Spring, Heat, Rains: A South Indian Diary by David Shulman

By David Shulman

“Rocks. Goats. Dry shrubs. Buffaloes. Thorns. A fallen tamarind tree.” Such have been the attractions that greeted David Shulman on his arrival within the South Indian nation of Andhra Pradesh within the spring of 2006. knowledgeable on South Indian languages and cultures, Shulman knew the area good, yet from the instant he arrived for this seven-month sojourn he actively soaked up such easy elements of his atmosphere, decided to take care of the wealthy texture of day-by-day life—choosing to be while student and vacationer, wanderer and wonderer. Lyrical, sensual, and introspective, Spring, warmth, Rains is Shulman’s diary of that have. Evocative reflections on day-by-day events—from explorations of crumbling temples to battles with ineradicable insects to joyous dinners with friends—are organically interwoven with issues of the traditional poetry and myths that stay such an inextricable a part of lifestyles in modern India. With Shulman as our consultant, we meet singers and poets, washermen and betel-nut proprietors, glossy literati and historic gods and goddesses. We wonder on the “golden electrocution” that's the flavor of a mango clean from the tree. And we plunge into the searing warmth of an Indian summer season, so oppressive and inescapable that once the monsoon arrives to banish the warmth with sheets of rain, we comprehend why, 12 months after yr, it really is celebrated as a miracle. An unabashedly own account from a student whose deep wisdom hasn't ever obscured his pleasure in discovery, Spring, warmth, Rains is a passionate act of sharing, an unforgettable present for somebody who has ever dreamed of India. 

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It never really happened. Our ignorance is what gives it this appearance. In this, at least—my ignorance—I believe. My colleague Yohanan tells me I am slowly and mostly unconsciously shifting my taste from the devotional world of Tamil temples to an idiosyncratic Advaita. ” The story they tell here in Kaladi is that the boy S´ankara wanted to renounce the world, but his mother refused to allow him to do so. Only when a crocodile seized his leg while he was bathing in the river, and it seemed that death was imminent, did she agree to a renunciation in extremis.

One must not neglect the ana¯hata-cakra, the energy center in the vicinity of the heart, says PVGV—do I agree? Soon the two conversations intertwine. I am not at all sure that I have kept the Yogic cakras and the su¯kshma-s´arı¯ra, the subtle body that contains them, out of the political discussion with Paris. Maybe peace will come when the Kundalini at last awakes. Soon I feel dizzy, spinning between worlds I usually manage to keep separate. Suddenly I can’t remember what language I am supposed to be speaking, and on what subject.

February 16: Circar Express The water fails in the night, the taps gone dry. I have the feeling, really a kind of certain knowledge, that this will happen again, and again. At dawn I manage to fill up half a bucket from the Godavari tap on my balcony, enough more or less to wash. spring 21 My table arrives, a heavy contraption on wobbly, uneven legs that will have to be shaved and tightened. The flat is now, I think, complete except for the electric hot plate I hope to find in Madras. It is too early to leave, I would much rather stay and settle in, but I have promised my student Ophira and her teacher Scaria that I will give them a week, in Kerala, to celebrate the release of their Malayalam-Hebrew book of Cochini songs.

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