Monday, June 06, 2011
22) Lotus Eating In Kashmir.
These stories, that have been available on Blogspot for 10 years for free, will now only be available on Amazon at the address above. They are contained in “Vagabon Freak”, the 1st volume of a trilogy titled “The 7 Lives of the Punk Poofy Cats”. I have been the archetypal starving artist in his garret, painting, drawing and writing, writing, writing as if I were some waif crying out in the wilderness. Now I need you, dear reader, to hear my cries and go to Amazon and buy a copy of my book and keep me alive. There you will find my complete tale, from beginning to end, in one place, for you to hold in your hot little hands. When you read it straight through, I assure you, it will blow your mind.
Below are introductory paragraphs and some pictures that I still retain to illustrate this story, hopefully to give you a come-on to get my book. Thanks for giving me a go, TZ.
1972 was to see the rains fail in India inducing drought and famine, with food riots across the nation, but hippie-trippy Arthur was oblivious to such harsh realities, privileged firanghi that he was. He had about a thousand dollars in savings which he parsimoniously drip-dripped to the squabbling masses as he cruised about living the fantasy of the wandering soul-seeker, India and her variegated, struggling peoples an exciting, colorful backdrop to his rambunctious adventures.
The ruling Congress Party had split in 1968 into right and left with Indira Ghandi as Prime Minister centralizing power in her hands. Promoting herself as “Mother India”, she appealed to the people as the savior of the poor and achieved a landslide victory in 1971 with a promise to “remove poverty”. She nationalized the banking, insurance and coal industries, removed the privy purses of the Princes and made repressive amendments like MISA, the Maintenance of Internal Security Act where an individual could be arrested without trial for up to a year, thus the rights of the individual were subordinated to those of Society.
Three million people were killed by West Pakistan in Bangladesh’s war of Independence and ten million refugees fled into India. In December of 1971 Pakistan attacked India which then went on to capture Dhaka and win the war. In July 1972 Indira Ghandi met with Pakistan P.M. Bhutto in Simla to thrash out the ownership of Kashmir with no agreement reached. She had a special relationship with Kashmir as the Nehru clan originated from that province; she spread her father’s ashes over Kashmir from a plane and returned again and again throughout her life to its natural beauty considering it as the one place where she could find peace.
With all this seething unrest and deprivation whirling around him, twenty-two year old naïve Arthur, the last of the incorrigible individuals, aimed his sights at that same vale of wish-fulfillment, Kashmir, though his inspiration came more from the rock music of Led Zeppelin rather than national affiliation. After a harrowing journey along a vertiginous road leading up through the mountains of Jammu, Arthur was relieved to make it in one piece to Srinigar, capital of fabled Kashmir.
On alighting from the bus he was mobbed by over-zealous tourist-guides who each took an arm and a leg and tried to pull him apart. Fighting them off he espied an old man waiting patiently, humbly at the back of the crowd and he chose him as his honored host, going off with him to his rickety old houseboat on Dhal Lake.
He was the sweetest, wisest old Muslim Arthur was ever to meet, waiting on him as if he was a long-lost Maharajah, smoking Kashmiri Black hash with him from his water-pipe while perusing antique logbooks full of quaint testimonials going back to the British Raj. Arthur lolled around the houseboat in Lotusland for weeks, reading Gore Vidal’s “Myra Breckinridge” and flirting with the beautiful Kashmiri men, their Greek-influenced looks unhinging him. One long cruise on a pleasure boat lay ahead for him if it wasn’t for that old grouch of a Baba, Yogeshwaranand, glowering up in his mountain retreat and promising something better than orgasm of the flesh, i.e. freedom from the flesh.
(If your curiosity is piqued please go to the WEB address above and buy the book to read further.)