Sunday, June 14, 2009

2009 06 14. Sunday.

2009 06 14. Sunday.

OK, so today I officially started the "French Fry Cutter Leela". At the morning vegging chop seva we spend a lot of time cutting potatoes for french fries. This could be done much easier, faster and more consistently with a simple hand operated french fry cutter. So this morning I went to the big Indian kitchen and asked around for the person who orders equipment. The Indian kitchen is always filled with steam from huge pots of boiling rice and chai and the wonderful aromas of all kinds of spicy dishes being stirred in really large vats. Lots of the fancier dishes are reserved for the students and some of the older residents. Where I eat they only serve the simple food (except for lunch when we get an extra course or two). There's a nice altar of Amma near the kitchen entrance and I try to do a quick namaskar to Amma whenever I go there.

I spoke to a very nice Indian man named Sanjay who helps run the kitchen. Sanjay has a beautiful smile and was very helpful. He understood my request and said I should come back in a day or so and speak to Omkumar who's the big boss.

Knowing how things work in India, I give myself about a 10% chance of actually procuring a proper french fry cutter. Even though, it should be an interesting leela. Attempting little projects like this is a great way to learn a little about how the different parts of the ashram operate. I only know about a very small portion of this place.

Today, while Murtena and I were hauling a heavy bin of good paper up the big recycle paper mound, he asked me if I thought about asking Amma to be a renunciate. His question was good because it gave me an opportunity to ask him about the details of becoming a renunciate. He said that if Amma grants our request, we can stay in our own room if we own a flat (last year I purchased a flat at the ashram). To become a renunciate costs around $15,000 or thereabouts. In return the basic needs of the renunciate are taken care of for the rest of their life. The Amma organization provides them food, shelter and basic health care. In return, the renunciate has to do some extra work and abide by the ashram rules which are pretty straightforward. Any extra money the renunciate has they can either keep or offer to Amma; their choice. In the future I may ask Amma about becoming a renunciate. Right now I don't feel any inner pull to become one, but that may change.

At the compost pile seva today Pete (the guy in charge) was amazing. He was working like 3 people. And in a hot sun to boot. I was dragging but Pete was really working hard, and seemed to really enjoy it. I was totally drained by the end. We were missing 2 of the usual volunteers so we had to make up the slack. Well, Pete made up almost all the slack and I could just barely carry my own weight. Definitely hard work. The pile was done right at chai time so I wonder if Pete was making that his goal. He did it. Then we trotted off for chai. He came back smiling with a cup of hot brew in his hand and shared more about his plans for the compost pile project. We were having a nice time chatting but Sonia cut me off saying "Please, I need to talk with Pete about the plans." I got a little annoyed but it was hard to get too bugged holding a thermos full of hot chai I'll be enjoying soon along with a blissful shower. I dragged my tired butt back to my room in the hot afternoon sun wearing clothes that looked I had celebrated the completion of the compost pile by rolling in it.

Strange. At the evening men's bhajans today, there was no synthesizer. Only a harmonium. And they sang mostly simple bhajans. I knew many of them and could easily sing along. I definitely missed the synthesizer. It adds a very nice aural dimension to the usual bhajans, but it was nice to be able to sing along. Maybe the synthesizer player had something else he needed to do.

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