The Fourteen Days of Adishakti

This is the sort of thing I think belongs on the Losers’ Table rather than here: the various tweets I made over the Xmas period, recapping the trip. Perhaps one day it can go home…

1
First day in India I met the ghost dog, slept in mud-brick dwelling, swam in bright pool, and drank with seven poets and one drummer.

2
Second day in India I did 7am yoga in cool theatre, hugged several pillars and began translating from Indian English into Scots Scots.

3
Third day in India my plane-cold was a streaming head & a hacking cough – one magic aspirin cleared it up, but then the malt was all gone.

4i
Fourth day in India we were perhaps on gin n nimboo. Certainly the T-shirt co. Dubious Saints had been founded, featuring v un-PC slogans…

4ii
…St Augustine may have had strong opinions on human sexuality, but it’s unlikely he extended these to otters. Except on our fine T-shirts.

5i
Fifth day in India we went into Pondicherry and composed limericks on the seashore, then we were almost thrown out of a French restaurant…

5ii
…our dear friend & self-styled ‘drummer-fucker’, Rane, may have had something to do with this – or my diagram for the ‘seated bagpipe’…

6
On the sixth day day in India the show began to shape up: ‘choral’ sections where much-translated pieces featured + solo spots + an order.

7
On the seventh day in India the drummer-fuckers drummed: big brass drums with tiny leather drumheads: an intense sound muted by the heat.

8i
On the eighth day in India we visited the ashram in Pondi & sat on our bony bottoms for a while. Then we drank breakfast beer in the taxi…

8ii
..got some sandals made in Auroville & drank good coffee while our friends shopped in the holy places. Then we saw God’s golden golfball.

9
On the 9th day in India we drove back to Chennai & performed in the magnificent reception room of the Amethyst to the astonishment of many.

10i
On the tenth day in India we took our hangovers to two girls’ schools, read at the British Council, then tried to go to the Leather Bar…

10ii
…which, we were assured, didn’t know what it meant to be The Leather Bar, but went to the wrong hotel, so drank Black Dog at the Sheraton.

11i
On the eleventh day in India I realise I’ve been counting the days wrong, because we went to Pune and had a day off before the show. Oops…

11ii
…whatever, had a pizza in Poopoo Johns that did for me for the remainder of the trip. Ate later in Bohemia, overlooking the city by night.

11iii
On the real 11th day in India, shopped in various Pune malls, bought small metal Ganesh, discovered Fabindia and did triumphant final show.

12i
On the 12th day in India got up so early found the moon asleep in the back of taxi. Flew to Kerala & landed amid Marxist palms & giant mer-

12ii
maid… Pool was lukewarm at Mascot Hotel, worms infested orange, but a wonderful poet sang us her translation of Ozymandias into Malayalam.

13
On the 13th day in India saw Ganesh read a book. Reclined upon Kovalam Beach sipping Kingfisher wrapped in newsprint. Later: a moon coconut.

14
Woke up after more than 12 hours sleep – one hour for each day we were in India seems neatly appropriate. Began one post for each day…

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About Bill Herbert

Poet and pseudo-scholar W.N. Herbert was born in Dundee in 1961, educated there and at Oxford, where he completed his DPhil thesis on Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid, and now lives and works in Newcastle. He is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and his books are published by, among others, northern publisher Bloodaxe Books. He is also the Dundee Makar, or city laureate.
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2 Responses to The Fourteen Days of Adishakti

  1. Sampurna Chattarji says:

    Gorgeous!

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