|Shalimar Gardens, Srinigar, Kashmir.|
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
30) Riding High With the Sid Quartz Gang.
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.
Arthur smiled wickedly when he thought back to when he’d first met Sid Quartz. It was at the one palatable restaurant in the monastery town of Shangri-la, the Neemal Hotel, a dark, grungy cavern patronized by the hippie-set for its half-western cuisine.
He’d heard a Yankee accent broadcasting loudly from the backroom, telling some deadbeats “How it is.” He followed it to its source and introduced himself, intrigued by the American’s “know-all” attitude. They discovered they were both studying yoga at the Yoganiketan Foundation and quickly became fast friends, the English language, mysticism and popular culture as their common bond.
Sid Quartz was a Jewish New Yorker in India pondering his existence, questioning religious tradition, searching for other paradigms. He looked a bit like Al Pacino crossed with Droopy the Dog, wily, cynical and disappointed. He was a drop-out from the American entertainment industry, once a successful agent to the stars and, having brushed up against the trappings of fame and wealth, was jaded and gotten hungry for riches of the soul, something difficult to find in Hollywood.
Arthur was fascinated by his street-smart confidence and “been there, done that” attitude and he in turn was charmed by Arthur’s Australian laid-back humor and larrikin cheekiness. Sexual attraction did not come into the equation, Sid being straight as an arrow and Arthur closeting his homosexual nature behind a façade of the esoteric seeker. As well as yoga and meditation, they had many common interests and they discussed Life, the Universe, Rock and Roll and movies earnestly and endlessly as young people in every generation do.
For all his soul-searching and hippie ways, Sid was still a Jewish boy from Brooklyn, and no one could outsmart or hoodwink him in a business deal. Throughout his yogic practices and Indian adventures he was always scheming on how to make a buck, as his travel expenses had to be paid for somehow and he wasn’t about to sleep in the dust like the grunge-bunny hippies. Sid’s favorite saying was, “If you play, you must pay.” As an artistically inclined space-cadet Arthur never let economics bother him, he roughed it when he had to like the quintessential vagrant sleeping by the side of the road, and still Sid took him on over the years as companion and pet Antipodean freak, in his kindness and his coolness.
Later on they joined forces in Kashmir, after Swami Yogeshwaranand folded his summer yoga camp in the mountains, and it was with Sid that he lived the life of a prince for awhile, out on the lakes of Srinigar. When they’d first been in Kashmir Arthur had introduced Sid to his old houseboat wallah, Abdul, and the two had gotten on famously, Sid adopting the whole Muslim family and supporting them for many years. He got the old man to tow his dilapidated houseboat out of the city precinct and onto the wide-open Dahl Lake, parking it in front of the Shalimar Palace Gardens.
In 1972 it was the only houseboat that had dared to venture out into the placid expanse of the lake and they had enjoyed a level of tranquility and privacy unknown in the crowded caravan-park style of houseboat-mooring that festered in the city-center of Srinigar. Poor old Abdul’s houseboat was like a long, flat canoe with a ramshackle hut plonked down in the middle of it. The shack had three tiny rooms, enough for a couple of freaks to languish away their lives in.
(If your curiosity is piqued please go to the WEB address above and buy the book to read further.)