India Travel – March 12, 2012

5:30 a.m.

Once again, not sleeping well—this time barking dogs waking me at midnight and mosquitos doing their damage in the 1am – 5am  window. The upside being that I get to once again enjoy the mystically redolent pre-dawn call to prayer from the local neighborhood mosque. My time in Afghanistan several years back really heightened my appreciation for the distinct nature of the muezzin’s call—and to this day something about it soothes and feels right to my ears, and heart.

On a more mundane/practical level, I’ve wrapped up what I feel is a quite successful first week of product acquisition. Yesterday I made my way back into the ever-proliferating madness of the Old Delhi backwaters to negotiate the purchase of a number of older, banged up but still glowing marble temple murtis—several of which I’ve already pre-sold to a few clients back home thanks to the power of the interwebs. More to complete that deal, but it’s getting close—hopefully the third trip there, today or tomorrow, should do it!

And happily scored 60-something pieces of old tribal textiles from a couple of my old friends on the streets yesterday too—always a pleasure to work with these sweet, smiling ladies; some of the very few who don’t employ the street-jaded hard sell that most of their neighbors can’t resist. Something about these weathered, colorful old textiles really tells a story that I love—even if, like the rest of India, I don’t really understand the language or the deeper subtext of the storyline!

Closing in on completion of a good chunk of my buying program means I am getting tantalizingly close to peeling out of Delhi—a city I’ve gone from almost loathing for its filthy, screeching bump and grind to appreciating for some of its subtler flavors—and getting closer to the heart of my desire on this trip: temple time with Shyamdas in the sacred Vraja countryside surrounding Govardhan Hill.

This past year I’ve felt a growing urgency to reverse the polarity of my last half-dozen trips to India, from working many grueling 80 hour weeks and enjoying several days of devotional time at the end—too exhausted by then to do much more than rest and recuperate—to focusing my work into a greatly telescoped timewave so that I might enjoy many weeks or months of deeper explorations of what always drew me to the Indian motherland in the first place: satsang and temple bhava, music and Sanskrit study, time with swamis, pilgrims, folks like my buddy Shyamdas and other fellow path-walkers.

Meanwhile, now that the birds are cranking up the springtime serenade—is it possible I might grab another hour of sleep? I think I’ll try…