Sally, yes, I have seen The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A fantastic movie on every level. Do you remember that the troupe went to Udaipur for the funeral of the elderly gay guy? I visited Udaipur twice. So many scenes are etched in my memory from those times.
[I know I am treating this thread more like a blog. (I am blogging my posts in fact just in case at some future time I want to revisit this time, or perhaps I'll want to share it with family members.) There is precious little about scientology here. Well, I'm really not interested in scientology, except to see its demise. You may have noticed. Perhaps I'm abusing what is essentially an ex sci message board. Can I plead that I feel that I've got friends here, and that it seems okay to record this stuff here, my thoughts, feelings etc. as well as the pedestrian updates? I couldn't write this kind of stuff on Facebook, and I feel somewhat embarrassed to indulge in it to my friends and rellies. Now why is that? I dunno]
Here are a few of paragraphs chopped from a story I wrote about Udaipur. I don't think it was ever published:
This is a big indulgence, but it gives me satisfaction to recall Udaipur and how I wrote about it.
In the garden of Rang Niwas Palace Hotel a sari'd figure is offering prayers and sweetmeats to the trees. At 4am, the mysterious worshipper is lit by a strange brightness. She appears luminous yet indistinct at the edges in misty-grey air.
I'm awake .... from sleep between cornflower-blue, Indian cotton sheets, in a room with white and pale lilac walls and a marble floor. I've come to Udaipur in the monsoon season when every day at intermittent intervals the sky embraces the earth and rains down once more. I've come to soothe my jangled nerves after Bombay's fearful poverty and corrosive pollution.
This morning I breakfast on the verandah. Sitting in a wicker chair, with tea, toast, and marmalade on a small table at my elbow, I watch a boy sweeping leaves and blossoms that have fallen in the night. Barefoot, in white trousers and shirt, with a bright gold earring, he moves languidly, quietly, with grace.
Chetub, 11, is a multilingual child painter of Indian Miniatures. Soft as butter, sharp as tacks. Skin dusky soft, eyes serious, he walks quickly on slender legs and speaks quick-quick in near-perfect English. "Excuse me, may I have a cup of tea with you?" he asks.
We sit on a rooftop terrace looking over the ghats to a fairytale palace on the lake. The sky is sultry-dark, almost fizzing with electricity. Bougainvillea glows neon crimson along the balustrades.
Chetin admires my watch and puts it on his delicate wrist. Could he have it? Pleading but not servile.
There are scenes in India that pierce you with their stark loveliness, the more so when comprehension cannot be reached, when you must accept what you behold at face value. It is like being a child in a world that is wondrous, sometimes frightening, often inexplicable.
I had a love affair with India. I still love it, but there is something a bit shameful about being a tourist in that country. The poverty can make you feel guilty; I couldn't get my head around how best to be there. If I went back, I think I'd have to accept that feeling and accept being discombobulated.