The milk run, economics and science and bliss.

DSC_0988DSC_0995DSC_09912015-09-17 01.50.24Returning from dinner at the Sarnath Cafe, we came upon the milk exchange, a nightly occurrence, the exchange of milk for money, most often happening around 7:45 pm. Two to three milk lords arrive on moped and bike; they meet near the front gate with the milk receivers from CUTS handing over cash, then collecting their liquid loot. All stainless steel, large pails, small pails, some hanging off the handle bars of the bike, swaying and splashing as the bicycle makes its way down the bumpy, dusty road and inside the gate to CUTS. A language barrier and the fact they are all men, prevents me from getting the low down on the transaction and the goods, but this is an economics lesson of the most basic kind.  I see the cows during the day, the water buffalo, sometimes in small herds of eight, walking down the road. A little further out of town, more cows, often seen cooling off in a river where a rotten smell permeates the air. Petting cows on the street, wondering, is it you, dear cow, who provides me with the milk for my morning brew?

Morning coffee, sometimes a heavy layer of milk scum floating in my cup. Lesson learned: remove with a spoon, never stir. Although thankful to have milk to add to my instant Nescafe, there are days when the scum, with its coagulated and slimy, heavy thickness, causes me to decline my much-needed caffeine. No fault of the cows I meet; they are not to blame. It is the cooking method: boiling milk at very high temperatures in an open pan produces this little jewel. Nehru Guesthouse, you ain’t no Starbucks.

Now the next morning, reviewing my words before sharing my post, an arrival. Sitting on the blue plastic tray, alongside the pitcher of milk, spoon and jar of Nescafe, a surprise: a new coffee cup. The handle, not quite lining up, previously broken, glued back to become new. The color! The texture! Exhilaration coming over me like a gigantic crashing wave, taking it in with my eyes, caressing it’s texture, my senses now on fire. I can’t stop staring at its beauty, my every cell filled with what feels like drug-induced bliss. This cup, taking me to a once familiar place, but one I can’t explain or name. I love it! I love it! Settling down, I think of my Mother, a lover of all things beautiful; I’m reminded that this is I, as well. My thoughts now turn to life, and how much delight and wonder I’ve felt just looking at this simple, once broken, cup. And I think of how I must be changing, unaware until this moment, that in the very smallest of things, I found bliss.

An ant and a dog. And a note.


Sitting on the steps of the guest house, whiling the late afternoon away. Something on my foot, just a tickle. Looking down, a black ant has taken residence there, just below the strap on my shoe. He’s a big guy; I ponder what to do next. Flicking my foot, he lands on his back in a small puddle taking up space on the step below. He twists and he turns, righting himself then begins the steep climb up the side of the step. Up he goes, down he falls, back into the water again. And again. Up and down and back again, reminding me of Buddha and his escape from the bottom of the crevice almost 20 years ago. Reminding me also of the back and forth, up and down of living in this place. Finally, the ant is almost to the top, a marvel at a minimum, traversing the slick side of granite to who knows where. Buddha would say it’s bad karma, to leave the dear there, so I pick up a twig and give him a ride, now he and my foot share a space on the step.

Another visitor now. The dog I named Pippa, wagging her tail, comes to say hello. She accepts a few pats on her head, then takes a spot on the tile, panting; it’s hotter than Hell here. Pippa, a street dog, is well fed, her friendly nature must bring her good luck out on the road. Maybe she’s learned to trust, unlike the dog who crossed the road to get away from me a few days ago. What’s the difference? Why she but not he? How has she made it this far, while he, hungry, can only run away? I think I may have learned some lessons or at least started the process in my head, after watching the ant and the dog this late September afternoon. Be kind, be brave, keep on going, no matter how steep the hill.

NOTE: Sitting in the breezeway of our building, preparing to post the piece I wrote last night, the only place I find cooperation with the Internet this morning and a good way to give others space, I am again amazed. The kinds of events that happen here don’t seem to duplicate themselves back in the USA. At least not that often and at least not with me. As I sit in the wooden chair, laptop in my lap, some movement caught out of the corner of my eye. Moving quickly up the stairs, brown and black and large, a straight path toward me. A dog. As he nears me, my heart is in my mouth. On the side of his neck, a large bloody mess of veins and blood and guts, bright red, hanging, heavy, like too many ripe peaches on a tree. He comes closer. I still myself, avoiding his eyes. He gives off no sense of hurt, or need, but rather there’s a feeling of aggression and danger in the air. The bloody mess before my eyes, 6 inches across, 4 inches dangling down. Is he rabid? The winner or loser in a fight? Or maybe the victim of some horrible cancer or disease? I keep still, my head feeling a little light. And just when I think I can’t take it anymore, his standing there, staring, oh so close to me, he turns around and leaves.

WOMEN: A change in topic


(ˈwʊm ən) 

n., pl. wom•en (ˈwɪm ɪn) 
adj. n.

1. an adult female person, as distinguished from a girl or a man.
2. wife.
3. female lover or sweetheart.
4. female servant or attendant.
5. women collectively; womankind.
6. the nature, characteristics, or feelings often attributed to women; womanliness.


The plan for today, a Buddha installment, was abruptly halted after reading emails and comments from my women friends. Thank you G, S, L, L, D, M and B. I feel the need to salute women; their kindness, their understanding, empathy, wonderful advice, camaraderie and love is astounding.  A handful of emails received early this morning touched me so deeply and changed the focus of my post. So fortunate to have you in my life, if only via cyber space. In times like today, when I feel it’s me and me alone, your friendship grounds me, gives me a sense of self and hope that I wouldn’t have without you. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would feel like this; the world is full of surprises. Your words fill me up, there is a warmth that somehow envelopes me, making it all a little better. I think about the women here, are they like you and me? Their treatment, for the most part, horrific and despicable; they are deemed lower than dirt. And all I’ve had to deal with is mostly the stares, their frightening looks, their eyes penetrating right through me, causing me to look away. I wonder if despite their treatment, their place in society, if the women are able to love the way we do? Do they have self-esteem? Do the professors and the lawyers and the doctors, in the minority here, feel differently than the rest? The definition above, came from the Free Dictionary (online). Thoughts? I welcome your commentary either here or via email, a topic for discussion, for sure.

Little jewels sent to me that only women can truly understand:

The act of nesting to help create your sense of place. Replacing longing with letting go.

PS…Please keep your wandering alone to an absolute minimum!  I still don’t like those stories about men attacking women, and you are too pretty for me to rest comfortably!!! 😧😧😧

I think you will feel better after you make your move and can actually become more acquainted in your neighborhood and have a better sense of “now this is where I belong.”

Maybe you can hire someone to be an escort for you sometimes ….just like Michelle Obama😎


I don’t think you’re crazy in the least!  You’re in an incredibly challenging situation on so many levels that it makes my head spin. You’ve left behind almost everything that grounds and defines you –family, friends, work, routine, independence, language, culture, etc. Of course you’re struggling to regain your footing.

VENT to us. We are here for you and you can say anything.  We will put it in perspective and it will never go anywhere.  You need to say these things to someone and we’re the best place to say it!

Just remember my friend, be thankful and take time to appreciate the many many joys you find each day- and we would have no ability to even recognize those were it not for life’s challenges!!