Wednesday, October 7, 2009

2009 10 07. Wednesday.

At breakfast this morning an Indian man asked me the question I get asked all the time; "Where are you from?" Just for fun and to do something different I replied "This body was born in America." He looked at me for a second and asked "And your soul?" With a somewhat bored and knowing expression, I said "The soul is everywhere and nowhere." That got me a few seconds of silence. He was no doubt impressed with my unique ability to combine deep piety with profound egoic pretentiousness. During the silence I noticed his eyes were closed and his body was gently shaking as though he were suppressing some emotion. Obviously my wisdom was touching him deeply.

( smile )

What actually happened is after I said "everywhere and nowhere" we started a conversation. Turns out he could speak English pretty good but apparently he could barely understand it (or at least my version of spoken English). Every time I said something I got a blank look and had to repeat it a few times before he seemed to understand. His answers came from far out in left field and were not connected to my replies at all. Very surrealistic. I decided the dialog wasn't going anywhere so I excused myself to get some more food and went to sit somewhere else.

Later on the FAS came up to me and started rambling about god knows what. Apparently he was in a good mood because as he was yapping he reached out and gave me a side hug! I was really surprised. A week or so ago I overheard him talking to another westerner. The FAS was saying in a very serious tone of voice that he was a sadhu and should not to be touched. And in the past whenever I reached out to touch his arm in a friendly way he would pull away with a scared expression. I just chuckled at his seriousness and had no problem not touching him. So I was surprised he would touch me. He continued yabbering in a good natured fashion and I said "Gotta run!" and walked away. He was still yabbering as I walked out of earshot.

As I walked thru the big hall toward the Indian lunch area there were about 400 older Indian ladies gathered there for some function. They were all talking loudly and simultaneously. Wow! What a racket. It was really loud. I had a quick lunch and got outta there.

As I went to the compost area I saw the truck full of wood chips there. Yay! We're almost out of wood chips so I was glad to get some more. The truck was stuck cause Lakshmi (the female elephant) was chained right on the path. The driver didn't know any English but I tried to communicate to him to wait here until the mahouts (elephant handlers) come back. He didn't understand my English but he did understand the word "mahout". He smiled, pointed toward the west and trotted off down a path. Curious, I followed. He went to a little concrete house right next to the building where I live. He called inside and a few minutes later one of the mahouts came out with his hair disheveled and putting on his dhoti. The driver and mahout spoke in an animated fashion for a few moments and then we all trotted back to the compost area where the mahout got Lakshmi moved. The truck backed up and dumped my precious wood chips. Cool.

After compost as I was sitting outside my building brushing the sand off my feet when I noticed a very small scorpion crawling up my left sleeve. Yikes! Double-ungood Yikes!! I quickly brushed it off and it landed on the sand nearby. I saw it waving its tiny little claws in the air and moving its stinger tail. Jeez! What a little monster. I was just about to squish it right then and there but decided to just brush it farther away. Little guy scared the poop out of me! But because I just came back from compost work my clothes looked like that had already happened. Maybe this scorpion gave me a chance to make up for the scorpion I squished a few weeks ago.

My mind felt unusually calm and quiet at dinner; I was working on memorizing a Sanskrit prayer which one of the westerners had translated for me.

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