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Rest Day, 1st Calcutta Test

INDIA | Wednesday, 9 December 2015 | Views [633] | Comments [1]

I have now worked out that I can expand my screen so no excuses for embarrassing misspellings.

My initial plan today was to get up at 5.30 and head down to the flower market. I changed this to 'Rest Day". After around a week in Kolkata and a longish day yesterday my senses were declaring overload.

So a longer lie in, no dawn chorus and vigorously exercising yogi, yoga, chi gung, meditation, a little reading of a piece by Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche urging the complete acceptance of all situations, emotions and people whatsoever as the basic practice and of the Buddha's going forth from the Sutta Nipata which we had studied with Devamitra at Sukhavati. I could hear his voice resonating the words as I read them aloud. I love Devamitra study and the man himself more and more as I remain in India.

I even had a hot shower today, after a prelim of cold, cold, cold. LBC hot, which for those who do not know means scalding.

On this my rest day / day retreat I decided for the first time to repeat an eating establishment so to speak, the one in case being the 'One Step Up' on Park Street. I had spotted that they delivered a vegetarian burger and fancied this with a diet coke rather than anything more Indain. Also, they had been one of the friendlier and less obtrusive places I had eaten and I wanted comfort as you may have gathered by now. And it was near the Oxford Book Shop on Park Street which I also wanted to frequent. More comfort.

Vegetarian Burger, diet coke and indeed hot coffee (I stressed the hot part) were duly supplied and consumed as well as paid for. One Step Up is officially my favourite eating place in Kolkata, not necessarily for the food, but for the friendly and unobtrusive staff. The doorman garbed in military atire as they seem to be is also friendly but my experience of doormen has generally been good.

I was able to read more of 'Butcher's Crossing' at the table, a description of the slaughter of a herd of Buffalo that had been buffaloed (stunned into inactivity) as they are picked off one by one, by a in some ways impressive hunter who rues the missed shot that eventually sets the herd stampeding with a familiar self admonishment of something like 'I thought about what might happen if I missed the shot, If I hadn't thought about it I would still be shooting them until tomorrow'. Amidst the brutality of the slaughter which the narrator Will Andrews attributes to a cold mindless response to the life the hunter, Miller, had immersed himself in, I could recognise the inevitable blowing of a concentrated moment by thinking too much. That sounds pretty trite but it is brilliantly done in the book.

The other feature of the One Step Up was the music, which today seemed to be a collected CV of love ballads. This did not help my emotional state particlarly when they moved on to play a song which I had selected for Mum's cremation. That, with still feeling emotional at seeing Dad's name on the captains' board at the CCFC (Calcutta, Cricket and Football Club - interestingly not the KCFC which sounds a little chickeny) yesterday had me quietly crying at my table. As I say, the OSU as I shall call it for brevity is not obtrusive.

I'm also a bit emotional about my dream life. My dreams have been plentiful, vivid and generally of a rather painful tone, make of this what you wish. From an argument with a friend in the community, to driving my former boss and female colleagues to a restaurant - they are all dressed up - where I cannot control the car, it's going way too fast and eventually bounces off the bank and into an adjoining field but ok and upright, to helping out at work when I have left only to find my former work nemesis George back and eyeing me with hostility, to misleading a former girl friend (I won't go into details). I'm hoping that something is being cleared out here but comments are welcome. All my dreams are set in the UK so far.

ANYWAY, after lunch I did go to the Oxford Bookstore and what a pleasure that was. I pretty much browsed the whole store beginning with the front table with its collection of books on Calcutta and Bengal. Something is happening with me where I feel very emotional about my family and our connection with Calcutta and also very moved by the people and place of Kolkata and Bengal. There is even something social and political about this interest which as I have intimated before and as my friends know is not like me at all. I always go straight to the back pages or turn to the pages of fiction, religion or poetry.

I did not buy anything but will go back and decide on a book once I have finished Butcher's Crossing. There is something to be said for me not having too greater choice as I notoriously have loads of books on the go most of which I don't finish. When I say notoriously, I'm of course not that notorious (alas).

My choices when I go back are maybe some short stories by Tagore, a Bengali or Japanese book of crime fiction or maybe an Indian but not Buddhist religious classic. I'm a little inspired by Sangharakshita's eclectic reading here and have images of him scouring the books shops of Calcutta in times gone past. Not I imagine for crime fiction though.

My other choice is wheter to move on to Darjeeling or Puri or to stay in Calcutta for a while longer. I'll decide in the next two days.

That'll do. Thanks Nadeem and Stirls for your comments. Much appreciated as well as all the email responses.

Much love,


Tags: books, chi gung, food, meditation, rest, yoga



Hi David,

Rest day already...you've just started the journey!
My suggestion would be that you cover as much as you can at the start of your journey while you have the energy and focus, then you can always get back to Kolkata, OSU and Oxford bookshop for a rest and recover...


  Nadeem Dec 10, 2015 6:00 AM

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