Surrender & Salvation
By Etan Doronne
5 Apr 2011
It was about time. One of the best experiences of my life, definitely the most unique. 2 and a half years after putting together My India public program and touring with it for two years, I felt my India experience started to age into a theoretical nostalgia. It was time to dip y feet in the water again. My savings from this donation based program were negligible in term of international flight. Well, like I got used to doing ever since I returned from India in 2008, I just played it out for whatever is supposed to happen to manifest. OK, I did give it a push: a 2 day yard sale, an art booth for a few weekends selling some of my stored items: oil paintings and Indian embroideries, gave some consignment to stores, posted some eBay sales. Eventually I raised little money although I learned from the experience and new people entered my life.
A flight ticket eventually came by the unplanned, unexpected but for sure somewhat related to hat was going on in my life. Eventually Atul offered to get me one.
Getting ready to leave for India I needed a backpack, visited the REI shop in San Diego, where I was house sitting at the time. I found the model from the same manufacturer I used in 2007 to be the most compatible to my needs: front and top load – important for easily fetching a single item on the road without unloading the whole content. prime material quality and craftsmanship – important for heavy content and rugged Indian transportation over months of traveling and average price. The price was $300 +. However, while sharing my modest funds and project, I got a great tip from an REI member was about their used gear sale events.
I went on a donation campaign. Created a My India 2011 project documentary kit visited Indian businesses door to door. Again, I hardly received any monetary contributions, however did get some voluntarily help and advise ( Mayur Shah, Mark Chenven for long term car parking offer ).
I put aside the money for a still camera, a factory refurbished for ½ the price, a tip from the service center of the manufacturer. The video camera had to be a high quality/low cost pocket video camera (Thanks for Louis Perzigian for the tip). These two economical though mandatory pieces of equipment set me to practically nothing left (about $ 120 to my name). So I researched the used gear events. Since I was continuously moving I had to find one that happens when I'm around. The only one happening before my eparture date was at a suburban Los Angele store.
On that date I arrived earlier as I was warned that people start getting their numbered tickets for the cue in early morning. I didn't expect to find this huge crowd of over 100 people around a few fenced tables exhibiting some used equipment. I took a 'bracelet' (the numbered ticket) and looked over the fence to find if there were any used large backpacks offered. A few were there but some were too small, lower quality, well worn up or torn. Somehow a conversation between one friendly person and myself started. He was a missionary and was exited to find out my Israeli origin.
The longer I stood there the more I felt agitation of the upcoming scenario: having to jump in and grab a sought after item before someone else puts his hand on it. Then someone showed up to get inine and the organizer told him the bracelets were all gone. In a spontaneous move I told him 'take mine' pealed it off and handed him.
Then I went and sat at the near by cafe to have my morning coffee. Again I met the missionary man there, with a young fellow friend. We had a long and interesting chat. India came up and I was told it is mentioned in the bible as 'Madai'. I never knew, made a note to look up this ancient relationship of Israelis and Indian).
About 4 hours later I returned to REI shop to have a look at the new backpacks and see what I/they can do. When I arrived none of the flock of early birds was left. All used items left non purchased were piled up in a few huge wheeled containers. An employee was about to push these into the storage room only to see day light about a month later in the next event. I asked that person who seemed to wrap things up if I can have a look. He approved and I dug into a container that had a backpack popping out. To my surprise I found 3 large sized backpack. Two of these were from my chosen manufacturer. One was for women but may had fit my modest body structure. I tried it on. The other was the exact model I had seen and liked for $300 +. I looked at the harness size, it was 'S' small. Exact fit. The bag was relatively clean and in a very good shape. Inside I could see that the main metal back support was partially loose because of some loosen up stitches. Obviously I could not be too picky and figured out I can fix that my self or with an Indian shoemaker/tailor for a few Rupees. The price? I asked, $65 he said. Being so short on my reserves, I told him a little about my project and my situation and he dropped the price to $50.
I experienced the power of surrender before. Especially in a tight period, when there's much to be done before a dead line, there were greater chances that somethings won't happen the way I planned or wished. This was a tighter learning curve but also one that eventually gave me greater trust in the 'what ever should be would be'.
In the following days again and again things proved to be looking up just as I let go of control/pushing-my-way-through. It was my forgotten laptop that missed a ride with a friend visiting from San Diego to LA , then my last attempt failed because of lesser funds to provide a rental car deposit. In both cases the final solution was easier then my planned one. I didn't have time to host nor to drive up and down to San Diego. Mark, a friend and host, offered and overnight shipped my laptop in a 'mission impossible' to reunite at the airport departure hall. I met the Fedex guy as he marched in just as you wait for a passenger stepping of a flight.
At this moment of a morning in Tamil Nadu, India, I am sitting at my room's desk typing on my 'mission-impossibled' lap-top. My faithful backpack of 2 months lies peacefully by the window among the unloaded clothes that it carries around. It has quite an easy life as I tend to stay in one region and only travel around with my other day/overnight small backpack. Yet I know it's ready to go on duty once we hit the road.