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A Kaleidoscope of Impressions

The return journey from India last Sunday/Monday was like a kaleidoscope whirlwind, in which situations and impressions followed with an increasing spin. First it took us away from the WTT retreat centre in Visakhapatnam, where we had been for 3 weeks, with the plane to Hyderabad. A friend, from the Spiritual Book Centre, picked us up at the airport in a small car, with another friend as a driver. Gliding through the city, conversations, different encounters, heartfelt hospitality. When entering into the road where the book centre is located, I had to identify at a police control – there had been a terrorist bomb blast directly around the corner some weeks ago.

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At the police control. At different places along a small road there were desks with a few policemen.

On the roads motorbikes with women in burqas on the rear seat gave dark spots into the otherwise colourful Hindu surrounding. Nevertheless, it seems that there is a generally peaceful intermingling of the different cultures.

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When buying a little lingam holder for a friend in a silver shop, I was impressed by the multi-fold oriental handicraft objects, none of these you would find in a Western shop. In a corner a little Buddha sitting on a heap of coins was covered with red kum-kum-powder, besides a receipt book.

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In the night at the airport, faces of Western tourists and businessmen mixed into the crowd of Eastern travellers. Video screen announcements, neon-light, immigration and security checks. Waiting and dozing. Then being packed together into the belly of the airplane for the next jump, to Dubai. Here high halls full of artificial palms, with glittering pomp. Posters promised that when you buy an apartment, you’ll get a BMW or a Bentley for free and have the chance of winning a private jet or a private island – what might be the price of the apartment? Arab ambiance, somewhere in a no-man’s land of transit passengers. Back to check-in, meeting again a friend who had travelled via Chennai, with fever. Also my cold got stronger, preparing for the little fever of the coming days.

Then in the plane, in a virtual dimension we were passing over Iran, the Black Sea, Crimea, back to Europe – without noticing it except on the screen map with the route indications. In the meanwhile the on-board movie system took me to The End of the World with the Pirates of the Caribbean, and to Death at a Funeral with dark British humour. Sitting beside me a young Swiss lady was polishing her finger nails for about an hour – what a deep concentration on a profound subject. Other faces in the plane were also now again very Western: Piercings at a brow instead of brow marks like in India, blond coloured hair with gel, brown holiday faces in sport dressings. Western individualism was coming back to the fore.

When we were riding from Zurich airport back to Berne through a beautiful “warm” winter weather of 6 degrees – about 22 degrees colder than the day before, I thought of the question of the driver in Hyderabad: How can people live in such a cold surrounding in Europe? Do the offices close during the cold times? He had no idea about the living conditions we are used to in the West. I felt that people over here, though many know through travelling to other parts of the globe, have no idea of the worlds the inner journey can lead you. And that it might take some time for me to digest the many diverse impressions.

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Inside the Spiritual Book Centre, Hyderabad

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