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.


Monday, 1 February 2010

Kashi, light, life and words

February already. My Hindi exams will come in just one month. The cold left us as fast as it had arrived. It is astonishing – just about last week I was still wearing my inner-wear and needed to sleep under all those blankets. Now already, during the day in the sun I can wear short sleeves. I am packing up the gloves and woolly hat and wonder if I really ever had to wear them. It is frightening how much the temperature has risen in such a short time; I don't think I had known such extremes in my life before. I think it can be dangerous; many people are ill – cold, diarrhoea etc. – but the weather is more pleasant at least. The most wonderful thing about India is that there is always so much light.

Life has been good, as always. What can I say? It's odd that I suddenly have lost most urge to write. Perhaps it is because life has mostly become routine now. I am not a traveller! (Geographically anyway.) A stunningly beautiful routine, so there isn't much to say about it. Or isn't there? But mostly, it's as if life has become so simple that I don't have any doubt or questioning to express. At the moment I am, I am happy, and here in India unlike in Occident, people don't expect you to know what you will do tomorrow, and they don't question you about having no income. They won't bother you about security, so you can really live the moment. So that's how I live, in the moment, and perhaps I don't need to waste time talking about it. Just be, in some sort of silence – although there are many thoughts but they need not be expressed, only come and go. I don't read anything either, apart from the texts on my Hindi course. I used to always have a book on the way, and now I haven't read a single book since September 2008. I used to read so much about yoga and ayurveda and advaita and how to live life and such things, but yes – of course, these are all words talking about being but in actually being you need no words. Mostly there are no words to be expressed and no words to be learnt. In violin, there are no words, as I am learning “theory” via practice and immersion. No intellectual stuff at all. Hindi, I guess, even though it is a language with a many words, it is mostly a matter of practice too – for me anyway – with little comprehension involved. (Mostly, there is nothing to understand when you learn a language – only to take it in and accept, with no questioning, because language is arbitrary.) A language with many words, ha! That is quite a way of putting it. Actually, I am stunned by the richness of this wonderful language, Hindi. There are So Many Words in Hindi! One of the items on my syllabus is to learn a list of synonyms. And my god, what a list. Each words has five and ten synonyms. Subtle and interesting nuances, too...

So, the other day though I did finally started reading a book: “Banaras – City of Light” by Diana L. Eck, which my fellow student had lent me at the beginning of the course, about six month ago! I am kind of concerned I haven't touched the book since and I'll have to return it to its owner in just one month, so I should perhaps have a look at it! I had wanted to read about Banaras, such a mysterious city – since I live here. I know hardly anything about it, although I have learnt a few facts thanks the Hindi course. The book has been very interesting so far and I wonder why I hadn't started it before, really. I read all this amazing stuff about such a special city and I live here, on the bank of the Ganges. Why me?

The very first time I heard about the existence of Varanasi, it was by “little friend” I had met on the internet. He is half Indian and goes there regularly with his family, and before I first came to India in August 2005 I had met him and he had told me to go to Varanasi. “Most ancient city in the world.” I don't remember what else he had told me, but he had sent me two photos and one I had found stunning and still remember today. A stunningly colourful photo of the main ghat with its multitude of big, rough parasols. I am useless at history, but it had stricken me, in a way – I remember telling Niko we had to go there, at least, the rest I didn't know or mind. Isn't it fascinating that I live here today? The little friend seems to be completely gone from my life now.

My whole Hindi programme is complete by now, so I have a month to revise, with no rush. But I do a lot more than needed – I love it so much. I love connecting the knowledge I gain to the one I already have, analysing words and meanings, making connections just so that it will be linked more tightly to my current knowledge – as though connecting neurones together in my brain. I analyse words and their suffixes and I love my memory for all those words that would sound so weird and impossible to remember for most people I know – to the Vio I was just a few years ago. If I hate my memory for historical or political facts, I do love my memory (and ear) for language.

Violin is going well as ever. I am practising “those super-fast bits that move me so deeply when Sukhdev plays them”. Super fast bowing and beautiful cords. It's so difficult, and it hurts my right upper arm quite a lot. Yet there is progress. There are so many items I can work on now, with improvisation in three parts, and following the 16-beat, and improvisation and coming back on the right beat, and fast bowing etc.. On 13 February I will travel to Haridwar and Rishikesh, just for four days. I am very happy because we will meet Shivananda again, who was my teacher for a month in April-May 2008 when I took classes in his music school for children in Rishikesh. I haven't met Shivananda since then, and it will be lovely to hear how the school and the kids are getting on. Travelling with Guruji should be interesting and fun...

Sitting on the ghat looking at the brilliance and the holy river... Life is good. Life is light. I am so happy to do the things I love...