICE!
Here I am at my "house" in Munsiari. I stayed in this home with a woman named Anusuiya Tolia, and she cooked delicious meals. We took classes on Environmental studies, and learned about environmentalism's relationship to social justice and local politics. It was quite nice to live in a self-sustainable community for a very brief time. They know where all of their electricity, water, and food come from! Do you know where your electricity, water, and food come from? The sunrises here were more than acceptable.

The best lunch break I ever had while hiking was this one. It was the hottest day and there was a very cold glacial spring.
I worked at an organization called Clean Himalaya in Rishikesh one afternoon. After picking up garbage, I met a bunch of school girls at a chai shop. I taught them how to play slide, then kicked their butts at other hand clapping smacking games.

The confluence of the Ganga! We rafted right by this one.

After getting lost on a very long thunderstormy day and sleeping in a cave, this is about how I felt.
Sunrise from Khatikal.
Hope y'all are well, though. Any news? I am heading down to Auroville tomorrow to being my work on a reforestation project and meet Kate Ray. I'll start this up regularly again now, though.
love, dece.