shanti space

Shanti Space

Good morning, Krishna

Good morning, Shantanu

What kind of soup are you making today?

Tomato carrot pumpkin,
onion, garlic, potato,
mint, cilantro, basil,
jaggery, salt, pepper, ginger
and love

My favorite

Is Manav here?

He’s up on the roof
mountain watching

Nice music

Debashis Bhattacharya
Hindustani Slide

Master of the Indian slide guitar

The right music
for the moment

I’ll be on the roof

And then Shantanu walked up the stairs,
sat down at a small table,
took out his sketchbook
and continued a drawing
he had begun the day before

♫ ♫ ♫

Shantanu liked to draw
the people he encountered at Shanti Space
and everywhere else he went

Mountain watching
is something I never tire of

It can be habit forming

A good habit

A healthy habit

Have you finished your drawing?

I have

Let’s have a chai

And so Shantanu and Manav
went downstairs
and asked for some chai

How much milk would you like?

Just a little

I’d like about half a glass

Ginger and cardamon?

Yes, please


A little

And then Krishna went to the kitchen
to prepare the chai

♫ ♫ ♫

Krishna served the chai
and a minute later came back and asked,
How’s the chai?

Just right

Right on the edge

Just enough sugar to offer a subtle presence

But not so much as to mask the other flavors

And the milk?

Just as I like it

Me too

Is there any soup left?

Enough for two

I’ll have a bowl

Me too

And so Krishna went back to the kitchen
to heat up the soup
while Shantanu showed Manav
some of his drawings

♫ ♫ ♫

They’re not all complete
Sometimes people leave
before I finish
and I’m left with a partial impression
of how they were

Which allows us to imagine

The soup arrived,
and the men began to eat

Salt and pepper?

I’d like a little pepper

I like mine just as it is

So Krishna brought out the pepper,
and then the men continued to eat
in silence

♫ ♫ ♫

There’s that flute again

I wonder where it’s coming from

Yesterday I heard it when I was on the roof
I looked around
but did not see anyone

A hidden musician

A hidden master

Someone who does not want to become famous

That soup was good

Sure was

Almost as good as yesterday’s

Or perhaps it was a bit better


Could I have a lemon tea?

I’d like one too

With sugar
or without?

Save me the trouble
and put in a bit of sugar for me

Just a little?

Just enough to be noticed

A mint leaf?

A mint leaf would be nice

And so Krishna went to prepare the tea,
and there was a subtle shift in the vibe
at Shanti Space
as the flute continued
and the men fell silent

♫ ♫ ♫

Manav, chillum?
offered Mandeep

A chillum would be great

And so Manav
went into the Chillum Room,
joined chillum circle
and sat down

Rohit prepared the chillum
and Mandeep boomed it

With flowers
in the center of the circle
and soft cushions on the floor,
the men smoked in comfort
and beauty

♫ ♫ ♫

After the chillum,
Manav returned to the terrace
to drink his lemon tea

How’s the tea?
asked Krishna

A very little bit of sugar
could be added

I agree
about 18 granules

And so Krishna added a bit of sugar
to each of their cups
and to his own,
and then the men continued to drink
their tea

♫ ♫ ♫

That extra bit of sugar
was just what the tea needed

And that mint leaf was a nice touch

Really nice
Next time I’d like try two leaves

Me too

Manav, chillum?
offered Mandeep again

An excellent idea

And so Manav returned
to the chillum circle
and smoked
his second chillum of the day,
and Shantanu began to draw

♫ ♫ ♫

Do you mind
if I bring a bit of my own food
to supplement
what you offer here?
asked Shekel

No problem

And may I keep some things in the fridge?


And so Shekel prepared his breakfast,
put his cheese in the fridge
and ordered a chai

A lot of milk,
no sugar,
a bit of cardamon
and some ginger, right?

That’s how I like it

And so Krishna prepared
a chai for Shekel

♫ ♫ ♫

May I have a chai, please?
asked Dominique

How would you like it?

Let’s prepare it together
And let’s add the ginger only at the very end


And so Krishna and Dominique
prepared a chai together
just the way Dominique likes it

 ♫ ♫ ♫

putting in the ginger
at the very end
was an excellent idea,
said Krishna

It’s the way it should be done

May I have black tea, please?
asked Abhi

Would you like a bit of lemon in it?

That would be nice


Just a little

A mint leaf?


And so Krishna went
to prepare another tea

♫ ♫ ♫

Krishna, chillum?
offered Mandeep

And so Krishna went into the Chillum Room
for the third chillum of the day

As Sai prepared the chillum
Shantanu came in and requested a chai

How would you like it?

However it comes,
but after the chillum
There’s no hurry

Manav then boomed then chillum,
and around it went
to the right

♫ ♫ ♫

That was a good chillum

The best so far today

And so it continued
throughout the day,
chai and chillums,
conversation and silence,
music and more

♫ ♫ ♫

May I have one more chai?
asked Shantanu


I see that you are tired
Shall I prepare it myself?

That would be great
Thank you

And so Shantanu went into the kitchen
and prepared his chai

♫ ♫ ♫

May I pay in tolas?

We accept Manala Cream and Lapas Jungla
What did you have?

A milk chai,
a black tea with lemon
and a soup

That’ll be ninety rupees

And yesterday I had
two bowls of soup,
a lemon nana
and a milk coffee

So ninety and one seventy
is two sixty,
or about a gram of charas
Only half a gram if it’s first rub

First rub it is,
my sister made this last year

And so Manav paid his tab,
Shantanu continued to draw
and Dominique returned
to the chillum circle

 ♫ ♫ ♫