The People of Kolleru Lake

Give Well, India 5 Comments »

Kolleru Lake, Andrha Pradesh, India [Google Map]

© Copyright Jeremy Chu - www.jeremychu.com

© Copyright Jeremy Chu - www.jeremychu.com

There is a lake in India, which at one time was the largest and cleanest lake in all of Asia. It is surrounded by over 120 villages and 40 years ago the people of these villages had an easy life. They would drink the lakes pristine water straight from their hands. The men would paddle small wooden boats, out into the lake and catch fresh fish. Families would also grow rice and vegetables and together they would eat 3 healthy meals a day. It was a livelihood handed down through the generations.

In the 1970’s, the Kolleru Lake lifestyle began to change. The Indian government determined that because of it’s massive size and the wealth of life within it, Kolleru Lake would support an industry large enough to feed fish and rice to the entire planet. And so over the next few decades, that is exactly what happened.

© Copyright Jeremy Chu - www.jeremychu.com

© Copyright Jeremy Chu - www.jeremychu.com

Kolleru Lake was divided up into cross-sections of raised land, creating rectangular ponds of stagnant water in which the rice and fish farming flourished. The people of the villages surrounding Kolleru Lake had a change in livelihood from one of self-sustenance to one of dependency on international industry. Kolleru Lake the sweat labor of it’s inhabitants provided inexpensive fish and rice to people around the world.

Life was different then, but it was still good. The villagers were making wages and with it, they were able to buy food and other things.

© Copyright Jeremy Chu - www.jeremychu.com

© Copyright Jeremy Chu - www.jeremychu.com

However, by the turn of the millennium, things were not looking good. The industry was taking it’s toll on Kolleru Lake. The chemical filled, stagnant water used in farming was repeatedly drained into the main body of the lake, which literally poisoned all of the life within it. Before the 1970’s there were over 100 species of fish in the lake and today that number has been reduced to a small handful.

India had an environmental disaster on it’s hands and the world had taken notice. Finally, under international pressure, the Indian government agreed to reverse the decision they had made in the 1970’s.

In 2005, in a swift, ill-forewarned and seemingly random way, an attempt was begun to return the lake to it’s natural state by demolishing many of the rice and fish farming ponds.

But it was too late.

Read the rest of this entry »

Singing in Kolkata

Audio & Video, India 1 Comment »

This song popped into my head the other day. It’s a cute little diddy, so I figured I’d share. These are the girls I hung out with for two days in Kolkata, India. They’re musicians and best friends and they sang everytime we got in a taxi.

Taj Mahal

India No Comments »

Download: 800×600 | 1024×768 | 1280×960 | 1600×1200

Ten Days at Tushita – Part 4 of 4

India No Comments »

Another entire dimension of the course was the teaching in Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy. I was impressed with the basic ideas of Buddhism. There is too much to write about entirely, but there are some things that really struck me. The biggest is the idea that all humans are in a state of suffering, which sounded negative at first, but eventually I liked it. Everything we do that makes us happy, eventually fades and then we need to do more. Thus our normal state is suffering and we’re constantly trying to become happy. Someone suggested that it was a glass half empty kind of thing. I found a better way of looking at it as the glass itself is suffering and the water inside is happiness. We do things to keep water in the glass, but it’s sitting on a picnic table and the sun is always out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ten Days at Tushita – Part 3 of 4

India 1 Comment »

I’d been practicing meditating here and there for a month prior to the course and for the morning meditations I had much the same experience. The idea was to follow the breath, labeling the in-breath as “rising” and the out-breath as “falling”. Any time the mind would wander, the thing to do was label wherever my mind went and then go back to breathing. If I was distracted by a sound, I’d say (to myself) “hearing, hearing, hearing”, then go back to my breath “rising, falling, rising, falling…” And if I caught myself daydreaming…”thinking, thinking, thinking…rising, falling, rising, falling…” The technique is to take an observers point of view of the activity in the mind and what happened was slowly I’d start wandering off less and less. I’d follow my breath longer and longer and the thoughts in the background would fade. It was as if my cognitive mind wasn’t getting any attention from my focus or awareness, so it would just give up. After awhile things in my body would start to feel different. There were twisting sensations, which often felt like I was bending my head to the point where my right ear was on my shoulder or my left arm was twisted completely around. Sometimes I couldn’t tell which hand was which and a couple of times I felt like I was being stretched ten feet tall. Once it even felt as if I was completely outside my body.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ten Days at Tushita – Part 2 of 4

India 1 Comment »

By the Gompa was an area with stone walls and gardens. It was a good place to sit and read and good for the monkeys to play in. I couldn’t believe how many there were. Twenty, maybe thirty. I had seen them at zoos but never that close. I forgot how much like people they are and for a long while I watched them eat and leap from trees to power lines to flag poles and roof tops. I was jealous of them too. A monk came by and seeing me watch them she said “they do attack you” as she kept on by. ‘Do attack’ was kind of matter of fact, I thought. It seemed so causeless and definite. I thanked her with a smile and figured her English must be off.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ten Days at Tushita – Part 1 of 4

India No Comments »

The road leading there was steep and dirt. My bag was too heavy so my legs ached and the altitude made my chest pump for air. It was easier when I walked slowly, but I walked fast anyway. I always seem to be in a hurry, even when I have nowhere to go. I came upon a girl carrying nothing and taking one step a time, like she was thinking about each one and pondering life. She was European, had a nose ring and a quiet smile and she wore Indian dress and carried no bags. She was a real free spirit, the kind I often think I am, but really I just want to be. It made me jealous, so I kept from passing her and caught my breath.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Other Side

India 1 Comment »

Sanjay was clean-cut and dressed in an American 80’s style. He looked like a dark skinned version of the guy in Three’s Company, but with a mustache. A baby blue athletic shirt with cutoff sleeves was tucked tightly into his jeans. I sat with Sanjay under the canopy, looking out over his things for sale at passing tourists.

Sanjay asked me what my dreams were. I was caught off guard, not expecting such depth to a conversation with limited English. It took me some time to communicate all the big and exciting things I want out of life. When finished, I asked him the same.

He faced his palms to the sky and waved his hands over the dusty trinkets in his shop.

“This” he said.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “This is what you want, nothing more?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Pushkar

India No Comments »

I got on the sleeper bus from Jaisalmer bound for Jaipur, but made some friends during the night and decided instead to get off with them in a place called Pushkar; a town that surrounds a holy lake, with holy monkeys and holy cows everywhere. A place where the pace of life is slow, spirituality is big, and meat and alcohol is forbidden. Lots of travelers come for a few days and end up staying weeks or months. I skipped all the sights, and instead found a roof top restaurant where I spent hours watching the lake and reading and writing. After two nights, I escaped to the North as planned. Here are a few pictures I took while I was there.

Read the rest of this entry »

Marwar Song

Audio & Video, India No Comments »

In the recording of this song it’s easy to get distracted by the mysterious Marwar language and loss of rhythm or tone, but being there I didn’t notice.

The moon was full and gave more light than the small crackling fire. The sand was warm and endless and a steady breeze blew on my back. We sat in a circle with the guides grouped closely together. Their drums were empty water bottles and cooking oil jugs. They were four including my friend Kamal and the twelve year old Mr. Win.

Even through the off beat drumming and vocals, if you listen, I think you can hear their love for the desert. It shone from them like the moon and the fire that night.

Listen Now! | 4min 44sec, 5.6megs

WP Theme crafted by N.Design Studio and tweaked by me with inspiration from the 4HWW Blog.
All content © copyright 2017 John P Morgan Jr | Log in