Saturday 26/10/13. A catch up, Amritsar the land of the Golden Temple, 4am my early morning call…O Dear I am such a good early morning person…mmmmm…..thank god i had fully packed last night, lots of grunting etc as my 3 huge heavy bags were carried down stairs to my waiting 3 wheeler Tuk-Tuk and it’s half asleep driver, we all grunted ….Railway station.Please..off into the dusty early morning darkness we went, Amritsar Railway station was or is like any-other Big railway stations in the World….but there is a certain ambiance about a railway station at 4:15am ….has a certain kind of quietness, an expectation……. almost like a huge awakening of some kind ? Only one train on the main station, a big 40 or so carriage blue monster called the Shatabdi Express , this little beauty is the cause of me getting up at 4am and will deliver me into Delhi 450 app- miles south of here and in train style and comfort in 5 hours instead of the car and driver i had planned on using at a cost of $125- and taking 9hrs. this train, in first class was costing me 2050rps…then to my surprise they gave it to me at half price because i was classified as a senior because i am over 56. only just over, Wow 1025rps =$16- What can i say ? I love India.So back to Reality …lugging my 3 big bags up and down this 40 odd carriage train looking for the correct carriage with my lovely booked seat…….MMMMMMMmmm…well i asked various official looking people, all were polite and helpful, all gave me their version of where i would find my carriage and correct seat, each suggestion i took without questioning. dragging all 3 heavy bags through carriage after bloody carriage….yes I know its 4:30am but still i went into the station masters office looking for Help….yes i read the notice on the door” NO ADMITTANCE BY THE PUBLIC AT ALL ” I was getting a little anxious so took the dive …O Dear. all were in various stages of ” asleep” several men, those in charge of this place, all seem to wake up at the same time and all looked very official, all were very helpful to me all gave various indications of which carriage i should drag my bloody 3 heavy bags to…strange i thought ..??? really none knew which carriage i should go to…they just did not know, I must point out in their defence i know no Hindi and they knew no English there was just lots of pointing of fingers…..Now as it was about 10 minutes before departure i was getting a little worried if i would in fact find my carriage or seat ??? A few moments of keen observation of what was going on, on the platform and the people on it . revealed a real truth all the passengers were in the same state as myself. they too were rushing up and down the platform looking for their carriage number etc etc and asking the now awake station staff…still there was confusion ? a real situation was at hand, no body was actually boarding the train at all. looks of confusion on many faces….then out of the blue an official looking man rushed onto the platform with long print out sheets of paper all had our seat numbers, carriage numbers etc etc etc he rushed along the platform glueing the respective corresponding info onto each carriage—then the rush was on. up and down the length of this bloody 40 odd carriage train we all rushed. finally found my little piece of heaven and settled down just like everybody else . we are all just like sheep, especially at 4;57am in the morning. My home for the next 5hrs left at exactly 5am. very impressive i thought. lots of just settling in for a good sleep, no way just like the bloody airlines you want to have a sleep they want to feed you…as so for the next hour we were fed yummy food . for train food that is, in fact it was pretty good. including cornflakes…i thought that cornflakes went out of fashion way back in 1960—-as that was i think the last time i ate them. So being a true Ozzie i ate them …..yummy -yummy…arrr. how can i describe the warm -watery -milky -sugary -no- flavour of this great breakfast cereal..sorry I can’t,
The train ride was excellent, smooth, cabins very clean, staff could not do enough for you etc etc and it arrived in Delhi exactly on time at 11am at the New Delhi train station which is in Paharganj…O God I had forgotten just how bloody hectic, mad, insane,dirty,and a little overwhelming this place was…GGGrrrr—–……..But I have trodden this Path before and i knew how to handle this unruly mob of porters and hassling taxi drivers…We both played the various games…this lasted about 7 minutes, though. they would play it for 7hrs if need be. time is their currency. and what i am short on at the moment. so a snap decision by me which caught them all off guard got the ball rolling and quickly divided them when i said that i would not use any of them at all and i would just walk to my hotel up the street in the cheap area of Paharganji, the wolves moved on leaving one Tuk-Tuk as my prize. straight to the World-Buddhist-Centre…home at last, shower, change of clothes, vege lunch with the gang in the centre. then Tuk -Tuk over to talk to my Lokayata Art Gallery manager Mr Kewal Anand about my solo show there. this was happening in The Hauz Khas Village area of New Delhi, a lovely very helpful accommodating gallery directer. we rabbited on for some hours about Life, Death, the Universe and my solo show, I would come back on Friday morning and his boys would help me set up the exhibition, Back to the Buddhist centre, a good 6hrs sleep revived me enough to stay awake for another veg- dinner with the Gang,
Thursday got my self together Tuk-Tuk into the local Sufi Dargah area of Hazrat Nizamuddin, where i bought lots of lovely sacred Sufi Chadder cloths, Mala beads,etc etc so i could decorate the gallery as a sacred space. ( see a couple of photos) I need to change some more Australian cash into Rupees. just like in Chandigarh went to several banks all were AAArrrr….No we don’t change cash- you must go to a money changer. finally the Lama in charge of the Buddhist centre took me to a perfume shop in the local market shopping area—it was like feeding time at the zoo just Bundles of money were exchanging hands by the second. like an SP bookie shop, was it legal…MMMmm…no idea, but i got a great rate 59-40 to the $, I was happy they were happy and the Lama was happy. back to me hideaway retreat for more rest.
Friday- up got all my stuff together of the setting up of my next adventure. my new Friend, a lovely Tibetan monk by the name of Karma-T went with me to help set it all up. he stayed till 2pm then left as he was attending English classes over at the English Consul. I stayed till about 6pm when it was finally completed…Wow, to me a real Sufi sacred circle had been generated——-the stillness was almost imploding, a sort of Divine Grace filled the air, I enjoyed this state for some short moments. in saying good by for the night to Mr Kewal Anand I noticed a twinkle in his eye as he looked at what i had put together over the day. He was surprised, delighted and very intrigued as to what he was experiencing in his Gallery. I got the feeling that he just got artists who came showed, and left and that was that…but I had something to say both visually and in talking to him on a personal level, he enjoyed my efforts to create this sacred space. all was ready for the next days opening. thank God that was done with. during the day some Dutch travellers came into the Gallery lured by the mention of Sufism on the huge signs at the entrance of the gallery. they were all Sufi-dervishes in Delhi for an 8 day Sufi retreat being held at the lovely Dargah of the Sufi saint called Hazrat Inayat Khan. as we talked they said that there was going to be an hour of sacred Sufi music at the Dargah centre 6-30pm start and i was welcome to come along—sounded good to me..over i went and just loved the 1hr of devotional Prayer played forth by 4 very talented musicians…very yummy, i took 2 Photos here. much to the dismay of my new friends, I had forgotten that Photography was not allowed at all in this centre…see the strange Photo a little spooky i thought, after this i wandered the back alley-ways of this famous Sufi area of Old Delhi for about 1hr…forgetting this is quite a dangerous area for visitors at night. I ended up at one of Delhi’s best restaurants KARIM’s very yummy food and not just veg—I was alive again, good day setting up the gallery, Great Sufi concert, Yummy food at KARIM’s. then to top it all off a cheap Tuk-Tuk ride back to my heavenly centre, as i had been visiting a Sufi area i had bought a nice Sufi cap to wear as one does in respect of their ways. I was still wearing it when i waved the Tuk-Tuk down the driver must of thought i was perhaps a Shaykh or some body of importance…but i said nothing and enjoyed the cheap 90 rupee ride home, It’s usually about 200rps . another chapter in this long journalling. sorry for rabbiting along for so long. Mjw