Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tour of Alachua (3 of 5): The Road to My Soul

I have walked this road hundreds of times. If a road had a personality, we'd be the most steadfast and deepest of friends.

I find it fascinating that this road is on temple property, and yet even on Janmastami - the biggest festival day of the year - I can still slip out to the hushed quiet of this winding road.

To the sunrise, the sunset, the stars, heat lightening, the full moon, a meadow of wildflowers, the whisper of Spanish moss... this is my escape.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tour of... Atlanta? Taking a detour.

They're calling roll call now, moving alphabetically. This is like a sea of people - of countries. My heart pounds pounds... They call Pakistan. Then -

"Palestine," the chair calls.

Caroline and I both stand. I say softly, with power, "Thank you honored chair, fellow delegates -" heads turn, "The Palestinian Authority is present,"

I don't think I have ever felt so nervous for a roll call.

I'm in the International Labor Organization Committee - it contains over 100 people, 76 countries - of 1400 people total at this conference in Atlanta.

It's 11:19pm right now, I'm in the lobby of the hotel, and the place is still buzzing with Model UN nerds working on Resolutions.

My professor sometimes refers to the United Nations like a giant marriage counseling facility. Air out your views, share ideas, talk...

Wish me - er - Palestine luck. I wonder if getting an identity crisis is covered in UN marriage counseling.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tour of Alachua (2 of 5): Visions of Kartik

This is one of those tests: match the word Kartik with the first word that comes to mind.

Pause for a moment and really think about it.

Got it? Now, let me guess your word: magical.

And even if it wasn't your word, it's MY word.

The following are some of my favorite pictures I've taken in the past couple days. Kartik is like a photography-fest, it's such a beautiful time of year. Sri Sri Radha Damodar ki.... JAI!The kids in Alachua positively fall over each other to give achaman (purifying of the hands) and to give out these little ghee wick toothpicks to offer to Radha Shyamasundara.

an incandescent moment of a woman praying to Radhe-Shyam

The Deity Set-Up for Visvambhar's birthday party. We sang bhajans for - literall - hours and topped it off with a gorgeous Damodarastakam led by Vish.

And goodnight unto you.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tour of Alachua (1 of 5): Wednesday Bhajans

I enthusiastically proposed to Bali that Wednesday Bhajans be hosted at my house with the ulterior motive to... well... clean the house. There's nothing like guests for motivation to clean.

So the three of us - Jivi, Shalagram, and me - did. 

I cringed, pinched my nose, and stifled screams a little more than I wanted to, but by the time cars started to line the road for a quarter mile come Wednesday night, our house was cozy, clean, and smelled of sweet incense and kitri.

I believe spiritual life is a bit like that. We all need each other to clean up our acts. That way, the temple of our heart can be clean for Krishna to come... and maybe sing some bhajans with us.

You can also check out more photos of Alachua at:

Alachua pics

To write is to dare the soul. So write.