Friday, September 16, 2011

Diary Entries from India

Sunday October 10, 2010
I just arrived from the market where i procure several items. A craft blade (X-acto knife), pen, notebook, sweetened yogurt, two blouses, three saris, soap, face-wash, tape measure. I intend to keep short record of all items purchased. I need to purchase a small calculator in order to carefully count to the tenths and hundredths of a dollar. Is it really necessary? Yes, because 45 rupees is equal to a dollar and almost everything around here costs less than that, beggars ask for a single rupee coin which is equal to .02222 of a dollar, so, you figure it out. I was incredibly depressed upon arriving in Dhubulia and decided to go out in order to avoid awkwardness at home with my in-laws. Madri out.

Monday October 11, 2010
Today I washed all my clothing including the crocheted mitts I'm using for practicing drum. Biswanath (Dada from here on in) says he will find if there is any violin shop or teacher nearby for me. I hope I can find a good violin here so I can play something. (I should have just brought my instrument from Dallas with me) Yesterdays's blouses fit well, I'm happy for that. Today I'm hoping to get some organizing done, we're planning to go to Krishna-nagar tomorrow. Dada is in a bind to procure a mechanic for the car, it has now become a financial burden-- I'm not sure if I can help or now. Chandaneśwar prabhu has advised me to keep whatever Lakshmi I have to myself, he will wire funds for Dada possibly tomorrow afternoon. Madri out.

Tuesday October 12, 2010
Today after a late breakfast, a gentleman by the name of Gopal came to the house unexpectedly. Later I found out that this man is a friend of Chandaneśwar prabhu; he is a sadhu and an adept palm reader/astrologer. I asked if he would read my palm (I'm very curious and attached to palmistry and astrology). He said that my Jupiter, Mercury, Venus and Moon were very good right now. Rahu, ketu and Mars are not good, that they were causing mental distress, worry and anger ( I couldn't have agreed more) and so he recommended I wear a garnet. I acquired a garnet for myself, a ruby for mom and moonstone for Krishna Chandra. I will get the stones checked for quality then pay for the stones when prabhu sends me more money. Today we are going to Krishnanagar, I intend to purchase slips and blouses for my fancy saris, natural sindhur (kumkum) and gold. dada says he found violin shops in Tollygung, he will go and find out more soon. Madri out.☺

Tuesday October 19th, 2010 Ekadasi
Today we are taking a daytrip to Mayapur. I plan to purchase some items but just check the price for a ticket change. I have 800 USD and 2660 RS, hopefully I can change the ticket so KC and I can head home. Babai gave Krishna Chandra grains this morning because KC said he was hungry, I realise that even despite the fact that we planned to go to Mayapur specifically to have lunch prasad on Ekadasi, still Babai is careless about observing fasts or even respecting my wishes. He said he didn't know it was Ekadasi even after we cancelled yesterday's trip to Mayapur after hearing that there was no Ekadasi (our calendar was wrong) and rescheduled for today. Either he totally forgot, deliberately ignored or just didn't care a damn bit about it. I've managed to keep KC observing the fast days since he was born, I wanted him to develop a habit of preparing and honoring annukalpa on the proper fasting days. That includes the Appearance days of Vishnu tattva. We have followed all fasts very strictly until now (only by the Lord's mercy). I wanted to fast again tomorrow for Krishna Chandra  but Chandaneśwar prabhu said that since he's still a kid, we can just let it pass. What bothers me more is that he's developed a habit of eating outside food and snacks here which I fear he won't break upon going back home. He asks for junk food that we never allow him at home simply because he knows that he can easily manipulate the other male family members and they allow themselves to be easily manipulated! It is, after all, the easiest and laziest option-- no cooking or headache. How very convenient for everyone!

Monday November 1st 2010 Today we are venturing off to the big city in search for treasure. I plan to purchase a harmonium, a violin and any thing extra things I may see. New Market has vegetables that are hard to find here.. Hopefully I can get them there. Avocados here I come! (I managed to bring that harmonium to USA! No violins in India, all firewood. )

Monday November 15th 2010 Jagaddhatri Puja
Today I offered a special puja to Goddess Jagaddhatri on the occasion of Krishna Chandra's birthday also on the same day. I spent the entire afternoon helping out and photographing the pujo pandal. After some time Dada came for me with Krishna Chandra, they took darshan and we headed home with a plate of prasad from Ma Jagaddhatri. The goddess was stunningly beautiful and sweet. I was very amazed and in awe during her arati-kirtan that I was again drawn to Her and started recording the ceremony. The whole place was in-fumigated with the fragrant aroma of frankincense , coconut skins and incense blends. Whatever sinful parasites dwelled within my heart have been vanquished during it; now, the intoxicating fumes have dissipated into thin air but the peace and happiness it brought on my soul has found a fertile ground upon which to take root deep within my heart. I love the Goddess and I pray for her love and eternal blessings. (Jagaddhatri is benevolent form of Durga offering blessings.)

January 13,2011 I've spent the past few days at Mana's home, yesterday I came back to Pampa's house on the pretext of preparing for Prabhu's arrival. In reality though, I was afraid of falling ill again and anxious to return to Pampa's house. Though I enjoy staying with Mana more than Pampa, the reality is that I'm falling ill every other day and the facilities there are very austere, no bathroom and a concrete outdoor latrine; this wouldn't be such a problem I guess were it not for the freezing nightly temperatures. The night before last I had gas, nausea and finally severe dysentery. I must have used the toilet at least six or seven times during the night; when I visited the doctor in the morning he alerted me that my BP was very low and prescribed homeopathic remedies. I drank homemade saline, about two litres worth, throughout the day to re-hydrate myself. I've arrived to the conclusion that the culprit is undigested food. I've also gone straight to bed after eating which has unsettled my stomach. I'm going to try to improve my eating habits (not overeat) and give my body plenty of exercise and rest at the proper times. Chandaneśwar prabhu is finally coming to India. He leaves Dallas on the 23rd and will arrive on the next day or so in India. I'm so incredibly stunned that the information cannot fully digest into my brain. Usually I dissolve info and process it rapidly and so I have the advantage  of thinking ahead while others can not plan ahead and make changes in plans so quickly. For example, the day before leaving for Kolkata I asked Biswanath-da if his wife was planning to come along and he replied "No, she has no business there." However, the next morning she simply sat in the car and tagged along anyhow. Realizing this was her way of trying to squeeze out my last dime, I avoided going out to eat or shopping (even if she offers, she'll stick me with the bill) and called Minu-di ahead of time to cook for us. As expected, she asked several times if we were planning to eat at Lakshmi Narayan Mandir (they have a nice vegetarian canteen) while at the dentist's office. I simply laughed after hearing how mom handled the situation. She simply pinned the blame on me saying, "Meli says no, I asked her if she would go and she wants to eat at Minu-di's home instead." This shut her up for good as she didn't bring it up anymore. I applauded her boldness and quick-thinking, mother is quiet the adept politician. What's more interesting is how Didi didn't feel like sticking around Kolkata suddenly... maybe it has to do with the fact that I refused to take her shopping again. I found a nice bhajan singer, he's on television; actually, I think he's one of the descendants of the Goswamis. There is a backdrop of Banke-bihariji in the background. He's definitely one Brajwasi, he wears the red colored tilak on his forehead and he sings so beautifully.

I've been talking to Prabhu for the past hour or so about our friends family problems(names and details are left out for privacy purposes) Finally we don't know how to handle the situation, we can only pray that Krishna brings them back together. Chandaneśwar prabhu was practically crying on the phone. He says that Prabhu wants to return to Dallas but Mataji doesn't want to live with him anymore. We discussed maybe having Prabhu move in with us for sometime until he and his wife work things out and he gets a job here and gets back on his feet. The problem is discretion, Mataji doesn't want her family problems to leak out within the community.  (If Prabhu moves in with us everyone will know something is up and their personal life will be under the microscope of the community devotees, I really hate it how everyone takes sides and points the finger) The final response from her was that she'd rather leave the house and move elsewhere than live with him and be completely miserable. This situation is so sticky that I'm afraid of sticking my finger in it altogether. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Saturday Janurary 15th, 2011
Today I spoke to Chandaneśwar and I was upset by something he said. Later I felt so enraged that I started crying. He told me that his brother knows he's arriving in India because he already told him several days ago or something to that effect. (Dada and I had a huge fight btw) When I asked prabhu why he told them that he was coming, he said that they simply nagged him until he finally said, "Yes I'm coming at this time.. etc.." in frustration only. This was much before he had confirmed his ticket or told me! What angers me is that he didn't confirm his plans with me until just two days ago but he already told them even after I asked him to avoid contact with his brother and sister-in-law. Why does he give a damn about them? I've been begging him for weeks but he wouldn't assure me of anything, he just left me out in the cold.(and struggling on my own in India) I was infuriated beyond what human words could ever possibly convey... I simply didn't want to speak to him. Still I'm upset but he's given me an apology and asked my forgiveness. I feel like opening up a bottle of liquor and drowning my mind in it.

Thursday March 17th 2011
Today is Śrila Madhavendra Puri Prabhupad's disappearance day, we came to Śantipur for his festival hoping to take prasad. For the past few days my mind is disturbed and I'm easily angered over the smallest trifles. Whenever I read Jaiva Dharma or Prem Pradip I feel peace of mind and absorption in that nectar ocean of transcendental knowledge. Aside from reading, no other activity is satisfying and I feel anxiety whenever I can not find time to read. Today I felt pain in my body, both back and stomach/lower abdomen so I was more upset than usual. I found it hard to associate with others and have anti-social thoughts and inclinations. The best thing today occurred this morning when we went to Bamanpukur. There, Sakhi Shyam prabhu was meeting us and we took him to Śantipur with us. Now we are all head to Krishnanagar to bank, and open a new account for Purandar prabhu. Hopefully the account will be opened successfully otherwise I'll have to open another in Chandaneśwar prabhus name instead.

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