January 19th, part 1

My childhood was a long and very tough experience of abandonment. But I didn’t know that. Not then. I found out later. Much later. When it was all over.

On January 19th 1990 I was in the midst of my hippy life. I was living on the seaside port town of Mahaballipuram in south India, renting a room for 90 rupees a week that included 2 idlis, plenty of sambar and a cup of coffee for breakfast every morning.

I had been living in Calcutta and studying at R. Tagore’s Shantiniketan University in West Bengal for 4 years. I was now touring India with my guitar and a budget of 50 rupees a day (less than a dollar), smoking lots of chillums and wearing just a black sarong around my waist. I had long henna-red dreadlocks and I was in search of the divine. But I didn’t know that. Not yet!

 I had never met any Guru, never heard about Osho. I was completely alone and on my own. I was pretty lost and confused. But of course I didn’t know that either.

On the afternoon of January 19th 1990, an Israeli guy knocked at my door. He was selling Dragons! LSD. I had never taken such drugs and had no idea what it was about. That was never part of my world and I had only vaguely heard the name.

It all happened very fast. He sold me a piece of paper for 40 rupees and left. I did as instructed and ate it. It was about 5 pm and I did what I did every day; I walked to a little hill nearby where the few hippies in town would gather every night to watch the sunset. I climbed on top of my favourite rock as the sun was setting…and that sunset was flashing colours like never before. It was intense, amazing, and extraordinary in many ways- but I also started feeling overwhelmed. I climbed down both grateful for the experience but clearly wanting it to stop. I didn’t know then that the trip had actually just started, that it would last for days, and that I would only miraculously survive that night.

That night was going to be the longest, darkest yet most colourful night I have ever lived in 50 years.

Only a couple years ago, uncovering my diaries from those days, did I find out that Osho (who would 3 years later become my master, take me by the hand and save and transform my life for ever) had left his body that very night.

How those two events are related is a mystery that I keep close to my heart.

 

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