Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Deep Waters, Mystical Portals

Look down and soar; dive deep and soar higher. This is Kim sharing her own profound experience of Irish sacred wells. They draw her back every May and she renews and replenishes herself from their ancient and eternal energies.
This is a post in honor of World Water Day that all our readers may partake of these profound energies that water is imbued with. Over to Kim Raikes.



These wells in Ireland remind us of the sacred properties of water in many ways.


St Patrick's Well, Carlanstown, Ireland - photo sourced from Internet

St Patrick's Well in Carlanstown is a visible reminder of the ways in which the early Celts saw the Irish landscape as dotted with portals to the Otherworld.  The Otherworld was their way of describing the realm beyond our earthly world, a realm which is the home of the gods, and the spirits of our loved ones who have passed on.  This idea lent itself well to the incoming Christian belief in heaven.



 Mary’s Well, Rosserk, Ireland - photo by Kim Raikes

Mary's Well in Rosserk is a visible reminder of the miraculous powers associated with water in Irish wells.  Trees which grow up beside or in these wells are also portals.  In the case of the Rosserk well, the tree, which is over 200 years old, has rooted itself in the roof of the well, and there are literally no signs of its roots.  You can look inside the well house and also outside, and see no way in which the tree survives; yet records of the tree’s existence go back to the 1800’s.



Holy Well with underground channel, Kylemore, Ireland - photo by Kim Raikes



The holy well with the underground channel in Kylemore continues the theme of portals to the underworld, because its rivulet disappears.  You can hear its waters as their course trickles downward under your feet, yet you can’t see it or touch it; the only evidence of it is the hole through which it dives downward into the earth, and its sound.


St. Brigid’s well, Liscannor, Ireland - photo by Kim Raikes

And St Brigid's Well in Liscannor is a marvelous reminder of the ways in which the early Celtic and Christian themes merged.  Brigid, a triple goddess in Celtic lore, was a healer.  And St. Brigid in early Irish Christianity was a saint who grew up in a Celtic household, and healed.  So this particular well has been famed for 1600 years as a healing source, and its entryway is lined with artifacts, letters, and thank yous from persons all over the world.

A final note:  According to Celtic lore, the Salmon of Knowledge swims between all these wells in Ireland, and unites its waters.  Many Celtic legends speak of the efforts to capture this salmon and learn all Truth (much like the Tree in the Old Testament account of the Garden of Eden).  

The Salmon’s power is the power of inspiration, wisdom, and communication.

... Kim Raikes


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Sap Flows - Spring Awakening

From Incognita:

The sublime energy we revere as Sarasvati/Saraswati (do read the article so you can enjoy this post better - my post is among other things,  a response to some of her ideas and was perhaps a trigger for it) is portrayed as wild and willful in this article by Mrinal Pande with her playfully irreverent interpretation based on a plethora of details culled from mythology, folklore and her own deeply personal understanding.
I quote below from the article on the history of the deity.
"The verb behind the name Saraswati is the Sanskrit sru, signifying a constant and self-renewing flow of both pure water and also gyan or knowledge. A river with a name such as this was bound to merge and mutate with the Vedic goddess Vac, the creator of multiple streams of fluid thought. Thus Saraswati was born as a constantly purifying, fertilising force that lent a fluidity to languages and sustained all art forms."
Even as we associate her with movement and flow, equally can the goddess be calm, still and contemplative as in the unruffled waters of a lake on a calm day.
When you see her statue, poised in meditation you understand she is her own person.

Image taken from http://www.lotussculpture.com/ - dates back to 2008. 
Bronze sculpture from South India

And today she decided to make her demand for a post in her honor.  The call of The Muse has to be heeded so this post is neither about my Kashi experience nor the sequel to the diamond-and-date saga as promised to readers. But to be sure it contains teasers to both which you will spot.

Within our veins, in the waterways of our land, through the stems of plants, through cracks in rocks, through the moist breeze as it energizes the spaces between naked branches awaiting spring's awakening breath, the sap of life flows. Again sap held my attention as I sifted through my memories of Diamond Harbour's dates and the story I planned to share. Popular lore has it that Sarasvati and Lakshmi are rivals. My own understanding tells me though, that they flow in and out of each other and hold each other together in synergy.
I think of the date palm being tapped at the base of the crown  enabling the sap that emerges to collect in an earthen pot tied to the trunk just below.


I think of nature's dynamic, of food we draw energy from, food that sustains the body and the mind. The earthen pot (Lakshmi the earth goddess) receives the one that flows.
I recall the wood-nymph we encountered waiting for us under a tree, resting calmly on the earth's lap and waiting to be absorbed by her.
Photo - Kim Raikes

As I write this Kim looks at the picture and shares these thoughts.
"I have such wonderful memories of this encounter! You had seen her in the park at the time of Sarasvati puja in early Feb. and were hoping she would still be there when we arrived in May. Amazingly, she waited all that time for us. She seemed to be almost melting into the tree and the earth, an ephemeral spirit. I am still in awe of her gracious welcome and creative wisdom. And I am still thanking the unknown person who placed her by that tree, for others to experience her divine presence!"

Images of earthen pots with tender sap dripping into them bring me to what I am in the process of creating as an offering to celebrate Sarasvati's festival. You guessed it - Lakshmi in the form of kheer cooked with all those symbols of the goddess - rice, milk and sweet scented spices. I am in a fix whether to attribute the date palm sap I pour in, to Lakshmi or to Sarasvati. Meanwhile I see myself with ladle in hand stirring the pot and watching the rice grains soften and melt into the milk. I see myself in the image of Annapurna the Goddess of Kashi (Varanasi).
Without her shakti(feminine energy), the flowing sap and the freshly harvested rice can't come together as one , nor be served to sustain the universe.  She is the goddess of provision.I smile happily, with renewed understanding of the magical trio of Devis and their secret covenant with one another. They resonate with our Triple Spiral - the creators of this venture in 2012. Our energies and our contributions have always been interchangeable. When one of us goes into a state of meditation, another one takes over and sings and dances, while a third stirs the pot with a heady brew.
As the palm sap flows gently into the cooking pot, my understanding of these divine energies rises to another level.




No Lakshmi is not necessarily about "big things and big money", though she can deal with them on their terms. She is even more fundamentally about the life-giving essentials, the rice that Annapurna is the dispenser of! And Sarasvati is the wisdom that enables us to realize this interconnection.  Wisdom is still even as it flows - a paradox.

The article by Ms Pande quotes from Vac Sutra (Scroll down to  Rig Veda.X.125.6-8)
"
I move among the Gods, I hold them, sustain them… whosoever breathes, sees, hears or eats does so because of me… I create powerful creators and embed them with wisdom and sight… my powers overflow the universe..” 


Perhaps that is one of her of her manifestations - the power of expression for which devotees pray to her, the power to say it as it is! 


Does the reader still feel she has an edge over her sisters? I leave you to contemplate that one. To my mind she seems to contain them even as she is contained by them.

Meanwhile let the sap flow and wisdom awaken with the coming of spring!


Read also The Well Whisperer


Photos where not credited are by self.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Diamonds and Dates - Back On The Trail

From Incognita:

Our boat drifts back onto charted waters after free-floating a while in dark and risky underground streams of the mind.
Monday morning brought inspiration from one of our page contributors Panthera Leo, as she posted her picture in a boat near the Imambara, Hooghly with a quote from Roman Payne's "The Wandress"
"Just as a painter paints,
and a ponderer ponders,
a writer writes,
and a wanderer wanders." 

I promptly flipped open the pages of our Imramma Journal to resume where we left off writing the chronicles of  our own wanderings.

This space has not seen an update for two years. That's as long as we wandered without pause. Or maybe just didn't find a pause in the right place at the right time for writing it all down and sharing.

The last time we posted, we were looking forward to Varanasi where I, at least, was looking for nothing in particular. I was rewarded with much that I took with me locked away in deep inner spaces where the spirit resides and plays free. Maybe now is the time to unlock those spaces and let those hidden energies float free like the mist over the Ganga after dark. I can hear the waves lapping against the steep, dark steps of ghat after ghat as Babu, our boatman flips his oar and cuts through the dark, silken waters to take our boat slowly and steadily from Dashashvamedha back to Chowki Ghat. An occasional floating lamp crosses the boat's path, gently twinkling its benevolent eye in our direction as it seems to say "so long, see you again". We have already set our own lamp offering to the river, afloat (the picture shows you our Research Associate Nipun Srivastava getting the lamp ready) and watched as it set out on its own Imramma.
While we owe our readers a great deal more on our Varanasi adventure, we will reserve most of it as part of the offerings included in Project StepWell - part of  our "Rivers of Fortune" journey that started in 2007 (you will find those tales recorded elsewhere on this space) as a project for Maine Maritime Academy. Chakratirtha Travels was still in the future, awaiting birth.

That journey started on the banks of the Hooghly in Kolkata with our co-founder and mentor Kim Raikes and her family.
And we will rewind to our 2008 summer trip to Diamond Harbour before we move forward to January 2016 that saw me circling back to the same location.
Dilip Das casting his nets in the Hooghly at Diamond Harbor - May 2008
Pic Kim Raikes

 The beautiful Bengal countryside off Diamond Harbor Road
Pic Mary Raikes - May 2008

Early morning mist in May on DH Road
Pic Mary Raikes - May 2008

The shared journey was to honor another journey that had taken place a year and three months earlier, for the final closing of a chapter in my personal heritage. A journey to mark the end of one lifetime for my mother and her symbolic crossing to another realm through the mingling of what remained of her with the silken silt of the Ganges even as a part drifted toward the the Mother Waters. 
This time it was a warm, humid dawn that bloomed into a hot summer day soon after sunrise. The memories of that drive are shrouded in the mists you see in the picture. The road seems to lead to a portal. The chill from that earlier morning was missing as also the sadness of parting. This was the warmth of new meetings and the blazing light of new horizons.

Forward to 2016 January and this is the scene at the very same site we visited in May 2008.
Back to Diamond Harbor with a new companion Tracie Lee from Australia
Tracie is on a Guided Imramma with me. It is an unusually warm January day. The ghat looks different at high noon. You can see the sparkling Diamonds in the water. 

Stone slabs to check erosion are covered over with silt and vegetation
The drive has been riddled with traffic snarls and we reach much later than we had hoped. The route is dusty and we notice random, uncontrolled construction dangerously close to the edge of a road that has always been narrow and not the easiest to navigate. My time machine ticks rapidly back to 1994 and then like a breath of fresh air the nineteen sixties rush in and take over. I taste again the chocolate cones from Flury's* that stayed chilled in the big green pail that would remind my child-self of a squat genie-bottle holding the secrets to cold ice cream and more.  I swiftly leap back into the dust of the present as I hear Tracie sneeze. The dust from all that haphazard construction is getting to her. We turn up the glass and look forward to reaching soon and finding breakfast.
Some snippets of the 51km drive from the city. 





These are best watched on Youtube or using the fullscreen option here, and you can try them slowed down as well

There are a few remaining pockets of pristine green and glass - fields of rice and still ponds - gleaming in the morning sun.  The vehicle is Bapi's Green Taxi aka Sabuj Rath

Well, I have spoken a little about the diamonds but your curiosity about the dates has been piqued for sure. Watch this space!

... to be continued ...

*This is the original tea-room on Park Street   - what you see now is an inept "recreation" - whose history needs detailed reconstruction before the last of that generation fade into history too. I wish I had taken down all those memories from my parents*

Please click on the links to enjoy the post fully. You can see the pictures enlarged if you click on them. 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

And The Wind Blew Her In ....

Says Kim Raikes:

"'A gust of wind in my soul' is the best way I can describe it. I felt it first in Lakshmi's little temple in Kolkata, where I arrived in the middle of puja and was welcomed as if to a long-ago home.





Photo Credit: Kim Raikes. Do not share without permission.

 "I remember the eager hands reaching for the lamp as the priest held it out to the devotees pressing close to the altar, and I wondered what was happening. As I cupped my own hands over the flame I felt the jolt of Lakshmi's power, just as I had from her eyes and appearance when I first beheld her. I had never felt dazzled and overwhelmed like that before, transported really to another dimension in my soul. I remember those same hands reaching for the lamp at Jaggadhatri's little shrine also in Kol; by then I was beginning to understand what was happening as divine energy was captured and transmitted. And I remember reaching out the car window in Puri as we stopped by a little temple having evening puja. The priest brought the lamp right to us as we held out our hands. Pure warm energy rushed into me and shook me awake to that place where I wish my spirit could be all the time!"


It was indeed the wind that blew in Kim Raikes in a most unexpected manner in 2008, as she found herself drawn by an unseen power to set foot in India. The sort of wind that tugs at the soul and flings open the gates to quest.

Her overpowering experience of the temple arati proved life changing not only for her but for those connected with her. Her visit to Kolkata first opened me to Lakshmi as a scintillating power - a shakti in her own right. 

Seven years thereon, the same wind is blowing again.
Each ghat in Varanasi is a portal awaiting her. To embrace her as she and her companions blow in on the wind. I imagine she will leave behind as much if not more than she carries away. 

I wonder if the Ganga Arati will mesmerize her, whether she will partake of payasam from Annapurna's hand.

I wonder how Vishvanath will present himself to her. Maybe she will hold out a bowl of rice to him as she has done to so many needing nourishment.


         Photo Credit: Nipun Srivastava - Research Associate, Team Chakra.
Do not share without permission


Light up the ghat steps. Light the way for Team Chakra! 

And join us in wishing Chakratirtha Travels a Happy Birthday! We are three years old today!  

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Well-Whisperer


Shubha Shree Panchami!  

Shree imbues everything with her essence. So we have Shree (a name for Lakshmi) prefixed to Sarasvati's Panchami. I see the coins (dakshina) as symbolic in many ways. This is a tiny little puja and those coins will help some of the expenses. It was a joy encountering  the goddess tucked into a little niche on a thoroughfare. She is pictured below.



The clarion call of the conch startles me and fills my soul with its breath. There are so many streams of thought all flowing in to me this morning. I am swimming in this pleasant chakratirtha, this divine swirl of energy. 
All around, Sarasvati is being welcomed in homes and pandals!

My thoughts turn to the spirit of the day – gurus and shishyas and those porous borders between them through which the essences of wisdom transfer themselves both ways. It’s a fine morning to revive  the Chakratirtha Travels website and fill it with new energy. People all around are writing and painting and singing with their pens and brushes and cameras, their voices and lutes and conches.

The best start to this venture of renewal would be a tribute to my guru Kim Raikes in whom all my gurus(those I draw from) – past and future, and all my shishyas(those who draw from me) , mingle in sacred synergy. Do not miss the well symbolism in that line. Nor my personal understanding that these roles are fluid and interchangeable. (Find out more about  Guru-Shishya - the traditional notion)


Some months ago I was at a low point in my life and yearning for inspiration. These lines flashed before me in a dream and jolted me into awareness of these truths.

"And the well shall travel with thee across the parched desert!"
On an impulse I posted it on Facebook. It resonated with many but one young friend Pranaadhika especially surprised and delighted me with her mention of Isaiah. 

Kim responded “Is this what you're looking for?” with the quote:

Isaiah 41:17 (NRSV) says, "When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the God of Israel will not forsake them" Isaiah 41:18 (NRSV) speaks of God's opening "rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys..." and making "the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water."

And  my reactions poured spontaneously out into my journal. I now share the conversation with my fellow travelers. These thoughts are all of ours and the insights are for all of us.

We all have our metaphorical inner parched deserts shouting down those metaphorical wells. Wells don't often shout  back, they whisper their answers so softly they're sometimes hard to pick up. 

We  all have our bleak, lonely nights, our utterly isolating moments in the midst of sunshine and color all around us. These words told me that the soothing nectar of hope and comfort were only a hip-flask away, but we tended to search the sand dunes like the mother in the story who searched the world for her baby, who was perched safely all along  on her own hip, riding along on mommy's wanderings in bewildered wonder :)

Coming back to Kim, on hearing how I came by the words – in a lucid dream - she wrote a more meaningful story than I ever could have. Here then is what the well whispered to her!

"Ah, this is a sign, on several levels, that Gujarat and Rajasthan (yes those driest of dry places) are the destinations that will feed (water) us (our spirits)...

"When I opened my new book ("Steps to Water:  The Ancient Stepwells of India" and first saw the map of India, I saw the intense series of well locations that dot the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan.  I remembered what you said earlier when I said we needed to meet in Kerala next time; you said No, in Gujarat.  I wasn't sure why, but I understood when I looked at that map.

"'The well will indeed travel with us across the parched deserts' of our souls and lives, dearest.  So have confidence in that as you sort out the dry places of these current days.





Karan’s well drawing (there is an insightful and revealing conversation under the picture - in tune with this post and well worth reading) which was his gift to Kim as we three co-founded our venture in spring 2012, is deceptively simple, surprisingly powerful! It is shown here displayed on Kim's office wall in Maine Maritime Academy! Placed on the wall it appears to open a vista, to suck you away into its recesses. The unsuspecting, as they step into the room will be startled to see this portal :)


"I dipped into my book at the chapter on Patan first of all because the Queen's well (Rani Ki Vaav) was the one you first sent me, and besides Karan's (shown above) it was my introduction to the whole idea of step wells (and pond wells) in India.  I was completely blown away to discover that this well was buried in mud for 9 centuries and only in the last hundred years or so, dug out to see the light of day.

"All those exquisite carvings of Vishnu's incarnations, buried 900 years in the mud!

"So I've been thinking about mud and how our own exquisite personal inner carvings get buried in the muck of crises and mundane dramas.  Sooner or later, they get dug out by some break-through event or realization, to reveal what's been shaped inside us.  That's what I'm hoping you'll focus on now:  through all this garbage of leaks and  medical messes, you've been shaping these exquisite carvings inside you, and they WILL be released.

I have confidence in that!!!"

And when Kim has confidence, the World has to!


This post is dedicated first to my Guru and soul-mate Kim, co-founder of Chakratirtha Travels and our Spiritual Center, and then to each and every one of my readers. May the spirit of the giver-receiver (for they are one) awaken within each of you.

Clicked by Kim in spring 2010 in Kolkata

The mud symbolism is ever present and so powerful. And it is from this mud that we shape our Durgas and Kalis, all those ephermeral Gods that manifest and dissolve to manifest again in another form. Today’s Saraswatis were shaped from last year’s Durgas and Lakshmis (and Saraswatis too)


And Kim continues with her immense wisdom and poetic insight:

“Early in the Bible (Genesis 26:18) there's a passage which describes the return of Isaac to the lands which his father Abraham had once owned in Canaan. On the land were old wells which his father had once dug, and Isaac re-dug them, because they had been stopped up in the intervening years.

"I think there's old wells in all of us, wells that have become stopped up with time, or which (like the Queen's well in Patan which filled with mud from the flow of the Sarasvati river) have suffered some kind of interruption. They're our hidden resources!

"Finding and re-digging them taps incredible gifts...and brings them to light, like the exquisite carvings of the Queen's well. Think of it, the incarnations of Vishnu lying for 900 years in the mud, not brought to light till 1980! Thank goodness somebody took on this job!

"I'm sure there's similar treasures in us, gifted us by family deep in the past, or the chance word of a song, or the sight of a tree. Crappy mud from the muck of life keeps covering them up, so we have to keep digging!

"Luckily, I have the best diggers in the world to help me; you and Karan help me get down to these treasures every day! Your shovels are words and poems and drawings and photos and myths and remembrances, and every one of them helps bring to light hidden resources inside me. Thank you!"

To Kim: Thanks for your compliments to us "Diggitizers"
You inspire this. And draw nectar from our wells.

What better  can I say in response than “Guru Devo Bhava?”

To our reades, fans, supporters: You guessed right! This post and discussion are evolving into "bookhood" … and lots more.
Watch out for more posts related to these ventures!



 *1 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

"The Cow Jumped Over The Moon!"

A fun post from Incognita:




Krishna milking a cow - sculpture at Krishna Cave, Mamallapuram. She looks ready to take off doesn't she?



This post wasn't planned for at all. I had completely different ideas for today. But sometimes there comes an unexpected tug at your sleeve. This one came in the shape of a comment from Karan on our Freetravellers post.
"obstacle sounds like such a small, ordinary word, but this code of a word simulates one to somersault through one's memory, similarly triumphs takes us to that happy place where mishti appears on but a click of fingers :) "
All these words fell into a jumble and then somersaulted themselves into a pattern from which emerged the theme and the title.




I have often wondered about the proverbial milk boiling over. My mother would make a sprint in the nick of time and all but  leap over the moon  to save it (the milk, not the moon :) )from spilling on the stove, just as it rose in all its cloudlike glory to reach for the heavens and come down fountain-like. She was pragmatic and mostly didn't let it overflow into a mess! It rose to its fullness but she got away with all of her milk intact!
The "creator" of milk too takes this challenge the whole way and surmounts it, presumably doing a not-so-graceful free fall!!

 If  The Cow could jump over the moon - and maybe land with a splash in the Ksheerasagara :) itself - making a not-so-pretty picture of herself as she somersaults through the air and plops down,

Ksheerasagara? Picture of Bay of Bengal at Puri, by Incognita

 we too can somersault over our obstacles to actually land in our coveted pot of mishti doi. (picture the three of us splashing around in a HUGE earthen pot and licking our fingers if not our whole selves)  Perhaps it is the only way we actually get to reach The One that is meant for us, delicious and nourishing like no other.

This seeming obstacle, this diversion from the planned route, are today's gift from my mother Rajam who has been adopted by many after her migration to a world beyond. Today is her 93rd birthday.
Happy Birthday Dear Rajam! Well Rajarajeshwari Tripurasundari Kamakshi to be precise! Neatly compressed into short, sweet, gender-neutral Rajam by her teachers from foreign shores as well as her lazy relations and friends! You always enjoyed a gentle and loving prank on your near and dear. Thank you for this one.

May it be a day of Coalescence!
Let the Kheer bubble!

                            A sacred swirling pool of kheer in Incognita's kitchen!



Coalescence - ready for offering and enjoyment!




"

PS - Bet nobody thought that nursery rhyme could find a connection with something profound in Indian lore :) Such is the working of Indra's net and such is the nature of "maya"

PS2 - Thanks dear Sue Forman for "coalescence." it is taking us places! Words words words - with all their mystical powers!

PS3 - I don't often make personal posts. This one however I dedicate to my mother. Wherever you are in the Alterverse, this one is for you Rajamma!

PS4 - To those of you who haven't already visited this is our Facebook Link - Give us a Like! We cherish each one of your Likes, we love having you drop by and interact, we look forward to the energy you all bring to the pool. Thank you in anticipation!


We'll leave you with a treat:  Kim Raikes making kheer - she has strict instructions not to let it boil over. Rajam's orders!

Freetravellers .. An Intersection of Lives

 “Aaahh I loved the tiny earthen pots filled with soft melting curd ...sometimes flavored with cardamom...at other times with Saffron..”


   Incognita photographed by Karan, enjoying a singara - you can see earthen pots of Mishti Doi in the glass case

These words from Sridevi Datta reminded me all over again of silken silt from the bed of the Ganges,


                           Karan Vohra standing on the banks of the Hooghly.You can see the silt uncovered near the steps.

 sand from the shores of the Bay of Bengal 


   Bay of Bengal - sands at Chilka Sea Mouth


and all things sacred. 


                                                 Durga Puja clay image in the making - clicked by Kim Raikes at Kalighat
They reminded me that it was time to continue on the journey with our fellow travellers! And this post wrote itself.




Yes – Karan, Kim and Incognita have been missing from view. Each of us was on our own Imramma. But the first tinge of autumn gold in the sun’s rays, the first hint of chill in the air, the gentle turn of the wind,  have once more drifted our coracles  (a word that came to mind subconsciously because of this connection (our namesake and a sacred historical place like the one in Orissa that inspired our name) - towards Chakratirtha.

New energies have entered from new events and surprise  people we’ve come across. Indra’s net is indeed electrified!


   Cris-crossing strings of colored bulbs to celebrate Diwali
                                  

In the course of these meanderings we ran into the magazine "Consolidation," which Kim and Incognita had co-edited back in 2008. And it was déjà vu! The story of Consolidation matched word for word that of CTT which tells you that we are part of the eternal swirling tirtha, the inevitable spiral. The moment Sridevi mentioned the earthen pots, we decided to adapt a piece of writing from the magazine – “The Little Clay Cup” -  to tell our story here.
Read on.

Like a river carving its own course.


                       Mary Raikes at Diamond Harbor near Kolkata - see the river winding away!

 Turning up out of nowhere, disappearing and reappearing like the ancient, mystical River Sarasvati of Indian mythology whose lost course has been rediscovered by archaeologists. Our Triple Spiral is always there - in the mind, the heart, the imagination and we hope now in “person.” These have been months of recovery from old hurts and emergence from fresh ones followed by action, discovery, growth and fresh thinking.

Through Incognita’s chance connection with Kim in 2007 was born the idea of interfacing with a larger world through a coalescence rather than through separate gateways. Back in 2008,  Kim's footprints were left on the sands of time - and the sands of timeless India - while timeless India left her imprint on Kim’s mind and heart. As the most fitting symbol of this meeting she carried back with her a little piece of earth in the shape of a tiny clay cup from which she drank. 
                                Clay cup in Kim Raike's palm

One out of the hundreds of thousands that are drunk from over the length and breadth of India by all regardless of station in life, and returned to the ground to crumble and integrate with the soil: the "chosen one," picked as if at random from its countless anonymous brethren, to travel across the ocean and become an ambassador for this ancient civilization and for CTT's philosophy of travel.

While this little mascot  accompanied several other representatives of India in Kim's baggage, a collection of exquisitely colored little yaatris (yaatri is traveller in Sanskrit) who are usually happier sailing and have sailed countless miles across oceans, were airlifted to take up residence in my home. They have been whispering the secrets of their voyages to me over the years. Yes, they are a collection of sea glass pieces from the beaches of Maine where Kim lives.

Both the clay cup and the glass pieces reached destinations they didn’t expect to. And this was only the start of several such journeys and chance meetings. 2011 brought dear Karan into our lives through his wonderful blog. 2012 was a year of meetings again – first between Kim and Karan and then Karan and Incognita.  We are now waiting for the magical coming together of three in one physical place.

 This puts in me in mind all over again of the words in our former magazine team-mate freetraveller's signature:
“Travellers are those who find what they were not looking for...”. 
 They represent the unforseen discovery, the unexpectedgift, the unusual in every good sense. They also represent the transcending of time and space barriers, the universal human spirit and creative energy. They have dropped anchor in unexpected places, hopefully found homes.  It is akin to the spirit of Imramma that the ancient Celts have inspired us with.

We leave you for now with a quote from Karan from our last post on this blog.

"I see a journey unfolding filled with the direction of a lighthouse, the sweetness of mishti and the optimism of the sun. I also see splashes of colour on different canvases singing a story like no other. I see a dish of words* that offers us obstacles and successes in equal measure. I see courage and beauty in Durga. In short I see the lives of three people intersecting rather than one."



Here then are the three people, a bridge across the Ganga,  feet crossing thresholds!

The Four-F Festival tranformed itself into the free travels of the Triple Spiral’s members.  We are at the magical intersection again and we will come back to you with the  "Dial-M for Mishti" post and much more, as we enter the Devi Paksha in a couple of days.  




*we will tell you about that special dish in the coming days*