Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai memories

I felt like waxing all dramatic about how Mumbai and India will never be the same, but it's cliche at this point. Here are some of my more iconic photos from my time in Mumbai (2005), with its beautiful architecture and warm people.

The recently besieged Taj Hotel at India Gate. The Taj was founded by an Indian about 100 years ago when the finest hotel in Bombay would not admit him (as an Indian - it was foreigners only).Inside one of the great halls at VT, aka Victoria Terminus railway station, aka Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. It's a masterpiece of Indo-Saracenic architecture and in this particular hall, you can see the stained-glass windows reflecting on the white stone.

The clock tower inside one of the main halls of VT. I believe this is one place grenades went off yesterday.

Three proud Marathi (Maharashtrian) gents in traditional regional attire in South Bombay. Looking good!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This stuff works

I (didn't) read (or write) the news today, Oh Boy

Yes, I have been back from Bara for a few days.

It took a couple days to recover from being in a Jeep with eight other people (men, women and children) who never, ever, ever stopped talking for 9 hours at a time. I had also caught a cold and sore throat while in the Tarai (sleeping outdoors under a tarp with other pilgrims). Then today, I had "gastric." So once again I am bad in not reporting right away about "Buddha Boy." Maybe his spiritual powers are keeping me from delivering a newsworthy report.

A news-junkie friend asked me a few months ago if I "read the news." I read different things, I told him.

This particular person prides himself on being well-informed. He gets up in the morning and, right away, turns on Google News and fills his mind with The World.
I used to do the same, with newspapers. They filled up some kind of void in the morning. Then I realized, to paraphrase the Rocky Horror Picture Show, that "the void was calling."

I didn't say as much, but I think meditation is even better than reading the news, in terms of connecting you with what's going on around you.

My friends Brother Martin and Lisa sent this today from Alternet.
Here's a link to the old (2004) Wall Street Journal article about same.
For thousands of years, Buddhist meditators have claimed that the simple act of sitting down and following their breath while letting go of intrusive thoughts can free one from the entanglements of neurotic suffering.
Now, scientists are using cutting-edge scanning technology to watch the meditating mind at work. They are finding that regular meditation has a measurable effect on a variety of brain structures related to attention -- an example of what is known as neuroplasticity, where the brain physically changes in response to an intentional exercise.

A rash of other studies in recent years meanwhile have found, for example, that practitioners of insight meditation (Vipassana) have noticeably thicker tissue in the prefrontal cortex (the region responsible for attention and control) and that experienced Tibetan monks practicing compassion meditation generate unusually strong and coherent gamma waves in their brains.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Buddha Boy's Back in Bara

Now with new longer hair

Lots and lots of catching up to do following a tumultuous month or so, which saw me start a new job (believe it or not) and host my 2 sisters who visited for the first time in six years.

You've probably read in the news that Ram Bomjom, whom the press has dubbed "Buddha Boy,"
has reappeared from his forest retreat in Bara district, Nepal. Tomorrow morning (if all goes as planned) I will share a car down to the Tarai to see the final few days of Bomjom's public appearance. This time he is speaking, addressing the public and even touching people. Like all good mystics, he seems to know there is a time and place for retreat and a time to share what you have learned with the public.

Somewhere around here is my old India Mike post about Bomjom.....

Boots and all

Kathmandu and Delhi

I was wrong, they do have Merrell hiking boots over here - at least in Delhi. There is a Merrell "showroom" in Khan Market. Live and learn.

I'm currently enjoying my birthday present from the Sistren - a new pair of waterproof North Face hiking boots, size American Women's 9. Nothing like new kicks to give you a boost.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

the air up here

Namche Bazaar, SoluKhumbu district, Nepal

Wow, there are some big-ass mountains up here (10, 335 feet or 3,445 metres). Internet time is so expensive (10NRS a minute) I can't write much. Tomorrow is an acclimatization day, however, so perhaps I can squeeze in a post.