For years I planned to write a memoir of my life. Maybe it would be interesting for others to read. Now I see it’s impossible. Life moves too fast. Living every moment with awareness and appreciation makes our lives full of amazing wonders and miracles. How can we begin to understand, let alone alone write them down?
Lama D and I are in Mumbai working on his visa to the US. By a stoke of luck we found a cyber cafe at the US embassy staffed by brilliant Indians who teamed up to help us complete the complex application form and schedule appointments. His biometrics fingerprinting is this Sunday 9/22, where he presents all the papers. Yes, hundreds of papers. Please send your prayers. They have time to check them and his final US interview is 10/4. If his visa is approved then, we’ll come to the US immediately. If it is not approved I will come to the US alone.
Good-bye Paro, Hello Mumbai
With the generous help of my Bhutanese sisters Thuji Zam and Ghalem, it took only 5 hours to move permanently out of the house in Paro and put all our things in Thuji Zam’s hotel attic. Then I packed my suitcases for winter in Santa Fe, and flew to Bagdogra India to meet Lama D, where we stayed in nearby Siliguri for 2 weeks. Then we flew to Mumbai to apply in person for his US and UK visa. Bhutan does not have a US Embassy, so all applications go through India.
UK Visa Denied
With great care we prepared all the paperwork required for an eight-day tourist visit to London, hoping to see my Qigong Master Lam Kam Chueng on the way back from the US to Bhutan. Lama D passed the interview with ease. However sadly we just found out his UK visa was denied. They said they were suspicious as to why he did not show a US visa and he did not provide pay stubs from his employer. They had not asked for these things. We thought our lack of a US visa would be obvious, since the US visa application takes months, and the UK visa is immediate. He was going to the UK for only eight days as a tourist, not on business. Apparently someone was suspicious that he had made the whole trip up, and he would never leave the UK. Accch! So our travel plans are simplified. We’ll just go to the US for 2 months and return to Bhutan. Fine.
Here in Mumbai we are staying in various hotels near the US and UK embassies. An amazing stoke of good fortune happened when our first hotel happened to be across the street from the Nityanand Restaurant, a wonderful eatery named after my root guru in Ganeshpuri. Swami Bhagawan Nityananda was my teacher Rudi’s teacher. Yes, sort of my grandfather. He was a shining example of joy and bliss largely unknown in India, who passed away in 1961. He lived in the jungle town of Ganeshpuri 1.5 hours north of Mumbai and was adored by all.
Here in the Nityanand restaurant is a statue of the Swami. Above the door hangs a photo of Baghawan Nityananda with the owner of the restaurant as a boy. It also happens that their food is fantastic and clean. All Indian eateries use GMO soy oil, which makes me quite sick. We just ask for butter, and they do it joyfully at Nityanand. Here’s a picture of the shrine area.
What’s for breakfast at the Nityanand restaurant? Crispy dosa for two! We broke it apart and ate it with yogurt, called curd here. Yep. I just blessed it and found it was quite wonderful. BTW you can’t find organic food here. All the rice is white rice. Everyone eats lots of wheat in the form of bread, chapati, roti, puri, and dosa. We asked if they would cook our organic Bhutanese unpolished red rice, and were told they will not. However the restaurant manager got curious. He took a small sample of red rice to try something “organic” to taste it for himself. See the photo of Swami Nityanand in the doorway? See his statue on the right?
The following day for breakfast Lama D had puri. I had another type of Dosa with curd. No veggies are available for breakfast, unless you consider potato a vegetable.
Sadly our first hotel has a very bizarre wifi system, I believe intended to hack into guests’ computers and phones to pilfer identities. What a great business model for profit! Since they already have passports and credit cards – it’s an easy step to steal surreptitiously from net activity. So at this hotel, we avoided Wifi and used only data and hot spot from our phones. Yep. We’re in India.
Lama D is so very helpful! He’s getting wise to issues of air quality, EMF risks, Wifi, and convenient clean food. We moved to a different hotel far away from my beloved restaurant. Thankfully it’s an honest business. This hotel is in the Muslim area of Mumbai, and the rooms are only mildly muggy. Every morning and evening we hear the invitation to prayer in the din of busy traffic, monsoon torrential rain, trains, trucks, and tuk tucks honking through the night.
This charming man saw me taking photos of the cacaphony in a traffic jam, and invited a photo with Lama D. What a lovely muslim man with a beautiful smile!
Lama D orders all my food. He speaks Hindi, Dzongkha, Tibetan, Nepali, and English. Could you order from this menu? It’s a small fraction of the available items at the Nityanand restaurant. I’m learning Indian food names slowly. I just ask him for real food, mostly vegetables, nothing fried, and no GMO soy oil or sugar. This is where I draw the line. Then I bless and enjoy.
Fresh sugar cane juice is a favorite in Mumbai. Here’s how to make it.
This sugar cane juice stall is busy all day and all evening. The guy on the left is trimming the cane stalks. A small glass is 6 rupees, which is about $.09 cents. Instant sugar rush. Does this qualify as Paleo?
Lama D is looking for a tuk tuk taxi to return to our hotel for the night. The noise is unbelievable. Mumbai’s constant cacaphony is a shock to me coming from my quiet forest in Paro. Today I find it funny. Hope I don’t have to hang out too long in Mumbai!
Studying English. Lama D’s favorite way to study English is on YouTube. Yep. This week we watched ALLLL of Columbo’s episodes. He’s crazy about Peter Falk, the homicide detective with a heart. And so disappointed to hear he’s gone. Lama D’s English is improving fast! Now he’s moved to Barbara Wawa interviews with Melania Trump and POTUS rallys on YouTube.
Please pray for Lama D’s US Visa.
Today we’ll do the final check of all the paperwork for the visa. Saturday we find a printer. Sunday 9/22 he goes for his biometrics fingerprinting and submits the documents.
Next week we’ll drive up to Ganeshpuri 1.5 hours north of Mumbai to stay for a few days. That is the shrine of Swami Bhagawan Nityananda, Rudi’s spiritual teacher, and the site where Nityananda took Mahasamadhi. We’ll stay with dear friends at the Fire Mountain Retreat. Then we’ll return to Mumbai for the final visa interview on 10/4. Please send prayers.
Thanks for stopping by. I’m hanging in there. Be well!