Last week my friend Laura visited us in Bombay, giving us the awesome opportunity to indulge in every tourist urge. We started the week at Lonavla, a hill station about 90-km from home, and the site of Buddhist caves created about 2,000 years ago. This elephant guards the entrance to the main cave at Karla site. The architecture at Bhaja caves is seen in other cave temples around the country, and the arch is common to the Buddhist chaitya (meditation hall). Within the hall is housed a stupa, a symbolic representation of the enlightened Buddha or the complete perfection of enlightenment. According to legend, stupas originally contained relics of the Buddha’s body. Later in the week, Laura and I visited Elephanta Island, the site of caves created in the 5th century CE devoted to the HIndu god Shiva. While many Hindus attend primarily to one god, classical Hinduism supports the idea of three gods working together as one: Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer), and Shiva (destroyer). This photo shows the three-headed (Trimurthy) Shiva, and throughout the cave are depictions of Shiva in his many forms and sometimes accompanied by his wife Parvati, the embodiment of universal energy or shakti. The caves are absolutely enthralling and magnificent to experience, as the sculptural details make the mythological stories seem real.
Archive for February, 2008
Love is the look on my husband’s face when he walks through the door after a long day at work.
Love is walking my dog on a cold winter night. And love is not counting how many times I’ve done it.
Love is forgiving, and also understanding there was nothing to forgive in the first place.
Love is freshly-baked brownies, hitting golf balls at the driving range, and reading the same bedtime story night after night. Sometimes love is behind-the-scenes.
This week I totally kicked ass- too bad it was my own. On Thursday I took my first fitness class in over six months, and I was shocked to find out how quickly my body had changed. About ten years ago my aunt amused me with stories of sagging bodies and flabby muscles. “Just wait until your knees droop,” she warned. I laughed as I denied my fate. Now I don’t find it funny at all.
Riding the local train alone was one of my goals upon arriving in Bombay. Some of you may think this is not a worthy goal, like maybe I set my sights too low. This is not to say I don’t have a bigger vision (I do) but riding the local train was one of the smaller yet more intimidating challenges of becoming self-sufficient in this city. Even in off-peak hours, these trains can be packed with people shoving and jostling and generally pressing so close together it would definitely be considered inappropriate in any other situation. At rush hour, it’s not uncommon for people to start jumping on and off the train before it comes to a stop at the station.