I've been kind of restless lately. Very aware that I'll be leaving here, what has come to feel like home, in about two weeks. I'm trying not to get ahead of myself. After all, I am still here and have some pretty interesting things planned. Continued studies of the Yoga Sutras, an all night walk along the beach looking for turtle eggs with a conservation group. A "pink ride" on bikes for a belated celebration of International Women's Day, and an overnight bike ride, if things go as planned. And even when I leave here, March 29, I still have 5 more weeks in India. But last night I couldn't sleep, and after 2 cups of coffee this morning, I realized why. It's time to start planning my return trip! More about that later. I do miss some things about home. I miss my friends and family. And as I told my friend Brian, I miss doing things like cooking meals, washing clothes, grocery shopping. (Then he mentioned Walmart, and I had to think twice about that.) All this being waited on is really too much sometimes. I'm not complaining, just sayin'.
This is called the Natesa, better known to most of us as the Dancing Shiva. This is one of hundreds of beautiful bronze statues we viewed yesterday. No photography was allowed. This comes from the museum website, where there are many more. http://www.chennaimuseum.org/draft/gallery/01/05/053/saiv6.htm
Ravi and I spent a very enjoyable few hours yesterday at the Government Art Miseum. The bronze gallery was impressive. Lots of very well preserved, very old beautiful bronze statues of Shiva in all his manifestations, of his consort Parvati in all her manifestations, of Ganesh, of Murugan, of Vishnu, of Lakshmi, of Rama. The whole bunch of them. I'm still trying to figure out who they all are. A very western thing to do I'm sure. They aren't meant to be figured out. I hate to admit it, but I want to draw a chart and put them all in categories.
We also went to the state library, which is located on the same grounds as the museum. I wondered out loud. How much overlap is there between the books in this library and the state library in Columbus, OH, for example. How many of these books have never been checked out? They still use the old-fashioned way of stamping the due date on a flap in the book, so we started looking to see. We did find a few, just in our short investigation, that had never been checked out. And there were ones that had been checked out many times that made us shrug our shoulders or chuckle. Like "Care and Feeding of Your Husband" which had been quite popular.
I've collected quite a few pictures of Chennai that don't necessarily fit a topic. They just show life here, in all it's chaos, vibrancy, noise, insanity, creativity, resilience. I could go on and on with adjectives. Chennai is everything I dislike about cities. I'll be glad to go, and yet I want to stay. I will miss it. I am experiencing all the contradictions that are India. They are real.
So, about that return trip. I'm thinking probably the fall of 2015. A couple weeks in Chennai doing a yoga workshop with Ravi, then a couple weeks trekking in the Himalayas, then a couple weeks in Bhutan, where they measure Gross National Happiness rather than GDP. I ran it past Ravi, and he thinks it sounds like a great idea. Anybody want to come along? Seriously. It will be an adventure you will never forget!
So on to the pictures. Some speak for themselves. Others will have commentary. Many were taken from the car. Most are pretty ordinary scenes of people just living their lives here in Chennai. First a few more from the museum and library.
This book had actually been checked out a couple times, but not as much as the one about care and feeding of your husband.