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Published: April 15th 2010
The Jadan Challenge progress update is this: We all need constant reminders to keep up the discipline. While it is well known I do not carry a watch or pay special attention to being particular with my timings, my observation is that in general; our Karma yogis were no longer coming punctually to the new Bandara eating arrangement times. So I conducted my experiment by timing how long it took from the time the dinner bell rang and people dribbled in for us to actually start eating. The answer was 28 minutes (which consisted of waiting until all were seated and then serving the food).
While waiting must be something worthwhile developing patience for, it is certainly an indication of how easily our mind can lead us away to what 'it' sees as the important factor... Maybe thinking: I have to finish this job right now, I can be a few minutes late to the eating... Therefore, it is safe to say the Jadan Challenge remains, with more emphasis now falling on us to individually and therefore collectively, step up the discipline of punctuality!!
The flip side is that the chatter is not as common (quite the challenge with
two chatterboxes, namely A and C) and we have enjoyed some very peaceful meals and the start of a new menu Swamiji sent instructions for, including paratas on Sundays. We have also started the new eco-friendly dish washing routine. The new dish washing solution proposal is that we rinse dishes in a bucket of water with lemon and then use ash from the wood fire that cooks our meals daily to clean with. The wood ash is the lye that would otherwise be used to make soap. It makes a good lather considering there is so much ghee used in the cooking here. Then there is a final rinse from a bucket.
The new wash is in aid of water usage awareness, direct water for our kitchen lawn rather than the current arrangement where it runs into a drain and to eliminate contaminating the earth with any dish washing chemicals. Just how true is the phrase: 'We are creatures of habit'? I guess we will find out as we see how long the enthusiasm for the new washing lasts. It takes perhaps an extra minute per meal to wash the dishes... very minuscule in the grand scheme of things.
As with any new challenge for a good cause, very inspiring to commence.
Mark has returned to Australia for a bit of reservist work on a boat. He has spent his entire Naval career well looked after with perfect boat programs and is not working too hard. I believe the boat is alongside for the next month which means he will be enjoying the company of good friends in and around Cairns. He is also elated with the fact it has been a very good wet-season in the tropics, to make for thundering waterfalls and filling up the rivers. As well as the beauty, this also means brilliant kayaking conditions.
Lauraji has taken on some of my Karma and finished off my vision for cleaning the vacant lot that you can see from the roof of the Delhi Ashram. While spending the last few days processing her Indian experience in Delhi, we shared her classics. Here are a few Laura quotes: 'Seems like there's no way into the garbage garden... But luckily, I wasn't expecting this to be easy. So I ask myself... What would Yashoda do?' 'Haha, I found a gate, right as I was about to
jump a very dusty and questionable fence.. then I met a big black dog eating a pigeon and decided I would go back later!' 'Here's another one for you... What do I do with the garbage when I'm done?'
I suggested a burning though it seemed it got a little out of control and there was a tree partially hurt in the process. This solution to the tree karma was to plant two more! As well as meeting the dog who made daily toilet trips to the vacant lot while meditating on the roof, Lauraji also had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the lot and received some typical Indian hospitality: chai bonding . 'A very bizarre and classic circle has officially been completed here in Delhi!' 'You know, you can get away with anything in this country. Just by having a smile on your face.' It was certainly a good indicator that this glorious Lila (Play) we enter into every day is also well and thriving in places outside Jadan Ashram!!
Easter Sunday was quite the auspicious day for harvesting our first kakri of the season from our summer vegetable garden (in India, they appreciate doing
this on a Sunday). The first tomatoes are also now on our menu. Prior to breakfast we had a chocolate egg hunt in the kitchen grounds. It was much less chaotic than last year which is a good sign! Interestingly enough, it has become known that a big hare has made his home in the garden at the back of the eating veranda. How convenient for organising the treasure hunt!
Exams are in full swing. Rote learning and cramming are alive and well here in India. C and A have finished their exams and mischief, scouting challenges, books and garden play are on their agendas. I have joined the boys to participate in a daily music class. Our teacher is very patient and inspiring and is attempting to teach us the dalak, tabla and harmonium. We started on India's auspicious Wednesday, Gyanesh's day for embarking on study projects. On day two the teacher was absent and it turns out that his fever stayed for a couple of days and he tested positive to dengue fever. Now we are in the groove of daily classes, let's hope it continues for quite some time! A most enjoyable start to any day.
Canadian Yashodaj's Dental visit to have a wisdom tooth removed turned into a two hour ordeal and the most difficult job our European resident Dentist has attempted in 40 years. Needless to say, Yashodaji was in need of some extra TLC on her return. While I won't go into the finer details of the complications, I would like to take this opportunity to immortalise her post-tooth extraction wisdom: "Do not use a straw while in wisdom tooth rehab".
Today I marveled at how anywhere in the world ants will find biscuits and fruit, old people delight in procuring a sweet for their grandchildren, a foal revels in freedom to dance, birds make a fuss to distract you as protection for their young in nearby nests and the unifying principle of mud.... even after several encounters, you can never cease to observe the slippery texture, the clamminess against your skin, the laughter that you and onlookers revel in and how quickly it changes form after connecting with your skin and cloth.
The heat is still creeping into the mid 40s (Celcius). Neem flowers continue to blossom and fall. Their fragrance is truly amazing.
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