"Mother India"/Καρδιά μου καημένη

This post should have the subtitle: Saved by a song !:)

Some years ago, we embarked on our second trip to India. We took a Lufhansa flight from Frankfurt to Delhi.
Just before boarding the plane, my husband said: Look! the Dalai Lama! And sure enough there he was, and for the 8,5 hours of the flight he was sitting in the seat right behind me.

I have read some of his excellent books and have tonnes of respect for him. During the flight I thought :If I could ask him for just one advise, what would it be? Hmm...It would be how to control my impatience and anger. I didn't speak to him, of course.
Little did I know the answer was already coming my way ;)

Πριν από κάποια χρόνια,ξεκινήσαμε χαρουμενοι με τον καλό μου γιά το δεύτερο ταξιδι μας στην Ινδία. Πήραμε μια πτήση της Lufthansa απο Φρανκφούρτη γιά Δελχί.
Ακριβώς στην πίσω θεση κάθισε ο Δαλάϊ Λάμα. Οχτώμιση ώρες σκεφτόμουνα κάθε τόσο: Πές ότι τολμάς να γυρίσεις να του μιλήσεις, τι θα ρώταγες;
"πώς να ελέγξω την ανυπομονησία μου και τον θυμό μου"
Δεν τόλμησα βεβαια να τον ενοχλήσω, πολύ περισσότερο να του ζητήσω συμβουλή...
Το "μάθημα΄" όμως είχε ήδη ξεκινήσει...

A ceremony taking place in Swayambhunath Stupa, the holiest Buddhist temple in Kathmandu

It was dawn when we landed in Delhi and realized WE HAD NO VISAS!!! A travel agent took care of the formalities on our first trip so we foolishly thought visas are optained at the airport ,like in so many other countries.
NOPE. NO WAY!We should have gotten a visa from an Indian empassy, period. So, we found ourselves ready to be DEPORTED! and send back to Frankfurt ASAP.

Χαράματα προσγειωθήκαμε στο Δελχι και ανακαλύψαμε οτι δεν είχαμε πάρει βιζες. Στο πρώτο μας ταξιδι τα είχε αναλάβει όλα ενας ταξιδιωτικός πράκτορας και ανοητως υποθέσαμε ότι την βίζα την πάιρνεις στο αεροδρόμιο. ΟΥΧΙ!!
 Οι υπεύθυνοι μας πήγανε σε άλλους υπευθύνους και βρεθήκαμε να πίνουμε απελπισμενοι τσαι με τον κ.Ντάμα, τον προϊσταμενο της βάρδιας. Θα μας έβαζαν στο ιδιο αεροπλάνο και θα μας έστελναν πακέττο πίσω στην Γερμανία.

I kept my cool, dont ask me how, and started calmly chatting with the chief of the customs in New Delhi airport, Mr.Dhama over a cup of tea.
I mentioned the love Greek people have for Indian movie songs (its true) and to prove it, I sang for him-with Greek verses-a song from the most popular ever Indian movie "Mother India"

The movie,staring the legendary Nargis,was nominated for Foreign Language Best Film Oscar in 1957, was a big succses in Greece and the main song was and stil is very well known and sung here.

Μας έσωσε το ότι κράτησα την ψυχραιμία μου και το "Καρδία μου καημένη,πώς βαστας και δεν ραγίζεις".
Πανω στην κουβέντα εξήγησα στον κ. Νταμα πόσο γνωστα είναι τα Ινδικά τραγούδια του '50 και ως απόδειξη τραγουδησα το γνωστό άσμα.
Ο κ.Ντάμα κατασυγκινήθηκε. Περάσαμε τραγουδώντας ντουέτο στό "Οσο αξίζεις εσύ κι η καρδιά σου η χρυση" και εκτελέσαμε σε αψογη ελληνο-ινδική συνεργασία το "Μείνε μαζι μου κι ας μη μ΄αγαπήσεις, μονο τα χάδια σου να μου χαρίσεις" 

Mr.Dhama got emotional and sung along with me. The scene was surreal: In New Delhi airport a desperate Greek and an Indian customs officer singing together :)
After some more Indian/greek songs Mr.Dama offered us a way out: we would board the next flight to Nepal-just two hours is the duration of the flight-stay a couple of days in Katmandu, get the visa from the Indian empassy there, then return to Delhi.

The fountain of Peace at the base of the  Stupa.

God bless him-and Lord Krishna too :)
A few hours later we had our first glimse of the Himalayas bathed in the morning sun...

Αμεσως μετα το σουρεαλιστικό αυτό happening ο κ Νταμα πρότεινε την τελεια λύση:μας εβαλε σε μια πτήση για Κατμαντού,πήραμε από την εκεί Ινδική πρεσβεία τις βιζες και σε δύο μερες επιστρέψαμε στο Δελχί.

Women preparing the offerings for the puja (the ceremony)
We sent Mr. Dhama a beautiful table book from Athens. 
Next year he was courteous enough to call us with congratulations, when the Greek national Football team won the European Championship :)

/salute Mr. Dhama
/respect and thanks for the answer Your Holiness
Στείλαμε στον κ.Ντάμα ενα φωτογραφικό αλμπούμ με τα ελληνικά νησιά. Την επόμενη χρονιά μας τηλεφώνησε να μας συγχαρεί για το Πανευρωπαϊκό!!

Ευχαριστώ για το μάθημα Εξοχότατε


  1. What an adventure! What a pain in the neck! And you met the Dalai Lama too?! WOW!!! You are so lucky to have met someone with a sympathetic ear. Thank goodness. It is just totally amazing that you knew a song that you sang in Greek which Mr. Dhama knew and could recognize! I really do wish I could have been there to see that scene. I am sure you were probably a wreck at the time, but you were very bold to try anything possible to figure out a solution to your problem. And you did. Really something. On top of it, you two became friends! *shakes my head* You are really outstanding!!

    I have my own confession: I love Hindi pop music! I love Indian love songs. I truly enjoy Bollywood music and a few years ago I used to listen to it all day long, so to listen to the song you sang was really fun for me. I don't recognize that one from the songs I listened to, but it was very nice!

    Thanks for the adventure, I loved it!

  2. Well,I didn't meet Dalai Lama.I didn't dare speak to him...sigh*
    Although I had to be daring as a journalist, in private I rarely take the initiative to speak to celebrities of any kind. In the case of Dalai Lama, I wouldnt dare intoduce myself and disturb him with my stupid questions.
    But,somehow,I got the answer to the question I never dared ask aloud :)
    The Universe work in mysterious ways and that's why it is soooo interesting ;D

  3. Forgot to mention about keeping my cool. In the East-far,near or otherwise-it is a very very VERY bad idea to get frustrated and act angrily with public servants or any authority.
    In the best case scenario they will sweetly refuse to help you no matter what.
    In the worst case we would have been boarded in the plane to Franfurt in handcuffs lol

  4. Great blog! You might have forgotten to get your visas but you did an unexpected couple of days in Tibet, strange how things work out isn't it? I can understand you not wanting to disturb the Dalai Lama, but I am sure he would have been glad to have a chat with you :)

  5. You know, we both behave the same way around celebrities! This reminds me of a story...my ex used to work for LucasArts, and when he started there, the company was located on George Lucas' ranch! I was lucky enough to go there on several occasions and among other things, I have even been so lucky to have visited one of the Lucas Film "prop" rooms! I touched Princess Leia's slave girl outfit, Michael Jackson's EO outfit, one of the many C3P0 and R2D2 robots, and many Indiana Jones things like one of his whips, leather jacket and other clothing!

    George had a company picnic every 4th of July and when we were there, I got to see him! He was right next to me at one point, as he made himself available to everyone to speak with, but I decided that I wouldn't say anything to him. I respect a person's privacy and after all, he was being bombarded by so many nerds and fans that I was embarrassed at their behavior. It was wonderful to have had the opportunity if I had wished, though, and I saw him on another occassion when my ex and I were visiting the ranch house, where he worked. I saw him walking around talking to his staff, and it was just kind of cool to see him relaxed and doing his job.

    Aren't you glad you're not famous?! YIKES! No thank you!! :)

  6. @poppy. Hey,thanks and welcome.Feel free to drop by for a cup of coffee-or tea-in the patio:)
    Yes,isn't it marvelous the way things work? I;ve been ramaging through boxes of slides and photos,but I haven't managed yet to find the Everest peak as seen from the airplane window...but I ll keep searching :)

  7. @janet...OMG!!! Indiana Jones whips and leather jacket AND princess leias legendery slave costume??? you lucky girl:))
    Yes,I know how you feel.I could also stand next to George Lucas or any celebrity and never open my mouth lols.
    Thanks for the story:)