Monday, September 27, 2010

Lobsang Rampa Taught Me to Fly

Learning to understand your own cultural prejudices is like trying to swim in a vacuum: there are few push-off points:

The boy was picked up by a black man in a two-tone Ford Corsair.
He’d slept for a few hours on the floor of the ladies toilet at the petrol station where his last ride had turned off the main road.
It was a cold sunrise and the sky was streaked with red cirrus; he was still six hours from home.
The black man wore a brown suit and hat, he made polite conversation as he drove and played a Jim Reeves cassette on the stereo.
The boy felt awkward in his uniform and in his white skin but he could not put the pieces together in any way that satisfied all angles.

For the 18 year old conscript from the coast, the Transvaal was a melancholy and bitter place; dry and red and yellow with a sky that changed expression from big and blue to big and dark in the blink of thought.

30 years later and I still can’t fathom what possessed that man to pick up a white soldier in the middle of nowhere.


Perhaps I should clarify a few things here:
  • The picture is the cover of The Mars Volta's difficult second album "Frances The Mute"
  • The Ford Corsair I'm referring to is the one from the 1960's; the one that looks as if it was designed in the 1970's.
  • Jim reeves music is sad - and I don't mean that in a good way
  • Many things have changed over the least 30 years, but some have not.
  • This post is Bio-related.
  • Oh, and Lobsang Rampa wrote books about his adventures on the astral plane - I never realised he was serious. Further info on Rampaism here


Tom said...

fantastic links as well

Steve Hayes said...

Lobsang Rampa was serious? I read one of his books, The third eye, which seemed to be a fairly down-to-earth description of life in a Tibetan monastery, except that I gather that Lobsang Rampa was never in Tibet, and made it all up.

Or did he say he went there on the astral plane?

I was once hitchhiking and got a lift from a witchdoctor. He had all these gall bladders and things swinging from the car roof, a pre-war Plymouth.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Tom: hope it makes as much sense to you as it does to me ;]

Steve: As a fellow countryman I presume you would have got the cultural references... I also read The Third Eye but automatically presumed it was fiction.

Harlequin said...

your piece was intriguing; your comments were quite entertaining.
this was a complete reading experience !