Monday, 29 November 2010

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Bagels and cream cheese

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

How accents change from place to place! I was driven from Toronto, to Buffalo, then flew to Boston to catch another flight to Baltimore, only to be driven to Harrisburg for a beautiful lunch at Tamal's, a friend. A last drive landed me near Port Royal in the state of Pennsylvania. At each stop you note variations of English. Fortunately, all people share the same air, clouds, sun, earth, water and space.

My few moments with these elements at the tail end of the day allowed me to tredge through plants and weeds, lightly hit by fall frost. Traces of human being was scarce in my private little valley of the day. Signs painted on trees nearby forbade entry. "No hunting! No trespassing! Violators will be prosecuted!"

Deer droppings and tracks do give away the fact that fur and hooves pass through here. I had also come to produce new tracks, making my mark over the soft and moist soil.

I reflected on my conversation with a retired Bengali couple at the Baltimore Airport. With little information about their own provincial hero, Chaitanya, they became curious. As they ate their bagel with cream cheese, I recited the song of Bhaktivinode who authored, "Sarira avidya jal..." I refrained from giving the translation which states that our tongues are uncontrollable. I didn't want to offend, only befriend.

As far as Chaitanya is concerned the couple were aware that he is the revivalist of many things, most notably he established the social gatherings of kirtan (chanting groups) which is now custom as tradition and which is currently experiencing a great welcome around the world. And these people do sing sincerity even though when you apply that anglo-lingo to Sanskrit it sounds a bit weird.

Rest assured one's utterance of sound is judged on the basis of sincerity of purpose and not pronunciation or accent.

3 KM

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