February 1, 2017

Formular A517 (Asterix & Obelix)

Did you see the movie about Asterix & Obelix when they had to get that document A517 or whatever the number was? So we are here in a similar Indian movie. Our hotel manager starts to loose some hair and might not sleep anymore in the night and our daughter Satya has more time to spend on sending mails and writing documents then on her own work!
This is just crazy. And all we want is 30 pills lying in Bangalore in the customs with DHL.
It will be interesting to see that whole story and how things lead one to another and make a mad story at the end.
To start:  Vandana discovered in the hotel in Frankfurt that she had forgotten her medicine, pills for the thyroid and blood pressure. She had only for one day with her.
There was no way to return to get them so we had to wait until we arrived at the ashram to go to the doctor and have some indian substitutes to be prescribed.
That is what we did. The thyroid was no problem but the blood-pressure pills were. They are composed of 3 different components unavailable in the ashram.
We had to go to Vallikkavu pharmacy togged them. But they didn't haver these pills either. So we started phoning and writing to our daughters in Luxembourg to check with the doctor what to do.
This took 2 days until we had all the different components of the pills and the doctor in the Ashram could see if there were alternatives. Finally we got 2 components but the 3rd was missing and unavailable in Amritapuri & Vallikavu. So we had to wait until we got to Varkala and could visit there the Sivagiri Hospital where I was the year before in a similar affair. It was clear that Vandana started to suffer from the lack of medicine and her feet started to swell. Then she became very dizzy and couldn't lye down for hours in the night. We were all the time visiting the ashram medical services. They did a cardiogram and nothing showed up. Finally she could take another pill to compensate but that was not really correct and adequate. The 25.th we left for Varkala and went right away to the Hospital. Here we had a specialized doctor for blood-pressure and she could solve the problem. Vandana got 2 pills in the hospital pharmacy and one outside which fitted to the original.
We were saved.
Then we got the "good" idea to ask our daughter Satya to send us original pills to our hotel as we only got pills for 2 weeks. That might not have been such a good idea as we gonna see.
Our daughter contacted the doctor to get a new prescription because you cannot sent medicine in other countries without a prescription. She got new pills for 30 days and the checked the best way to send them. As she is familiar with DHL on her job she choose them finally because the TNT Post system didn't even find Varkala. So the announced that it will take 1 week about before the pills will arrive here. On Monday the Manager of the Hotel contacted us very excited as he didn't know yet about the whole thing.  The customs in Bangalore had contacted him what was this medication sent by DHL? He had to sent a copy of his passport & his driver license to them to legitimate.
We had given his name as contact from the hotel and all the datas from the hotel. So now he was involved in the affair as well. And that should only be the start of a new story.
We had to contact again our daughter to send him the original papers and a copy of the DHL document to verify that art was a correct address etc... Now it took 2 das before some answer came. And guess what?
The customs wants more information about these medicament for clearance, because the same product is available in India under other names. So they think that we should get it here with an indian doctor instead of sending it here and clear the customs. This whole thing is getting ridiculous.
And the pills are still lying in the customs in Bangalore. And now they have send new documents to be filled out by our daughter and sent back. So the manager here has now a file of documents looking like medical "dossier" and he has problems sometimes to breeze.
Now he has send this new stuff to Satya and she has to fill it out and then send it back and he sends it to the customs. You dig that? As I said it becomes really an Asterix/Obelix affair.
Affaire à suivre... disent les Français. Et Oui....





January 31, 2017

India 2017

Yes we are back in India.
We arrived on the 12. January and went straight to the Ashram in Amritapuri.
As Amma left for the South Indian Tour on the 23. we came here to Varkala, our second home in India. We were really surprised by all the changes made here in the Green Palace. Quite luxurious, modern design and clean nice rooms with A/C. Of course the prices went up, but still it is a good deal.  We'll stay here until Amma comes back to the Ashram and will then return also to Amritapuri.
We will fly back home on the 25. February. It was quite a big change this year as we left Luxembourg and Frankfurt in the snow with -8° and her we live with around +30° Celsius.


We had some adventures but we could manage them all until now.  
India is always a surprise with unexpected things happening. I will come back to these stories later.
Lokal Samasthah Sukhino Bhavantu 
Everyday on twitter:

Here a link to my watercolors on Pinterest:

JAI JAI MA




July 1, 2016

And here the latest

Here the latest paintings of this year:

Painting, painting & painting

A lot of painting went on from the last time I wrote here.
It happened that more and paintings from Amma attracted me and I had no interest at all to paint something else. So I went with it and 4 new paintings have seen the day.
A lot of my people wonder how he is doing that suddenly?
And I must confess I don't know! I just take my time, sometimes 2-3 months and work it out with a lot of thoughts and daylong meditations around the color to take or the mix to use. It is a very meditative painting if you have Amma or Devi as a subject. It is not ordinary painting. It comes closer to the mural temple painting of India, not on the technique, but on the approach to the subject with a lot of reverence and humility. And sometimes you have to pray that Amma might help you and deliver her secrets. Because whoever has tried to paint Her knows this: You will discover so many facets of Her face that you start praying without effort. And it is very easy to miss Her. I saw a lot of these paintings, big and small. There is one bramachari in the Ashram who is specialized. He does a lot of drawings in the Matruvani. And he makes it almost everytime. But he is also the only one, I guess. So I feel very happy when my painting comes close and it takes me sometimes 2-3 weeks to make the last details until it comes as close as it can get. So see it for yourself and enjoy as much as I did:

January 19, 2016

Copy machine

A funny moment happened also here in the reception of the hotel.
I wanted to have some copies of music staffs for writing.
So I asked the guy behind the desk if they had a copy machine.
He looked very strange at me and asked:" A coffe-machine?"
All the guys around started laughing whole-hearted and it became the joke of the day here at the reception.
Finally I got my internet dongle work poorly on the windows platform, but not on the MAC.
I guess it is the El Capitan who does not want dongles older than 2 years to work on his platform.
On Windows with Parallels I have still Windows 7 which takes it. But the net is so slow here for us used with the high-speed we enjoy normally. Here you come back to the origin of the internet with 10 Mb per sec. or less sometimes. Anyway here in India thinngs are anyway slow most of the time. It is the heat that forms this habit. You cannot jump around all the time here. And even doing nothing makes you tired!
But a good laugh is alway good wherever you are.

January 16, 2016

Back to India

So we arrived safely again in India on Thursday morning.
Coming from Luxembourg with a temperature around 0° we were welcomed here with 32°C and beautiful weather conditions.
The greetings at Green Palace were warm and nice and we have the room adjustant to the one from last year.
A funny thing happened in the airplane from Abu Dhabi. We were nicely installed in our seats before departure when a man was looking for his seat before us. There were 2 ladies who were sitting at the wrong place. They had to move to the other side of the plane but in the same row.
I said to Vandana that they should read there boarding card before sitting!
Some minutes later came a couple looking for their seats. They stopped at our row and were calling the stewardess. We were asked to check our tickets and "Oh Shame!" we also were sitting in the wrong place!!! We had the row 20 and were in row 18 ! I appolegized and the couple told us to stay in our place as they took our seats 2 rows behind. That was quite humiliating for me and my big mouth!
So in future I will pay more attention to this. Or I would make only reservations for row 18 in future, so no
problem will arrise. In fact we had row 18 in the first plane from Frankfurt and this was in my mind when boarding the second flight. Anyway a funny story to start our journey.
More to come.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

April 6, 2015

More of my watercolor paintings

I want to post some more of my recent and older paintings here on this blog to make them available for friends and family, and for everybody interested.




This one I painted for Lalita, our grand-daughter, so she could put it on the wall of her room.
Here i tried the WOW method of a very inspiring lady, namely Anna Mason: 

The effect is really amazing and it is not so hard to realize such paintings.
Here is another one:


Quite realistic?!

Another nice painting is this one:

This is a street in a small Luxembourg village called Kehlen.
Why I painted this one is very simple. I lived here during 2nd world-war.
The 2nd house on the right side was the house of my grand-parents. 
My grand-father was a farmer with a lot of animals, gardens and meadows.
During the war, when my father was during some time hidden in the woods around Kehlen,
my mother and I lived here. I was very happy and had a lot of freedom to stroll around and play with all these animals and a dog.My father had 3 sisters and these aunts were very caring for me.
I lived there until the end of the war in 45, when I was 3 years old. Returning to Luxembourg-city was a nightmare for me at the beginning. But after some time I adopted to the town-life.
Her an old picture from these years:


Here I am with my mother and my aunt Justine in 1943 before the same house.
More to come!

   

Aquarelles

I have worked quite a lot in watercolor during the last months since our return from India.
I was specially happy to have taken the courage to paint Amma. I started in Amritapuri on the beach during satsang, making some small and "primitive" sketches. But it took the shy away and so now here is the result:







































Then I took more courage and did a second one, more a portrait from an earlier picture.
What i liked was the light in Amma's hair and her big smile. The picture was not very sharp so it was not obvious to get all the details and some errors creeped in. But the main atmosphere is there.






































Now I'm working on a Devi Bhava picture which is really tough to do.
The sketches is ready and the choice of the colors is progressing.
It took me now 3 weeks and will take for shure as much to finish.
Really excited to see what will come out.
I feel like Amma's grace is helping during the painting. Very inspiring!

January 15, 2015

Safely back home

We had a real cool flight with Etihad and even time enough in Abu Dhabi, which is nice because sometimes you have to run 2 km. from one gate to the other. So this time we were in time!
Arriving in Frankfurt was the shock with 6° outside. We had to wait 10 minutes for our car-shuttle to get us to the car. It was chilly, I would say and we had the possibility to get quickly accustomed again to European temperature. From 30° to 6° is quite a shock for the body and we were happy that the heating in the car is good and fast. Driving towards Mannheim/Saarbrücken, we had the testing of the day. The sky went completely dark and heavy rain powered down on us, so that you couldn't see more than 20 m. ahead. It became really dangerous and it took us 1 hour to get through this weather until the sky cleared up. Some problems on the road were announced by the GPS but we saw nothing.  The last hour from Saarbrücken to Luxembourg was under a clear sky and no rain at all. Amma had heard us. We arrived home at 6.00 PM and were greeted by our happy daughter. And as always, we realized that our 7-weeks trip has given us a lot of new experiences, realizations and an inner freshness that made it worthwhile.    

January 12, 2015

Our Indian Odyssee

We finally arrived again in Varkala where we didn't want to go this year. We tried all but have to admit defeat. All other places have been a flop. Specially the most expensive once. Now we pay 2000.- RS a day, we can go to the sea the whole afternoon, go "swimming" and lay in the sun. The food here is excellent and much cheaper and no extra fees and charges. So that is the experience we made. In the Fragrant Nature we had this flop with the sound-pollution and expensive medium food (1400.- RS as minimum). But for this we had to pay 5000.- Rs per day/per room.
The All Season Hotel was better, less expensive and the swimming pool on the roof was a plus! (See the blog: Swimming in the rain). But the hotel was like a ghost hotel, most of the time we were all alone in the restaurant with 2 waiters. It seemed that most of the people were eating in their rooms or were just there for conferences and sleeping. But at least it was quite and the rooms AC/DC and clean.
The biggest flop was the Quilon Beach Hotel. On Booking.com it looked really good, the sea and the beach, a swimming pool and 5 star hotel! Hoohaw! We give it 2 stars between Ibis and Mercury in Europe. To go to the sea you had to ask a waiter ( always with a big smile, was he happy that he had to do something?) to open the gate closed with a heavy lock, and suddenly you were out in the street.


 On the other side a really dirty messed-up beach and strictly forbidden to go swimming. What you think of that?


While we at the beach we were submerged by loud shouts:" Alleluiah, Allelujiah!" and some heavy music started. We were told that there was a christian festival going on for 5 days until Sunday. So pollution went on, this time no vedic mantras but christian disco!





So we won again. The disco went on until 10 PM and we could hear it well from our room on the 7th floor. No luck.  
The buffet in the restaurant was excellent but well paid ( 1450.- Rs).
The most beautiful thing in the whole place was a beautiful carved giant Ganesha in the entrance hall.
Very impressive! 


We had a talk with the manager in our room as to how find a solution to our leaving earlier. We had strong arguments and he finally agreed to find a financial agreement and that we would leave next day. We were feeling better after that, specially Vandana who was unable to sleep the night before as the situation was really stress and she felt very uncomfortable. The manager confirmed us that they would only charge us 2 nights and that we would be given cash back on the advance in Visa we had made. So things went better again and we found a place in Varkala called the Green Palace, where a non AC/DC room was available for the next days. In our usual hotel, the Hill View, there were no rooms available anymore. So Amma brought us finally here and it was the best choice for now!
2 days more and we are gone. 7 weeks India and 35 days Ashram. That's it. And we hope for a good flight and arrive safe and healthy in Luxembourg again. 
OM Namah Shivaya





January 10, 2015

Difficult times

Today we went to a moslem shop buying a shawl. The owner is a very gentle man, friendly and pious and he invites us always when we come by. I would like to talk to him about what is happening in the world, these tragedies under the name of religion. How can people think that they will go to heaven by committing crimes and murders in the name of religion? Is it not said that God is Love? Is it not said that God is compassion and forgiveness? There will be no heaven waiting for these people. They will realize this when it is to late. That a world-wide war is going on devided in so many groups and nations should be clear by now. The world will have to evolve or will be destroyed faster then we can think of. And there is a large number of people helping to save what can still be saved. We have this great example before our eyes day by day, Amma who inspires us and works relentlessly to awaken people. We are sad to read everyday such horror news from all parts of the world. And one can notice that we all get used and accustomed to these horrors and loose slowly but surely our indignation. The happenings in Paris have again shaken the public opinion and we have lost again a big part of our innocence and confidence. More fear will spread in the hearts, more racism will grow in the minds and more people will get inspired to do such horrors they consider heroic deeds.
Only a change in the minds and hearts of people can stop this violence and crimes against humanity. It is said that in Kali Yuga men will fall under the dignity even of animals. What this really means is what we watch now in all parts of the world. How to preserve one's faith and hope during these difficult times? It seems that only prayer will help, even for those who kill and destroy humanity.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu



N.B.: Yesterday evening I had a talk with the man from the shop. I asked him about his opinion regarding the massacre in Paris and similar events. He said: "That is no good, that is no good. In Kashmir we say: No killing! We don't know this people. They are NOT muslims. We don't know where they come from. And in Pakistan Moslems are killing Moslems. It is bad for our religion!"
I thanked him and was happy to hear that. Although he doesn't like America, his outlook on the world as a moslem has nothing to do with these terrorists. That gives some hope. 


  

January 2, 2015

Devi in disguise

Today we went to the beach at Amritapuri and we had one of the most beautiful sunsets I ever saw. The sun went slowly in the sea at the horizon and got completely immersed in it. Have a look for yourself:








Mother Nature, how beautiful You are (is your form)! 

Etrayo ramyam ha ninte rupam

December 30, 2014

Udo has gone

Some special people have left us just now et the end of this year, mainly Udo Jürgens and Joe Cocker.
With Udo I have a very special connection. When Udo was winning his first great International recognition with his song "Merci chéri" 1966 in the Eurovision Song Contest in Luxembourg, I had the chance to be the bass player in the orchestra. As I was a regular member of the Jean Roderes orchestra at the Luxembourg Television we could do the job for the Eurovision Contest. And Udo was the singer for Austria. His song made it and it was the start of a great international career over 40 years with millions of records sold in the whole world. He was to become one of the greatest singer and songwriter in German language of our time.  His biography is impressive and the list of his successes as well. We were happy to see him win in 1966. He was sympathetic and his song well made and musical. I was a youngster at that time, 24 years old, my son Ariel was to be born in October and I was studying double-bass with Paul Deitz at the Luxembourg Conservatory beside my job with Roderes. I had just made an audition with the orchestra at the Olympia in Paris and almost had missed the job at the Eurovision Contest. I'm still thankful to Jean Roderes that he took me in at the last moment. And so my bass playing will stay on this recorded version of the original "Merci chéri" as long as its exists.
Check it out and enjoy at Youtube: Merci chéri  and the second version at the end of the Contest.



I wish you all a happy New Year!

Lokah Smastah Sukhino Bhavantu




December 11, 2014

Who took Vandana's chapels?

When coming down from the stage-sitting with Amma today, Vandana's chapels were gone! She had put them under her Amma-sack and they were almost invisible. So who took the opportunity to take them away? Strange. But they are gone and Vandana had to walk bare feet to our flat. Was Amma the strange thieve? We heard a lot of strange stories about chapels and other things disappearing here at Amritapuri. For Vandana it is the second pair! A suivre....

December 6, 2014

Click, cluck, click, click...

One of Vandana's favourite is checking the lights in every new hotel-room we get in.
And normally there are many. For all kind of use, walls, ceiling, bath, near the beds, hall, toilet, mirrors, balcony, then all the knobs for fans and AC/DC, plus TV, phone and even in cupboards and fridge. So trying to figure them all out is part one of the show. Part two is trying to remember them all. Part three is checking them out by try and error. Because the first is suddenly the second and the third the first. And what follows then is Vandana's lightshow. This is a must. And when finally all have been tried out, we are again at the beginning, because to remember them all doesn't work.

So the click, click click will start again next time. But to be fair, sometimes she hits the right one, by chance or by intuition is difficult to say. But then she is very satisfied by the result of her efforts and this makes our day.


Amma's coming home

Amma's coming home.
Thursday morning, when going for breakfast, there were devotees and ashramites sitting before Amma's place at 8.30 AM. It was said that Amma would come around 10.00 AM from her journey to Europe and the USA. So we thought that a little bit crazy. But then, back in our flat, the idea came that we could do our names until Amma arrives, as this takes about 1 hour. So that's what we did. We got 2 chairs and installed them in the 2nd row directly in the entrance to the small hall leading to the stairs. After 1/2 hour the sun started to come out above the trees in the yard and it was getting really hot. But nevertheless we kept going and felt good sitting there and waiting for Amma to come. At 10.00 AM we had finished the names and more and more people started to come and install chairs around. A lot of children sat near the stairs, played or painted books or other games. Slowly at 10.30 a line got formed in the yard, reaching out to the big hall. At 11.00 a lot of people had gathered there and we enjoyed having a chair so near Amma's place, because that was now impossible to get anymore. But Amma kept us waiting. Sampurna and Arjun showed up and greeted us. Apparently Amma would come from Trivandrum Airport. Now there was a big crowd who had gathered all around and people started to get excited and nervous. Some tried to sneek the place of others or just stood in front of them and one could feel the the stress growing. The sun had turned to the other side and we were back into the shade after 2 hours! A lady asked Vandana if she was OK because her face had become red as usual under these circumstances. Now people started staying up, we also did, the chairs were removed and people started pressing from behind to get closer. A lot of police forces showed up, brahmacharinis gave instructions to keep the path free. I knew this would collapse totally as soon as Amma would show up. And that is what happened. It was past 12.15 and one could see the first signs that Amma was coming. Finally the big van arrived. They drove the van in front of the place, so all the people there had to move - and nobody wanted to do that! When finally Amma came out under the protection of 4 policemen, there was no place left even to put a dime. And under the enthousiastic shouts from the devotees Amma proceded towards the house, but we almost couldn't see her because she is so small. And the pressure started to be almost unbearable by all the people around. When she walked up the stairs to her room, some Indian people shouted short phrases or made remarks which made Amma laugh. She said also some funny things, but all in Malayalam, so we couldn't understand. Before the turn she started sending kisses and hands to us all with sweet smiles and a sunny expression of love and joy. Finally she disappeared to her room where she would come traditionally to the window to greet us all again. That made the mass of people all move to the frontyard. And because the big van was still there and nobody wanted to move and the people under the stairs and the balcony moved back, imagine the pressure and the stress happening. I tried to protect Vandana as much as I could but was also moved by the crowd backwards and to the side. Some small women allmost got crashed and started screaming. The girl from the recycling center told me: „Just move with the crowd, don't fight it!“ But somehow I did both. Finally things started to calm down and then Amma appeared on the window, sending kisses and greetings to us all. She looked around to everybody the same way she does at the end of a Devi-Bhava. We all felt blessed and happy to be there. This was the first time ever that we participated in this kind of ritual. 3 people took a lot of photos behind Amma. Maybe one day we will see some of them. After some time and some phrases from Amma and shouts from Indians Amma retired and the crowd slowly desintegrated. By then it was almost 1.00 PM. We returned to our room.
Amma had come back home!

N.B.: In the afternoon a young lady told Vandana: „ I really admired you sitting there so long in the sun waiting for Amma!“ Often side-effects of one's doings cannot be predicted-


December 3, 2014

Amma in Rome

It has been a special event seeing Amma at the side of Pope Francis and other spiritual and religious leaders at the Vatican. We watched the conference live on TV, but couldn't understand everything that was being said because the translation was not very loud. Anyway, it was the first time in history that such a meeting ever happened. Amma's speech was very quick, condensed knowledge and she was the only one not to read her speech from paper. We enjoyed the fact that she was the first to talk after the Pope. We have heard that she also had a private meeting with the Pope before the conference.
Who wants to know more about, check out at Amritapuri.org or on Youtube.

She looks really sweet on this group-picture. We hope that her enlightening words are heard around the globe and that the history of human slavery takes a new turn from now on. What has to follow are political and governmental decisions on all levels, otherwise this declaration will not have a worldwide effect on trafficking and slavery of all kinds.  

December 1, 2014

French Fries, Fried Rice, French Fries, Fried .........

This is a nice "tongue-breaker"(?) It came about yesterday when Vandana ordered 2 Chai and French Fries. Here in the All Season Hotel only 2 men can well speak English, most don't at all or just small bits like "Sir" and "Please".  So the lady on the phone understood "Fried Rice".  Finally we got Fried Rice and French Fries! Now a big guy comes along with all that food an a big plate, big drops of sweat on his front, and wants to put it on the small table. He has almost to kneel down to get it because the table is very low. And what had to be wad to happen. The plate skipped and there was the fried rice plus a cup full of ketchup with a big bang on the floor! We had to force us heavily as to not burst out in a big laugh. The guy was really in troubles. He had to call the cleaning service and get all from the floor. Happily my french fries were safe and tasted good.

Swimming in the rain

So today we went up the roof again to have a nice swim. But then it started to rain gently and we could make the experience: swimming in the rain on top of the Ashtamudi-Lake. Really a nice experience.