Courtesy of Bawa’s blog
Ivan is an Art of Living teacher from London now staying in Sydney, Australia. He has an absolutely whacko sense of humour as you will see in the post below… i dug it up from my computer, i think he had written this about 2 years ago… He is an absolutely lovely person and a pleasure to know!
You can drop him some mail and tell him how you liked it… his email id is firstname.lastname@example.org
I called the travel agent in Sydney, Australia from the Bangalore Ashram to put back my return flight for a week or so. The conversation went something like this…
Agent. “So you want to stay on, must be having a good time – where have you been?”
Me. “Eh, well… have you heard of Navaratri?”
Agent. “No, is it near Delhi?”
Me. “It’s not a place, its a festival actually.”
Agent. “OK, like a beer festival?”
Me. “Not really, in fact there was no alcohol.”
Agent. “No alcohol! Well what kind of festival do you call that?”
Me. “Well it’s a nine day celebration, expressing gratitude for Life and all its gifts.”
Agent. “9 days without a drink and you call that a celebration – how did you celebrate then?”
Me, now wishing I’d never mentioned Navaratri, “Well…..most days you get up around 5.00 am, have a cold shower, make your way to a covered area where you sit on the ground for
five or six hours listening to chanting in a funny language, then go and queue for some food, no cutlery mind, help wash a few thousand dishes, pick up rubbish, lose your shoes, walk barefoot back to covered area, get soaked in a monsoon storm on the way, sit and watch people throwing
sticks and fruit and herbs and flowers and milk and honey into a big fire, and then on the last day we go pretty wild and the master of ceremonies drenches every one with water.
You should try it sometime. Oh, and by the way, God comes.”
Very long pause.
Agent. “Well it sounds a bit different from the average package holiday we sell, I’ll give you that. But these extreme holidays are getting more popular now, maybe this Travanatrina will catch on. Anyway, the next available flights back to Sydney are on 25th, is that OK?”
Me. “Thanks, I’ll take them – that will give me time to recover.”
I wished him peace, prosperity and happiness – he seemed pretty happy with that!