Life, death and celebration

March 26, 2009

Hi all,
Sorry for not putting up any posts in the recent past. Just so many things have been happening just absorbing stuff takes time. This post would be about recent events happening around Bhagsu.
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People, Mcleodganj, Bhagsu

March 21, 2009

Hi all,
This post would be about meeting some of the different people I have met in Bhagsu.

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Night, dogs and Shantaram

March 20, 2009

Hi all,
There are many stories which are happening and keep happening in the triad called Mcleodganj, Bhagsunag, Dharamkot . One of the small interesting (now I can call it) experiences happened 2-3 days back one fine late evening (20:30 hours) . This is mountain area. I was going back to my room which passes some dark patches on the way. On one of these patches there were 2 dogs, one I guess was playful the other making grrr noises.
Just as this was happening, I imagined the dog-fight scene from Shantaram . Unfortunately I didn’t have a stick with me to push the dogs away, so I did the next best thing, just take very slow steps away while seeing them to outside the territory. Somehow the tactic worked and I was home-free. The whole experience might have not lasted even 10 mins.

Its not the bite which is terrible, its the 14 anti-rabies or 3-5 expensive anti-rabies injections which are the real pain.

Anyways, there’s much more to share but perhaps another time 😉

shiva cafe, jam session,waterfall, bagsu

March 16, 2009

Hi all,
Yesterday was cool. First item on the day’s list was to see another place. Finally found a place which has a good view and is pretty comfortable as well. Will be moving there come tomorrow morning.

The next item on the agenda was to go from Upper Bhagsu to Shiva Cafe. The path was uneasy at few places but rest of it was cool. Reached Shiva Cafe something around lunch time.

While having lunch came to know that Venus Cafe was doing a jam session from 18:30 till late. As it had been a long long time that I had been in a jam session decided to be in this one.

The jam session was held at waterfall. I would have to describe the waterfall to you. The waterfall at this point in time is just a little hole in the wall. Not much to look at, in the monsoon though it becomes a torrent. Its between two mountains connecting each other where the water from the mountains (the snow melting) comes down.

People started coming something like 18:45-19:00 hours. Met somebody named Claudia (she was French Canadian or something for she understood french as well as English). We chatted a while and then the jam session really got underway. While Claudia and her friends departed at 22:00 hours the party went till the wee hours of morning. We sang a mix of bhajans, some S.D. and R.D.Burman hits and everything in-between. I sang after a long long time as well hit some notes on the djembe and felt nice.

Then something around 3 a.m. people started to drift to sleep. Could see the half-moon and the stars and finally slept among the stars and the moon. All in all a nice day 😉

The Nepalis

March 16, 2009

Hi all,
Had met a bunch of people whose ancestors were in Nepal and had come to India. Talking to people came to know that there is significant chunk of population which lives in Forsythganj, Dal Lake, Chandwadi where 100% of the population is made of the Nepali community and all of them are in the Gorkha Rifles. There is also a village called Tota-Rani which is made of ex-servicemen and their families only.

Most of people came from Nepal in the 18th century. One of the interesting things I found is adultery as we know it is practiced with most of the Nepalis having atleast 2 wives. I came to know of two cases (in one case the woman knows, in the other she doesn’t)

Also came to know that in Malana people have multiple wives as well.Something in the range of 7-8 wives.

All in all a very productive day. Out for now 😉

Dal Lake and John in Wilderness

March 14, 2009

Hi all,
Today went to Dal Lake after 5 years. Went through the concrete road to the lake as don’t know/remember the way which is through the jungle. Took up better part of an hour, hour and a half and back the same. The lake is much much dirtier then the last time I was here but its good for the walk. On the way and back saw lot of construction happening. Also saw that TCV is also building couple of floors adding to the building which is already there.

Coming down from Dal Lake saw some children. most probably they are in TCV, maybe 6th-7th class students who were cleaning a nullah or the drainage (maybe it got choked or something don’t really know) but felt nice to see that young people are doing some bit for the environment. If nothing else, hopefully they will have better civic sense than me (and/or people of my generation). It is a slightly complex issue but let’s leave that for some other time.

Then in the afternoon was invited to a walk to an old church which is known as John in the Wilderness.
For me the name seemed a bit weird (thought it was a song we were going to sing in the church or something) , the walk is about 10-15 minutes from Mcleodganj and was nice weather.

Apparently some of the dead have been vandalized and the church seems to be in slightly bad shape. There has been a call for 0.5 million Rupees and don’t know how much has been collected so far. There is a single father/parish who looks after the whole church and he has a pet dog who gives company to the father and roams the grounds at night.

One of the interesting things I saw there on some of the olden plaques its written as dharamshalla and not as dharamsala as is known today. Also met some people from the bible society who were there for the meeting and stuff like that. All in all, had a good walkabout. Till l8er 😉

Post from Bhagsu

March 13, 2009

Hi all,
There is lots to share today. The first though is some bad news. The bad news is that the Indian Goverment has approved a ropeway project connecting Upper Dharamkot to Triund and I fear that soon Triund will be full of shops and there may be no snowfall on Triund as well.

A good thing to report it rained couple of days before in Bhagsu. It just didn’t rain but there was hale as well. The rains must have been for 3-4 hours and then it became pretty cold at night. There is possibility that maybe there was snowfall at Triund.

The day after went to Bagsunag waterfall. It comes after the old bhagsunag temple. The route which was scraggy and stuff has been made of concrete although time to time landslides break the road.

The same night there was a trance/techno party at a place which was 500 meters from the place I’m staying. As this is a valley the sound travels everywhere. The music which I was hearing could be described as a mix of ambient pop-techno stuff. I heard lot of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s numbers (bollywood) as well as some music of the beat generation.

The next day after, Jean (he pronounces it john with the n silent) invites me for breakfast and I discover sesame bread. Also find a nice little bakery which is near the main square in Mcleodganj for stuff.

Another good thing that came to be is that the lady of the house is not single anymore and has found a man for herself as well as her children. The guy is an influential person in the village and has quite a bit of property of himself.

Little bit of the lady (from now on couple) couple’s property they also grow a bit of garlic, potato and have planted 5-6 saplings of apple trees. The apple trees would take something like 4-5 years to give its product.

They also have now two cows (a mother and her child) with the mother giving between 11-13 litre daily which she produces for the child. The child is around 7-8 months old. There also is a rooster and two hens.

Part of the extended property is also now a Hall which would be most probably be used as a meditation Hall when the season starts as well as a Cafe. Also they are now building a cow+hen-shed by levelling the ground.

For the cow (hen-shed project) they got a ‘mistri’ (a sort of building engineer or something close to that) and few labourers and a stone-cutterer. The mistri and the stone-cutter get between Rs. 250-Rs.300/- per day which includes their own tools. Material such as cement and sand etc. is provided by the owner. The whole project would take something like a week or something.

Day before yesterday, a Russian couple became my neighbors. There names are Lena and Pacha. Lena speaks little bit of English while Pasha cannot speak at all in English. They say they joined Buddhism while in Russia about couple of years back and many people do that nowadays. They seem to be a fanatic taste for Rum, they got something called ‘TomTom’ which they drink morning, afternoon, evening and night. They invited me for a drinking session and it was nice.

While conversing came to know they have been together for 3 years. Lena while being an individual also seems to still feel guilty for her lifestyle.

Chatted today morning with the the mistri. The mistri shared couple of stories with me. One was about his helper who has a habit of drinking, (in fact most of the male villagers seem to drink everyday in the village and its nothing new.) doesn’t come on time and has a loan of Rs. 1500 on his head. Apparently, he also doesn’t contribute to the household anything.

Couple of other stories he shared was about how a couple (from India, Delhi to be precise) started a body massage business and in 2 years have got a 4 storied building (the only one in bhagsu so far). He also shared about an agreement which was between an Engish woman and a local guy to where the lady would invest her time, energy and money while the guy would help with the land deals. 3 years on after all the land was bought, the villagers nixed the agreement and somehow made all of it in his name.

One interesting point he did share that people in the village would eat each other if the tourist does not come. He shared about how people in neighboring towns and villages have either apples or other fruits as well as ‘charas’ and people make millions in the process while here due to the terrain this is not possible here.

That’s about another post from the frontiers of bhagsu 😉

neighbour Jean

March 9, 2009

Hi all,
Sorry for the long absence. Today had a long talk with my neighbour Jean. Jean is 56, male, from South of France, ship-builder by profession and has interests in travelling and spirituality. He has experienced/done few practises with spirituality and lives by the understanding derived from the practises and methodologies.
He is living in Bhagsu about a month before and hopes to be here for another couple of months. He has made a small kitchen for himself where he cooks for himself and has got a table for his laptop.

He shared few interesting tales about his travels around the world. One in particular is worthwhile sharing. This story/experience is of sometime back.

There was some village in Atlantic and that village had only 1 photocopy shop. He goes to this photocopy shop and asks the owner how much is it to photocopy a single copy of something (A4 size, regular stuff) . He says its 10 pence or something. Then my friend asks what for 500 copies. Instead of it becoming lower in per unit price the price would be higher.

A similar experience he had with a guest house in bhagsu the year before. He was living in a guest house where the owner had his shop downstairs. So the owner used to get up at 6 a.m. and the whole family (wife, children) make all sorts of noises. Fifth day jean had to leave because it was all too much.

All in all, it was an interesting morning/afternoon to know and learn about many things from a different perspective.

Till we meet again 🙂

Flora, fauna,bhagsu-mcleod road

March 7, 2009

Hi all,
Sorry for being away for couple of days. Had been having (I have been told as mild) case of diarrhea. Hence while have been loafing around haven’t been blogging as I should.
What has been interesting me the most is the flora and fauna of the land (apart from working on the self)

On the flora faunt have spotted red, pink, orange, off-white and yellow flowers. Yellow flowers being the most abundant while these others are rare. These are all near where I am, which has people and is slightly dense place.

On the fauna front have seen parakeets with long tails, mongoose, pigeons, red-bottomed langurs, lizards , eagles (with a single white band across the neck and on both the wings), pigeons,the crow and small bird we have in the cities. What has been surprising and interesting is to see how close these birds can get. I have seen most of these birds upclose 5 feet or even less and in great detail. Even the crow has a fine silkish black sheen all across the back and wings (as if it has been polished)

What really cracks me up when I get each morning is imagining how it might be 100 years back or even 500 years back. Each time the imagination is a bit more wilder and feel perhaps I might have been a bird or animal or the ancient man who walked on this earth. Just taking what is needed rather than trying to take all. Just eat as much as needed and leave the rest untouched.

One of the beautiful stretches is from Mcleodganj-Bhagsu as well as some other ones as well. Its a beautiful stretch and can only be experienced if one is walking through it. Each time the sun plays shadows and one is greeted with new views to the mountain. The best is when there are no people and its you and the mountains, feeling blessed to be here at this point in time being able to see, hear and experience the beauty. Slowly, a silent or not so silent prayers goes into the wind.

To end today’s story, as someone once said “travelers are very much pilgrims’ I do feel the same lots of time. In gratitude of having food when I’m hungry, overjoyed to have lukewarm to warm water, thankful even for the mild diarrhea as the ability to feel change is not lost.

All in all, feel drugged and spirited at the same time. Wish you all a Happy Holi;)

Upper Bhagsu

March 4, 2009

Hi all,
I moved to Bhagsu about a day back. While Mcleodganj is 3 kms. (straight up from Dharamsala) , the Upper Bhagsu is perhaps another 1.5 kms up. Its a lovely place, I am residing in the place just below Mystery Cafe. Bhagsu and Upper Bhagsu has its own character and people. Its thronged by backpackers from all over the world while Dharamkhot is also known as ‘Little Israel’ .

Bhagsu is also known as bhagsunath. Its basically a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
There’s also a nice, beautiful waterfall just next to it . More about sometime later.

The place I have got is a sacred place. I am/was able to experience Reiki all over again. While there are many schools of Reiki, I know/experience only the ‘Usui Traditional’ way/method of Reiki. That experience is as mysterious as love and just cannot be experienced.

What I can share is my love for Bhagsu. The place I have as told before is just below Mystery Cafe. On the right (viewing from the house) one can see a whole range of Dauladhar trees and the whole valley, while on the right, the path which takes one to Dharamkot and then to Triund, SnowLine and beyond.

The blessed thing is of course, the only sound is one which the neighbors or I make, no trucks, no vehicles so one is at peace.

One of the interesting places while going up to my place I remember is a place called Sky-Pie.

Sky-Pie (the last time I was here) was known for its awesome banoufi. Banoufi, I guess is a jewish name for Banana Pie and yes most of the times they used to get it just right. Not too sweet, nor too little, just right.

One of the interesting characters or people I met again while in Mcleodganj is a person called Ramesh. He’s a cobbler whom I had met about 3 years back. Much to my surprise or not, he has an e-mail address and his child is sponsored by somebody from Europe/States. He had couple of accidents (one in 2004, the other in 2006) and people helped him to save his leg from being amputated.

The tourist season has not begun as yet and hence there is some semblance of sanity here. There has been no snowfall this year as I came to know.

All in all, its one of the best times of learning, experiencing life all around me. There is still lot left to discover and remember of the place.

Till the next time we met 😉