Of Gypsies and an Open Hand

I surely should write a book. At least to let the world know about the people I encounter. I cant write much now. I have acquired my first Indian wound, my first Cashmere wound. I fell in the middle of the Kashmir mountains and opened my hand. Not much. Enough to remind one that any disturbance on the normal balance of a body changes it all. Enough to remind you that blood comes out, and alcohol burns like hell even when you think you are much tougher than a child. Enough to make you loose your balance when trekking though the Cashmere mountains.

I have said this before but I will repeat I am no trekker, so every time I do invent to join one the part of me who does not want to be in a situations I cannot get of screams. This voice is however becoming more and more silent and so I joined the trek through the mountains. I slept under the stars, in the plains of a mountain, surrounded by the gypsies with whom I could not do more than smile to, share food, and take pictures of. My abundance of happiness is noted even by them. An older lady held me, and asked to be photographed with me, than she pointed to my mouth than to hers, and drew a smile in the air. I know. I know I smiled I said.

I have been meeting many gipsies as I participated in a distribution of donated clothes through these remote villages of muddy houses. They are so beautiful. Long eyelashes and beautiful smiles. The girls have often short hair till they are ten. They are nomadic and you can see that as the winter is probably about to come they are getting ready to move. I love Kashmir. I finally understood why is it that my friend Maya and her boyfriend Lior insisted so much that I should come. It is not that I love here because the views are stunning, the mountains are full of pines, there is sheep everywhere, horses, lakes, river. The natural beauty is phenomenal. But that is not what I love though. I love that nothing is what you imagine it to be. I love the intricacies. The time that it takes to understand the secrets. You must not be in a hurry. You must not take anything too serious and then you might start to see that secret world of competing loyalties. And once you do, they take care of you. I am invited to the houses, to their privates trips. “Dont go. stay. Dont be like a tourist stay here for at least a month”. I smiled thankfully. Shaban my friend and guide told me last night that his dream was to be educated, to go to university, to read books. But the war did not let it happen so he learns through us the travelers. The ones who talk to him. Today as I sat around the plane in the middle of the gipsy settlement. As he gently poured for me, Arwen and him the delicious Kashmir tea he asked me whether I wanted to hear sufi poetry. We did. He took his cel phone and read quotes from poems sent from a friend. They talked of God. The coexistence of a cel phone, God, kashmir tea, in a gipsy settlement made me smile. The world is such a fascinating place.

I for instance travel now with an Israeli guy, and a English girl. I wish I could write a boook so that I could write about them. Arwen, who has the name of an elf, has a life history that is not short of epic. It starts with a grandfather who was black from Barbados and lied to the crew of a sugar cane boat when he was 14 (saying he was 18) to come to England. Collin Jones, was liked by the captain who taught him how to read. Her grandmother, a welsch woman who ran away to marry a black man and was shut from her entirely family. Well, so thought her father, as usual what people say and do is different. So she was shut but Arwens father remembers his whole family 🙂 Collin who was a very ambitious man left to buy milk when Arwen father was 15 and only retruned 16 years later rich and with a new wife. Arwen mother ran away from Cataluna. A story of runaways looking for meaning, and life abroad. I could go on and on, but my muscles in my hand remind me I should speak of Elick as every little nerve is already to tired to type.

Elik is even more fascinating. He who was raised orthodox studying a million hours a day of religion must have read every book in the face of the earth. That is what he did. He read religious books and then literature and philosophy. The laws of Judaism prevent them from doing everything so he lived in books till he could finally have the hardest conversation in his life. He had not faith he had to leave the Yeshiva. The laws made no sense to him anymore. His kindness generosity and enormous knowledge have become my gate into understanding a world I knew nothing about. In fact a world, I was very prejudicial of. So every single question I have from reading books, watching films are now answered as they pop in my mind. The world of the religious, the world of the Yeshivas, the world of Kabalah as well as of traditional Jewish law. The world of Jewish philosophy. But I cant possibly write about this world. I can barely understand it, and something way more mundane prevents me from doing it. My hand hurts. And I have learned that we must respect the religious, the books, the philosophers but also being here has taught me more and more that I must simply hear the internal voice. The one that said to me while I climbed the mountain carrying wood to make a fire. The one that said ” climbing is tough enough for you maybe you should respect your level”. I did not hear it at that time, I pushed it a bit further, I lost my grip, I lost my attention, the wood went down, my whole body collapsed and my hand in the attempt to stop me open itself a bit… not too much, just enough to remind me that strength and fragility lay hand in hand, and that the deepest knowledge comes from within.

Lots of love,
Jules

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