Monday, January 31, 2005

country roads

$ log - 1/30
32p - internet
100p - picnic items
200p - week bicycle rental
500p wedding gift for a friend
of the farm.

this morning i rode on the back of a
motorcycle 30 minutes out of town to
this super old temple on top of a hill
where the wedding was held.
(there aren't too many hills in this
part of india).

was sooo nice riding thru the country. it
really makes me want to learn the native
language so i can take off on my own like
that. also made me dreamy for some future
where im helping small villages come online style.

on the tech side -
im excited about the asynchronous web
think there's a large role for porting
web applications to soap ontop of smtp.

and something too this notion of
queing up all the interactions you want
to have with the net. and then establishing
ad hoc networks with random devices passing
thru your region, and doing some negotiation
to get them to carry packets for you and vice

$ log 1/31
47p - egg salad sandwhich

Saturday, January 29, 2005

lost & found

$ log
40p internet (got credit cause no one can cash 500p note)
30p chocholate cake & black currant ice cream

40p - black currant ice cream & brown cake with white frosting
660p - 11 days auroville upkeep fee, krishna says this
should be waved for people working on the farm but im
not going to sweat it

hung out in the town hall for awhile waiting for the
financial center to open. they have architectural cutouts
of the plans for this place. its pretty incredible - both
where they're going and how far they've come. there's money
flowing thru this place. im not sure where it comes from or
how it works exactly but some things are definitely working.

last night i had some fantacies about doing my software
development center here instead of calcutta. im into the
community and the concept of trying to do my software center
someplace healthy.

my sense tho after a day and talking to a couple of people
is that its too quick to try to make those kinds of things
happen here. im too new. the only way it would work is if
i bought a piece of land adjacent to auroville and set up
shop there. but ive biked around those places and they dont
have the energy im looking for. so i think its still calcutta.

this morning a girl weeding with me mentioned another community
in maharastra? somewhere close to the middle of the country.
she said it had been built as an act of love by this one guy
was very healthy and had like 2500 people now - mostly indian.

at amachi's gatherings sometimes they mention in passing that
when amma holds darshan in india she gets like 200,000 people
showing up.

someone was describing india and saying that countries all have
their special thing. in china its the great wall of china in
india its the people. visiting some communities in the states
i get this impression that the biggest issue is simply figuring
out how to get people to come - work, live, play on the community.
i dont think the problem would be the same in india.

after paying my community fees i biked into "town" to visit
aurolec where i heard there might be a lost & found. i lost
my journal cum phone book and meditation handbook off the
back of my bike a couple of days ago. i asked a couple of
security guards if they had a lost & found. eventually someone
pointed me to the news room which was somewhere in a compound
of uninteresting offices with names like "turtle technologies"
eventually i found the news room where i explained the situation.
there were two indian guys working and eventually they understood
me well enough to ask me to write a description of the items
which they would publish in the newsletter which they were
responsible for. when i asked "do you have a lost & found box
where people return things they find" the more talkative guy
answered "yes, we will print in the next issue, will come out
next saturday"

tonight is my night to cook rainbow stew for the farm

Friday, January 28, 2005

om shanti


one of the volunteers on the farm
practices psychiatry in england
when he's not harvesting rice in

we were talking about treatments
for miscallaneous mental orders. i
found myself espousing meditation
for almost everything. he made the
point that meditation could be quite
difficult especially for the depressed.

he also made the point that without
faith almost all treatments were worthless.

having practiced several forms of meditation
under different traditions over the years i
have found that different forms seem to work
better for me depending on how agitated i am.

the zen ideal of absolute silence seems like
the ultimate ideal, but for me is a difficult
practice unless im in a very quiet place to
begin with, and even then it is very much an
excersize in mindfulness as i watch my mind
wander and i attempt to bring it back again.

even in the common buddhist practice of
concentrating on the breath, countnig each one
to 10 and then starting over has some subtle
variations that seem to affect the difficulty /
serenity i find with them. the easiest form ive
found is using the full exhale to make the count.
much harder for me is makeing a quick tick count
at the end or beginning of the breath, tho i find
when i can do this i enjoy an expansiveness with
my exhale that i dont notice when im saying a
number to myself with it.

this morning we harvested rice. afterwards i
wasn't sure what to do with myself. i took a nap
for a bit and then wakled down to the internet
cafe to avoid the strange anxious depressed mood
i felt was waiting for me on the farm if i didn't
manage to get off it.

walking i started using my beads again - chanting
hare krishna. i find i can chant even in fairly
foul moods, and it usually works well to bring me
out of a funk.

om shanti :)

$ log 1/27
104p - 3hrs internet

Thursday, January 27, 2005

buckets of cow piss

i moved to an organic farm yesterday morning
now im spending days watering trees and
harvesting beans. im trying to maintain
this notion that its possible to live this
very close to the earth lifestyle, while
persuing technology development.

i like the experiment. some of what im
learning is that physical labor in the
sun does drain some of the mental energy
that otherwise gets directed into the
machine. ..

$ log - i think its 1/27 today

65p - internet
435p - center guest house room

i moved to the farm and where there
are no fees, just hard work
62p - phone to sisir in calcutta
to check in on status of stuff

he's building a large house in salt lake
the emerging tech center, and he's interested
in having me set up my development center there.
i met him when i wandered into a large hindu
gathering at a temple in calcutta. they were
singing and i was standing in the back checking
things out. sisir came up to me and asked what
i got out of it since i couldnt understand whats
going on. he spend 12 or 20 years working in
new york and is now back in calcutta and wants
to do something for the community.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


im way diggin it here on kinds of levels.

last night there was a full moon meditation
and walk. was totally silent. a hundred people
gathered around this enormous banyan tree and
just sat for about 30 minutes. then all hundred
of us took an hour walk thru forest trails with
just the moon light.

later i talked with a girl about a couple of
projects going on. tomarro, i'll start working
on a small organic farm she told me about.

this morning i took a long bike ride around
town. there's no hard line between auroville
and the surrounding villages. was wonderful
riding my bike down these trails and then
finding myself in the middle of a very real
rural indian village. and people didn't trip
to see me cruise thru. people trip out on me
constantly when i walk the streets in calcutta.

yesterday filled out with
32 - 1 hour internet (calcutta is 15)
20 - chocholate cake
20 - vanilla ice cream
6 - chai

today started with
6 - chai
435 - another night in center guest house
20 - banana nut cake
20 - butterscotch ice cream
(im starting to have cravings :()


Monday, January 24, 2005


i have a friend who keeps track
of every penny he spends. i've
always thought it was an interesting
excersize in $ awareness.

gonna give it a shot
all #s are in rupees
i think current exchange is about 43rp - 1$

5 - local bus from chennai railway station
to the bus terminalk
45 - 3 hour bus ride from chennai to pondicherry
11 - breakfast at a restaurant on the way
151 - auto rickshaw from main road up to center guest house
425 - one night center guest house
3 meals, bike rental, and laundry included
22 - pinapple papaya juice
25 - egg sandwhich (i slept thru lunch

this place is more or less what i was hoping for
there's giant banyan trees all around. its reasonably
close to the beach. the air feels clean. there's an
internet cafe ... there's lots of massage, and yoga
retreats - tho im not sure if there are regular yoga
classes. tonight there's a full moon walk and meditation.

things are looking good (:

Friday, January 21, 2005

jai shiva

im generally not too concerned with
the dogma surrounding different relions
or sects or whatever. when people here
ask me if im budhist or hindu or christian
i've taken to saying 'im everything' :)

lifestyle is something else.
my main issue with the american christian
church is lifestyle.

this morning i passed a gregarious sadhu
on the street and ended up spending the
day with him. he wore about 4 sheets and
blankets of various guages in various
configurations. These and a brass teapot
of some kind (which contained various
smaller items) were all he carried.

i dig this self containedness. i think
there's something very spiritual in being
available to follow any direction at any
time. my dreadlocks and beard
are some indication that i've spent time
in this flow. but my western clothes
speak to the time im spending in front of
a computer now, with a hotel room, and plans,

there's an integration here im looking for

the perfect lifestyle

Sunday, January 16, 2005

cream (a blogging introspective)

i faced some decisions
last night that forced me to evaluate some
of whats important to me, why im living the
way im living, ...

historically, ive done most of my processing
in emails to people in my world. last night
i imagined that as an entry here.

habits being what they are
when i sat down to the computer this morning
i opened up mail first and wrote some of
whats going on for me in an email.

as i was writing, and then after, i noticed
how reduced the emotional feeling and charge
associated with the experience had become.
the facts remain the same, but so quickly
they went from really challenging some of
my concepts of who i am and what im doing,
to a story of my saturday evening in calcutta.

i've noticed something like this before
the tendency for speaking or even writing
an idea or feeling to diminish its power.

given the nature of the relationship i'd like
to have with the internet, i may make an effort
to blog before doing email.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

ganga sagar

im not totally sure of
the terminology yet, but the massive religious
festivals india is famous for - i think they're
called mela's. last night at the blue skye cafe
i found out that the largest one of the year
for west bengal was just finishing up on an
island just south of here - ganga sagar.

i've got a persistant cough im about to take
antibiotics for, and i thought maybe some fresh
air would do me good. plus it seems that my
outsourcing plans are about a month away from
manifesting as we're coordinating both the
exact work i'll be doing with and the
office space its looking like i'll use is still
under construction.

so sensing flow, i let go of my room this morning
and headed down to the baboo gat bus station to
catch a bus to ganga sabar.

it didn't work out.
there's some fairly large infrastructure thats
been set up to support the masses of sadhu's on
their pilgrimage. close to there a bunch of buses
are parked preparing to go their different directions.

but i couldn't make it happen
i never spoke to anyone who really understood english
and while i think i was able to make it clear that i
wanted to go to ganga sagar people would just talk to
me in bengali and point me somewhere else. after being
very scattered and walking back and forth between the
pilgrimage headquarters and the bus area i finally gave
up and took a taxi back to sudder street where i licked
my wounds in the Blue Skye cafe where an animated fellow
traveller was describing how some sadhu with balls the
size of fists had managed to put a stick in his penis
and balance on it for camera's and rupees.

now im back on sudder street, sitting at a computer,
wondering what im doing with myself.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

mass conversion

ive got the shits
and something of a chest cold
so im moving real slow
thru the streets of calcutta
these days.

im continually stoked on the
people i meet. right now its
mostly foreigners coming over
here to volunteer with mother
theresa's mission or another
group - calcutta rescue.

yesterday i went to meditation
class and heard the story of
how 50 years ago 3 million people
in the 'untouchable' caste
converted to buddism.

my next mission is to find some
place to make a skype phone call.

the internet rocks !!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


its been a long time coming
but i've finally made my way
to india.

i've been staying in a decent
room on the roof of a small
hotel off of sudder street for
the past week.

room is ~$6 / night
meals run about $1

taxi's rickshaws everything is
cheap except high end night life.

reminds me of the darker visions
of the gibson and stephenson cyberpunk
future diaspora.

im here for a bit.
i keep telling people that it
depends on my finding some reasonably
healthy lifestyle in the middle of all
this. but the premise that brought me
here remains unchanged - that there is
a growing population of educated technical
professionals, and that the low cost of
living equates makes it possible to hire
large numbers of people inexpensively.

so the question becomes, what are the
tasks of technical creativity and benevolence
that can benefit from the application of
massive amounts of human brainpower.