Archive | February, 2012

Firebirds & the Goddess Lakshmi

26 Feb

Watching the red fireball settle into the ocean at night and grandmother moon raising from over the hills I feel connected to life again. New living qualities lurching around and offering fulfillment or destruction. The endless rolling of the waves shoots my strained nerves, my sick body, my broken heart. The wind is caressing my skin while my senses overload from feelings of numbness back to pain and joy again. The beauty of the sunlight reflected and carried on by the waves is what reminds me of a purpose – a duty. This little India adventure is coming to and end and I wanted to indulge you with some more transformation stories.

The Indians love the Goddess Lakshmi or Laxmi. Cafés, Shops, Restaurants, Hotels and Daughters are named after Her – all for good Luck!

In the Hindu tradition, Lakshmi is the Goddess of abundance. She is a bringer of physical wealth in the form of success and money, and spiritual wealth, such as intelligence, enlightenment and the awakening to the God within. On a deeper, esoteric meaning she is associated with immortality and the essence of life. She is often depicted with a lotus and an elephant. The lotus represents purity and spiritual power; the elephant, royal authority. She “shines like the sun” and “is lustrous like fire”. In her hand she holds a lotus flower. The flower represents the greatest treasure of all, the attainment of spiritual power and perfection through self-realization, or oneness with the Higher Self. Within the lotus flower, Lakshmi holds the key to the next stage of our spiritual development. Lakshmi is an embodiment of the Divine Mother. Her consort is Vishnu who holds the office of Preserver in the Hindu Trinity, parallel to the principle of the Son in the Western Trinity. Lakshmi shares Vishnu’s role as preserver. Her wisdom is revealed in blessings of prosperity and the precipitation of the abundant life.

I’ve met many old friends here in Arambol, beloved and missed. One very special one I want to tell you about, her name is Laxmi. One of many young girls selling souvenirs along the beaches, she does stand out. Not only for her extraordinary beauty but for intelligence even more. The blessings of the Goddess must indeed be hers as she single handedly lifted her family from plain poverty into having a family owned business at the age of seven. The family used to live in a tent on the roadside crafting baskets in endless hours of fruitless activity, bellies empty and spirits low. But not for her, it must be an ingrained drive for survival that made her first beg and then invest the first money she earned into things to sell, maximizing her profit. That’s the spirit of microfinance all over again and I must say I am deeply touched by it. But what made me finally adopt her as a daughter in a sense that I might never have, is the fact that she doesn’t only speak several languages including Russian in the manner of business, her English is so sophisticated she speaks science and all, I am deeply impressed. I met her parents to pay my respects on them letting her go to school, she is really destined for greatness and it makes my heart jump in joy to see her family supportive of her endeavours. Aged 13 now she is indeed the smartest kid on the beach, and with ambitions, she knows exactly what she wants and maybe there is hope she will not get married away soon. Something she doesn’t want now, because she wants to become a teacher. In any case this is out of my influence I did what I could by investing in her dowry. Wanting to make her a gift I was more thinking along the lines of school books, cloth or food for the family – but while at it we settled for earings made of gold and her first ever cotton dress. Driving 3 persons on a scooter through half of Goa to the commercial capital Mapusa to go to the Jeweller was quite a rewarding experience for me, as was the glow on her face when she got her presents. I know she loved me anyway but for this even more and I pray for her and her family that they are well and prosperous in the times to come, else they certainly have something valuable to sell now in dire need. The girl loves Sai Baba, he is here favorite God and she told me many stories as we drove through green fields populated with the blue shining kingfisher birds followed by fields of rotting rubbish – such is India.

As I was out there my culinary glands got activated a lot and the desire for these delicious Idly and Sambhar rose up again. Incredible that this is not sold in any restaurant at the beach, while Idly, a soft rice and daal composition, is actually the staple food in southern India! As it is popular for breakfast I gladly indulged in some other quick served local food, while looking forward to the next morning at the beach when they brought me fresh Idly from the countryside. Followed by my favorite Calamari dish specially prepared by my dear friends at Opinahl. Maybe one should not drive 3 on a scooter to go gold shopping in an Indian Market but I dare say all went well and beyond. Leaving my last day in Arambol to complete another important deed

In Hindu Mythology Lakshmi’s consort is the God Vishnu who often rides on a large mythical eagle like creature called Garuda. Garuda is known throughout Hindu and Buddhists mythology alike and some sources reference the great mythical bird also to the Phoenix, know from Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Sumerian and other occidental cultures. The Phoenix is said to live a thousand years and there is always only just one. Before he dies he builds himself a nest of frankincense where he is burned to ashes. From the ashes of the old bird rises the young again to live the next episode in the eternal firebirds story.

For me the Phoenix has always been the archetypal image of transformation. Something old dies so that something new can live. The cycle of life. Ouroboros, the snake that eats itself. I have a deep fascination with such symbolism including a strong urge to put them on my body in the form of tattoos! Tattoos are art that goes literally under the skin, making a statement of who one is. Last year I’d started my second big piece depicting my power animals and allowing the Eagle to become a Phoenix as my old self is indeed dying. I feel like I’ve lived this life for a thousand years and now is the time to be reborn! Unfortunately my dear Peruvian tattoo artist has moved to far away Australia and I was walking around with an unfinished tattoo, a fact that worried me to quite a big degree.

And I love love love how things turn out when I am in the flow of life!!! There’s a rather famous and peculiar tattoo artist in Arambol, by the name of Om. I’d known his brother from before and now through his other brother I got to know him, he seemed rather likeable, for I am always a bit hesitant to let those dark skinned intimidating and slightly dangerous looking Indian guys on my fair white skin… 😉 Of course, as with every sensible European girl I was concerned with sanity. I was rather dumbfolded by their response when I asked about it. “You white people clean your asses with toilet paper, we Indian people clean our asses with water, who do you think is cleaner?” For reasons of my own recent experience that made all my further concerns unnecessary and I can happy tell you now that the tattoo healed quickly and looks great. The phoenix has risen from the ashes indeed, there is no way back now anymore – I must attempt this big journey and TRUST that life provides. And it does, I got my first webdesign client, check it out at www.omtattoogoa.co.cc.

I am home as I post this but not for long, Barcelona is calling…. And in 4 month I am off!!!! Yeah

Lakshmi’s blessings to all of you.
YMT

Little things…

14 Feb

Day 2 starts of way better as the little things make it. Got a newspaper into my hotel room and a really nice hot shower. The Indians are a funny folk, for one they seem either helpful or else not understanding. On the drive up to Arambol there where two boys walking side by side on one lane of a busy street where they could not be overtaken. Only after what seemed a very long time one of them looked back without showing any emotion on his face and continued walking. Overall they’re a nice folk I sometimes maybe even like them too much. Here now I experience the commerce again and what it makes out of people. It’s funny how I always befriend the locals when I am at places like this. The cute seven year old girl letting me promise 5 times that later I would look her shop and then I bought her a pepsi. Of course that was not enough, she needed to make some money, I couldn’t say no. Bargaining hard I could tell she was not that happy afterwards. I don’t mind them, not really. It is so that I feel obliged to spend some money in the local economy. It seems the least I can do, fretting over the inability to really do something to make things better. They have gotten worse actually. Now even the hippies have become commercialized, selling their hand made jewelry, healing oils, or travelling hammocks. The market you can find every day at the traditional creative people sunset gathering in Arambol. I could have cried when I saw this, I was sooo cool when I was there last time, free spirits gathering for celebration of life. But when there are more spectators than dancers, the event becomes meaningless sucked out a comedy. This called the comedy of the hippies of goa.

Arambol beach directly has now been overtaken fully by the Russians, 3 rows of sunbeds decorating the once so solemn beach. Again I was close to throwing up when I saw this. Further down to Marnem where I am, it is still just some little shacks with some sunbeds each, though it goes on now endlessly along the mile long beaches. The German Bakery seems no more, luckily Pacha still is. Already met some old friends, and new ones. The Pacha’s regaled by a Nepali family,  grandparents and all. Language is a real subject, so many languages spoken – again! Everywhere it is likes this. The Indigenous tribes having their own local dialects, and mostly a common language of the conquistadores per country, speaking it more or less according to their social status. Everywhere in the world! I tried to learn a bit Hindi but it is ah so difficult for me. Like for them English! Wow but they try, no shame anymore when they are out there and it is good. They have a right to take part in the world as well. Mostly the tribes have been tattered, intact societies only to be found rarely, the young wanting to go to the big cities. And there survival suddenly means something completely different from the village farm… alright I am diverting here into difficult terrain and strain thoughts, wonder what they might be;) So- the Hindi I learned rather easily is: “Makka Nakka”.  It means, I don’t want, or I don’t need anything. Very useful!

Namaste
YMT

Love and hate in India

14 Feb

This journey to Arambol has shown me once more why I hate travelling per se. People say about India, that you either love or hate it. I sure love it, else I would not have come again. But travelling in itself is an exhausting thing. As I write this, I haven’t slept within 30 hours more than 20 minutes at a time.

It started off alright, I was early at the airport and the lady at the check-in desk was really nice, assigning me good seats. On the flight to Istanbul I met a guy from Kuwait and had an interesting conversation. I felt good and in the flow. Good to be out there again, good to meet new people. But then in Istanbul things started to get a bit cranky. I did manage to find the smoking terrace and order proper Turkish coffee, but when they confiscated my two fresh bottles of still water just before the boarding gate, where new water could only be bought from the machine with Turkish lira bills which I didn’t have I was slightly pissed. The movie offering was really great though and since I didn’t manage to sleep I watched a couple of them, they even gave us a little bottle of water before the light was switched off, still I couldn’t sleep. Arriving in Bombay the baggage claim was really incredibly slow and I knew (and maybe that’s why it happened…) that if I miss my connection within the 2 hours I had, I could easily get a new flight a bit later. Then that’s what it is. Asking around the airlines for the next flights to Goa, prices varied from 13000 to 4000 rupees. I had originally paid 2600 (45$) for the flight I missed. So once I got that settled I enjoyed a really great original Indian breakfast, Idly & Sambhar, having my first but certainly not last culinary orgasm.

Having to wait another 6 hours at the airport I wanted to sleep at the gate, which was impossible because the seats there though nice and modern where made strictly for single person only, no way to lay down or at least rest ones head. So I afforded some extra money to go to the spa…

Certain thing, money wise really have to change! Yes I would always want to have the money to spontaneously book a new flight if necessary. But certain luxuries are not for me anymore, but not today. The Asian looking but Indian woman from Assam (tea!) had such strong hands she trigger point healed me of my travel weariness very easily.

At the next security check they let me my bottle of water and confiscated my lighter instead,  rounding it up with providing cigarette lighter services in the smoking lounge 😉 Eventually flying to Goa is as easy as it can get. They’ve even managed to govern the taxi services though they get ever more expensive. To me reliability is worth something, by not having to haggle after a 24 our journey. Now I am here in Panjin and the only reason I came here is to have seen something else of India than just the beach of Arambol… Well I have seen it, for sure, nothing really to be seen here. So happy when I am finally at the beach tomorrow.  Just two things to end this. I ended up in the best restaurant in town, the only one where the sunshine along the river can be enjoyed. The rest of the Riviera being rather wasted. I spent a couple of hours and 500 rupees, this is just 9 bucks!!! 9 bucks for 3 beers, one full dinner with fresh squid and a glass of wine. At home this would have cost 50 bucks, and this was expensive for India. It’s just that I must learn not to think in the comparative way anymore because I must learn compare prices within the cheap country I am travelling  in.

Then I did what you should never do. Walking home alone drunk in a foreign city in a third world country. But this is my trick: I knew exactly where I am going and I made the clear appearance I have been here before and to just not bother me, it worked well enough here.

So long
YMT