Shadows & Kites...

The sky blushes vibrant pink...hundreds of kites kissing it goodnight each day as the sun dips below the horizon. As night begins to settle, the heavens overflow into the Ganga, spilling precious jewels upon her surface. Constellations of prayers float gently, the flames offering sweet lights made brighter as the city falls into deep darkness, blackened by the sudden and frequent power cuts. Dogs bark and whimper, tablas & devotional voices echo while crickets, like metronomes, keep time, anchoring the strange, chaotic melody...an oddly fitting soundtrack for the gentle shifting and bobbing of tiny flames. I watch and listen from my beautiful nest of a room that sits right above the ghats, with nothing but air between my front door and the Ganga. Upon waking, I pull the shutters and doors open, revealing sweeping views of the holy river in both directions. The sun rises, large and brilliant, coloring the ripples pink and red and orange as boats in silhouette cut lines across, like fingers through paint.

Varanasi is a city of extremes...colors, textures, smells, emotions...pulling one down into its thick heaviness one moment only to send you dancing above rooftops the next...like a kite, rising from the shadows, illuminated by the golden glow of a setting sun. Finding solitude is tricky...silence is relative...

Still, I feel strangely 'at home' in my little room...surrounded by goddesses and geckos and cardboard fixes...feathers and candles and incense. I feel as though I'm living in Varanasi, rather than simply visiting. Each day finds me quietly drawing mandalas, creating order with paper and pen...practicing sargam... singing mantras & ragas & bhajans...conversing with my new guitar 'Mala'...filling the space around me with sweet, hypnotic melodies.

I am marinating in India...steeping and absorbing...adding spice and depth. Like a good marinade should, it is bringing out my truest flavors...showing me that the artist in me has evolved and matured, despite years of neglect.

I haven't taken a picture in days. My camera just feels so heavy and cumbersome, creating a barrier rather than connection with the locals. And somehow, putting it down has opened the way...cleared space... allowing my muse to show her other faces. Those bits of me that have waited so long in silence are blossoming and beaming as I give them air.

Creating feels effortless here...patterns unfurl organically, riding ink like current...resting upon pages like sand on shores...dancing gently upon strings and lips...

I'm finding my place here...dira, dira...slowly, slowly...

...remembering who I am and learning to love her...