photo by ellen reitman.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Letters From The Edge 4.

letters from the edge  4.
it's the life worth missing.

the moon is pretty full tonight, bright, reflecting light over the valley that stretches below this balcony. it's just past midnight on my last day here. it's amusing that i arrived here on a major indian festival, holi, and am returning to canada on easter. i wandered into kullu yesterday, wanted to take a bunch of pics, but not of any more hill scenes or the landscapes. i wanted the markets, the shops, the town to show you. i've posted a few at the bottom of the page. really, i should try to sleep. i'm meeting with guruji in the morning for tea. but, i have all sorts of weird thoughts, all about prostate issues, eye-wear, ear-cleaning and heart-strings. i may be up for a while.

you know, according to my old dad, diapers don't always work which, i'm told, ruins the whole peeing in your sleep experience. i have yet to actually test them out myself but, unless i receive some decent medical guidance for the issue, it won't be long. the good news is that, in case of that eventuality, there will be an in-depth posting here all about the matter, including product analysis and a well-developed and well-researched grading system. i promise.

the urologist in gatineau that i visited hates his job. he actually told me that. he certainly did not want to get up close and personal, just asked me a few questions, basically swiped the card and told me not to drink water before bed-time. fortunately, amazingly, there's a clinic way up here in the himalayan bad-lands. the urologist was not shy at all, also performed an ultrasound and even did a 'psa' test. i presume the 'psa' test results were mine, although one wonders, but there wasn't enough time here to consider my options anyway.

buying eye glasses in india is amazing, in so far as it's super quick and costs a fraction of what it would in canada. it may be a little difficult to find a style that doesn't make you look like a cuban band-leader from the 1970s, but it's a search well worth undertaking. i was skeptical that the prescription would be correct, but it's a chance well worth taking. once i chose the frames, the salesman morphed into a technician, sat down in an adjoining cubicle to cut, grind and polish the lenses. the whole process, from the time i chose the frames to the finished product, took forty-five minutes, cost the equivalent of $17.50 and i love them. the last pair i ordered, from a well-appointed optometrists in hull, took two weeks, cost $325.00 on sale and are just alright.

i had my ears cleaned while here, in a little office behind a chemist shop. enough wax came out that could've made up a pair of candles. once i went out to the market-place, the difference was so remarkable that i re-entered the chemist's and asked the guy to put the wax back in. yes, of course i was joking.

there are three types of dental offices. you can sit with a guy on the street. he has a blanket stretched out on the sidewalk with medieval-looking tools and a large sign with a disembodied, smiling, toothy mouth. the next level up is a dentist in a wooden shack of a clinic with bold, colorful signage and rudimentary but relatively up-to-date equipment. lastly, in the larger centers, there are chic, western quality clinics. all three offices might well be called 'the gandhi dental clinic' and i've frequented the second and third type many, many times over my years in india.

you can purchase adequate sneakers for ten dollars, sandals for the equivalent of a toonie or patch your old ones for pennies. a shawl or a shirt'll set you back a few bucks. there are cloth bags, plastic pails, stainless steel utensils and books all for a song over here. the food, candy, even ice-cream is virtually free while the wine, i'm told, is dirt cheap, but may cause blindness.

none of that means a thing to me. it's my old guruji, my friends and the satsang worth missing, and i know i will. i always do. on this beautiful moon-lit himalayan evening, a day before my departure, once again i'm faced with leaving this life and these people behind. i'm not sad. i'm not conflicted. i'm just grateful. the other day, guruji said that the heart is not that which has a pulse. i totally got that. and my heart feels as full as the moon this evening.


  1. I really enjoyed reading your letters from the edge.... Thank you! I love your sense of humor and perspective on life!

    1. chantal; thank you. when are you coming back to wakefield? nathan.