gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Let It Go.

our friend nadia reported that, during her five-week visit to india, she was head-butted by two different bulls. as well, she fell into a hole of some sort, was bitten by a monkey of some kind and taken to a hospital for some reason. it's hard to imagine all that happening in such a short time, but that's india. life happens a lot. western visitors to india tend to end up either hating or loving the place. i have a great regard for someone like nadia who, in spite of everything, came away with an appreciation for the country and its people. opinions are usually strong. feelings are usually deep. it may be a weird place, but at least what you see is what you get, sometimes all over you.

i recall my first trip to india, 1975, just like it was yesterday. on only my third day there, i saw a man beating a water-buffalo with a wooden cricket bat. a smaller man held the animal by its nose ring and neck rope. they were both yelling while the larger of the two flogged the beast as it bellowed. nobody paid much attention, until i grabbed the bat and demanded they stop. the two men began hollering at me as a crowd gathered. there were a lot of histrionics and words i didn't understand until one willowy old man told me in english that the buffalo was very stubborn. i said that was no reason to abuse the creature. then the two men did something i was not expecting. they handed me the rope, made some gestures i understood to mean that the buffalo was now mine and then they stormed off. people were holding onto each other laughing, pointing, while i remained frozen to the spot.

i was at a total loss to know what to do. within three days of being in the country i found myself wandering through a market with a water-buffalo who, by the way, was in fact incredibly stubborn. it seemed quite ungrateful to a guy who had just saved it from a thrashing. i hadn't gotten very far when the same willowy old man approached. seeing me struggle, he smiling said: "you can do with that buffalo the same as so many problems in the life. before you lose your good sense, my son, you can simply let it go." which is exactly what i did.

meanwhile, all these years later, while reading a little of what nadia went through over there in that crazy place, a strange and wonderful feeling came over me. it was unsettling, but i found it impossible to ignore. eventually, i got up off my zafoo and walked rather zombie-like to my friendly local travel agent and, before i knew what was happening, i had purchased a ticket. well, i leave in a few days, for a few weeks, to see a few friends, to pay my respects to my aged and beloved guruji, to salute the honesty of life as it is uniquely expressed in india. i'll write to you from there.

wait for me wakefield. i know you will. you always do.

1 comment :

  1. Ah Hans Raj,
    Beautiful. I am so happy for you.
    Give everyone my love,
    Anna Lee