Paul Giraud

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Paul Giraud (aka Paul Gyss, aka 'Taxi Paul', aka 'Babes', born Bombay, India, 1937 - died Woodstock, USA, 23rd August 2010).

Paul Giraud, Swayambunath, 1970s.



"Paul would like the name Paul Giraud used. His nicknames are Taxi Paul (old days) and Babes (nowadays) as he's been calling his friends 'babes' for years. He was born in Bombay (Mumbai), Bridge Candy in 1937, but grew up in Connecticut, USA.

"In the early 60's he met Geshe Wangyal and his student John Brzostoski in New Jersey. He was driving a taxi for several years in NYC before leaving for India upon John's suggestion that he study Vipashana medtation with Manindra at the Burmese Vihara in Bodhgaya. He stayed in India from 1965 to 1981. From Gaya he traveled to Goa and Sri Lanka. Manindra suggested he go to Kathmandu to meet another Vipashana teacher, but when Paul discovered the Tibetans he connected with them.

"He met Karmapa XVI and all the great lamas of the day. He knew Princess Zena, Thubten Yeshe and Zopa Rinpoche and was there when Richard Tenzin sold Zena's thangkas to raise $30,000 to buy Kopan. Since '81 he has returned to India every few years and was with Jasper at the 2001 Kumbhmela.[1]


Blog Posts


  • Ira Landgarten wrote
"Paul Gyss-Giraud, known & beloved by many as "Babes" was the quintessential international hipster.
A superb raconteur, art lover & botanical maven, his life wove a mandala seamlessly between Tangier, Goa, Kathmandu, Paris, Woodstock & the West Village in New York. Always casually & nattily clad‹his tastes leaned towards graphic t-shirts, Balinese ikats, Indian silks & hemp, Fedoras & Panama hats‹he was a genuine bon vivant, who brought a sparkling grooviness where ever he went. He could rub shoulders at any chic art opening or rub chillums with naked Naga sadhus on the banks of the Ganges.
I met Paul in Kathmandu, Nepal in the autumn of 1973; he was running a little club called The Eclipse on Freak Street. It was a 1970s Asian version of Rick's Café Americain [of 'Casablanca' fame] crossed with a Black-Light opium den/disco. Travelers, hippies, army deserters, smugglers, Tibetan scholars, a CIA agent or two congregated over a beer or Coke or chillum. And Paul 'Bogarted' his way through many a joint, tending to the mellow vibe, lending a friendly ear, offering sage advice, spinning yarns ... The sound track was Hendrix, The Stones, The Beatles.
I hadn't seen Paul for several years when I ran into him in the Gems & Minerals display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He had as many facets of interest as the shimmering diamond we were gazing at.
He was living in Brooklyn & raising his daughters, savoring the Big Apple. He knew its ins & outs from his taxi-driver days back when, before Tangiers, before India ...
We were 'India returned' souls orbiting with a cadre of Eastern heads, yogis, bogeys, Ganesh Baba, Ira Cohen & a loosely-knit cast of colorful Tantric characters, philosophers & seekers, artists, poets, musicians. We gave a pretty wide berth to 'greed heads' & 'beef eating alcoholics' as Ganesh Baba dubbed the straights.
A particularly tasty time was spent with Paul at the 1986 Kumbha Mela gathering in Hardwar, India; he met up with Ira Cohen & me while we were shooting what eventually became "Kings With Straw Mats" coming via Paris with a little espresso maker & some savory fresh coffee beans. In a twinkling of an eye, Paul donned a lungi, tied his hair up & was down with the Nagas at the sacred fire offering up a chillum to Lord Shiva with the heaviest hitters.
Over the years, we saw each other on & off, in Woodstock or The Big Apple, where we would muse overlooking the Hudson River. But never enough, never enough ...
And now a light's gone out. My world is now just a bit duller, drabber, staler. Paul checked-out of this Cosmic Hotel like a real mensch, with all the elan he had in the best of times, leaving us with a cornucopia of legendary memories & tales ...

External Links


  1. Email from Arthur Mandelbaum 13/10/2009

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