This morning I left home early with my camera.
It was lovely morning to walk in with a task out of the ordinary: to photograph the ordinariness of Opposite the Ashram, an old haunt of my son-in-law. A request had been sent through my daughter.
I walked around RamanaSamadhi until Deva turned up for his morning circuit check-in, after which it took us some time to reach the roadside speculating on the electricity situation without reaching any conclusions.
Despite all the new signs in our faces, what you find Opposite the Ashram today is hauntingly reminiscent only of the years since Agni Communications first opened, from the days when the new row of shops presented a local version of Modern Man.
These three beggar-ladies cum Money-Lenders have been sitting here since then, haven’t they?
Siva’s hidden behind the tourist in fetching shorts being beseeched by the old lady; if visible he would stir up nostalgia no doubt.
Progress does lurk behind the scenes these days – look:
A new pretty face. There are many more of these too.
Deva has matured greatly, recently returned from a jaunt about Europe from which he has learned much, being versatile and wide awake:
His SuperMarket is Superlative, like the Tardis, there’s more of it inside than out.
Next door has become DeLux, outshining all our Kashmiri’s and even Vak in Pondy:
We accept all kinds of cards in here:
But nothing can compare with this:
It’s better than finding money to see her.
Sadhus can still be seen if you peer carefully into neglected spaces, they will even signal to you to catch your eye sometimes in the mornings when most of them are queuing up already for lunch in ashram.
Joythi’s over there. Look:
I can never remember her name; the memory of the time her husband beat her almost to death always intrudes.
She sends greetings. So does Joythi:
And Chandra does too:
Now from Chandra fresh, crisp and calm, we go to what used to be your Den; don’t expect me to venture far inside, it stinks.
I do hope this isn’t what you had in mind.
There used to be a cold drink shop here with a zany rabbit rubbish bin but that seems to have vanished and the space it could conceivably have occupied is not apparent. That was Stefano ordering chai:
So Stefano caught me here and explained to me in detail that sugar – SUGAR – is the primary cause of over-weight (he claims to be over-weight) and also – as I read recently (the Tweet was forwarded to Devi) – also: the inflammation in the arteries that is itself the primary cause of heart disease (in italics).
Not long ago I stopped taking sugar in tea. I read that Tweet. As a result i found repeatedly that i didn’t bother to finish what was in my cup. Tea without sugar had become boring.
What i did to compensate the lack of sugar so essential to the tea-pick-up-experience was buy a beautiful brass mortar and pestle to grind the spices to make good chai. Since it did compensate somewhat and i hope you live to an old age, i went back and bought you one which i will bring home with me, you will like that.
Basically here things are the same as it ever was.
Now I came home and the hill is blue.
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