Canacona, Goa, India / Night Train Approaching from distance Canacona Goa India

http://aporee.org/maps/work/?loc=23598

Canacona, Goa, India. 1.30am Im staying at a low rent guesthouse at a blind corner on Chaudi-Talpona road which traces the Chaudi river at this point. It is moment away from Monsoon so the water is almost at street level on one side and an embankment on the other. Right at this blind corner there is a single track concrete rail bridge which carries both freight and passenger trails through at a regularity of about 30 minutes during the day and 45-60 minutes at night. Just beyond the blind corner is an egg-shell blue two story hastily erected building and a family home nestled beside it. The rail bridge traverses 8meters from the house and then is swallowed up in foliage on the embankment.
My room is on the ground floor front and center to the lot, it is North facing. It is off season, extremely humid (95%), and extremely hot (45c) despite being on the coast. The area is lush tropical and very quiet.
At night it is almost completely silent, with exception to distant sounds from neighbouring homes and the Hindu and Catholic places of worship (at 3’26” you can hear the chime of a gong or bell).
The trains are traveling in from the north, from Bombay, at night they are mostly freight. You can hear the sound funnel down the rail-track clearing in the dense jungle, it is amplified and you can pick out the pitch changes in the engine as it grunts its way in.
Warning: this track goes from subtle to extremely loud and then very quiet.
Recorded using a Roland R-26, Binaural microphones and a Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun directional microphone, mixed-down and rendered using Audacity. There is some slight clipping at the high peak, as I simply set the best levels I could based on guesswork before making the recording.
Thanks and enjoy.
20130430.IND.GOA.JO©.012647 1+2

Night Train Approaching from distance Canacona Goa India

Canacona, Goa, India. 1.30am Im staying at a low rent guesthouse at a blind corner on Chaudi-Talpona road which traces the Chaudi river at this point. It is moment away from Monsoon so the water is almost at street level on one side and an embankment on the other. Right at this blind corner there is a single track concrete rail bridge which carries both freight and passenger trails through at a regularity of about 30 minutes during the day and 45-60 minutes at night. Just beyond the blind corner is an egg-shell Blue two story hastily erected building and a family home nestled beside it. The rail bridge traverses 8 meters from the house and then is swallowed up in foliage on the embankment.
My room is on the ground floor front and center to the lot, it is North facing. It is off season, extremely humid (95%), and extremely hot (45c) despite being on the coast. The area is lush tropical and very quiet.
At night it is almost completely silent, with exception to distant sounds from neighbouring homes and the Hindu and Catholic places of worship (at 3’26” you can hear the chime of a gong or bell).
The trains are traveling in from the north, from Bombay, at night they are mostly freight. You can hear the sound funnel down the rail-track clearing in the dense jungle, it is amplified and you can pick out the pitch changes in the engine as it grunts its way in.
Warning: this track goes from subtle to extremely loud and then very quiet.
Recorded using a Roland R-26, Binaural microphones and a Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun directional microphone, mixed-down and rendered using Audacity. There is some slight clipping at the high peak, as I simply set the best levels I could based on guesswork before making the recording.
Thanks and enjoy.
20130430.IND.GOA.JO©.012647 1+2

2013.05.30 BOMBAY

Bombay, not Mumbai. I prefer it, and the Bombers themselves call it Bombay anyway.

Its as hot as Goa was, but the humidity levels are off the charts. What I thought was humid in Goa was just for starters. Here its totally and completely insane. It takes 20 minutes to sweat out a liter of water. I go nowhere without a 2L bottle of Bisleri. Bisleri is the nice brand of water in India. Its an Indian company started by a French couple who came here some time ago and scoffed at the lack of good clean drinking water in bottles. Since then of course, there are others. Bailey, which is harder to find, but equally as good and the same price. 1L bottles are about 15 rupees, 2L bottles are 25 rupees, depending of course if you ask the price, because most street vendors will try and hoodwink you and make you pay more even thought he price is moderately unclearly marked on the bottles themselves. The Batch Number, date and Price “(inclusive of all taxes)”. But I still like to ask because I like to see the honesty levels of the vendors. Most outside of Goa and so far Bombay, are not honest and some, even when you show them the price will argue the price with you. Old school values; haggle. Theres no haggling in America. We are soft now, lazy, the price is the price. I still like to ask for a deal when I have to go to the Apple store just to fuck with the doe-eyed whizz-kid clerks. Who cares if Steve Jobs had $750,000,000,000 in the bank before he stepped out, he shouldn’t have had that much money anyway, he should have by virtue of the fact that he travelled India himself, known that that money would have been better off in the hands of those who know what to do with it to make their days a little brighter. Like those tribal families out there on the street in front of the hostel Im currently in. They are rolling with the rats, and their children are playing cricket and badminton amongst the traffic “OUT”! I saw that, that was out! Ballard market, haha what a fucking Joke, ‘fixed prices’ total and complete bullshit.
Oh look at that Im sweating as I’m shitting here in relative comfort of porcelain three floors above you, and the little brown children with blue string around their waists are dropping their payloads into cracks in the pavement. Their shit is cleaner then yours though -and you fucking better believe it.

 

2013.05.04 Far Out Son of Hindu and the Ramblings of Hanuman

This is what I wrote the other night. (more then a month ago)
Theres a baby downstairs that cries, it roars crying like Al Pacino did in The Godfather, one of the most piercing and humiliating scenes I have ever seen in my life. When I hear that baby crying I can hear the sounds of an adult, crisply and clearly. It is an unhappy child. I hear that little thing open up like an orchestra and unleash a cry of disbelief and complete inability to contemplate the word Help.
The disconnect between mother and child, is subconscious; intrinsically, the mother loves the child naturally like any other mother would. However, somewhere buried deep within the realm of subconsciousness, lies an impasse. The predicament affords no luxuries to the owner. The disconnect, is an involuntary space between that, which makes a woman perform as a mother (and therefor the ability to recognize the babies directives), and the conscious mind. This impasse, is an irritant in the junction of thought streaming, which is where the mind breaks down the components of thought, and separates them into recognizable, and characterizable streams, relating to categories of psychological contemplation. This is how we produce thoughts also, where certain streams bind together to create an opinion or conviction. The amount of any particular stream dictates the direction, form and benevolence of the thought and ultimately influences any subsequent actions.

These streams are influenced by both internal pre-recognized experiences, which in of them selves are a packaged containers of streams varying in intensity depending on the circumstance, and new previously unreconciled ingredients which come together to generate convictions which are usually based on pre-established stream containers additional cumulative values.

Goa

20130510.IND.GOA.JO©.0068a
Imagine this is your front garden.
20130510.IND.GOA.JO©.0152
backbreaking labor work in Goa.
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Labouring in the field. A fisherman repairs nets for the on coming season.
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A tailor begins the garment from a single piece of fabric.

 

Small Room

I remembered there was a small guesthouse on the corner of the Chaudi-Arpora road, a place called Gods Grace. It exists on a blind elbow smothered in undergrowth at which there is a low concrete single track railway bridge, trains pass by at 60 minute intervals at night and 30 minute intervals during the day, an even split of passenger and transport trains, mostly ore and trucks in which the drivers sit in their cabs baking in the heat and smoking cigarettes with their feet out of the windows.

I am in Chapora, which is the most southern ‘county’ of Goa before Karnataka state. This road cambers gently and is well cared for with good reflective paint on the edge, at night there is zero illumination, which, if you happen you stray, you’ll end up in mangrove swamps on both sides. It ends at a dimly lit avenue going right into the Talpona River, at which there is a bus stop eluding to a once existing bridge which is now no longer there. For the unwitting, one could accidentally end up in that river with zealous use of the accelerator.

There is a distinct Hitchcockian feel to Gods Grace. It is nestled in amongst a cup of foliage the building itself a pale blue and white stark building with little or no style in of itself a concrete courtyard slopes steeply down to the bend in the road, its dry and dusty despite being in a mangrove swamp. On the back side there is a cliff and on the other side it trails off back into the mangroves.
The electro diesel locomotives, you can hear from 20 km out, it huffs, snarls, creaks and pants its way along the track in sonically crystal clear southern sky. Punching the heavy humid air with clean crisp riots of horn, against a pitch black indigo night the air heavy like premium felt. The shape of sound as its shot directly forward from the front of the hulking Cyclops steel behemoth a single eye pitched in golden warning, lights up my room as it winds it way along a shallow trajectory to the straight path of the bridge and into the cushioning undergrowth, the rip-roaring earthquake grows louder and louder heavier and heavier like a concussion, a deep low hum oscillates two per second embellished with silver brightness of bogies on track the train says this’n’that and this’n’that…this’n’that and this’n’that. Pockets of clarity open as the undergrowth subsides shifting and baffling metallic industrial with heavy chugs in a low rumble. Then suddenly the world is ripped and a the fabric of existence is torn open and with a burst of trapped air everything is consumed in a massive all encompassing sound that covers you like paint and takes precedence over everything else, no birds sing no voices heard only complex rhythm and malevolent mechanics in time, space and relativity, screaming forward fulfilling its existence. And with a fold of the envelope, the sound is all at once gone back to idyllic sweetness of quiet nature in a remote spot of land on the coast of the Arabian sea.

876 HOURS REMAINING

There so much shit going on in my head now, things I dont want to be thinking about. i dont want to go back to the US, I dont want to go back anywhere. The US specifically, Ive had so many experience in the last 5 months that going back to the US seems like a backwards step.

After all this time, and nine years living there, I have achieved very little. Ive learned how to forget myself and how to get swamped into a system of thought and a culture of denial. America is now not good for me. I realize that. I just dont want to be there anymore. At the same time, what else is there? Im not sure. Im wired to think in western ways, so living in a routine is now a learned behavior but the concept of it is repugnant.

The last two months here have been emotionally tumultuous, on a personal level, learning who I am and rediscovering the things that Id forgotten about what makes me me. I used to hate myself. Now Im ok with myself, as Im accepting the ways in which I function as an acceptable set of parameters that exist for a reason, and those reasons are functional, though Im not entirely clear on what they are maybe i will never be, but I can live with that also. The reasons are less important to me now then the realm.

I spent two weeks in Pushkar and the blossoming self reflection and subsequent opening of the realization doors were hard, and within that other personal issues were starting to develop also, things I dont want to delve into here. Suffice to say that when i left Pushkar and then travelled back to Bhopal and then on down into Chhattisgarh and into the surreality of the place and the job I was on, i was numb and tried only to concentrate on the essentials. Then going back to Bhopal and the end of the job and the dissemination of the crew put me back up against myself. I left bhopal and took the long train ride south into the heat of the tropics. I spent two weeks in Vagator and in that time chewed into a bigger personal mess and came out the other side feeling positive and refreshed. The middle & last period in Vagator was good, I had met some new people and was energized by them and had long in depth conversations which I sorely miss in the US. Deep meaningful communication with people who can disagree with you and argue until their logic becomes your logic and your logic becomes theirs.

Ive been carrying around a small bag of things, stuff from my past which controls my present and ultimately my future too, things that Id wanted unload but now come to the conclusion that they are in fact assets and tools for the future. Not all of them, the things will tell me in time what they are and where they fit in to my life or whether they fit in at all. If they dont then I will have to accept that.

Ive made some stupid mistakes, and the results of those mistakes are challenging me in ways that I dont like because I valiantly tried to push forward and in a way that I thought was positive, benevolent and beneficial but the results keep coming back negative. Perhaps its the way I’m seeing it, but Ive been here before on other levels and my instinct keeps telling me to let it go. Its like hitting a pingpong ball at a target and the ball bounces back and lands in that pile of cow shit in the corner, and no matter how I try to hit the ball in different ways it always ends up in the cow shit. There only so many times I can hit that ball before I put the bat down and leave the court.

Now, with little over a month left, American reality is awaiting. I have more friends, real friends, now then I have ever had in my life, and how they exist in the kettle of America is beyond me, they are different people, they have to be, because they wouldn’t be my friends if they weren’t. I am against the grain of convention, and yet I lived in routine for seven years, day in day out. I dont want to walk away from those friends, and leave, but i feel the centrifuge is off balance and its only a matter of time until it breaks its bearings and starts to migrate towards critical.

 

They say India changes you, and I was curious to know why, and what I know now is that I have changed, while being here and Im sure when I go back I will change also, it’ll be a slow burn low trajectory for the rest of my life. I am fourty years old and I feel like the last decade has vanished back into life reserves for use later on.

 

India is such that when one comes here one floats like oil on water. The white man is exotic, and the sensation is disconcerting, but it serves as a living lesson in ones own identity and what that is in relation to the carnival as it exists around you. Indians exist all around you, and carry on their lives in exclusivity to you, and by that the very nature of walking from a bus into a busy sidewalk of a billion people you simply have no choice but to flow and whatever you can do to make your own space within that will be accepted, ignored and ultimately a minor moment of curiosity for those around you at any one moment.

 

I have a month left and what will happen in that month will probably seem a little faster then before, but the flow of traffic is the same yet the destination is unknown, and the rules of relativity go out the window.

PAYING FULL PRICE FOR A HALF TANK OF GAS 2013-04-20

Today I had another mathematical quandary with an Indian. I rolled in with exactly half a tank of gas and asked the guy to fill’er up. So he put the nozzle into the tank pressed the go button and pulled the nozzle out, after a about 3 seconds, and then went to the machine and pressed a button and said 380rs. I thought he said 80 and I handed him a 100. Pregnant pause. So i asked him how much again and he said 380.. hrm I said that the tank was 50% before he filled it, and he said yes but you asked me to fill it, and a full tank is 380.. between a bit of neigh translated dialogue, a friend pulled in and I asked him to translate, which he did, and the pump guy wouldn’t budge, because i said I wanted a full tank, and a full tank is 380.

So we tried to figure it out with him and finally my friend said what did the pump say and the guy looked at the pump and it was zero and he said ‘It says zero’, so I said oh ok then its free and I got on my bike and the pump guy looked really confused and I could have driven away but I just wanted to make a point. So I had a bottle of water on me that was about half way to the top and I said to him like a high infants teacher, “bottle half full, fill the bottle how much water do you need to fill it up?” he stared at me and I went to the counter and got another bottle of water and went back to pump guy and said “ ok bottle half full, how much do I need to fill the bottle and he said “full” and I opened the new bottle and told him to pour all of it into the half filled bottle and he looked at me like a goldfish (he was still holding the nozzle and in his other hand a wad of bills both at about shoulder height), and I hand him the bottles he is totally confused about what to do with the nozzle and the cash let alone the rocket science I was about to get him to perform, so I take the nozzle and hang it up for him and tell him t put the cash in his breast pocket, which he does then I hand him the bottles and repeat the instruction, fill up this bottle with that bottle and see how much water is left in that bottle.. and he is about to start putting the two bottles together and then realizes.. ah yes ok ok,

GREAT! A breakthrough has occurred! and then he goes into a fairly decent breakdown of how that would work and that hed get water all over his hand and that my bottle idea was really great, so then I brought him back to the gas tank and said that this bottle was the same amount as the tank and that blah well I explained it to him, and then said ok how much money for the petrol, and he said ‘full tank 380rs’.

.. oh fuck.. so my friend said to him to recall the last pump meter reading and pump guy says “no not allowed” so my friend said to him to do it or else and the guy reluctantly pressed the button and up popped a figure of 180 then very quickly went on to the next one which said 270 and said that was the price, but I pressed the last recall button and said asked him who else had filled the tank since i got here with this pump and the goldfish face came back, so I repeated it and said after you took the nozzel out of my tank which other tank did you put it in and he looked around ( there was two other bikes there at that point), and he pointed at the guy behind me.. So I asked him if hed had his tank filled yet, and of course he said no, so I said to pump guy, ok lets say this is his price then how did you get that price if you havent put the gas in yet? at that point I pushed the last recall button and I handed him the additional 170rs to which he said “no no no you pay 380 for a full tank!” I said ok lets talk to your manager, at that point he started yelling at me and I drove away. My friend later told me ‘learning curve – always watch the pump guy, the managers tell them what to do and then they do it and they dont understand what they are doing, though some of them do and then figure that lying to you will get them out of it, because I guess that when you dont have any sense of mathematics at all, then the basic rules apply, and indians trick each other all the time but dont see it as tricking you, they just see it that you paid more because you must have got more. And that right there is an amazing concept to me.

FROM PUSHKAR TO BHOPAL

The heat becomes you. Heat dictates everything. Your life revolves around it. In extreme temperatures, anything above 38c, the body reacts differently, even for those who are used to heat. It takes over your actions, what you do, how you do it, when you do things where you do things, what you eat, what you drink, and how much of both. Heat mandates that you segregate everything and do those tasks in small amounts. Currently its averaging between 38c and 44c surprisingly enough I have been fine in the extremes. I have to wear socks in my shoes because my shoes become too hot for my skin, and in places where you are not allowed to wear shoes it is essential that you have socks on because the temperature of the ground is enough to dry spit in 20 seconds. It will make an ice cold 1L bottle of water hot –30c– in 20 minutes. Inside a car that is reduced to about 10 minutes. Its easy to print figures and say oh look its 44c outside, but its a different thing entirely to know how those figures actually behave in terms of what those figures mean

 

The decision to leave Pushkar was made for me by the enticing idea of working again on a project Im not allowed to discuss. Needless to say its a sensitive topic in India and lives are at stake, as well as our own freedom if it were discovered what we were trying to achieve in terms of truth telling through documentary.

This is probably the biggest current affair topic Ive worked on in the last decade, and it feels good to be back in the loop -hows that for ego?

 

Pushkar was ultimately a fulcrum point for me in terms of learning how to deal with a few things by my self. I spent 11 days there two of them were completely buried in unemployment bullshit from the US, Im still fighting that decision now after a year because it wont leave me alone. Im so over it that Im over being over it. Do much so that when it came to paying the bill in the SunSet hotel I thought Id only been there five days instead of seven.
I also went through a period of self reflection and spent a few days meditating on matters. Something brought me clarity. After that I started meeting interesting people. There is nothing like silence for three days to really make you think. My sweet friend Isil from Istanbul who I met in Varanasi went on a retreat for that very same purpose but did it for ten days, and what she said she got from it was life changing. Im changing my opinions on meditation. Meditation is different from alone time. Alone time to me is something that I have to have, its time to do my shit anything I want for a period of time every day. I need it or I go nutso, but i know that a small doses are better then big doses, makes you appreciate that time more.

Pushkar was also a challenge for me in that I had to stand up for the things I believe in and accept that those beliefs clashed with the beliefs of others, and with that discourse has to be opened to find common ground. I spent a day with a fantastically independent free thinking woman named Daisy who rambled with me for many hours on many topics and in that period opened my eyes to things I hadn’t even begun to think about. Her ideas rattled me and made me think hard about derivatives of those sentiments.

Pushkar is tiny, and you could see everything in a day and a half, but its so relaxing that I had to stay, sit and soak in the heat the light and the silence of the mid afternoon sun. I never did trek up any of those hills like I wanted to, but Im not really that bothered. The place gave me something else instead and I’m more then happy with that.

 

It was surprizingly easy to get a ticket out in the end. I had been trying to get a ticket for a few days and I kept going to these rat-hole travel “agents” that tell you that they cant get you anything for whatever reason. Finally I went to the highstreet guy and he instantly got me an express train directly from Ajmere to Bhopal, 5pm departure 6am arrival. Bingo. I got on the train, bedded in, played videogames for a few minutes fell asleep and woke up in Bhopal. How perfect is that?

 

Arriving back in Bhopal again, was a little strange but it gave me confidence, because the city the first time was a bit intimidating for me arriving in India, and this time around it was familiar and the people here are definitely more relaxed, have a great sense of humour and dont try and rip the tourists off because nobody comes to bhopal for tourism, so Im Mr Exotic Noveltypants again. Its dominated by Indian Muslims, and after being in Hindu dominated places for two months, I can honestly say that Islamics are definitely more grounded and have less conflict within the religion then Hindu seems to. Also the food is better.

 

ME MATE STeve said i would just for the crack.

an indian menue in restaraunts are notorious for the most imagintive phonetic spelling of english words. Ive seen Shup on the menu, and when I asked the witer, he said ‘Soup” through a bushy mustache and mouth full of mangled red teeth, and with an indian broken english. Magic.
The best one Ive never sen was told to me by a neighbour in pushkar, guy names Lance who was a 63yo guy who looked 52, his buddy steve and their wives. they were totally great, I loved the reconnect to old times through these guys.
Lance told me that in one restairant he was here the spelling for ice Cream was all perfect except the last one which was two seperate words “Black Krunt”.

I think that takes the cherry.

20130203 Interdependence.

Goa. My memories of Goa were from a track that the Prodigy put out as a B side in 1994. I never even heard of the place until then. Blur and Oasis were kicking the shit out of each other in the pop charts and on the ‘techno’ side of things there were a handful of artists which spanned anything electronic as a term which included the Orb, Orbital and Future Sound of London, and more, which were anything but techno in the real sense of what Techno actually is today. Anyway Im sure theres someone out there to disagree with me, and thats alright discourse ist gut? Music always has contentious aggravators.
But back to Goa, I knew there was a contingent who were going there to party soak up the sun and as much “e” as possible and a few big DJs would go there and make a presence and then go back to Ibiza which was the party capital of Europe. It was two hundred and twenty five quid to jump on a plane to Ibiza for a week of sunburn, drinking and getting lucky with someone after the bar closed at never o’clock. A right of passage for a great many twenty somethings, getting away from the parents for the potential of a hot fuck and lots of partying.
Goa on the other hand was a more exotic location farther away and cost more to go to. it seems now that the place has a well established and well beaten track though its not as burned out as many other right of passage places primarily because Indians themselves are slow to move into the 21st century and that is a blessing and in return; the interest in coming here is less and so it remains a beaten path and not a highway. Despite it being a destination since the beatniks in the 1960s.

Sadly I have to say that my ten days here have been pretty uninspiring. It seems that the beaten path comes with some baggage in the form of a strong sense of peter pan syndrome (I’m coining that phrase if it hasn’t already been coined). Peter Pan Syndrome: in the sense that, may white people come to Goa to avoid growing up. Every day is a recovery from the night before, and every night is seeking out the next party and who’s going. Subsequently you get 45+ year old post burnouts who are so far from reality in any sense of the word, burned out over drugged, over boozed and over smoked people Its like the Break glass for Emergency Exit was broken but the Exit was never made. A lot of Yoga folks come to south Goa to get some peace from their ‘peace’ going specifically south for short terms but never leave, or go to expensive exclusive reports to avail of a genuine blast from the 1960s. I met some German people who all had children and had accrued them whilst on the road. People that who have been here for more than a year, here come here to get away from something and end up becoming assistants to yoga teachers in leu of enlightenment.

There are also Indian people who come here to work- migrant workers, a lot of them from up north Kashmir, Himalaya, Delhi, Punjab, Calcutta, Bangladesh etc to work as cook’s in teh scattered bamboo bars and leaf huts with mosquito repellent candles and broken plastic chairs.

Then there are the old guys Who left when the going was good as Hippies or renegades and they never left like they transcended from one level to another and never left. There are plenty of those in America also, but they arent like these guys who are typically intellectuals with self educated professorships in everything. They are in some cases stoners but not all, because there are people who left America to contentiously object to some policy, or had minor felonies, for crimes now deemed legal like possession of Marajuana.

i love the tropics, its a fascination I got from my time in Australia.. Living and working in cities forces you to look closely at the things in your immediacy because cities are fast moving and theres a lot going on. Existing in the jungle forces you to expand and see the world around you at a distance but with intimacy. Theres less to catch the eye with specificity but more to capture the spirit and magic. I think this is why I like to make field recordings because its photography for the ear, capturing a more esoteric and expansive reality with the intimacy that playback is.

I have more to say about Goa but for now lets move on.

In my 20s I decided that I was going to try my level best not to own a car before I was 40. and so I never owned a car before I was 40. And so learned to ride a scooter in Goa and for the liberation of the natives to my righteous new message which my people are working on as we speak. Perhaps Ill have to get into the rat-race of car ownership if I ever get back to city life. I hate the reality of it but love the concept and the independence. One thing I realize having come away from America is that I actually really love it there, and that I want to soak up as much of at as I possibly can. Its a fascinating country with a lot going on under the covers.