the wedding dinner

The wedding dinner

The wedding band began to play
their horns and drums
and to walk from the temple square to the bride’s home
with half the village trailing behind,
singing and dancing

♫ ♫ ♫

I’m a bit hungry,
and I don’t feel like cooking

Shall we eat at the wedding again tonight?

We should definitely do that
The food last night was great
Even if I were not hungry,
I’d go back there to eat

Seven courses of pure delight

That first dish was delicious

the sweet dish is always great

The third curry was great too,
the light yellow one

that one was my favorite

Mine too
And the last one was pretty good too
What a surprise

horseradish curry done just right,
not too strong,
not too subtle

It was perfect,
and it was the last thing I expected
I didn’t even know horseradish curry existed

Me either

That’s the nice things about these weddings:
You never know what you’re going to be served
Each course that arrives
is a complete surprise


And so the Jerome and Kailash
made their way
over to the bride’s home

♫ ♫ ♫

We’re just in time for the last seating

Look at those brass cauldrons!
They’re enormous

Biggest I’ve ever seen

The boys took a seat on the ground
among the rest of the villagers
who had come to eat
and waited
for the feast to begin

And it wasn’t long
before the first course arrived

Sweet rice
It doesn’t get better than this

And then the next

This coconut curry is fantastic

And so it continued
until the seventh course had been served

What a meal

it was really good

We should come back tomorrow

I think today was the last day of the wedding
I saw the groom carrying the bride away
on his back this afternoon,
to his village
and to another party there

Oh, well
I guess we can cook for ourselves for a few days

Until the next wedding


I hear the baker’s daughter is getting married next week

I remember when his first daughter got married
Those sweet pastries they served were divine

they were pretty good

Look, everybody’s getting up
It’s time to go

What do you feel like doing?

Let’s go to The Chillum Den

Good idea

And so off they went,
Jerome and Kailash,
to The Chillum Den
to make music
and listen beautifully

♫ ♫ ♫

shanti temple

Shanti Temple 

At Shanti Temple
the Temple Music Ensemble
has been playing non-stop
since the moment the temple was completed
three thousand years ago 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Twenty-one musicians play,
at least three at any given time,
and at least once a day
all twenty-one
play together 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Shanti music,
a shanti vibe,
a place to simply be
and to listen beautifully 

♫ ♫ ♫

shanti song

Shanti Song 

Jerome began to play
the introduction to Shanti Song,
and soon after Sheena realized
that she had not been Shanti
for a while 

She sat down,
stopped talking
and observed
while Jerome sang:

Shanti, Shanti
have you gone? 

The beauty
of your silent presence
has been missing
for too long 

Let us feel the power
of your peaceful vibe

Take off your make-up
and let your true beauty shine 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Thank you, Jerome,
for reminding me again
to be Shanti 

Welcome back, Shanti
It’s good to see you again
In honor of your return,
please boom the chillum 

So Shanti took the offered chillum,
smoked with her friends
and remained Shanti
for a while 

♫ ♫ ♫

traveling with a piano

Traveling with a piano

Pierre traveled
with his grand piano
everywhere he went

One morning he felt
it was time for a change of scene,
so he loaded his piano
onto its trailer,
hitched the trailer to his Enfield
and rode off

♫ ♫ ♫

I hear Kodai is nice
this time of year,
a friend had said the day before

Pierre had been wanting to spend
some time there for a while,
so when he got to the first junction,
he took the turn to the left
and headed towards the land of chocolate
and mushrooms

♫ ♫ ♫

Pink and yellow lantana
and morning glory
lined the way
up to Kodaikanal

The Enfield performed well,
and by late afternoon Pierre and his piano
had arrived

He made his way down
to Shanti Farm,
greeted his old friend,
unloaded his piano
and had a bath in a stream

♫ ♫ ♫

It’s beautiful here, Neville

And you came at just the right time
Mushrooms are growing

Fresh is best

Shall we smoke a chillum?

I’d love to

And so Neville prepared a chillum,
and then they smoked
in silence
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

Some music would be nice

I’ll tune my piano

And so Pierre tuned the piano,
and then he began to play
Lullaby for Neville

♫ ♫ ♫

Neville had fallen asleep
by the time Pierre stopped playing

Pierre lay a blanket
on top of his friend
and then went to his room
and sat quietly
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

By five o’clock the men had risen,
and soon they were on their way
to one of Neville’s
favorite fields

It’s not far
and the walk is nice
If you see a bison,
remain calm,
look it in the eye
and let peace flow
from your heart

♫ ♫ ♫

Here we are
And here are some of our little friends

They’re beautiful

And strong

And then the two friends began
to pick mushrooms
for their trip

♫ ♫ ♫

I’ve got about two-hundred,
said Neville

And I’ve got about a hundred

150 mushrooms
is the perfect dosage

More than that
and we might not remember everything

And taking less would be a waste of mushrooms

Let’s head back to the farm

And so they walked
back to the farm

♫ ♫ ♫

Neville and Pierre
admired the harvest,
divided it into two bowls
and then sat in silence for a while

And then they began to eat

♫ ♫ ♫

After a few hours Pierre got up,
went over to the piano,
and composed a song

♫ ♫ ♫

That was beautiful, Pierre
Thank you

Thank you, Neville,
for listening so beautifully

Let’s have some tea

Yes, let’s have some tea

And so Neville prepared
a pot of tea
as the night slowly turned to day,
and then the friends drank
in peace

♫ ♫ ♫

shanti girl

Shanti Girl

Shanti Girl got up one morning,
meditated for a bit
and then decided to walk into town

Softly she stepped,
as quietly as a Japanese girl,
and mindfully she spoke
with the folk she encountered
along the way

♫ ♫ ♫

Off in the distance
Shanti Girl heard a quarrel,
so she slowly made her way
in that direction

♫ ♫ ♫

Her silent presence
among the quarrelers
had a calming effect on them,
and soon they began to speak
in a gentle tone

And when the conflict
had been resolved,
Shanti Girl continued on her way

♫ ♫ ♫

At a sidewalk tea stall
Shanti Girl noticed
a woman sitting forlornly

Across from the woman she sat down
on a little wooden chair,
took the woman’s hand
and held it
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

Are you Shanti Girl?

but I prefer to be called Shanti

Thank you, Shanti
I’m Anusha
And I’m fine now
Thank you

And so Shanti leaned over
and whispered into the woman’s ear,
May today be the best day of your life
Then she rose
and wandered on down the lane

♫ ♫ ♫

let’s be shanti for a moment,
said Shanti calmly to a man
who was complaining about some drama in his life
There is another way
of looking at things
Let’s remain silent,
close our eyes
and carefully observe
for a little while


And so Shanti and the man
sat quietly,
closed their eyes
and observed
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

You must be Super Shanti

Please, call me Shanti

Thank you, Shanti
I see things more clearly now

Shanti gave the man a hug
and then meandered on down the road

♫ ♫ ♫

An old woman sat crying on a curb,
so Shanti sat down next to her
and held her hand,
and then she began to sing
an evening raga

The old woman stopped crying,
and soon she too
began to sing the evening raga

Everyone nearby
stopped what they were doing
and listened
to the most divine music
they had ever heard before

♫ ♫ ♫

And soon a group of musicians came along
with a sitar, tanpura, tabla
and a slide guitar
They joined Shanti and the old woman,
and played
for a little while

♫ ♫ ♫

The musicians brought
the raga to an end,
and then they continued
on their way

And when they were again alone,
the old woman said,
Thank you, Shanti
The last time I sang,
I was a little girl

You sing well, friend
and beautifully
May you sing every day

And then Shanti ,
humming softly,
flowed on down the road

♫ ♫ ♫

Why worry about so many things?
said Shanti to a man she had found
sitting on a park bench
I haven’t had an emergency
in over twenty years,
and drama has disappeared from my life
Do less,
be mindful
and be compassionate
Your life will take care of itself

Perhaps you’re right, he said
Maybe I could relax a bit more
Thank you, Shanti

You’re welcome
And may tonight be the best night of your life

And yours

And then Shanti got up
and walked on down the path

♫ ♫ ♫

An angry young man
stood outside The Shanti Club

They kicked me out,
he complained

Cool down
Cool the story down,
Shanti replied
See yourself in the show
Detach yourself from your role,
take a step back,
be quiet
and observe what’s going on
inside and out

The young man sat down
and closed his eyes
Shanti placed her hand on his shoulder
and Anger returned
to the form of a seed,
to see if the young man would water it again

♫ ♫ ♫

Shall we go in?
I’m not sure they’ll let me

They will
You’re shanti now


And so into The Shanti Club they went,
and then they danced,
flowing gently with the vibe,
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫



Mikko got up early
because the road ahead was long
and he hoped to arrive
at his friend’s home
before nightfall

He carefully wrapped
a couple bottles of vodka
in his sweater
and placed them in his rucksack,
in case of an emergency,
and then he made his way
to the road

♫ ♫ ♫

Mikko found a nice stone to sit on,
and whenever a car happened along,
he rose
and stuck out his thumb

♫ ♫ ♫

Where are you headed?
asked the driver


Get in

And so Mikko got in
the dark green Wiima

Nice car
I don’t see many of these around anymore
Is it a ’57 or a ’58?


Have you been waiting long?

Ninety-three cars and trucks
passed by
before you stopped

Hitchhiking is hard in Finland

Almost impossible

I’m Vannte


Nice to meet you
Shall we enjoy a bit of silence?

Silence is precious

And so in silence they continued
on down the road

♫ ♫ ♫

Thank you, Vannte
for the ride

Thank you, Mikko,
for your gentle presence

Please enjoy
this incense from India

Goloka Nag Champa
My favorite
Thank you

And then they shook hands
and Mikko got out

Vannte drove off to the left
and Mikko sat down to wait
for his next ride

♫ ♫ ♫

Two-hundred and thirty-three cars passed by,
and then an old Finlandia,
painted the colors of a rainbow,
came to a halt

Hop in

Thanks, guys
Nice ride

That she is
Where’re you heading?


Lappland is cool

Yeah, Lappland is super cool

I’m going to visit a friend
for a few weeks
and to watch the aurora borealis flow


Yeah, man,
the aurora borealis is cool

The driver then lit a joint,
all the guys smoked,
and then they enjoyed the scenery,
and the comfort and beauty of the Finlandia
in silence
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

This is as far as we go
You’re welcome to stay at our place
for as long as you like

Thanks, guys
Perhaps on my way back
I’ll drop by for a visit

Cool, man
May your cookie jar never be empty

May today be the best day of your life

Mikko got out of the car,
gave his new friends a few sticks of incense,
found a nice place to sit
and waited
for a new friend to arrive

♫ ♫ ♫

And it wasn’t long
before a black Korvensuu
drew up next to him

Where are you going?


Get in

You speak Finnish well

I’ve been here a while

And you speak slowly
like we do

Slow is good

Slow is great

I like to drive
at fifty-three
kilometers per hour

Fifty-three is fine
Gives one a chance
to see
and to enjoy
what’s going on nearby


And a 1913 Korvensuu
is an excellent choice
for a slow trip

And so they headed north

♫ ♫ ♫

Thank you very much
for the ride

Thank you
for playing such lovely music
along the way

This my favorite incense from India

Thank you, Mikko

And then,
as the car disappeared,
Mikko found another stone to sit on
while the moon began to rise

♫ ♫ ♫

It doesn’t look
like anyone is going take me
the rest of the way
thought Mikko,
and then he remembered the vodka
that he had packed for emergencies
He took a bottle out
and stuck out his thumb,
and the first vehicle to come along
came to a stop

Nice bike

’43 Ural
Where would you like to go?

To Lappland

Where in Lappland would you like to go?

Mikko gave the man his friend’s address

Get in

Mikko climbed into the sidecar
and off they roared
on the beautiful midnight blue Ural

♫ ♫ ♫

Thank you, brother,
for the ride

Thank you, brother,
for the bottle
and for the incense

Mikko then introduced
his new friend to his old one,
who said,
Would you like to come and watch
the aurora borealis flow
with us?

I’d love to

Let’s have a sauna first

Good idea

And so Mikko and his friends
took a bath in the sauna
and then sat down to drink,
and to watch reindeer roam
and the sky flow

♫ ♫ ♫

the silence between phrases

The silence between phrases

It was getting a bit noisy,
so Jerome took out his guitar
and began to quietly play

♫ ♫ ♫

One by one
the talkers realized
that something else was going on,
and they began to listen

♫ ♫ ♫

A few less waves of sound,
a few less voices striving
to be heard,
and once again
it was possible
to enjoy the space
between words
and the silence between phrases

♫ ♫ ♫