Monday, October 18, 2004

Gunshots and lily pads blog.

Kevin must have been a popular name for boys in the early 1960s, since I’ve known several about my age, including Kevin D., PR man and film music aficionado; Kevin M., graphic designer; and Kevin N., an attorney in Ft. Worth. Recently Kevin N., my high school debate partner in ’77 and ’78, sent me an e-mail, after reading about my Tibetan meal in NYC (see last week’s postings).

He wrote: “Since you went all the way to Manhattan to eat Tibetan food, I thought I'd mention I've traveled in Nepal and India twice, once in '82 and again in '84, for three and six weeks, respectively -- great experiences. I visited the city where the Dalai Lama lives in exile, in the Himalayas, near Kashmir and Punjab. I believe it was called Dharmsala, about 200 or so miles north of Delhi. Shaved-head Buddhist monks walking the streets in saffron robes, incense burning on every street, constant sound of bells and prayer wheels and chanting, monasteries everywhere, a little ‘Shang-ri-la’ in the middle of the north Indian mountains.

“After that my good friend (a wholesale importer of Indian and Nepalese art, jewelry and garments, and my guide) and I went to Kashmir and stayed on a houseboat on a lake with wild water lilies growing all around. I remember reading The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon cover-to-cover there, and found how wonderfully entertaining trashy novels can be in a setting far removed from America. We heard shots at night, but our hoteliers assured us it was just ‘college students having fun.’ Now of course we all know of the re-ignited, but longstanding, de facto civil war in Kashmir, and Pakistan's fight to reclaim it.”

Kevin’s right about trash novels being improved by distance from their source culture. I read something by Sidney Sheldon in my very early days in Japan, since it was an English-language book I could find. I can’t remember which one of his it was, or even what it was about, however. On the other hand, I do remember reading a lot of Misery in Singapore, during those long tropical afternoons when escapist literature also meant escaping the heat. Not a bad book, really, but I’ve never wanted to read anything else of Stephen King’s since then, though recently I did read an essay of his describing how he almost died by being hit by a car. That was probably a scarier read than anything else of his.


Post a Comment

<< Home