Diary: Leaving India ~ rapidly, in a fog (Nov. 2016)

Nov. 29, 2016, 9:04 AM, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India – i ordered this coffee and turned on phone…

Note: transcribed with light editing from my scribbled journal made in “real time” as always more to say but this is what is there is – read between lines, follow rabbit holes to fill in the blanks if curious. (will add more about Auroville at some point and more about dear Mom’s passing including my letters to her and obituary within)

Afterward: includes notes from the interlude

Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India – 9:04 AM, Nov. 29, 2016

After a visit to Townhall and Mathrimandir, near the visitor centre, hot coffee in small brass cup, turn on the pocket robot and (oddly) a barrage of messages on all channels, so many – I am confused (hithero ignored) – then email/every-messaging-channel – I read the first line, baffled but know something is terrible! so try to call brother Anders.

the day before, visiting golden dome dedicated to motherly love #sigh

Calls (over dodgy internet) are made and calls are dropped again and again after 3 words – finally, i hear “what” and say “Chennai airport, open the envelope, four hours” fast – go! {The envelope in Vegas contains access to Dashlane app which has all passwords credit cards and passport and a friend who is so good and helpful from home HQ.}

My location wasn’t on itinerary and no matter, no coverage anyhow. I was on my way to a post office to mail a dossier to Nick Bantock and then to the golden temple of meditation and somehow it all happened.

accomms in Auroville, met folks from many countries, enjoyed activities after a confusing start. i could *stay* here – i have skills

Hustle back to “Joy Community House” breathlessly explain. Return card to townhall. (Kind ladies hug me and give me “rescue remedy” in a glass bottle. I was just getting familiar and how do you explain this to someone? How do we humans know how to react. Grateful for wise ladies).

Bundle gear from cute room
Quick shower ("I will need this," he says from experience)
Call a taxi quicker
ring a taxi, try to make my situation understood, i look at my shoes

Fast to Chennai

Buy a bag of fruit from roadside, gogo man! eat bananas.

Shaking queasy, drink two coconuts en route

3 anna half hours weaving between cows

Coming the busses directly ahead! Fck Honk!

Roadhouses and truck stops and urine stained curbs and fields

Smoke two beedies each stop

Quick quick!

– dave in taxi

At airport, taxi drivers lounge around their classic sleds – i want to stay and ask them to take me far away. I don’t care to leave *at all*.

not my taxi driver, but other taxi drivers

Can’t find gate and desk and entrance and have to pee so bad(!) Clumsily change mobile sim cards roulette trying for coverage access to get boarding pass to show to the guard to get into airport past boys with khakis and rifles. Bunkers at each airport entrance.

# Sorta plan was # 

After Auroville, Chennai to Thiruvananthapuram then train to Amma’s (hugging mother) ashram > Mata Amritanandamayi Math >>  then make way to Kayamkulam or Krishnapuram or Karunagappalli whatever and then Bangalore Express train to whereever. Just ride ride ride. Drink tea, eat with my hands, and vanish. from it all.

India, still unfinished (but that’s another riff)

Maybe just stay and live here and/or disappear > the bridges to my “previous life” were well & freshly torched behind me. I lost everything. And sought only calm. I saw an ad needing a radio station human and/or archivist at Auroville, i could do that, live there, exist well. Maybe. It wasn’t perfect but nowhere is and if they’d have me, then… 

make your own job in Auroville. also was need for archivist – another timeline me is there doing this

“Sensible plan” was/is Kochi to airport, hotel, then fly Emirates to Dubai to visit Habib and then to San Francisco and Pacifica in time for the X and Mike Watt show downtown and then Mike Watt and Secondmen at Winters, then train from Jack London Square Oakland overnight to Seattle and then to the unknown.

Maybe drift by train to Vancouver? Off in Centralia yet to visit Ed? Visit Olympia? Pender, Galliano? Moncton, Cape Breton?

Find a home, don’t find a home. What is a home? 

# Reality dictates #

But… Get enough coverage that clear trip shows a boarding pass for tomorrow but good enough-find out Jet Airways to Mumbai (still called Bombay for airport use) I’m in a daze – I’m disabled wheelchair guy which helps. Jet Airways-who knew?

Drop me off in wheelchair at an Irish bar. I explained and my new friend stands guard (to prevent invasion from foreign managers commuting from call centres as it turns out) and I eat large mushroom burger and drink much double Glennfiddich scotch, two Murphy’s cans, Jameson and another beer. Also they bring cake. All bad ideas, terrible ideas for my clean oddly pure Ayurveda purified body – i am in shock and the panic takes hold. I don’t know what happened, just that Mother is Dead

the sweet guy Logesh at the Irish bar made this cake for me while i waited

Wheelchair to gate, first on, last off in Mumbai. Spacious, clean and devoid of charm mostly empty text for wi-fi to no avail, I charge, stretch, drink tea, first place uses a chai mix! In India! Find proper cup – of course sheesh. I know what but not how or when or what comes next. Try to lie down on hard carpet floor in frozen A/C building on dismal blanket from AirAsia. I am lost bearded hermit in rags – there will be no upgrade. 

Flight to Amsterdam. I’m in THE Haze. I survive, this is all. I am window & sleeping guy in aisle. I move over, over and over. Stepping over sleeping heads, squishing down aisles, trying to stop twitching. 

Somehow, early morning  bright sun suddenly-western Amsterdam Schiphol. Eyes ache, need water, shower, nap but tight switch with two tall Dutch ladies who efficiently and briskly whisk me through yet another security checks, reluctantly buy a seat upgrade, zip zip, already boarding.

I have “upgraded” seat but so uncomfortable as leg spasm, food so bad. I puke again and again and over and over. Stress! Hold on for Salt Lake City! So hard… I sit in loo to breathe – leave me alone! I pace. Aisles too narrow.

Changed to “warm” clothes from disposable India clothes (stash was left at M&S’s in Pacifica). Sorta pants, shirt and jacket & socks. Wheels down. I’m a wreck. Look worse.

Outside to meet Anders, I can’t find and then outside – so cold, so much snow (apparently was just election in this country i didn’t want to return to)! Go inside, he arrives with big sweatshirt we talk as much as possible.

All unknowns are known.

I’m bound for Dane’s, we meet at a pub parking at base of Canyon. Brothers arrive, viewing Wednesday, it’s Tuesday, I left Monday on the other side. 36 hours time elapsed. She died about 36 hours before I learned. Frantic search to no avail.

Everything changed, everything changes.

# In-between days #


# 6 weeks later #

Larry came to Logan, mailed suitcases times 2+ Apple box 40 years old labeled baby clothes to Port Townsend. Cut my thumb so taped up with mailing tape. Labels penned by Larry. $150. Better than schlepping.

Photo all Agatha Christie books, fonds of play bills, magazines, newspaper bit, collectors notes, interviews, inventories, fan clubs, newsletters… Also videos, more than a box of DVDs and VHSs, oversize editions, French language editions and so on.

{note: all these Agatha Christie items which Mom diligently collected over decades were *disappeared* in some kind of meta mystery – i have suspicions}

We go to hot springs and plan houses in Torrey, autoharp albums and book of stories.

Then all the rest of my life somehow unfolds in ways unexpected.

# 3 months later #

We carry on…

3 thoughts on “Diary: Leaving India ~ rapidly, in a fog (Nov. 2016)”

  1. Royalty cheque being faxed over – please smooth your own thermafax paper. Certificate upon request from assigned department of certificates.