Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ankara to Konya

Vinoba Bhave walked to expose the plight of the poor, to give land to the landless in the poverty-stricken Indian province of Bihar. My perpetual walking is more personal. I walk for information and pain.

Can physical pain bring enlightment? Perhaps that's what the whirling dervishes, a Sufi phenomenon, were thinking as they spun. Fitting as Konya is a major hub of Sufism. Emotional pain can surely bring enlightment. But not if it is contrived emotional pain derived from self-pity.

I just finished reading Mailer's The Fight. He describes the economy of mood on the final page and, relatedly, mentions that his gambling fortune was tied to his mood. More than mood, I believe one's outlook can control one's life, even more than the things we have in our direct control.

This day wasn't filled with much in the way of stories. There was the three year girl I shared countless smiles with while waiting for the bullet train to take us from Ankara to Konya. There was the tall man sitting next to me on the train, his extended beard raining off his face, whose thumb and fore-finger ate his prayer beads one by one, around and around. The faster the train sped, the hungrier his fingers devoured the beads. And there was the other man, the only person of 25 in my car, who faced east at 4:25pm and went through his prayer rituals.

I walked the 3KM with my heavy bag on my back from the train station to the hotel. I was tired. The hotel clerk was very friendly. I asked the price of the room. He quoted and I accepted. In my exhaustion, I had forgotten to haggle. The clerk felt bad for me. "Well, it comes with breakfast." A little while later, while leaving the hotel for dinner, another man stopped me and advised me to wear a jacket because it's cold. It was a loving paternalistic jesture. Of course, I had to inform him that I don't have a jacket with me.

I'm excited to see Rumi's museum/shrine tomorrow. But my major concern is my damp and stinky shoes. They're falling apart and turning from white to a bluish hue. If I can, I may just ditch them for some Turkish shoes.

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