The sadhu, his three pronged trident
resting flat across his obsessive-
compulsive knees, sucks on a memory
of an American cigar & offers Baldwin
a toke on his cracked & blackened
chillum, enlightened with ganja.
Pursing his lips over the holy man’s
confluence of calloused palms, our
bull-necked hero inhales, his western
trained mind convulsed in Hep A/C D/C
‘dirty deeds & their done dirt cheap’
antagonism. Even the ancient,
school-boy seed of leprosy is sown.
“You like ganja my friend? Plenty
for you, only 300 rupees”, intones
the sadhu, his eyes white pinpricks
against the worldly possession
of sunlight filtering in through
the rainforest canopy.
“Ah…no…no it’s alright, I’ve got
cigars, see duty free from Germany”,
replies Baldwin hacking & coughing
into his sleeve.
“250 rupees, my friend, just for you.
You like India? Where you from, my friend?”
“Ah….Australia. Big place sir,
like India. Very strong cricket.
Only 200 rupees for you. Please sir.”
“No…what I’m really after is
something like that”, indicates
Baldwin, fingering the sadhu’s
multicoloured string carry-bag.
“You can have this bag, my friend”,
offers up the orange cotton clad
visionary, “for you, only 100 rupees.”
Baldwin examines the frayed carry-bag
as the holy man dumps its contents
into his lap – a hefty quantity
of ganja concealed inside a leather
“No…you keep your bag. I wouldn’t
want to deprive a holy man of his only possession.”
The sadhu extends his right hand,
grips Baldwin in that most formal
of western rituals then cups his
hands & smiles.
“Please, rupee for food.
I have not eaten today.”
Baldwin dives into his pocket,
extracts some coins & sprinkles
5 rupees into his lotus flesh bowl.
Gives the holy man a new cigar,
waves goodbye & walks down the road;
ignores the plague of autorickshaws
spreading down the mountain.