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Archive for January, 2008
It started in a clothing factory, looking at samples of wonderful techniques. My head is spinning at all the possibilities. I am back at the hotel now and have to sit and think how to proceed. I have no paints with me, nor felt pens, and pencil drawings for some of the ideas will not work at all.
I learned so much today about different dying, embroidery and silk screening techniques, it was wonderful. The issue now is that I have to decide what to use, how, where, in which colour…… But a few problems were ironed out, too.
I am reading the secret whilst here and it does help, in fact, keeping the mind positive and open to all. And at the same time being able to be like glass so that nothing attaches itself to me. Fun, and now quite challenging, as I have really strong cramps in my stomach so I am telling myself that I am strong and healthy. I keep repeating it….. But the book is good. We, I, know all that is in it, but like remembering to breathe, one does not always step in before the mind charges rapidly down hill.
Mine has been on a downward slope for the past few days but like the Grand Old Duke of York, I am hauling it up again. It is working. Misery is optional unless one happens to be basking in it. There always seems to need to be a sudden break or change to give distance and perspective and from there, the upward climb starts again.
I spent the afternoon in the charge of my drive whom I allowed to introduce me to several of his makers, jewellers and contacts. He is delightful, funny and laid back, but I have now discovered that we do not share a similar view of what I am looking for. At least I know now where not to go.
Wow, I have not been cold in India for a very long time, but I am having to put on most of my wardrobe all the time. And I am not alone.
We all sit huddled over steaming dishes of food watching them set cold far too quickly, our hands constantly rubbing together like colonial misers whilst we are served by young men with their ears tightly bound by indeterminately coloured fluffy woollen shawls. It is fun, for a while. But getting into bed and getting warm enough o sleep is a challenge. I have taken to running a bath at night and getting at least my feet warm before I lie down. I can only get my feet and bottom warm because it takes about 20 minutes to get 2 inches of wat5er in the bath. Luckily it is a flesh coloured plastic bath, so the water does not cool down too fast.
The morning shower is not quite such fun and I am amazed by how large goose bumps can actually get. Added to all of this is the 2 hour power cut every morning. I am still fascinated to see how the globalisation of India will really pan out. From this side it is looking highly ambitious.
Not just because of power cuts and cold showers, honest. It is a trifle challenging to do business here. This time feels more so than usual. The sights seem to have been lifted and the achievements of China seem to be the goal, so the orders have to be bigger, wilder, the costs higher and higher.
I sit on the side, with my brain whirring as usual, and wonder how to make it work for us.
But the sun has come out, the power is on, the internet is not working but maybe will, later, and I am going to see one of my favourite people.
My patience is thin and I have only been here three days. Arghh! It does not bode well if I am frayed this early.
Why am I frayed? I know I should be flattered but the male of the species is on the prowl and more than ready to place the external parts of his body close to the internal parts of mine.
Flattered? I am not sure. When trying to do business, this form of attention, the more obvious arts of seduction, does tend to reduce one, me, to feeling like a bit of fluff which then quickly rolls into complete irritation.
So no, I was not flattered, especially by the 3rd time yesterday. It started at breakfast with a diminutive gentleman telling me that I radiated sexuality from under my kaftan. Uh-huh…“Are you under the impression that I am going to trash my life because you have a hard-on?” Was a question I politely asked at breakfast yesterday morning. It was fun, for a moment, the opportunity of a quick retort firmly grasped.
Otherwise, today is India Day. 61 years since India gave independence and freedom to the Indian people. Everywhere is lit, decorated in pink trails of dust and people are all on holiday and being quite charming. Kites are flying, cows are cruising and fluttering Indian flags are pinned to chests.
It is cold, too, and the air is thick with wood smoke and pollution. It gets trapped in the courtyards of the buildings and makes us all sneeze. I am so wrapped up it is great fun. Woolen clothes, 4 scarves, wrist warmers, and this is my gear for inside. Whizzing around in a rickshaw is another matter entirely. Last night I went to an outside bar with friends and we all sat outside huddled around a brazier. It was really nice, high above Jaipur, cold but with whafts of warmth. I am going out the hills of Amber now, where it is always about 10 degrees colder. No comment.
New information I have just discovered. 7 years in prison if you kill a cow on the road, 5 years in prison if you kill a monkey! And if a man eats too much pickle he becomes a wuz and if a woman eats too many sweets she is good for nothing. I found all this out with friends today whilst watching the sun set in the hills of Amber.
I am here and for a change, it is chilly. Cold, crispy and windy. It feels like such a treat to be able to be cold! Every trip for the past year, and overall, most of my travels through the last three years have been in searing heat and blinding sun.
The plane was almost empty and delayed and now we are whizzing down the Delhi Highway in the dark. It does make it all much spookier. There are no street lights and the village houses are mostly lit with ghee candles making tiny orange glows of light in the distance. There is a lot of dust from the wind and so all the lights on the vehicles coming the wrong way up the dual carriageway towards us are huge hallations.
The contrast between the cities and anything outside is so marked. At the airport they were re spraying all the metal work around the windows to make it look new, rather than polishing it and everywhere was plastered with newspaper pages of pneumatic film stars smiling. The luggage hall was having a new ceiling put is, so barefooted men were welding without goggles, dangling from bamboo scaffolding without helmets and using metal cutting machines which were spraying iron filings all over the conveyor belt and us honkies waiting for our luggage. It is so refreshing. I do love the insanity of it all.
I watched a great film on the train, the Darjeeling Limited. It was such a slice of the Indian experience, and when Angelica Huston came on as a Nun it was a real delight to behold.
We are nearly in Jaipur now. It is dark, dusty and bumpy. Cows litter the sides of the road. They like to sleep there. I have no idea why. There are stories that Hindu bus drivers will commit suicide if they kill a Sacred Cow. Easily done in this minutely lit madness.
We were chatting in the car at 6.30 yesterday morning, several enthusiastic yogis and I, about philosophy and religion. In the dark, literally not figuratively, driving down a long dark lane past the Priory where several people I know, who were incarcerated there, have died by suicide.
Coming swiftly back to Religious Wars.
Talking, in the dark, on the way to a day of meditation, where we are all in white, 300 of us, most wearing turbans, most men with beards, it is easy to feel a little bit on the extreme side. I have to confess, it is.
What is my point? I wonder, myself. I have been questioning how much one dis-empowers one self into the arms of anther, and it seems to be the Human Condition. The mainstay of most of the news and our experience of politics, Religion and Philosophy are big topics. Bring in the Pope, Mother Theresa and Princess Diana, Rich People and China and that is it, really. The News. Oh, and I forgot Bird Flu and Global Warming.
Sex, Death and Money figure quite largely, too.
Allah, how could I forget Allah?
How does one stand steadfast, strong, centered and perfect, (because ultimately that is all we want)? How does one not get distracted by fear, anger, insecurity, low self esteem, the desire to escape, fear of responsibility, dislike of the emotional experiences, longing for elevation and becoming a conspiracy theorist….? Golly gee it is an endless list.
The need to be amused, distracted and taken out of ourselves seems to be the driving force right now. Mobile phones, ipods, pornography, drink, violent films are all very successful and the makers, pedlars and designer of these things are the Gods. Money is the key, for without money, you cannot touch, so there is huge pressure to do, take and make. It all gets tighter and tighter every day. The new MAC computer, the latest ipod, the iphone, the new perversion, a mind-blowing cocktail (a diamond ring in a gold filled drink for £35,000.), all going higher, further, faster, more shocking, more painful, more perverted.
Where is the point of No Reaction?
Tomorrow is White Tantric Yoga.
It is a big day in the Kundalini Yoga Calendar. We all get to expand ourselves hugely and with great results. It comes but once a year and a few hundred of us all meet, in white, and meditate all day.
In preparation for this and my looming trip to India my life has gone into high speed.
I know, I know, I say that it is fast quite often, but this is cosmic. I have run, literally run, most of today. At 7.45am I managed to persuade a bus driver to open the bus doors this morning in a huge traffic jam and I ran up Walwoth Road in the pouring rain. I know, it is a glamorous life being a retailer. From there I spent several hours crossing London and again, running from one place to the next.
I got cross in the MAC (computers, not make up) store and was immediately handed what I wanted for no cost at all. I did the decent thing, took it from the sales person and stepped away from the gleaming and very scary staircase and left the shop. Back out into the rain to run down Regent Street.
Since then my pace has been maintained. Until now, but I have to confess that I am writing standing up. We have guests for dinner, people coming to stay, people already staying and I have no idea how many we will be for supper.
Beds have to be made, supper, and children entertained.
Thank God for early morning Yoga. Even though I may object, and I do, to the tightening of the screw (how we dress, turbans, Sikhism etc) I love the discipline. I just am not sure of the new bolt-ons. But hey, tomorrow is another day..
Gosh, life has become ever so brisk and full despite the dire and awful predictions.
I feel as though the papers, the journalists, the media and all the Estate Agents in their ill fitting suits and pink ties have all got together and decided that we, the unknowing and unseeing general public needed a shake up and that after all the politics a little drama would sell more papers.
So here we are, at the early stages of doom, gloom, disaster and mayhem. How are we all doing? Fine, so far. I think too much information is not good for us and I have stopped reading the papers, taken up even harder yoga, meditation and deep breathing. It is going well and having a profound effect on all parts of my life experiences. Phew. It works….. Fun to know that I have not dedicated the last 10 years of my life to an illusion. Now all that needs doing is a little more smiling and laughing.
God, I miss laughing, and God, please take that as a message from me that there should be a bit more. Laughing, I mean.
We all play lots of games in the evening. The Steiner thing is against TV. As I write we are watching Raiders of the Lost Ark. Don’t say anything to the school, but sometimes it has to be done, but I digress. We do play a lot of games and the best, most mind bending and fun is a game called Snorta. Who ever invented it has a very odd mind, which I like, except when I am tired. But each time we play, wow, we laugh a lot.
It has to be done. There is nothing else but this life, and if we cannot find the good bits, what is the point?
School has started again and we have all shifted into that other energy that needs a rapid early start and a short evening. But over the Christmas holidays we all really got into playing games at night and it is a great success. The Science Museum has fabulous presents for children. Everything I bought from there has been a riotous delight. Except the ant zoo. Where are all the ants? Do they hibernate? I have no idea.
My daughter has decided she is a rock chic and wants the Supremes as her backing band. I have no idea where all this comes from, but I thought ballet might be a good start. A joyous plan resulting in lots of pink things littered everywhere and many attempts at getting plies right. (I cannot find the grave accent).
I thought that a ballet DVD would help but for her age they are all deeply dippy and too awful so I bought the New York City Ballet Workout. Disks One and Two.
She was to be found, last night before supper, fully kitted out, lying on the floor doing the workout. It was too fab. I sat transfixed. Later she announced that Disk One was done and she will do Disk Two tomorrow. Oh, OK.
I am getting ready for the real New Year thing to start happening now. Workshops, Shows, White Tantric Yoga, the Sale, India. The new year started slowly and gently and very positively, but now it is speeding up, gearing up to the usual high speed version of my life.
I wish I were more constant.
A year ago, an agent of mine, when I was a crazy Body Painter, told someone that I was Mercurial. I was upset at the time, but all these years later I can see her point.
But I also see that it is more than that.
The Independent on Sunday ran their last issue on Rehab. I was interviewed for it along with other people whose stories fitted their needs and what they wanted to say.
The link is http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article3307500.ece
There is an interesting experience looming; a sex addict getting onto TV, being interviewed by an ex comedienne, about his downloading images of child pornography from the internet.
What great television. It is easy to see someone coming up with the idea over a drunken dinner. Chris Langham telling us that he was abused as a child so it is OK. Oh, how fabulous! Suddenly, because it is on TV, it is all fine and dandy.
His wife can goÄ¶., the woman he groomed until she was 16 can goÄ¶.., the children who were photographed and their images used are also pushed aside whilst he gets to revitalise his career and at the same time there will be this frisson, an electrical edge to the proceedings because we are watching a program about the unmentionable: Child Abuse. But he was abused, so it is all fine. Frankly it makes me want to vomit.
Strong stuff, I know, but it should be said. Instead there are vicarious thrills by the bundle in the name of reality TV.
Addiction in all itÄôs forms is a terrible, painful and deeply mis-understood beast. It is a license to print money, in the form of a lot of the treatment out there, and we are endlessly pulled into it by life, the Media and TV. I also think it helps the government to manage us as a Nation. As a recovering addict I can say, with my hand on my heart, that living sober is challenging. And dealing with ones self, the moods, the thoughts and the fears, the insecurities and lifeÄôs sense of humour without madly acting out, getting drunk, taking drugs (even prescription ones, ) can feel like being tossed around in a huge sea with 4 meter waves. Incredible, amazing, wild, a million times better than acting out, but still huge.
So from that perspective, I think Mercurial is OK.
seems like a good option right now. But life is not like that. Apparently in France a couple of hundred years ago, in an agricultural area where it was screamingly cold in the winter the men would hibernate, all huddled up together and sleep. The women and children got on with life but the men slowed down to conserve food. All comments at this point will be misconstrued, so I will refrain.
Another sign of me getting older and wiser.
But the quiet times bring fantastic hours sitting with friends. Since the new year I have spent hours and hours in great chats with friends I barely ever get to see and some I have not seen for up to 25 years! How can time fly so fast?
I feel as though this year could be really positive, but currently I am reviewing my instincts and have asked a numerologist for more clarity. I will pass on his comments.
The shop is a gentle sea of people coming and going who all want to chat and tell me how much they love it here. Great. It is great, but I must confess that I wish it was a wallet experience, too. No apologies needed, it is true, I do. But I am getting a lot done, including weblog, and the days fly by.