It never ceases to amaze me what Santosh here in Varanasi, can do with his box camera on the side of the street! Over the years he has taken photos of me that seems to catch a likeness of me from another lifetime. It has an other worldly charm. Here is his latest photo of me!
Laxmi ji's fabulous Thalee. Laxmiji is one of the kindest gentlemen I have had the pleasure to meet in my life. I met him in 2002 at his tiny one room restaurant in Varanasi where he cooks and serves his delicious food. Since then he has fed me innumerable times his soul nourishing food, refusing to take the little money that he charges for his wholesome goodness. I have sketched him many a time, and he even has a sketch that I did of him when we first met, that hangs on the wall of his restaurant. He's truly a great man. I love him dearly!
For those if you who don't know, I've been volunteering with World Literacy Canada, for more than 12 years, which brings me back to Varanasi right now. This fabulous organization raises funds in Canada for literacy programs for women and children in and around Varanasi in India. This brought me to work with them here in 2005 and 2006, and now I'm back to volunteer for a couple of months. A little money in Canada can go a long way here in India to help transform people's lives. They are also organizing a 'Literacy and Literature' tour of India as part of their 60th anniversary celebrations. For more information check out http://www.worldlit.ca/india-programs/anniversary-tour/
So this is where I'm staying at their magical space in Varanasi, the Ganga Mahal, where I've lived for 9 months in the past.