Sunday, 30 November 2008


Last weekend I indulged in some Shirodhara. This involves trickling hot oil onto the forehead and is believed to awaken the third eye. Now I know that this sounds a bit like the Chinese water torture but it is actually very relaxing. I feel asleep 3 times and woke myself up with my snoring. Perhaps not quite the mystical effect that it is supposed to generate but nice nevertheless.

This trickling is followed by synchronised body massage - a terrifying prospect for the average Aussie male. It involves laying naked on a wooden table with raised edges (imagine a large baking tray), being lightly drizzled with baby oil and rubbed by two husky fellows. This episode will never be spoken of again.

Back to the third eye, this is the ajna chakra (sixth chakra) and is represented by a dot, mark or eye symbol on the forehead (called a Tilak or Tika depending where you are). According to followers of Tantrism, this chakra is the exit point for kundalini energy. The third eye is also called the "eye of wisdom."

In Hinduism, it is believed that the opening of Shiva's third eye causes the eventual destruction of the universe, so let's hope that he doesn't go to a Day Spa and have this treatment.

A variation of the Tilak is called the Bindi. Normally this represents a married woman (but can be just for decoration) and is often accompanied by a vermilion mark in the parting of the hair just above the forehead. The bindi is said to retain energy and strengthen concentration. It is also said to protect against demons or bad luck. Which can't be a bad thing.

There could be a link between the pineal gland and the mystical third eye. It is often referred to as "the atrophied third eye" and is in the right location. Interestingly, cells within the pineal gland are similar to photoreceptors in the eye. Amphibians and reptiles still sense light through a third parietal eye - which is associated with the pineal gland. The pineal gland excretes a hormone which induces dreams, near-death experiences, meditation, and hallucinations.

Some dudes believe that if you can switch on your third eye you will become clairvoyant and be able to see in the dark. Apart from massage, other techniques for opening your third eye include the application of an amethyst cleaned under flowing water or taking LSD.

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Saturday, 29 November 2008


What is going on???

Last night we go out for a nice meal in Delhi only to find that no licensed premises are allowed to sell alcohol the night before an election (Delhi State elections are on today).

What a travesty. Apparently the logic goes like this: People drink, get pissed and then go and vote for the wrong type of candidate. What idiot comes up with this stuff? It all seems a bit condescending to me.

I'm not sure if this happens in all State elections but people of Delhi you need to rise up and vote for the more beer party.

... or at least exclude people that can't vote!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

He-Man 9000 Super Strong Ultra Beer!

Here it is in all its glory!

I give you ... He Man 9000 Super Strong Ultra Beer.

Pity it tastes so bad.


It is the end of week 5 in India and any country that has "He-Man 9000 Super Strong Ultra Beer" can't be all bad. I'm picking up lots of material (keep an eye out for He-Man 9000 in the next Blood story), but not having much time to write.

Last weekend the Team and I went white water rafting on the Ganges - which is a lot more attractive than it sounds. The picture in this blog is of the campsite called 5 Elements on the Ganges (or Ganga as it is called in India). Very nice.

The tents were described on the web site as Swiss luxury tents. It was only when we arrived that we worked out that they must have been called Swiss due to all the holes! The camp site is about 230 km's from Delhi, however the roads are a nightmare and it was a 9 hour drive each way. This makes for a fairly exhausting weekend but nevertheless it was nice to see some wilderness.

One thing that I find wearying in India is that there are always people everywhere - lots of people, making lots of noise. The actual rafting was fairly sedate (nothing over a grade 3) but still fun.

We were sharing the raft with an aspiring Bollywood actress called Bhairavi Goswami and her friend Youvan. They were good company.

I'm quite interested in the whole caste thingy they have going on here. Sounds like a rich seam of juicy writing goodness could be mined from this. I was under the impression that your job defined your caste (i.e. if you were a soldier you were in the soldier caste). Apparently that is not the case. Your caste is defined by your families caste. When a lady marries she becomes her husbands caste.

In Hindu society there are 4 main castes:
  1. Brahmins (intelligentsia, priests, scholars, teachers)
  2. Kshatriyas (warriors, nobility)
  3. Vaishyas (merchants, farmers),
  4. Sudras (tradesmen, artisans, craftsmen, workers, service providers)
You can read all about it in Wikipedia.

Of course it is not as simple as this - apparently there are actually thousands of castes which the British compressed down to 4 to make census taking easier. Marrying outside your caste in parts of India is very dangerous - every week people are killed because of this. A Hindu marrying a Muslim is also problematic, it is easier for a Hindu to marry a Christian.

I'm struggling with the whole servant thing. There are 3 house boys looking after the apartment. They cook, clean, wash, iron, go shopping, etc. I have a driver, there is a couple of Butlers in the office and I have a PA. You don't do anything for yourself and it is driving me crazy - It must be an Australian thing. The Brit's seem to cope much better.

Well it must be time for another He-Man 9000. Enjoy your weekend.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

REVIEW - The Solution

I came across this review of my story "The Solution" at Static Movement.

"First off, congrats again to Chris and Static Movement on another fine issue. In these times of change, chaos and monumental failure, Static Movement remains an oasis of dependability and steadfastness. Thank you Chris!

And on to the story...

Mainly I just wanted to say I enjoyed this piece of flash, even though horror isn't my cup of tea at all. The ending was very cute, and inventive. Perfect flash - good job David Such!

John Gilbert"

It always amazes me that people actually read my stories and getting positive feedback is great. In fact any feedback is great. I feel that if you write something that stimulates feelings (positive or negative) then you have achieved something. Thanks to John for taking the time to jot down a few words.

Now I'm off to try white water rafting on the Ganges. I think I may attempt to not fall in!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

WEBZINE - The Specusphere

Issue 5 is out now!

The English Curriculum by Stephen Thompson
Editorial afterthought—The elephant in the room
by Stephen Thompson

The quintessential speculative fiction album by Stephen Thompson
3 questions for The Specusphere by Stephen Thompson
Cyborg by Brendan David Carson

Writing and Publishing
The Serendipity of Publishing
by Astrid Cooper

Up and Coming
New Books from Gollancz for November-December 2008
New Releases from Orbit

Jaine Fenn in conversation with Maurie Breust
Marillier revisits Sevenwaters in latest release

Book Reviews
HEIR TO SEVENWATERS by Juliet Marillier
AWAKENING by Lara Morgan
THE BEAST WITHIN edited by Matt Hults
INFECTED by Scott Sigler
THE BRIDE OF TIME by Dawn Thompson
THE LAST THEOREM by Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl
NIGHT SHIFT by Lilith Saintcrow
FLOOD by Stephen Baxter
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN Volume One (Comic) by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
GHOST WALK by Brian Keene
BEFORE I WAKE by Kathryn Smith
A DISTANT MAGIC by Mary Jo Putney

Nigel's Evening by David Schembri
Call Waiting by Bill Youatt-Pine
The forever-green by Ashley Hibbert


Received my first dose of Delhi Belly yesterday and it was a beauty. My diaphragm is still aching from all the action. Hopefully I have ticked that box and we can move on.

Another story of Indian life ...

There is a main highway here called NH8 and apparently there was a dispute between the local and state government about who would provide lighting for a new stretch of road. A local entrepreneur came along and offered to power the lights for a reasonable fee. His solution was to have a man sit on the medium strip and top up a diesel generator as required. This is the solution that they went with!

And another ...

Me "Do you know where you are going?"

Taxi Driver "Yes"

We arrive at a Hotel and I can't see the people that I am meeting, so I call them.

Me "Where are you?"

Them " We are here"

It turns out that I am at the wrong hotel. I say to the taxi driver, "I thought you knew where you were going?"

"I did," he replied. It turns out that I was asking the wrong question. It should have been. "Do you know where I am going?" He knew where he was going - it just wasn't the same place that I was going.

It seems that in India people don't like letting you down and saying no. I think this is a cultural aspect of some Asian countries as well.

Haven't had a chance to write a word since I have been here. I did pen a Flash piece at Hong Kong International airport but that was over 3 weeks ago.