Sep 2, 2015

that storied Sea- August 28

Every child I met in the fishing village greeted me with, "Happy Onam!" The beach was nearly deserted as the fishermen weren't working the biggest holiday of the year. After photographing a few of their boats I sat beneath a coconut tree and finished re-reading The Ramayana.

And doesn't this fishing boat look as ready to set sail into a storybook as into the Arabian Sea? For that matter, doesn't the Arabian Sea sound like it belongs no  where else but in a storybook? So, a story...

At the end of each year that Ravana, a great ten-headed demon, meditated beneath a coconut tree, he cut off one of his heads. Just as Ravana's tenth year of meditation came to an end and he extended his blade to make that final cut, Brahma rushed in saying, "Sheath that blade. I'll give you back your tenacious ten-headed brain and grant the first wish that slips into it".

Nine newly restored faces twisted into an evil smirk while the unseverered tenth head said, "I want to be invincible in battle against any god or demon."

And Brahma rolled his eyes as he thought, "If he hadn't been too arrogant to think of the men and the animals, he'd be really dangerous."

That is part of the set-up for the great Hindu epic poem, The Ramayana. After Ravana littered the golden avenues of heaven with divine corpses, it fell to the great king Rama and his friends Jambavan, king of the bears, and the rambunctious young Hanuman, later to become the monkey god, to deal with the demon king.

Lily, Tyler, Emily, Grey, and everyone I recommend that you read this story to your nieces\children\grand children. Maybe start by watching A Little Princess  (1995) directed by Alfonso Cuaron in which the little heroine thrills her friends with tales inspired by The Ramayana.

P.S. --- Hey, I'm in the news, as I'm posting this today, Sept, 2nd. But, you may not have heard about it. I certainly hadn't as I started out traveling this morning.

The trains are just about the only thing running in India this Wednesday.

Imagine my surprise when the train arrived in the city where I was to switch to a bus, and  I walked out of the station expecting to have a dozen little 3-wheeled taxi drivers clamoring for my attention, but there were none. That's like a picnic without flies--- its not something you'd notice, unless, you actually happened to need one of those 3-wheeled flies. I was thirsty so I looked for a stand to buy a bottle of water and then I noticed that all the shops were shuttered.

I found  a policeman who explained:

"No taxis, no bus, no water. Only strike."

The BBC News says 150 million workers across India are striking to protest the ruling party's pro-business, anti-labor policies.  But I don't think they're counting the shopkeepers or maybe it's just that I'm in Kerala where there are pictures of Che Guevara everywhere because here the communists are the ruling party.

I hiked with my bags 3 kilometers to the bus station to find that, yes, no buses. I took a room in a YMCA hotel with a restaurant which they promised would open at noon. However, before noon their restaurant workers decided to join the strike. I think that after that the workers must have had a prayer session with the hotel managers and agreed that the restaurant would stay closed, but they would offer room service one time to any guests that were stuck starving in their rooms. Plus the YMCA gave me two free bottles of water and the strike ends tomorrow morning.

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