When I was writing many articles about the history of Lefkás last year someone commented about the fact they thought there was some link between the two. At the time I couldn’t find anything on the web about this so I couldn’t help them. It is only through listening to the excellent Eva Palmer Sikelianos- Her life in ruins by Artemis Leontis that I have been able to find out any information about this. Even Google comes up blank!
Now in order to fill in a lot of gaps of generally unreported or unknown history I’m going to have to give out a couple of history recaps and this will make this article long and quite possibly unwieldy. Bear with me while I set the scene.
When I was in India just before Covid caused the world to shutdown I went to the Gandhi memorial gardens. It’s a peaceful paradise in the middle of a busy, hot, dirty city. It’s quite simple but it’s effective just like Gandhi would have wanted it to be. It is however part of the tourist trail which is not what he would have wanted but you don’t have control after you die. As we were on quite a whistle stop tour we just passed by it since you can see everything from your window and Covid was starting to bite. It might have been nice to go around the place but instead I have a postcard memory. By that I mean the memory of an image rather than the actual place.
As India is so big it’s good to have a plan in place so that you make the most of your time there. Checking out Gandhi’s history only became part of the schedule as we had time to spare. It would take a whole other holiday to properly research this.
As I’m clearly digressing from the point I’m wanting to make I will try to get there promptly. The reason I mention Gandhi is because he was a major influence in the revolution in India against British colonial rule and included in that was wearing Parisian fashion. These were often made using Indian cotton and cloth. This was to become known as the khadi or homespun cloth movement. He wished women to go back to the loom and weave their own clothes similar to Eva Palmer Sikelianos.
Eva had also met the first Indian Nobel literature prize winner poet and polymath Rabindranath Tagore; along with the granddaughter of Dadabhai Naoroji who was known as the Grand Old Man of India. Now Khorshed Naoroji is a person who has completely disappeared into history apart from her time spent with Eva, Gandhi and the knighted Tagore.
Khorshed possibly had a brief intense relationship with Eva where she was converted into wearing traditional Indian saris instead of the more fashionable Parisian styles she was more accustomed to wearing. She was trying to develop a Byzantine style school to teach those in India about Greek music, dance, language and culture and would have succeeded but Eva choose to help her husband with the development of the Delphic festivals. It was this that led to Eva’s life in ruins as well as her study of archeology 😉
Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Choker Bali is available on Netflix to watch if you want to find out more about his work for yourself. I found it a very enjoyable watch. It’s subtitled as far as I recall.
The Grand Old Man of India, Dadabhai Naoroji, was the first British Indian MP who is commentated in many street names in India but also in Finsbury Park London. If I had continued to read the William Dalrymple book that was in a hotel in India I would know more as would you all.
While in lockdown I’m trying out Deepak Chopra’s 21 day meditation course. It’s been provided by a friend and it’s like the hen do that we didn’t get to go on due to Covid.
I’m finding it amazing for my clarity of mind and we’re only on day 4. It has simple tasks for you to do but they produce results. The meditation contains a mantra in Sanskrit which helps clear your mind. It’s different every day and a translation is provided. It only lasts about 15 minutes but you do need to be uninterrupted for this time for it to have its full effect.
I definitely felt the loss of it today as I receive them in the evening and I did yesterday’s before I went to sleep. So, by the time it got to siesta time the next day I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed with the rest of my day. The previous day I had experimented with doing it just before siesta time so I haven’t found a good time yet. However those are the easiest times for me to slot in such a routine as phones and technology are not a thing I can do too easily first thing in the morning. It affects my day too much if I do that.
There is also a new phrase to write down and repeat each day to power you up but doing these at night defeats the purpose as you forget by morning. Halfway through the day means your energy is mostly gone so maybe I aught to try breaking it into parts with the audio at night and the rest later on? I could perhaps repeat the audio while doing the task later?
In addition there is also a task (writing, drawing etc) to do that maybe related to previous tasks so you need a notebook to keep all of the work together. It helps in processing things. They bring up surprisingly things which are best written down also lest you forget these important revelations.
There are getting to be questions to be answered too so again a dedicated pad of paper is required to make full use of the techniques you are learning. A sheet for each day is good or one each for the phrases, mantras, tasks and questions. I have a feeling this might get quite lengthy, quite quickly and you will need to refer to previous days to get the full benefit.
This is another Audible book that I listened to recently after my recent holiday to India. It covers places that I went to like Mumbai, Delhi and the Taj Mahal at Agra as well as places that I didn’t go to like Darjeeling and Kolkata. He too went in search of his heritage because his grandfather was Indian.There are many parts to this series as India is such a vast place peopled by so many races, religions and languages.
In the first part he goes to Mumbai and stays in the same hotel as I did – The Taj Mahal Hotel. Here he gets the tour which I wasn’t able to but I didn’t hear anything that I didn’t directly observe while I was there. It gives a little background on the reasons for its construction and some facts and figures about its cost.
Next he goes to the laundry which was on our tour but was cancelled due to Covid 19. It was nice to know about it so I don’t feel like I missed out so much. After that he learns about Parsi food culture by visiting various shops and cafes. I didn’t pick this up from the book Parsis and Zoroastrians but maybe if I had more time then I would have. Afterwards he learns about the Tiffin culture of India. This is fascinating how everyone in Mumbai gets fresh homecooked food for lunch no matter where they are. Its cheap, hygienic and a very sensible idea. Maybe if we borrowed this plan we could all eat healthier in the future. If illiterates in India can manage, we certainly should be able to figure out a next level Graze who deliver snacks by post. We do have packed lunches like the Japanese have Bento boxes so its totally possible.
In each place he goes to he meets the staff or has a guide to get inside knowledge on what its really like to live life in the diverse sprawl that is Mumbai. He also needs a translator because he couldn’t get this information without being able to speak to the locals who don’t always speak or understand English.
I’m looking forward to listening to all of the other parts during my isolation I hope you do too if you decide to download and listen to it as well.