Creativity and Spiritual India

Posts tagged “Writing

Call for co-creators

Hi everyoone,

Just a quick post to give you some news. I’m starting up a new site (soon to be announced) featuring creative services, media and courses. Most of my attention is going there these days, so this site here is getting less attention. I’m excited about this new project because I’m focusing more on collaboration, and on the business end of things. After deliberating about money quite a bit, I’m starting to see finances as a kind of fuel.

At the heart of creativity is, well, creativity and inspiration, and also relationships with the audience and co-creators. But business can be the engine to get my work out there and help me make more, and bring in other creative types. Creating and promoting: two halves of a chickpea.

That’s my view on it now, anyway.

So I’m putting out the call for co-creators. We’re talking animators, marketers, visual artists, musicians, writers, voice actors. I can’t pay you now. Sorry. I’m thinking of doing a royalty system, which gives you some skin in the game too. And as things grow, so can our projects.

I’ve been told finding collaborators is like dating. So you need to have an idea of who you’re looking for, and be willing to meet different people to see if you’re a fit. Bring it on.

Until next time,

B.T. Lowry (which stands for Bevis Theodore Lowry, by the way)


‘Fire from the Overworld’ available now!

(click to view)Fire from the Overworld cover final(click to view)


Everything is STORY

diversity

Photo: People from all over the world coming together for unusual and diverse spiritual, cultural and personal reasons

Here’s a question for all you thinkers out there: is there anything at all which cannot be contained in a story?

I say no, and here’s my case.

All types of people can populate stories

Characters can be theists, atheists, violent, philosophical, young at heart but old of body, young of body but old of heart, proud, humble, talented, foolish… you name it. The variety of people out there in the world and universe is the same as the potential variety of characters.

All knowledge can be contained in stories and characters

There are stories about math, arts, engineering, space travel, astrology, astronomy, mysticism and folklore… Indeed, the evolution and devolution of these subjects over time is also a grand story.

All places both real and imaginary can be settings in stories

You can set a story anywhere on earth, or under it, or in the oceans or in the air, or a combination of all of these. A story can take place between planets, on other planets, in a black hole, in an alternate dimension, or in a place transcendental to all dimensions.

We swim through stories all our lives

The newspaper is a collection of stories, with characters, settings and events. When we ask a friend, “How was your day?” their answer will be a story. Even if they just reply, “It was good,” or “It was bad,” that still tells us something about or friend and what they’re really going through. That’s part of their expression within a larger story. Our guesses about what’s really happening with them are stories.

Stories aren’t all fictional, but they’re all subjective

What?! How can real stories be subjective? Well, because they’re experienced by subjects–by people. A person’s personal experience, as well as their retelling of events will always be from their point of view. Someone may be rational and truthful, or may not even tell events according to their own experience. But we’re all subjects, and so whatever we experience is subjective. We’re in stories and we tell stories. It’s what we do. All fictional stories are based on real-life stories, even the really far-out ones. We don’t really create anything new–that’s my understanding. We recombine ideas in amazing ways.

There are stories everywhere, but in some places they’re denser

I’m in West Bengal now, in the village of Nabadwip by the river Ganges. I’m staying with some of my god-family who run a school for underprivileged kids. I’m learning a bit about how the different kids came to the school here. We’re working on a video series, with spotlights on a different child each month. Stay tuned for that, but in the meantime I’ll say that their stories are both extremely tragic and extremely hopeful.

Comparing tapestries

I spend a lot of time in India, and for some years have been going back and forth between India and England, in particular. Now there are stories in England too, but not like in India. I think of stories like threads in a tapestry. England has its tapestry, with its colors and density of strands. There is the history of the British Empire, there’s Christianity, there’s science. There is medieval England, and the pagans and druids in the ancient past. So there’s some great, diverse stuff going on. There’s no doubt about it. Canada has its story, the United States has its story. All places do, and they’re amazing.

Then you come to India. It’s also a tapestry of stories–of lives weaving together–but it’s extremely dense and colorful, and parts of it are very, very ancient. Here’s a short story I wrote, about reincarnation, poverty and brother-sister love.

I’m not the only one who thinks this way about India. Check this out:

A Rough Guide to India: “It is impossible not to be astonished by India. Nowhere on Earth does humanity present itself in such a dizzying, creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues. Enriched by successive waves of migration and marauders from distant lands, every one of them left an indelible imprint which was absorbed into the Indian way of life. Every aspect of the country presents itself on a massive, exaggerated scale, worthy in comparison only to the superlative mountains that overshadow it. It is this variety which provides a breathtaking ensemble for experiences that is uniquely Indian. Perhaps the only thing more difficult than to be indifferent to India would be to describe or understand India completely.”

It’s a land of extremes. Extreme wealth and poverty. Extreme depravity and saintliness, horror and beauty. Schools of thought which aim at total annihilation of the self, and others which aim at realization of one’s spiritual form and eternal relationship with a personal Godhead. There’s a history going back–depending on who’s story you take–thousands or millions of years.

Keith Bellows, National Geographic Society : “There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won’t go. For me, India is such a place. When I first visited, I was stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds… I had been seeing the world in black & white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor.”

Stories stories stories!

Here in India, you might meet a man in a loin cloth with no shoes, living in the mountains. He’s studied computer programming in Bangalore, but left that to become a yogi. His grandfather practiced yoga for decades and, at the time of his death, his soul left his body out the top of his head with a small explosion.

One of the kids here in the school was separated from his mother for a long time by an abusive father. He become very introverted, but with the care of the teachers he’s become an excellent actor and helps all the other kids learn. His family are refugees from a war in Bangladesh which took place before his birth. It was, ostensibly, a religious war, but seems to have been more about land and power, unsurprisingly. He’s living now in Nabadwip where, the Vedic scriptures describe, a form of Krishna appeared about five hundred years ago, named Caitanyadeva. People from all over the world come here to worship Caitanyadeva. How they learned about Him is another story, how His teachings fit in with the vast array of teachings in India is another story. All these stories mix together in a way that I’ve never heard of anywhere else.

Nine Lives by William Dalrymple has one chapter for each of nine very diverse people here in India, from a prostitute to a divine dancer. I recommend it.

Really there’s just one big tapestry of stories

Do you disagree? Have you traveled around India, stayed with some families, learned about the history and philosophical/religious groups within the country? Let’s talk. The way I see it, there are threads of stories running all over the globe, but there seems to be a real nucleus in India.

Quotes

Mark Twain, American author: “India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”

I’ll end with a few quotes about this land.

Will Durant, American historian: “India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all”.

Romain Rolland, French scholar : “If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.”

 

If you disagree with me, please say so in the comments. If you agree with me, please debate respectfully with those who don’t. You can subscribe by giving your e-mail in the top right part of the screen. You’ll get a free mini audio-book/e-book too. And be sure to click the relevant links to share this around!
I’m publishing once every two weeks.

 

 


Fire from the Overworld by B.T. Lowry, a New Spiritual Epic Fantasy Book.

Fire from the Overworld cover final

New Spiritual Epic Fantasy Book!

 As some of you may know, I’ve been beavering away at my first fantasy novel for some years now. It’s about a young man and woman who are students of a master mystic, in a desert village. Their teacher travels from his body to the realm of the spirit-rulers, only to be captured by the gods’ enemies. The desert ecosystem swings out of balance. Plants and animals kill each other without reason. The two students discover that the imbalances stem from a battle between spirit-rulers in a higher realm. They strive to restore balance between their world and the higher world, and to regain their teacher. But to do so, they may have to sacrifice what’s dearest to them: each other.

I’m excited to announce that Fire from the Overworld will be available on the 21st of April, in print and digital formats.

What pre-release readers think about it

“Some writers are great stylists and will write beautiful stories that say nothing new or important.  Other writers are great storytellers whose tales are exciting but mundane.  Only rarely do we see a writer whose creates compelling, important stories with captivating prose.  B.T. Lowry is one of those rare authors whose work is not only compelling and moving, but also important to read.  “Fire from the Overworld” is a terrific debut!”

David Farland, New York Times Bestseller, Lead Judge for one of the world’s largest writing contests.

 

It’s like Carlos Castaneda on Brhad-Bhagavatamrta. On the brink of change, these young mystics show the potency of the inner journey and its effect on the world around us. (B.T. Lowry is) a story teller with the capacity to help us regenerate our conceptions.

-Caroline Tharp, Vice President of Gaudiya Vedanta Publications.

 

“Four Worlds” is a complex story that follows the lives of three young protagonists, as the structure of their world falls apart. The three main characters live in a rural town reminiscent of historic India. Yuvali and Héyowan are mystics and close friends who have grown up together, and Pradah is Héyowan’s older brother who will eventually take over for their father as chief of the village. The natural world has gone crazy–animals and men behave erratically, the crops are dying, and attack from roaming bands of codeless warriors threaten the very existence of the village. It is a fight taking place on both the physical plane–Pradah is training to be a warrior to defend the village from attack–and the spiritual plane–Yuvali and Héyowan appeal to the very highest of the gods for rescue. But when the line between good and evil blur, the three children must grow up quickly and make adult choices that will change not only the course of village life, but perhaps change all the infinite worlds ruled by the gods.

 

Lowry’s writing style has beautiful passages of description that easily transport the reader to the kingdom of Raiya. Here’s a brief snippet, when Yuvali is using the mystic powers of an ayur to travel outside her body:

The sand beneath her was liquid, or blowing in the air across the big world, skins on the surface of a great creature who was a ruler herself, and Yuvali was like the dust in the wind around her, blowing everywhere and mixing with the world’s winds. She loosed herself to the four directions.

Hands caught her, held her together so she could go on. Someone with her, keeping her whole. The tree grew closer; a branch caught moonlight as a covering cloud broke apart. Buds lined the branches, and spiky clusters of leaves. The silvery mound had a dark patch within it.

It was a cave.

 

Interspersed and inspired by mythology and oral storytelling, the book’s world has a richness that is the perfect backdrop to an epic story of good and evil. If you’re a fan of Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy or are looking for a YA story similar to the atmosphere of Alexander’s MG-level The Iron Ring, you would enjoy reading “Four Worlds.”

-Alison McBain, Author. Published in Flash Fiction Online and Abyss & Apex.

 

Sample Chapter

I’m offering the first chapter as a sample. It is called ‘Flying,’ and it’s about Yuvali, a young woman and mystic student. She leaves her body as a practice, but is dragged by a mysterious force to distant mountains to witness a strange hunt.

Here is a link to read it online.

How to get the full book

Fire from the Overworld will be available April 21st from Amazon.com in digital and print format. I’ll announce here when it’s published. If it sounds up your alley, please have a read and tell your friends!


Riffing ideas between the different senses and the mind

Here come some techniques that will be helpful to writers, visual artists, musicians and all other creative types. They also help with collaboration between all of the above.

Recently I watched myself brainstorming for stories. My mind worked to form bridges between the diverse worlds of my senses: the eye, nose, tongue, touch and ear worlds. It’s like drawing analogies between different types of sensory input. (Plenty of examples to come) Sensory information can also correspond with concepts, characters and stories. Sound strange and abstract? Well it is, but if you can handle that kind of thing, read on. Here in this article I’m going to send off a few riffs using this brainstorming orchestra.

So let’s say you have ripples in a pond. This is a visual, radial image.

image CC by Rudy Salakory

image CC by Rudy Salakory

You could translate that into any number of radial designs. A cartoon explosion, radio waves, a sound pulse, or orbiting planets within a solar system. You could also make something where many radiating circles connect, but we’ll keep it simple for now.

Now let’s say you want to make those ripples into a concept. Perhaps power and influence is spreading from a central leader. Or maybe news of an event is spreading, through word of mouth and/or technology. Or the spread of radiation or heat, or a shock-blast. The ripples could be taken as patterns in the fabric of space-time.

Now let’s put one of these concepts into a story. Let’s translate the ripples in the water as news spreading of an important event. Something happens. People tell people, who tell others. Gradually a huge number of people know.

But what happened? Let’s see… We’ll grab another idea using a similar method and see if we can combine them. Let’s look for another visual pattern.

Here’s something you might see wandering around on a brainstorm walk:

Line of pillars CC Chris Smith

Line of pillars CC Chris Smith

They’re evenly spaced vertical units. What else is like so? Soldiers in a line comes to mind, or a row of planted trees. A musical rhythm in the ear-world, or in the touch-world, someone tapping on your arm. In the realm of concepts we have consecutive regular events, like the daily release of a newspaper? Or a regularly broadcast signal from another planet. How about contractions? They’re regular but coming closer together.

Let’s choose contractions; birth is a very primal, interesting event after all.

So the event is an impending birth, and the contractions are coming regularly, closer and closer together. Soon the baby will be born and news will spread. So we’ve made concepts out of two images, then combined them together.

Who’s the baby?

baby in tunnel CC Pamela

baby in tunnel CC Pamela

I don’t know yet!

Moving to the ear-world for a source of inspiration, let’s check out Ali Akbhar Khan, a Sarod master from India.

Here’s a track from his album Garden of Dreams. (It really kicks off at about 1:45)

Now when I first heard this song, the swirling, flowing, progressive qualities of the music brought the following scenario to my mind: I’m on a little raft in a small but powerful river. The river has bored through a mountainside in a pattern like an ant’s nest. I’m going over waterfalls, whipping around corners, going fast and slow. Kind of like this scene from Aladdin, minus the magic carpet and lava.

So back to the idea we’re brainstorming for. The contractions are coming closer. Someone special is about to take birth, and that news will be broadcast. What kind of person is taking birth? They’re on a river? What’s this music all about?

How to connect all this into something cogent?

Let’s take a step into the subtle and bring in the principle of reincarnation. This person’s not just popping into existence; they have a history before this life. That history’s been like a river-ride through a mountainside. Wherever they’re coming from, it’s been an adventure, with ups and down, slows and fasts. We don’t have details yet, but it’s getting interesting, isn’t it?

Let’s learn more about this person who’s going to take birth. There’s a saying that the story of your life is written on your face. Who has the most lines? Old people, of course. I spend quite a bit of time in India, where people’s faces are fantastic and diverse, so I’m drawn to search for people there.

Doing a quick image search for ‘Old person India,’ some great photos come up. We’re not worried about our character’s gender for now, so I chose two men and two women, just so I don’t get in trouble with either side 😉

Now looking at these pictures, I’m going to write some words down about each of them, all in one list. At this point, I’m not choosing physically descriptive words like ‘wrinkly,’ or ‘blue eyed.’ I’m looking for qualities that I perceive in the person. This will be very subjective.

old man 2

So here goes. For this picture (man with turban), I’ve got defeated, prayerful, peaceful, hopeless, experienced, kind, struggle.

old woman

For this one (woman putting on earring) I’ve got wistful, thoughtful, nostalgic, social, shy, determined. What would you come up with?

old woman 2

For this one (woman looking over her glasses) I’ve got funny, clever, naughty, ironic.

Inde, Madhya Pradesh, Orchha, vieil homme barbu // India, Madhya Pradesh, Orchha, old man with a beard

And for this last one (balding man with beard) I’ve got stoic, fixed, funny, spiritual, wild.

So if we put all the words together, we get this list:

Defeated, prayerful, peaceful, hopeless, experienced, kind, struggle, wistful, thoughtful, nostalgic, social, shy, determined, funny, clever, naughty, ironic, stoic, fixed, funny, spiritual, wild,

Let’s mix up the order.

Defeated, experienced, wild, struggle, ironic, naughty, social, prayerful, determined, spiritual, kind, funny, wistful, shy, stoic, clever, hopeless, thoughtful, peaceful, fixed, nostalgic, funny,

What would be some unusual qualities to find together?

How about peaceful and wild? This person could have two contradictory sides of them. Perhaps the peaceful side is dominant and sometimes they’re wild, or they could be mainly wild but sometimes their peaceful side could unexpectedly come out. Spiritual and defeated: perhaps a great defeat in their life led them turn to spirituality. Clever and stoic: these are both qualities that make this person a doer, someone who has the intelligence and determination to get things done. Or perhaps they don’t act much themselves, but just weather what life throws at them while deepening their understanding.

So peaceful, wild, spiritual, defeated, clever and stoic. That’s the kind of person who went through that turbulent ride in their previous life, and who’s about to be born as someone who is important to a great many people.

It’s this quality of person that’s passed through turbulent ups and downs in their previous lives, and who’s journey has brought them to the point where they’re about to be born again. They must be some kind of great personality, because news of their birth will spread like wildfire, far and wide.

Curious yet?

From there we could fill out other parts of the story, like who the child’s mother is, whether it’s a boy or a girl, what their country is, what people think they’ll do in this life, and so on. In this way we can develop an entire story out of ideas ‘transposed’ from one sense to another, ranging from subtle/abstract to very physical/sensory. My sense is that there is a structure underlying reality which makes all this cross-pollination possible.

You can also collaborate with others using these methods.

I did this with my friend Keli. We chose a word–a mood: ‘patience.’ He made a song for this mood and I made a video to go along with it.

So to conclude, this isn’t a system per se, but a kind of foray though what may actually be a kind of system of sensory information patterns interplaying with consciousness. It’s a way of crossing over between senses disciplines, finding unexpected threads to connect them.

A last note: hats off to the folks at Writing Excuses: Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal and Howard Taylor. Their podcast has inspired me a great deal. I’d recommend this recent episode about brainstorming. There’s lot of other great stuff there too.

Have you got any thoughts on creativity, idea generation and brainstorming? Please share your ideas about ideas in the comments.

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I’ll be publishing once every two weeks.

 

 


‘Sister” short story reading

Today I’m presenting a short story which I wrote some time ago. It takes the form of a letter from a brother to a sister. The only thing is, the brother remembers her from his past life, but he’s not sure if she remembers him.

Here’s the text version:

Sister

 

Dear Manjot (light of the heart),

I hope you and Kirandeep are well.

I want to remind you of our relationship, before you were born. Before I was born. I hope you don’t think I’m deluded.

You were so skinny that you slid through tiny hoops. I remember your bony shoulders poking through a blue sequined dress, which sparkled when you first found it. Your black, dreaded hair flopped around like a mop as you flipped and did handstands in train aisles or dangled with your knees hooked over sleeping-bunks. People clapped or pretended we weren’t there. Some gave money. I stood behind you in the aisles, a felt-tip moustache on my face, a man’s suit draped on me like a tent, pinned up around my bare calves.

I was your older brother and you my sister. Your name was Roma. Mine was Raj, though I was hardly a king. Do you remember?

I could play the ektara somewhat –the one-stringed instrument given us by our father. I wasn’t much for melody but the trains taught me rhythm: click-a-de clack, da-dunk, click-a-de clack, da-dunk. I twanged the ektara to the same rhythm which jostled the people back and forth. I think they liked that.

They said to me, “Boy! Sing Jaya Jagadish Hare!”

Or to you, “Can you pass through three hoops at once?”

And if we could do what they asked, they’d sing along and clap and would surely give us something. At first I didn’t know the popular Bengali and Oriya songs but I learned them as people sang for me what they wanted to hear. “Like this…”

You said to me when we were stopped at a country station, “I’ll learn how to balance on my mouth!” You’d seen a girl do this in a marketplace once, chest facing the ground and legs bending behind her head. “People will give rupees like a rain,” you said, nodding with raised eyebrows.

You dreamed of being a super-flexible yogi. I imagined I’d become a master musician. Such ideas kept us hopeful.

I remember when we switched trains, you waited on the old one until it started moving. I ordered you to join me on the platform but you leaned out the door and made a funny, defiant face. Finally you jumped off and ran along the platform, slowing to a stop. That made me angry, and I think that’s why you did it, because you liked me protecting you.

Do you have these memories? You died in between. So did I, but by God’s desire I recall the journey.

Evenings on the trains were best, when people hadn’t pulled their bunks down to sleep but were relaxed. They played cards, ate or entertained their kids. They’d give us a few rupees then. Big fat people, some of them. What they must have spent on food! The toilets’ stench was overpowered by the smell of hot rice, rotis and dahl.

I remember the day you died. We were curled against the train door. People sprayed us with water as they used the sink above us. The friction between the linked cars sounded like metal thunder. We stopped at a station where the train was cleaned.

I was thirsty. I jumped onto the platform as workers in orange overalls mounted the train. I went looking for drinkable water. People slept on benches under rows of fluorescent lights cutting the night. Shiva’s crescent moon hung amid dark clouds and a wind blew from arid hills.

While I was drinking, men in expensive shirts offered me potato-pea samosas with coconut chutney. I ate some and wanted to bring some back for you, but they got me talking about where I was from and what I did on the trains. They saw my ektara and asked me to sing. I sang a short tune, still thinking of you. They complimented me, said I should enroll in a music academy. They’d help me get in. “Sing another!”

I was caught by their attention and was singing so loudly that I didn’t hear the train leaving.

Finally I heard the click-a-de clack of the wheels rolling over joints in the track. I turned. The train was accelerating out of the station, doors and windows passing into the night. You were leaning out a door, searching the platform. I dropped my ektara with a crack-twang and ran to you, calling your name, “ROMA!” between sharp breaths. You looked at me and screamed, “RAJ!” I clawed at door handles and window latches locked from the inside. Far ahead you hung out an open door. I ran faster. Maybe I should have grabbed some window-bars but it was already going so fast. I had no idea where the train was going. Windows and doors fell ahead of me into darkness. I ran harder and you reached out your hand, but half the station lay between us. Your strained smile broke as you realized I wouldn’t catch up.

There’ll be dried teardrops on this paper, if you look closely.

Then your face changed. You got your funny defiant look. You jumped, clutching your colored hoops, you hit the ground and lost your footing. You crumpled then rolled and slid. You stopped against a column which kept the station’s roof up. Your hoops rolled along the platform and onto the tracks behind the caboose.

For a full year I kept thinking you’d show up again. People don’t really believe in death. Maybe because the soul is eternal. Death’s all around us: people, plants, animals dying, but does anyone think they’ll die? We know it intellectually but do we believe we’ll actually stop existing? Just the body dies; that I know now.

The men who’d given me samosas caught me from behind.

I spent almost two years with them. They didn’t bring me to music school but sent me begging. They weren’t kind men, but they provided a sort of shelter, and maybe that was my bad karma mixing with God’s protection of me.

You might be thinking that all this explains your strange dreams about trains. I’m laughing now. In this life, you’d rather walk from Ottawa to Whitehorse than get on a train.

The men sent me all over Eastern India, always with one other child. In pairs we’d beg on trains, perform or steal to make our quota. We were like cows wandering a city, eating whatever we could find then coming home to get milked. The men didn’t keep us in pairs long enough to get close; we might have run away together.

After a year I understood you were gone. With no close friends, I didn’t much want to live. I got sick and the men found me medicine but they didn’t know what they were doing. I fell ill at the beginning of the rainy season and left before its end. When I died, I was thinking of my little sister, of you.

It’s hard to describe how I knew it was you. You looked very different: twenty years old, not seven; tall and beautiful and of course in a completely different body. You were well-fed but slender with fine brown hair. I recognized you through a combination of many many small things. Your laughing-dove-chuckle was almost the same. So was the way you folded plastic packages while you talked. You used to jump when you were excited; now you roll up on your toes grinning unabashedly. The way your nose wrinkles when you smell something you don’t like, the way your ears rise when you’re annoyed, the way you move gracefully through a crowd like you’re gliding on ice… so many things.

Maybe you can see why I hesitated to tell you. It’s inappropriate I suppose. Your husband might get jealous. It seems strange, my trying to rekindle something from another life.

You’re my sister. These last thirty years, serving in the school together, I’ve had it confirmed who you are – or were – a million times in a million little ways. When I think of you in that other life, roaming around performing on trains, I see your face as it is now. Maybe you know too, and you just don’t know what to make of it.

You can speak about all this with me if you’d like, but you don’t have to. If you just give me a nod of recognition, I’ll be satisfied. Or if none of this makes sense, you can pretend you never read it and just consider me a fellow naturalized Indian, as we are in this life. I’m planning a trip to India soon. I want to visit the holy places before this body gets too old for the journey. I might stay there until I die. I’m quite sick already, as you know. So whatever awkwardness this letter might cause won’t last long. I’m laughing. Each life is so short, isn’t it!

In any case, please think of me as an old friend.

Your brother,

Nayan


Secret places not wanted by others.

Who owns the Earth? We humans come and go. So do animals and plants. Who can claim ownership of even a square centimeter of territory? I remember learning in school when I was about 14 that the Queen of England owns Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.
I remember thinking, ‘This is ridiculous!’ Not just that the queen of a northern isle could own a place in Africa, but that any human being could own something existing for millions or billions of years before and after their brief lifespan. I might as well point out a patch of stars, name it after myself and tell everybody, ‘That is is the Bevis constellation.
But this is not a rant about ownership, or rather the next bit won’t be.
This is about unwanted places. A position or place not coveted by others is a great thing. A secret place in the woods, a room in an abandoned house. No international fights are going on for the rights to it, stealing your peace of mind. In such a place one can be at peace. In some countries, the wealthy are targeted by kidnappers. In business, a CEO’s job is coveted by many. The posts of national leaders are prized, but that little path in the woods, that simple house–you can be there without worry. Probably. It is a pretty mad world.

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I’ll be publishing once a week.