Thursday, 24 September 2009

In the beginning...

Welcome to my blog – lovely to have you here!

I’m in my last couple of weeks of preparation before heading off on my adventures. A few people recommended I keep a blog and I decided it might be fun and also means that poor unfortunates who have no wish to receive my lengthy email updates will be spared. At least you choose whether or not to receive this. I’m completely ignorant of the technology of blogging, but I believe you can subscribe if you would like. I imagine this means you get notified when new postings come up (though I really have no idea). At the moment, I’m thinking of posting every week to ten days or so. If you like, please also join my Facebook group to receive updates about blog postings. The group is now rather misnamed Lucy’s EU blog. I don’t anticipate my travels taking me much into Europe – at least not for the next year or so.

But enough of the admin – and I have recently discovered that packing my life down to a rucksack involves a shocking amount of it. On October 6th I fly out of London into Delhi briefly, and then – permits and officials allowing – into Leh, the capital of Ladakh near the Chinese border of India. For some reason I have a hankering for the high Himalayas and thought I should get there before winter sets in. It feels suitably perverse that my first experience this time round of famously hot India should be a chilly one.

And now I come to the title of this blog. “Under the Trident” doesn’t have much to do with grand travels on the face of it. I had considered calling it something like “Lucy’s Grand Adventure” but worried that might give rise to false expectations of Wallace and Gromit-esque charm and originality. The title is part of the reason I am not as worried as I might be about having to organise my permit for Leh at Indira Ghandi Airport in my day in Delhi between flights – though I admit I’ll feel a bit easier about the whole thing once I hear back from the hotel with my room booking (I have a feeling they’re being slow because I requested non a/c – air-conditioning – not even because I’m being cheap but because heat bothers me a lot less than the allergies aroused in me by the dreaded dust-belching a/c systems of the world).

It started coming up in meditation. I closed my eyes and there was Shiva (as smiling destroyer, one of his many guises – no gentle gods for me) straddling a fast mountain stream, huge and somewhere between blue and brown with his long hair and fierce eyes. He looked (and still does) something between a cartoon character and the sort of romantic hero you see on the cover of un-literary books. There he stood, trident aloft (and pointing downwards, rather alarmingly), beckoning me under it – which required wading up the stream he bestrode like a colossus (but as I suspect a godhead is rather up the rankings to a colossus, that’s probably a spurious simile).

This has had some rather interesting repercussions. When dealing with the frustrations of procuring my visa for India (wrong passport, wrong documents, blah, blah) the very nice lady politely informed me that, no, they don’t like giving those sorts of visas, there’s no guarantee, and did you realise that Leh is restricted? (Neither the Rough Guide nor the Lonely Planet is very clear on that one.) My heart momentarily sank - but there was Shiva, imperiously beckoning me under the bridge he made from the points of his trident. What could I do but wade, as all bureaucrats bowed before him? (I got my visa, no problem at all.) I have no idea whether this is a message from God or a delusion, but it’s a great comfort as people around me predict illness, disaster and terror.

Of course, the other famous trident-bearer is Poseidon, Greek god of the sea. As the latter half of my travels is precisely about (and in) the sea, what could be more appropriate? It is interesting to me that my guides/guardians/task-masters are such fierce ones (“Don’t worry, it’s not an offensive weapon if you’re on his good side!” emailed my yoga philosophy teacher when I asked him the significance of Shiva’s trident). But those who know me well will know I could wish for no better company than the eastern god depicted most often dancing or meditating and the western god with dominion over the seas.

So whether I remain on his good side or whether Shiva skewers me from above and Poseidon from below, I go joyfully, joyfully as my old London life dissolves around me. I hope sometimes to find you here with me as I go.

Lucy xx


  1. Hope you have an amazing time under the lord Shiva's guidance (I know you will!) Om nama Shiva ay, Candy xx

  2. What a great name. I love it!