Join us for an auto-rickshaw ride!

Whoa! One of my favorite parts of India is the convenience and versatility of the auto-rickshaw (which I like to call tuk-tuks for some reason. Maybe it is Wes Anderson’s fault). I shot this video in Mumbai. At our home base in the neighborhood of Chembur, as well as our trip to Bandra, the rickshaws are ubiquitous like NYC yellow cabs. But their versatility is unparalleled! These little go karts are the conquerors of urban India’s roadways! As well as an authentic and adventures way to travel and view the city. I had heard the traffic is otherworldly, but you don’t know it till you live it! And crossing the streets? Well, there’s a technique to it. And it’s def not legal in the States. Haha! Take a ride with us! See if you can spot the cow!

Arrival: Bengaluru

Culture shock? Not really… After over a year of preparation, research, reading, and engagement with my new family (குடும்பம்- kutumpum), this environment looks, smells, feels, and definitely sounds (honk-honk) more like the realization of a dream. In my first few days in urban India, it seems like everything I love about the city, condensed, with its very own flavor and array of specialties found nowhere else in the world.

ISKON temple, Bengaluru

After “defeating” jet lag, as Krish put it, we woke bright and early at 5:30 a.m. to go to the Balaji Temple and ISKON temple. It meant so much to accompany my new family to pray at these truly glorious centers of worship. I’m grateful to feel accepted into and be a part of these ancient traditions.

The saree is one of the world’s oldest form of clothing. I find them simultaneously glamorous and elegant.

Enneku santhosham.

At home in Bengaluru on the jula.

True Joys of Music

 

Our little friend Jax plays us tunes on my guitar.

 
I’ve been neglecting my blog for a couple years now. And I am remiss. 

So much has changed since my last post. And my current exhaustion on the road from Tennessee to Alabama prevents me from going too much further here and now. 
But, I want to make more of an effort to connect with yinz in a written format – potentially my favorite format. 
Photos also hold a special place in my heart. A couple of my friends from high school are parents to the little guy in the picture above. Few experiences rival the feeling of introducing a child to music making and seeing their face light up, while gaining an interest in playing music. I’m so happy to introduce young folks to the power and joy of music. 
I hope to deliver this message of hope to all people. 
~ Victory

My Old New Hometown

Yeah, things are finally looking up. Like falling down a cliff side. Getting beaten and battered. The initial sharp pain and evaluation of injuries. Then ur friends rush down the hill and start to lift you up and dust you off. Somebody runs off the get a first aid kit. Somebody else has a flask of whiskey. Your heart rate starts to decrease… Then they have you laughing.

“Now, how are we going to get back to the top of this cliff?” We ask each other, laughing, and looking up.


This has been one of the lowest points in my life. But I’m determined to crawl back up and out of this hole. And it’s only with the help of the people who love me and have taken me in that I’ve made it this far, that I can see sunlight somewhere up there.

One of my best friends, Dori – she’s God’s cheerleader. And my go-to for spiritual advice of the Christian persuasion. I’m #blessed to have such a close female friend who shares a similar cultural background to my own. She gave both Krish and I a comfortable bed and a warm, welcoming home whilst in Pittsburgh. Not to mention hours and hours of talk on morals, religion, philosophy, our “liberal/conservative feminist agenda” and soforth. I can’t write words to equate all Dori has done for me. I can tell her tho, “I love you and thank you.” 

“You don’t know the power of the Dark Side.”

Then Bryan and Ellie opened their home to me, with dinner, breakfast, Hulu, Netflix, religion, philosophy, shop talk – I mean, they got it all! And it was so kind of them to share it all with me. Just the time would be nice. And I love having the added perspective of both a man and woman with a Jewish backround. A bit of a juxtaposition from the Christian girl, but not really. Judaism, Christianity, & Islam have the same God – and that God says “love people and don’t kill people” and I respect those principles. I live by those principles. Plus, those are only a few of the beautiful moral messages delivered via these (and many other) religions. 

Amanda read her Oracle cards for me. And attempting to describe the experience lends it little justice. She is a faery. She and her deck have offered me insight into my life twice now, and I feel both times have provided me invaluable messages open to my interpretation. This time around, they seemed to tell me to keep my head up. And be the hero. Every time I’ve battled some hardship since the reading, big or small, I think, “Be the hero.”

Photo by Ken Kerr Photography

The Pittsburgh Art House as a whole hasn’t abandoned me. When Krish and I got locked out of our place to stay, they still offered a couple of starving artists a place to lay their heads for the evening. I’m forever grateful for that home. And a part of me will always be there.
I’m back in the DC area again and my life isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. But the future is looking brighter. And for the dark parts, I’m prepared to be the hero.

Much love to all yinz. Even those I’ve not mentioned. And thank you.