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Caveman, Cavewoman

Where are the bats? The darkness? Why are these two cave-dwelling examples more about urban chic than an honest attempt at starkness?

Daniel Suelo has been described as a “48-year-old hermit from Utah”. Eight years ago he decided to stop using money. For the past three years he has been living in a cave. His eureka moment came when he went on a trip to Alaska. His friend and he “speared fish, ate mushrooms and berries and lived very well. Then we hit the road, hitchhiking, and realised how generous people were”.

Now this is being glorified. How many people do you know of who have given up materialism, live away from ‘civilisation’, and yet manage to reach out? Mr. Suelo has succeeded in portraying himself as one who lives without government handouts. Yet, he goes to a public library to record moments of his “punishing lifestyle”. He is a hero during times of recession because he has got no money, so he cannot lose it. Ho-hum.

This charade reeks of disdain in a world where qualified people are laid off. Where skilled labour in some societies has to subsist on minimum wages. Where people do not have water, forget fish to find in it.

There was a report a year ago about a foreign tourist who lived in a cave in the mountain regions of Kullu a tourist town in Himachal Pradesh. After losing her passport 8 years ago, Dimitri subsisted by soliciting money, food, and other essentials.

No one quite knew where she was from, though the cops said, “She has been living here for last many years.”

And how has that been possible? She did serve a seven month term for being without documents, but why was she still there with the knowledge of the cops? If her police records showed she was from Italy, then on what grounds did that country refuse to accept her?

What I find even more intriguing is that she declined to interact with Indians and begged only from foreigners. Ah, and they say beggars can’t be choosers.

Is there a need to romanticise such stories? There are millions of people who are homeless and do not have the choice of who they beg from and how they file their routines for internet posterity. This cave identity just does not convey a fraction of the squalid conditions of people who live in the open or in pipes.

I’ll any day take bats over manipulative batty.

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Here is a recent piece I wrote: A Tale of Two Slums

9 Comment count
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Daniel Suelo is probably

Daniel Suelo is probably going to write a book and make lots of money and so it goes...

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Possibly, Mary, so like do

Possibly, Mary, so like do you know of a nice little cave for me?


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No but I could let you have

No but I could let you have the summer house at the end of the garden!

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This piece came

just in time, because I am rereading a Chinese classic, "The Dream of the Red Chambers" It begins with Taoist and Buddhist "crazies," who have been enlightened without Earthly illusions and laugh at mortal men. Mendicants and village wise/fools have fascinated me for about 20 years. They are prevalent in Chinese lit and I've included a real life character in my upcoming graphic novel. What more interesting is your anger toward the ones who choose to live in poverty. You give me the answer why you find them offensive, but are there even deeper reasons? I think it noble to be away from society and very courageous. I dream of it, but I am spoiled by my comforts; yet I try to be cognizant of the illusory nature of wealth, etc.

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Belle, I am angry because

Belle, I am angry because these examples play to the very gallery they claim to abjure. This is not akin to mendicants or even mendacity. The 'crazies' you speak about are often seekers. Like you I have battled with the questions of materialsm as illusion and continue to do so.

I had quoted this elsewhere and it seems to fit in here just as well:

Outwardly, you are equal to a particle. Inwardly, you are equal to a hundred suns - (Shams Tabrez)

I think one can, therefore, look inward and since we are mere partices outside, would it make a difference how we lived there


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I was crazy about Jallaluddin Rumi for a long and Shams by association.

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Let me add, Amir Khusro, to

Let me add, Amir Khusro, to this list. He wrote in Persian as well as Hindvi, a rudimentary folk language akin to Hindi. It gave his verse an altogether different pathos. Now, here was a royal poet who talked about seeking and subsuming the Self into a superior power.

Khusro! the river of love has a reverse flow
He who enters will drown, he who drowns will get across.

The form of addressing oneself (either a name or a pseudonum) is common in Persian/Urdu couplets, especially the last stanza of the ghazal format.

Just thought I'd share this here...


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Yep, Mary's right

This smells like a book project to me, too. He can have that one. I'm surprised guys like this inevitably get these cult followings.

Loved your bat/batty line!


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Aren't we to blame for this

Aren't we to blame for this sort of cultism, Chris? We really go for anything that appears remotely 'different' and has a sanctified motive.

To continue on the bat theme, it woudl be better if people just learned to use a straight bat...