Notes on India

(photo via

(photo via

Today I am in Udaipur, India. It's been a hot day and I've gone swimming in the hotel's pool. Screeching shiny green parrots are flying in to roost. A large red sun is setting over ancient white palaces on the lake. The air humid and thick, promising the end of monsoon season.

A swarthy, black mustached Indian with a compact body and wearing a tight black Speedo is swimming laps in the pool. He appears to be (and I say ‘appears” because I never know with Indians) in his mid-forties. As he finishes his laps, he climbs out of the pool, turns to me and flatly asks, “How are you?”

“On such a lovely evening, how could anything be wrong,” I reply.

He peers through large black eyes and begins; “The moon and the sun, are lovers who are out of balance. They fight and overwhelm. It is a dishonest relationship. This fight is hurting us all. Look at the sky. It’s black. Their imbalance is sucking the oxygen out of the world and there is not enough. People are dying.”

“Hmmm” I thought. Hard to debate that one. “Anything we can do about it?”

“No”, he dismisses scornfully. “Not unless you are one of the chosen.” I apparently was not.

”What’s your name?” I ask, trying to wrap this thing up on a positive diplomatic tone.

“I am Prince Lami Khan!” Then he turns and strides off, leaving me and the sunset alone at the pool.

This popped in after he left. Americans live in time, Indians live in space. Americans are always on the move, Indians are always at rest. Americans believe in freedom of speech; we strive for articulation. Indians believe in freedom of silence; they lapse into meditation. Americans believe in science. Indians believe in metaphysics.

Travel, Personal StoriesDavid Baum