Monthly Archives: November 2006

The Quiet American

Check out some of the new links I’ve added at the bottom – one I particularly love is ‘The Quiet American’. This man has spent the last few years recording sounds on his worldwide travles and now has a thriving site where listeners can record 1 minute sound ‘vacations’ and send them in. It’s truly inspiring and it’s amazing how sound can allow you to escape into another world for a while.  I went to India last year and carried a small tape recorder with me everywhere I went, documenting the sounds around me -sometimes I would just record the sound of the birds or the temple bells, even the engine of the boat that used to take us across the Ganges.   It’s amazing how evocative sound is listening back. Some of my favourite parts are where I just recorded a rickshaw ride. Listening to is like passing through waves of colour and images – punctuated by the ever present horns of course! Speaking of horns in India, check out this great animated film which was a collaboration between Irish and Indian animators – ‘Horn OK Please’.

<> That’s about it for now – I’m not sure who is reading this but if you are – thanks – I hope it’s a relatively pain free experience. Come back soon.

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Soaring

The stewardess rushed by for the third time, squeezing past the huddle of people waiting for the toilet. I sat back in my seat and stared absentmindedly at the seat back screen. Our altitude flashed up, followed by the outside temperature, then the moving map. The tiny illustrated plane hovered near the big, white Las Vegas dot. I remember being fascinated by these maps as a child. Once, on a ferry journey to Spain, I returned to the wall size display every hour to recount the little red light bulbs that marked our progress. We always seemed to be moving agonizingly slowly and I used to wish they would all light up and flash at once like a big fruit machine.

 

Now the plane waggled from side to side in a honeybee dance, indicating our imminent landing. I could see a woman in the next row, dividing money between herself and her husband. She had dull blonde hair and long nails and was stuffing crackers in her mouth with one hand, while she counted out bills with the other. I couldn’t see her husband’s face, just a red baseball cap, peeping over the back of the seat. And his chubby hand, reaching for the money. She handed him a thick wad of notes, then slapped his hand playfully when he reached out for more. next she reached down into a leather purse and handed him a stick of gum, taking one out for herself too, and quickly shoving it in her mouth, before settling back to carefully reapply her lipstick.

 

As the plane banked to the right, I looked out the window and gasped silently. The deep orange Nevada desert stretched out below. In the golden sunset light, it gave off a warmth that I could feel, even in this chilly air conditioned cabin. The land was flat in the distance, rising into a small huddle of mountains that surrounded the city. The houses below were neatly arranged in rows and circles, their grey roofs gazing at the huge sky and windows gleaming in unison, reflecting the warm yellow rays. A deep haze hung over the mountains. If I half closed my eyes, the grey forms below blurred and became water; the mountains rose and I could see a blue lagoon. 

 

I craned my neck to look up above the plane. The sky extended to infinity, the dusty blue deepening to indigo at the very limits of my view. We suddenly turned to the left, and the sun streamed in through the windows, setting off a flurry of activity as people wearily pulled down their window shades for a few more minutes rest.  The man at the opposite end of my row was fast asleep though; too tired to care that in this sunlight, his thinning hair looked like spun sugar, and beyond him, out the window, I could see the perfect cloud, its backlit outline like golden gauze.

 

The plane dipped suddenly and I felt my stomach flip inside. The stewards walked slowly down the aisles in pairs, collecting plastic cups and headphones. I shifted in my seat, slipping slightly on the plastic wrapper of my unused blanket. Soon this peaceful limbo would end. High above the ground, clear of clouds, I could think and dream. No one knew me. The only questions asked were what I’d like to drink and would I be needing an extra napkin? The deepening dusk revealed a forest of lights below and the screen display now counted down the minutes and miles until we reached the ground.

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First draft of a piece I wrote for my Creative Writing class…

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The wacky world of Bhagavatam Class

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Ok so this year, on Govardhan Puja I was in an odd mood (actually that’s nothing out of the ordinary) and as I listened to Rasamandala prabhu’s class, which was actually very good, I was struck by the fact that if you only listened sporadically (the audio equivalent of half closing your eyes) you can experience class in a new, exciting and absolutely pointless way. I jotted down my findings for the benefit of whoever reads this (although exactly what benefit you’ll get from it I don’t know – I guess words from the mouth of a vaisanava are purifying even if they’re not in a logical order). Enjoy.

<> Govardhana Puja Class by Rasamandala Prabhu – interpreted by me

It required inconceivable power!

soft fragrant flowers

acarya

Sri Govardhana can give shelter to all the three worlds

with your cows

I got a sweet already!

umbrellas, and the fact that we live in England

Sri Nathji

vardhana means nourishment

in 1966 Srila Prabhupada gave a lecture in New York

the omnipotence of Krsna

economics and the environment

you need not continue to stand in that way, holding the hill

we can give your left hand a massage

pinkie

spinning into space

medium size hill

frog’s umbrella

a mushroom! Very good, yes

Zeus, who also had a thunderbolt

what’s nextdoor?

Alexander wept

I’m not saying we shouldn’t criticize, necessarily

he sends an apsara

Giri Govardhana ki jai!
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