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Mumbai through Mysore

Untitled #2
If I were asked a week ago
What I'd do with a wish bestowed,
My wish would have been properly placed
To benefit the whole human race.
End global hunger or something as pure,
Would have been my wish, I am sure.

And then I encountered devilish thugs:
My room was infested with impish bed bugs.
While in Mumbai, sick in my bed,
These little invaders bit my head,
Bit my arms, bit my legs, and even my back.
If it was a part of me, be sure they bit that!
I stood up a ragin', not quite the same,
Like Anakin Skywalker, I was going insane.

If you asked what my wish would now be,
It seems so incredibly clear to me.
I'd wish for a beg bug with a large head and a face,
So I could kick in his teeth and spray him with mace.
I'd punch him and thrash him, bash him a while.
Ooh, I'd brake every limb Steven Seagal-style.
And when I thought that the beating was ample,
Crawling back home, he'd be my example.

Time has passed since I wrote the cruelty above,
And with it perspective: I owe the bed bugs.
They showed an irony I missed at first:
Not since love first bit have I writ in verse.

I apologize for the delay in update, but a couple things made it difficult for me to write. First, I had to clean all my stuff three times to make sure I had no bed bug. A solid two days work if you are blessed, as I am, with OCD. Second, I'm pretty sure one of the more tech-savvy bed bugs crawled into my laptop and reprogrammed it. It won't boot up without freezing and rebooting. So, the time in the evening that I would spend writing is now spent watching my laptop freeze and reboot. If only there were some IT people in India.

The monsoons in Mumbai were B-A-N-A-N-A-S. The rains were really beautiful, and the best part of Mumbai was walking up and down Marine Drive during the evening and a brief repose from the day's hard rain. Neelackshi and her family were kind enough to take me in for my last night in Mumbai. I was still feverish from a bout of food poisoning and crazy itchy.

Happy to leave Mumbai, I headed by overnight train by Goa. My wallet dropped out of my pocket and onto the aisle of the train. A nice man opened my curtain, which almost got him a reflex punch in the mouth, and handed me back my wallet. This act of kindness made me realize that I should stop picking pockets and blaming street children when the owners felt their wallets being taken. I will miss the chase scenes it caused.

Palolem, Goa is a beautiful place. Lonely Planet is down on it because it is too crowded, but I went during low-season and pretty much had the beach to myself. The restaurant where I ate most of my meals was right on the beach, and its floor was made of sand, its walls and roof of bamboo. It was very nice to walk up and down the beach and watch the fishermen bring in their nets and the Japanese tourists eat the catch right out of the nets. No joke. I was only there for three days, and when it was time for me to go to Bangalore, I seriously considered postponing my trip. I've never called a place magical (I don't talk like that), but I'm tempted now.

While in Bangalore, my plan was to volunteer with an ecologically-sensitive architect, Chitra Vishwanath, who uses earth construction in her design. It is difficult, however, to volunteer at an architects office if you have not studied architecture. Duh. I realized this before going to the office, but as her office was teeming with architecture trainees, I felt my presence would have exceeded my notion of the acceptable level of dead weight. She and one of her employees, Sheel, were, however, incredibly nice to invite me to her office and show me some of the work she has done over the last 18 years. Tons of respect to both of them. Besides being a young architect, Sheel is also a trained potter without a potter wheel. So, if anyone has an extra pottery wheel, let me know.

After the hubbub of Bangalore, I decided to go to a place people say Bangalore used to resemble, Mysore. About three hours drive from Bangalore, Mysore is also a large city but hasn't been struck by to the mad development that is omniprescent in Bangalore. Historically, I believe that Mysore is more important than Bangalore, as it was the seat of one of the great Indian kindoms which included Bangalore. I know this because I took a 12 hour(!) tour of Mysore yesterady. I learned other things on the tour, as well.

As the primary goal of this trip is to get experience with sustainable design, I decided the place where I could get the best experience was actually in Auroville. Satprem Maini and his design team planned an affordable housing complex in Auroville, Project Realization, and they are currently in the early stages of construction. So, tonight I am traveling back to Pondicherry and will spend the next few weeks making earth blocks. Don't be jealous.

Sorry for the lack of pictures. Next time.

Reader Comments (2)

Aaron, Thanks so much for these updates. I love reading about your adventures. If you stop in Europe on your way back home, let me know;). Until we meet again, I'll content myself with reading of your adventures. (I'll be in the US in Oct, and will go through NYC if you are still there...)

August 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertasci

So much to see. Wow. I share with you only the food poisoning, which I did to myself and for four days suffered, but thankfully no bed bugs. Your written verse inspired by itching may be better than your inspired love poetry, who would know?

Enjoy making earthen blocks, and keep open to the surprises such as the return of the wallet.

love, Dad

August 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbob

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