Crisp Packet Kirtans, Exam Results and Indian Trains

I’m leaving on Thursday and I still haven’t received my results for the past academic year. Not that I’m stressed out about it. I don’t think I’ve failed. But it would be nice to know, instead of being kept in suspense.

Pretty much all of my coursework was speed-written after I came back from India and I really hope it didn’t show too much. Normally I can do things pretty well under last-minute pressure but they say pride comes before a fall right? This could be my moment!

Since I’ve been re-reading the work I did (trying to see if it was really as bad as I remembered), I thought I’d let whoever is interested have a look too. Here’s an excerpt from my final creative piece I wrote – a piece of travel writing inspired by my trip to Vrindavan:

‘Prabhupada is the greatest!’ my driver proclaims, as we take the Vrindavan turn-off, passing under a huge sandstone arch. The road is aptly named ‘Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg’. On the other side of the road, a snake of jazzily painted buses are parked, half leaning into the roadside ditch. People stream from them, following the gloved directions of guards, clad head to toe in pastel blue. They usher the crowds sternly into a nearby field, where a gigantic white canopy has been set up.
‘They are here to listen to a bhogi yogi,’ my driver shouts, as he brakes sharply.
‘He tells them that they don’t need to worship any God, as long as they worship him.’
‘And they believe him?’, I ask incredulously.
He grins, showing two even rows of red-stained teeth. ‘They’re all crazy. Prabhupada is the only one we need!’
My inner cynic tells me he’s hoping his comments will yield a healthy tip. I’m half right.

If you want to read on, here’s the full piece: In Search of Heaven N.B. If you know Vrindavan well, some things in this may be a little inaccurate. I took a teensy bit of artistic licence. At the suggestion of my tutor, who gave me some feedback that the piece was too religiously sympathetic in places, I also tried to write in a more balanced (skeptical?) voice than I would, if I was writing for devotees.

It’s an amalgam of two Vrindavan trips I’ve made in the past year, but the opening train ride comes from the most recent one. It was a fun one. Travelling with nine friends, we were almost doomed to the intense boredom that comes from booking seats on one of the slowest trains to Delhi there is. Luckily, we found ways to entertain ourselves, including: getting out all the instruments we had/could improvise – violin, flute, crisp packets, Tupperware containers, scrunchy pieces of paper and having a kirtan, much to the amusement of our fellow passengers.

One of the passengers opposite got talking to us and I ended up talking to him for over two hours about our philosophy. I’m not used to preaching to people, and it was quite an interesting experience for me, finding out that I know more than I think I do. He was a really thoughtful person, but a bit misguided, and I went to bed that night wishing I had a book to give him. In the morning I was going to give him the address of the Delhi temple, or get his address to give him a book. I didn’t realise he was getting out at the station before us, and I hopelessly watched as I came out of the bathroom and saw him and his bags disappear out  of the door. I came back to the cabin to find out that he’d given one of our group his number, but it turned out to be invalid. Oh well, I hope he felt inspired to find out more anyway.

Wow, this post is not turning out as coherent as I’d hoped. I blame it on my Ayurvedic medicine, which is driving me crazy. Stinky herbs six times a day, does not a happy girl make. Anyway, what I had planned to say at this point is that, if you would like, you can also read the critique of this piece I had to write (including  an annotated bibliography – which can be quite interesting, if I say so myself).

Here it is: Critique-Essay

Come to think of it, I think my results may be coming on Monday…fingers crossed.

1 Comment

Filed under Creative Writing, Krishna Consciousness, University Coursework

One response to “Crisp Packet Kirtans, Exam Results and Indian Trains

  1. Gundica

    Jahni! oooh meri jaan….i can’t believe this is the first time visiting your blog!! I love it, I love everything about it. When I was reading this one in particular I had goosebumps the whole time…you are amazing!!

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