Friday, March 14, 2008

The People I Have Met in Varanasi

I have met many people here so far, and they are all unique. And awesome. Let me talk about a few…


First of all, my cousin Raman’s wife’s sister Kalpana is here with her aunt, Who I call Chellam Aunty. Kalpana and I meet at mealtimes and around the Krishnamurti Foundation campus every so often. We chit-chat, and it’s a good time because I didn’t have to take time to get to know her, being family and all. And it’s sort of reassuring to know that family is here, because that takes some tension away, I don’t know how or why. But it’s great.


Next is my friend Shayur. He’s 27, from Kenya [but Indian], and just about one of the coolest people I have ever met. He is just adventuring around India, like me, and meeting cool people and collecting cool things along the way. He’s so interesting to talk to because he has this air of peace around him. He makes it seem like everything is just calm and quiet and that everything is “chill,” as he likes to say all the time. His accent is really interesting because it’s a mix of Britain (Kenya uses British English), Kenya (I don’t know what a Kenyan accent sounds like, but I’m just guessing, because he grew up there), India (he’s been in India for 3 years now), and America. So it’s really fun to listen to most of the time, and it sounds really chill. And it’s rubbing off on me. See? Chill. I feel like I am constantly learning from him. We have so much in common, it’s not even funny.


It’s interesting to notice that when you are constantly traveling, there are so many people you meet along the way that you click with right away, and there is no negativity between you. These are people who know you will be leaving soon or they will be leaving soon, and thus cannot hold any expectations from you. With this knowledge, you and the other are friends just for being friends. Literally. Though that sort of relationship seems to be there when you are in someone’s vicinity long-term, it almost always evolves into something with expectations. Can we try to explore a relationship in which we expect absolutely nothing from someone? What does that even mean? Perhaps we should experiment with ourselves. Can I be friends with someone just for being friends? Do I depend on the people I am friends with? Do they depend on me? Is it ok to have such a relationship?


Then comes, obviously, my teacher here – Swami Chidananda. Swamiji is such an interesting character. He’s always cool with everything. He is currently teaching me Sanskrit and Vedanta, about which I will get into more when I write about Course 3: Sanskrit and Vedanta Studies @ Krishnamurti Foundation India, Raj Ghat. Swamiji has a great sense of humor and never passes up an opportunity to tell a joke. I’m glad he’s my teacher, because he’s also a deep ocean of knowledge. When you mix that with a sense of humor and a laid-back personality, you get a really great guy.


Next comes a lady I have lots of interaction with but can never quite understand. Her name is Josephine, from Holland. She is a research psychologist by profession, and she has done some interesting/crazy things to herself in the name of research (maybe). I won’t go into them, but just know that they are pretty crazy, and they all mess with your mind. She is the most animated person I have ever met. Everything she says has a hand gesture attached to it, and she always tells jokes, though mostly not funny ones. I laugh though, not because the joke was funny, but because the silence after it is funny. Every time. She’s maybe in her 50s, I can’t tell and I don’t want to ask. Anyways she’s a great person to hang around, because there’s always something to laugh about with her.


Another lady I met here, though I have seen her in Toronto and in Chicago, is named Maii. She’s the most calm and controlled person I have ever met, whether it is because of age or because of wisdom it doesn’t matter. She is white, Canadian by descent. And absolutely fascinating, a great person to exchange a word with once in a while. She is extremely humble and her presence is often enough to calm people down.


Then there is a man here by the name of Marc. He is another fascinating character. He has such a sweet view of life. I don’t know how old he is, but if I had to guess, I’d say late 40s. He’s really trying to live in the present moment, and it inspires me to do the same. The conversations I have with him always leave me with an inspired and uplifted state. Some people just have that effect on you, I guess.


Another guy here is named Kevin, he’s 21 years old and at about the same stage of life that I’m in. He’s finished his third year of college and is taking a year off to explore the teachings of J. Krishnamurti. I want to find out more about him, but somehow even after talking to him, he’s just as mysterious. I like him though, he’s very interesting to talk to. Always has some neat insight or other, and I am always learning from him (just like everyone else!).


At the Krishnamurti Foundation’s Rural Center, there is a lady by the name of Rita. I call her Rita Didi, and she is basically my caretaker here. And she is phenomenal. I don’t know how she manages to take care of everyone here, but she does it. You always read about those people in ancient times who had mental techniques of just “knowing things” but you never actually see someone who does it. But she is one of those people. She’s so simple but so wise. I don’t know what else to say about her, but I figured it would be smart to introduce her at this point because I may write about her in the future.


Finally there is Hema Aunty. Hema Aunty fascinates me because she seems to be a living example of the teachings of J. Krishnamurti, in her own way. I have been (and will be) having discussions with her about experiments and explorations that I can try to find out what observing means, what listening means, what it means to watch oneself and one’s surroundings, what living in the present is all about. I am still exploring, but it is so fun to explore. It’s my new favorite word. And I’ll explain why in another post, I think.

1 comment:

watersquash said...

"Do I depend on the people I am friends with? Do they depend on me? Is it ok to have such a relationship?"

I wonder about this a lot too