I first went to Pune in 1975 to visit the Sri Bhagwan Rajneesh Ashram, (now known as Osho's) to sit in front of the big man himself for three days, then splitting quick because I didn't want to belong, to anything. I didn't go to that city outside Mumbai again for 35 years, not even in all the years of late that I've been traveling around India. But a few weeks ago I made the journey on a creaky bus as a friend of mine lived there and he invited me to stay with him for a weekend.
I was surprised how big it had grown in those intervening years, a vast shanty-town then concrete-cancer metropolis, then post modern mirror-glass skyscraper centre for the rejuvenating IT revolution. My mate lived out near the airport and, because I desired espresso coffee and European food, we shot into town every night on his motorbike, me risking my life every second for tucker without chillies in it. The traffic was like quantum-flux, sub-atomic particles flying in every direction at the speed of light, no rules, no brains, a zillion motorbikes driving on the wrong side of the road with no lights, I screamed and screamed and screamed. And somehow survived the melee.
We made it to a cineplex and I saw "Avatar" in 3D and it lifted my spirits, worth riding an out-of-control rocket for, maybe. And we went to a kooky restaurant called the German Bakery, the omelettes, custard pudding, cinnamon rolls, all delicious and delivered with a friendly smile by a gorgeous Nepalese boy even tho he was run off his feet. Half the crowd of patrons were Westerners from the Osho Ashram across the road, once called the Orange people, now they dress in maroon like Tibetan nuns, they swished about as if it was all about spiritual haute couture, but live and let live I say, whatever you want if you think it's doing you good and you're not hurting anybody. The other half of the crowd were students from the many colleges, and a few IT technocrats all dressed very hip, digging to be part of a cutting crowd. I sat in their midst and munched my sweeties, nobody turned a hair at my outre looks or said "hello" but a few Israeli stoners sat at my table and recognising a fellow freak, they smiled at me. I should've talked to them but I was shy, what a waste of precious seconds!
Oh with what sadness, horror and fury to hear that a week ago some murderous bastards targeted that very restaurant and bombed it to oblivion, killing 13 and injuring 45, body parts blown across the road, the entire city of Pune thrown into mourning. The beautiful Nepalese waiter who smiled so sweetly at me gone, gone for no good reason. Bombs go off daily all around the world, we've become desensitised to the horror, it all seems so distant, with no personal connection, but for me the pain was driven straight thru my heart as the cafe's milieu was fresh in my mind, so relaxed and enjoyable, now gone forever, and the people, such hurt, has all human history been like this?
I just can't fathom what crack-pot religious/political/economic psychopathology could justify such awful pain and loss. Because there is an enormous population in this world with untold competing ideologies it makes room for quite a few nasty cold-blooded creeps. I cant help but be medieval in my response, the fucking perpetrators should have their balls blown off to try to equal the wounds, and then made to live as sex-slaves in a whorehouse, so they can see what oppression really looks like!!! (Just being poetic, I don't really want to feed the "violence beast") What the fuck, I can't really comprehend murder, tho it's all around me. And my tears are hot and strong for the victims.
Bombs have often gone off either before I arrive at a place, or after I leave, it makes the tourist's journey in India so hazardous, but it doesn't put me off, not even for a second, these bastards are creeping about every city of the world, we all risk it everywhere. I will always return to India no matter what, I am an Aussie friend who has often cried at their funerals with them.