KaLaGiYa is a cautionary tale of passage across culture, time, earth, and a less finite universe within. Despite exotic setting, KaLaGiYa’s theme is common to all—dealing with the seeming chaos of the unknown, when we catch a glimpse beyond the order of the known.
Emerging from the vortex of his ’60s—sex, drugs, war—Guy is alive, yet to his roots quite beyond the pale. For Guy, society’s mirror has cracked. How can he find suitable reflection, that image so necessary for self-understanding, in the confusion beyond? After a checkered career as combat journalist cum filmmaker cum drug smuggler, Guy’s world disintegrates; his laboriously, if imperfectly, self-constructed image dissolves. Busted! Seemingly endless Prison, followed by even more interminable University, curses him with understanding of the illusion of being. But despite his constant struggle to remain outside the "straight" life, to remain in control of what he will be, he too must face that fault line where inner expectations collide with external reality.
Time is running out; few choices remain. Guy opts to return to the one place in life that he has ever felt balance. He sets out on, what he imagines to be, a final journey to the Himalaya. If Shambhala with its siren call, KaLaGiYa is his grail, NunKun, a high massif in the heart of Kashmir, is his lodestone. It is from this ultimate margin, caught in the grip of a ferocious storm, that the tale unfolds. Guy, however, is not alone. Nearby waits Mara, a local deity symbolic of the Void with whom he has long flirted. A final meeting with this protean God is distinctly possible. Ahead lies much exposure—a waiting crevice, avalanche, a torrent, or, most dangerously, his own mind.
In his past, war, drugs, sex, have offered but brief respite from the burden of being. Now, he ponders life’s duplicity. While symbolic of release, Mara has three "daughters of desire," lust, hatred, ignorance, who keep Guy bound to his existence. Haunted by these desires, Guy plans for that slim chance of survival—even as he dreams of Mara. If all else fails, there is always one last score of charas (hashish), even though this will turn the wheel back to what he has struggled so long to escape. Throughout the ensuing journey, these oppositions of release and being, vie for Guy’s soul.
Beyond this internal conflict lie other insidious forces. Unknown to Guy danger waits, its terror even greater than the wolf that haunts his dreams. Gulam, faithless servant and police informant, tends him like a sheep, guiding along a path to a maw more fearsome than the deepest crevice. Gulam is not alone. As Guy journeys across the Himalaya, characters, both good and evil, past and present, continually plot to bend him to their will: Mei, true love betrayed; Morgan, crime-partner and Judas; Yusef, avaricious tourist-wala; Devara, spaced Hindu sadhu; Geser, wily lama; Tara, rekindler of dying passion; Ashraf, fanatical mujahed.
But are they real or only part of Guy’s storm-locked dream? Mara calls out, "Let go from the Maya (illusion) that is your mind." It is a call most difficult to answer. Guy struggles to free self from himself and enter Mara’s waiting embrace.
No journey is ever as contemplated. In passage, there is change! In change, there is hope. It is with hope that Guy, perhaps, can at last hear KaLaGiYa, emanating from his Shambhala within.
This is a work of fiction. Events and characters are from the author's imagination. Any similarity to real events or persons is coincidental. All images are independent of events or characters that appear in the work.
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