Here I am sitting in my Mumbai hotel room listening to music on a downloaded acoustic playlist, the fan whirring on the ceiling above, pigeon’s cooing on the balcony…and I’m thinking about Venezuela and the Venezuelans. How does that happen? How do you remove yourself from your everyday UK existence, travel thousands of miles, and yet still inhabit your old headspace? Is it the technology – or just reflex..?
When we got here five days ago, owing to the sheer incomprehensibility of our new environment, we followed the advice of a Canadian we met and headed for Leopold’s on the Causeway, near the hotel. Within were the international travellers to whom this place acts as a common magnet. Some Australian guy wrote a novel called Sham-something about his extravagant Catch-Me-If-You-Can experiences in this city and apparently hung out in this eatery and so it appeared natural for the visitors to do the same. We consumed our over-priced curried-food and Kingfisher beers and hurriedly left.
Next day we found a proper eating place round the corner.
But that initial commercialisation experience didn’t stop us going on a tour of Dharavi, the big slum where Danny Boyle set the opening of his Slumdog Millionaire film.
You just can’t escape your cultural references, can you?
Well, the tour was actually very insightful as we were taken through the narrow passages by our slum-dwelling guide and saw how the inhabitants carved out a reasonable living mostly through recycling rubbish and making clothes and leather goods (the Derahvi brand is on its way, folks, fashioned by a South African designer), along with a poppadomarie, pottery-making area and a bakery where Mumbai’s well-known pastry cases are produced, ready for filling (unbeknownst even to most Mumbaikas themselves).
In our eatery round the corner, I told of a twenty-year old visitor to India from forty years ago who had raised money for the trip by taking orders for the hash he promised to bring back with him; only to find out on arrival it wasn’t financially viable, so brought back a heap of grade four morphine instead, helping to feed the opioid crisis taking place in his own hometown back then.
Not that we are intending to do anything like that, of course.
We will almost certainly travel to Pushkar though, where our drug-smuggler also visited back then – and whose experience of meeting the camel-rearing nomads of the Thar Desert on the parapet of the hill-top temple is retold in a book I wrote called Death and the Dead.
This particular post was started because there was no internet connection for a short while and so the two books I ordered couldn’t be downloaded: Roger Daltrey’s autobiography and something about how secret occult societies such as the Rosicrucians have played an important part in shaping our own history.
You just can’t escape your cultural references, can you?
I suspect it will be interesting to compare the difference between the benign occult societies and malign deep state actors.
Originally, I had wanted in my first post from India to tell of my initial impressions, of the security guard at the bank with a decades’ old shotgun flung across his back, or the trip to Gandhi’s old residence the day after the anniversary of his assassination, but somehow…the old stuff just crept in again.
Last night I finished reading an account of how JFK was most likely assassinated by the American deep state forces in the military, CIA and civil service back then who were keen – nay, desperate – to invade Cuba, start an anti-communist war in Vietnam and launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the Russian-dominated Soviet Union. With only the elected American president holding them in check. The same way Ghandi’s assailant hadn’t wanted unity and peace years before that.
Plus ça change?
Sixty years on those same deathly, war-mongering tendencies fuelled by hatred and fear are continuing to fill the headspace of a great many people. Myself included.
And I and others are absolutely sick of it.
We all want to get on with our lives full of peace and love and what we get is more of these unnecessary conflicts and wars engineered by hate-filled sociopaths whose only desire is to bring down as much misery as they can on as great a many people as they possibly can. These people hate themselves and project all their hatred onto others. Wishing they could be dead themselves, they seek to exterminate all other people (who remind them that they are alive and exist). These Americans hate the entire human race and would like to either enslave it or wipe it out, starting with people of colour and a different ethnic background to their own. Oil is just an excuse. They would destroy the planet, if allowed. People like the current National Security Advisor and special envoy to Venezuela are just symptoms of the American existentialist disease. The US Secretary of State openly seeks Armageddon by way of the most pathetic Christian/Judaic ‘rapture’. These are genuinely disturbed people at the helm, with a nincompoop president not helping matters at all.
I am listening to early Pink Floyd in Mumbai while the ceiling fan rotates and the pigeons coo on the balcony and thinking yet again about the psychopaths who wish to destroy a healthy populace who have never caused the world any harm – filled only with good intentions, and am reminded that my early cultural coordinates aided by technology just about keep me in touch with those positive memories and continued aspirations, hopes and desires for a world where the people-killing war-machines of those lethal mechanistic, ideological states from the West fade away into the hellish regions from whence they came.
Welcome to my headspace.