24 Apr – We have published the fourth issue of Out of India in conjunction or releasing several pictures of Rishikesh. Check out the newsletter at http://www.walkingwithawareness.com/OutOfIndia4.pdf and the pictures at http://www.walkingwithawareness.com/IndiaPictures2017Rishikesh.htm. Enjoy!
27 Apr — We are in Delhi tonight. Tomorrow morning at 1:30 AM we leave India. We fly together to London where Petra gets off the flight and continues on to spend three weeks with her mother in Germany. I continue home to Santa Fe. This visit to India is done.
11 Apr – All is still well here. We just finished a ten-day meditation seminar. It was a great refresher. Stay in the center of the center in the Now with one-pointed focus. Be aware and conscious.
We’ll head back to Santa Fe on the 27th. Petra will stop at her mother’s in Germany for three weeks while I will go directly to Santa Fe.
In a week or so, I will publish Out of India IV – our last newsletter from here.
Be in the Now. Om.
We have been in Rishikesh since Sunday. All is well. We have touch-and-go internet access here these days. Will try to get back to weekly posts but it may not be so.
Weather is cool again but pleasant during the day. Lonavla was getting quite hot before we left, just like Goa was before we left.
5 Feb – We are keeping up an old tradition, Tea and Toast. Almost every late morning we walk out of the front gate of Kaivalyadhama and walk a block to the main road and the coffee shop at Kailash Parbat for tea and toast. This morning I took a picture for you.
Click here to see more pictures of Kailash Parbat toward the end of the page. We posted them in January, 2015.
Question to ask: Who am I?
Our first week here is going to be a series of lectures and meditations with Swami Anubhavanda. Also known as The Happy Swami, we have listened to and meditated with him several times before. We have a couple pages of pictures listed of him on our India Index page from when we were with him in January, 2015.
29 Jan – We flew to Mumbai today and took a cab inland and up a thousand feet to Kaivalyadhama (K’dham) in Lonavla. So much cooler here—it was getting outright oppressive the last few days in Benalim where it was over 100°F (almost 40°) every afternoon. When we walked the 2 miles (c. 3 kilometers) home in the late evening from the beach we entered our very hot room sweating profusely already. We could only lie on our bed under the fan for fifteen minutes to cool off before doing anything. It will be nice to not have to take two showers a day.
28 Jan – The currency situation remains restrained here. There are new 500 rupee bills in addition to a new 2000 at the airport in Mumbai but they haven’t gotten out to the provinces. When you get money at the ATMs here, you get 100 rupee notes. On top of that there is a 4500 rupee limit per transaction. That’s about $66. For our day-to-day operations we usually get twice or three times that to avoid excessive visits to ATMs; we do a simple second transaction at the ATM we go to get around the restriction and it works. But in the end we have ninety 500 rupee notes to carry us through the next few days. That’s a big stack of notes worth only $1.50 each.
Back in early November India began to withdraw all 1000 and 500 rupee notes from circulation. To “combat the black market;” they were to be replaced with new bills. Everyone was to take their 1000s and 500s to the bank and exchange them. Beyond a certain amount they also had to pay tax. The logic being that half of India’s economy is black market and if you had more than a certain amount you must have earned it on the black market and the government wanted its tax share. Once you turned in your money, you could get only 2000 rupees a day—in 100 rupee notes.
By now, you can officially get 4500 rupees a day. It seems that some ATMs (like the one I go to here in Benalim) do not keep from transaction to transaction so you can simply execute a number of transactions to get more than the official amount for the day. No one told me; I just tried and it worked. When this gets all straightened out is anyone’s guess; but it is a lot of hassle for the small business places. We brought backup dollars and euros in cash in case we couldn’t get rupees as it was rumored. Dollars and Euros always work.
Later in the day – So now they made a liar out of me. I went to an ATM in Benalim and got two 2000 notes from one and four 500s from another. But one would only give me that 4,000 and the other only 2,000 rupees. So limits are still varied and not at all consistent.
Someone said on the 29th that India says all will be ok by April first. I didn’t have the heart to tell that Indian what that day is in the US. Me thinks it will take longer.
28 Jan – The 26th was Republic Day, the day India got their independence from Britain in 1947, 70 years ago after a couple centuries of subjugation and exploitation. It was a surprisingly quite celebration. Though there were a lot of people taking the day and long weekend off, there were very few fireworks which noisily celebrate so many other Indian holidays