A note on my three blogs

A note on my blogs

(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...

(2) vio; sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!

(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.


Saturday, 27 December 2008

Khajuraho paper diary

I have now typed (and edited) the paper diary that I wrote when living in Khajuraho, in order to depict Indian family life more spontaneously and in detail than I could ever have done in internet cafes... For the first two weeks everything was so much that I wrote almost everyday...

I have inserted them in chronological order amongst the blog entries of my online journal in the section of my website about India 2007-08. They are marked with an asterics (*).

It will be easier to find them below though:

24.01.08 - Arriving in Khajuraho
25.01.08 - First day in the family
27.01.08 - Exploring a culture
28.01.08 - Learning family life and Hindi
29.01.08 - Learning more family life and Hindi
01.02.08 - A taster of teaching English to Indian children?
05.02.08 - Visiting the first school, and Indian planning
07.02.08 - On Indian daily living, and a dead sadhu
20.02.08 - Visiting the second school
22.02.08 - Foot operation #1!
23.02.08 - Foot operation #2!
29.02.08 - Cleaning the wound; and a colourful Brahmin
06.03.08 - Recapitulation, and facing the Unknown
20.03.08 - Walking again, and planning ahead
24.03.08 - Brushing our teeth with neem, and preparing for departure
29.03.08 - On Indian 'shower', and the joys of returning to Nature...

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Thinking of India...

I have no interest in Christmas whatsoever; it means nothing to me. And I am glad Indian people don't celebrate it, because I could phone Banaras Hindu University (BHU) today to ask about their programmes in Hindi for foreign students. I love the idea of going to study in India, to explore Indian education for myself. But then, their programmes only start in August, and they only consist of part-time evening classes which would take 1-2 years; I know I can learn Hindi a lot faster than that, and I don't want to waste all that time anyway. I found another centre though, Bhasha Bharati, which looks really interesting and that may very well be suited for what I want exactly: a context of immersion (living in a family), lessons suited for the individual, and six intensive hours of Hindi everyday! besides the founder of the centre is said to be a renowned linguist from BHU whose technique gained interest after a conference in America - which would probably suit my linguistically-aware frustrated self. I could perhaps start as soon as February, and! It is in Varanasi, too, and I really want to go back to Varanasi (1) because I LOVE this place, as the world already knows, and (2) because that is where my violin teacher lives. Perhaps six hours of Hindi everyday would not leave much room for violin, especially if it is unbearably hot by the end of the course, but who knows - it opens the possibility anyway. And of course Varanasi is not too far from my Khajuraho family, either.

There is also something that keeps bumping into thoughts in my head; so often that I am comfortable to talk about it to people now. I never finished my MSc in Developmental Linguistics, because I had a big obvious blank as to WHAT to write a dissertation about. It was the summer of 2005; I went to India for the first time instead. But today I am completely intrigued by English education in India, and the further I go on my path, the more it bugs me. If I was in India learning Hindi, as a preliminary step to teaching English to (orphaned?) children I might well have the perfect dissertation subject on language acquisition - and the perfect research environment around me. And if I want to work for an NGO, I don't want to apply for a job from here and to wait to see what happens, sitting on my bum, here. I might as well just go there and not waste my time and start the work on my own.

And although it hardly happened in India this time round, God knows I have been thinking of working with those lovely, poor, orphaned kids for a LONG time - the word "orphaned" resonates, full of love in my mind and heart, just when I think about it. "Orphanage" has ALWAYS fascinated me since I can remember. And the kids that I did meet, for there were many, they loved me and I loved them. I must I must I must, work and give love to these children for my heart overflows from it. Perhaps it is because I lost my mother so young...?

Since I sang in Belgium I feel I have completely let go of this feeble, unrealistic path I was vaguely dreaming of for so long. Now that I have recovered from the whole Beesque, emotional experience, I feel altogether different. I am glad we didn't spend more time together too. I feel it was a distraction I can finally let go of, which frees me to carry on on the right path for me. And the right path for me, clearly, takes me back to India. but I feel, this time, it will be a lot more focused. When I went to India last year I had so many ideas and dreams in my head, from studying Ayurveda to going on a Yoga course to living in an ashram to learning Indian music to volunteering for Mother Teresa to working with children to learning Hindi to living in Vijay's family to going on a meditation retreat, to following whatever path life was otherwise leading me to in the moment, gasp! And on top of all that the Beesque dream wasn't yet leaving me. Now that I have had a taster of all that, that I know India a lot better, that I know my body can cope in this oh-so-different environment, and that over there I have the best, caring and loving friend who will help and support me in whatever I choose to do, my new Indian journey wouldn't be a quest but a very focused enterprise.

Learning Hindi to start with, and then using it to work my way to orphaned children and teaching children, and whilst I do all this keep my analytical, linguistic-orientated mind alert to study any English language acquisition/educational issues at work in North India. This is only a plan, an idea, a problematic haha, but it is what I want to do. and I have enough time and money to take things as they come, to do things with awareness and alertness but kindly and slowly and with my heart.

This is what I want to do. hey, I said, it, I said it! THIS IS W H A T I W A N T TO DO! Oh my god; this is what I want to do! I know it! I know it, and it feels like a beautiful miracle that finally came to me, and it fills me with a lot of liberating energy!

* * *

I got used to my new shiny laptop finally; even sorted out a nerdy problem on Linux alone and entering the required code in the terminal, oh yes, that felt nerdy but cool. what I have most notably done in the last few days, also, was typing all that I had written in my paper journal when I was in the Khajuraho family. I was writing a journal regularly to write all that happened to me because I couldn't go to the Internet and type it all the time; all those incredible things that happened I had to write spontaneously, on the spot, to remember. I did write less as time went by and as I got used to life in the family, but I still have a good 20 pages of text, which i will soon edit to be able to add it in the journal of India on my website. Reliving this journey through the journal was very interesting and took me back to India - and I am amazed again by the foot operation and seeing the dead Sadhu and daily rural Indian life.

The other day when I met my friend's Indian flatmate, I was telling her how I had lived there where women cook on the stone floor and where a brother looks for a good man to marry his sister and where we go on a cart pulled by bulls to the neighbouring village with no running water or electricity and where no westerner had ever been before me. She had only lived in big Indian cities and was amazed by what I was telling her; she had only seen all that on televisions or in movies!! She had never known that Indian way of life herself, and she told me I was more Indian than she was...

Maybe in a way she was right...?

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


I am back in scotland now.

Imagination is always more exciting than reality. Reality is. No-thing is exciting in reality. Things are, full stop. It is only in the mind that the excitment is. In reality excitment doesn't exist. It seems so fucking clear to me right now.

And so, I was pretty excited by the idea of coming back to Scotland, but really it wasn't that exciting. Seeing the castle lit at night was just the castle I had seen for years. As I arrived I saw in myself some reactions that are solely conditioned to my living in Scotland, like thanking the bus driver when I got out, which was lovely. Seeing fat people eating crisps clearly wasn't, and reminded me why I had wanted to leave at the first place...

But it is nice to be here. It feels like home, a little as if I had never left. The best was to find the homely flat again, and Robert, and 'my' room which doesn't feel empty like it did when I left Scotland, since I've been living in empty rooms with just my rucksack in India for a year. I need nothing more. and I am glad to be here because I feel a lot more independent than when I was at my father's... This context makes evolution possible - like nothing could happen further for me in France as there is no way I would build something there; I was in a dead-end now. That said, I don't know if I will start something again in Edinburgh either, but at least being here will allow me to find out...

The big difference, I guess, is that I feel like I am from another planet. Even more sharply than before. The meaning I have of life, I feel, is radically different from most people around me. I am here to be; I have nothing to do. Robert feels the same and that's why I'm happy to be here: at least there is someone from 'my' planet in the flat...

That said, Life is a miracle and Life is good.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Singing with Birch Book

B' & I

It was on 4 December in Leuven/Belgium,
(With Birch Book supporting on Wovenhand's tour)