Currently in India at the moment, in the town of Puttaparthi to be exact. It's Sathya Sai Baba's town in Andhra Pradesh. The last time I was here was two years ago. The first thing I noticed on my return is that people I met back then, like Ngajeng the Nepali merchant, the Tibetan doctor in Chadrawathi Road and even Sai Baba himself is the ravage of age. Everyone's gotten older. Ngajeng has a paunch that he didn't have two years ago. He's married now. The Tibetan doctor who runs an apothecary and massage place has raven line wrinkling his eyes. Everyone has aged. The talk of age and death loom the air - Sai Baba's upcoming death, that is. He is the icon, the avatar, the very life of this place. Times have been rough for the town and its residents. They rely on the tourists and devotees that flock every year to Puttaparthi to get darshan from the holy man. But the world economic crisis has affected even the beggars here. Ngajeng said that the past year has been bad for business. It's only picked up since Baba's birthday in November.
Anyway, I'm currently nursing a pinched nerve in my neck. It was my bright idea to get a Tibetan massage while here. It only cost 800 rupees which is roughly equivalent to $20. The petite Indian girl, the doctor's neighbor in Karnataka where he and his wife are from, did a job too well. Her small hands penetrating my nerve. I can barely move my neck now. It's 2 am. I don't think I'll be able to sleep anytime soon. I'm going back to the doctor tomorrow and get acupuncture. Maybe it'll help.