By Etan Doronne
7 Sep 2012
"Court rules that L.A. can't destroy homeless people's property", today's 'Los Angeles Times' newspaper title caught my eye... and in my mind a long-shot rewinds all the way back to my first days in India. As homelessness started loosing the sharp edges that imprisoned my mind.
Maharashtra, a small town on the Konakn coastline. I'm still like a baby with eyes blown wide open trying to understand the all new world. Walking one night on the market street I see a man sleeping on the floor of an open balcony, a ramp only 2 feet above street level.
Gujarat, Ahmadabad, the hot days of May. Through my bus window I watch a family get ready for a night sleep on a beds lined outside their lit home, on the dusty side walk in front of their open front door.
Phavagad, I walk back from a Thali at a dhaba (local combination plate at the diner) to my Mandir dharamsala (Hindu temple accommodation). As I walk the dark sandy path withing the old city walls two elders sitting on beds outside a home call me up and ask "where is god, in your opinion?"
Nadiad, Gujarat. A friend I met while climbing Phavagad mountain invited me to stay at his home. I happily sleep in the yard on improvised homemade beds made of electric pole parts.
Tamil Nadu, a foothills town. Every night I see well maintained man set up to sleep on the busy daytime counter top of my favorite Chai shop.
Same town, I go for with a local family to stay over with village relatives for a temple festival. The extended family, much larger then the rural home, spreads a straw mat in the yard, near the two cows and we all have a peacefull night sleep under the stars.
Same Konkan town as in the beginning, 3 years later. I returned to India after 2 years of living traveling, houseless (officially 'homeless' for authorities). My Ayurvedic Dr. friend suggests we go to visit tribals that reside on the outskirts of town.
Back in the USA, mice had been living in my car while I was in India, chewing up electrical harnesses. I spend the few months sleeping on it's rooftop, becoming friends with my new 'home' owners that include an office building and motel parking lots, food market, bagel shop, cafe, car dealership etc...
The LA Times article: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0906-homeless-lapd-20120906,0,5152005.story
More from my years backpacking and living with villagers in towns across India on www.myindiaexperience.com