The eternal soul waits endlessly for release from the cycle of rebirth and with that escape recognizes its own divinity. What is two more hours to Halli, when she has lifetimes, but hell my eternal soul counts the minutes I wait in the mosquito net for her to arrive and with this recognizes its own boredom.
In Halli time is bendy. A slinky juggled from hand to hand, flopping down the stairs, or impossibly tangled. In the stretch of time between Halli and my wristwatch I’ve discovered meditation. With Halli we meditate at the bus stand, at restaurants, and in traffic. Our minds emptying over the internet… Bliss
Halli has had lives. She was a desert, an outskirt, a village, and now almost a town. Each time her soul sheds the garments of one life, it wraps itself in the next hot trends. Scanning through her room I’ve found all of them. The modern jeans, the classic kurti, and her ancient bindi… all over the floor. Although each life replaces the other, you can still see the mother in the daughter, the Sanskrit blessings etched on her phone cover.
Arriving out of a desert mirage. She calls from the street like the men selling newspapers… from a call center. Out of the net and into the road we talk and stuff. We ride the local bus towards the park. We are divided women in the front seats and men in the back. Seven identical men in different postures covered the backbench of the bus. In each seat the man is a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a cousin, and an uncle. All his lives filling up the seats… Noticing I want to sit down he gathers himself up into just one seat. I squeeze all of myself next to all of him. No wonder the bus is crowded. He opens the window and my unfinished thoughts tumble on out with the breeze.
The people-flood spills out of the bus and pours into the street outside the park. We rescue each other through the shipwreck debris and doggy paddle onto the grass.
Halli had her witty lipstick on today. She was being terrible to the people out of earshot. I bobbled along terribly. She picked a Banyan tree for us to waste away under. Halli, who I’m watching text someone, knows I’m leaving India soon. Well, I told her. She is probably going to ask me curiously the day I leave where I’m going. I’ll tell her again that I’m taking a time machine to an outskirt of Kathmandu. I’m going to become the English teacher in the village school. Wear a Nepali cap and live with a Nepali family.
Don’t blame yourself for zoning out, she did too.
I wanted to peel her attention back to the moment. I scanned around for a topic. Talking just to talk, and you never say much. I looked over the Banyan tree. What an amazing animal. Its branches dive back into the earth and grow into new thick trunks. A banyan could be a giant sleeping green daddy-long-legs. A single spider can become acres wide in reach.
Interrupting no one I started with,
” When I look at a Banyan tree I see that a person can be born in one place and as they grow lay roots in new places. That as we grow we find home in different places. This tree gets me“.
Halli swatted at her face as if my words had a foul smell. The purplish smoke of my polluting thoughts wrinkled her nose. She recovered her poise and finished me with,
” When I see the Banyan tree I see a family. With each new branch supporting the center when it takes root. A family is growing. We branches become the new roots of the tree. The grandchildren have children. ”
Seizing the moment I was disarmed, she pulled out a bow and arrow out of her handbag and shot me in the mouth. I think she was angry with herself for believing that we had common ground. The bitter last bite of enjoy it well it lasts, staining her with poison breath,
” What is wrong with you? Do you see yourself in everything? … Oh my god… When you look into a lake do you see yourself or the beautiful lake? Jeez… knowing you, you probably see yourself walking on the water. That’s what I hate about you, how big you think you are. A great person sees how small they are, their purpose is through things more important than themselves. They devote their little lot to that. Their reference point is others. Your reference point is the temple you built for yourself on Facebook.
I guessed it would be smart of me to walk away. Have a minute in the park without her existing. She let the late afternoon whisper something in her ear. She turned back and made it final.
” I read your blog about me. We are friends on Facebook you know! Of course I did, you are good at making your ignorance look like curiosity. Doesn’t fool me. You were wondering what I would be to you. I am your teacher. God! I’m lifetimes older than you think you are. See what I’ve seen…
Your life was written. Everything that happens in your life happens for a reason. The reason is that it was written. The trouble is that as the story unfolds your desires interrupt your destiny. They clash within you. You want life to be what you desire, because you refuse to accept what it is and always would be. I’m asking you desire your destiny only. If you accept your life than no matter what you will be satisfied. You Americans are never satisfied; your desires are never still. So arrogant, you even believe that you manifest your own destiny.
Smiling as if she dropped a secret somewhere,
In one life we wanted to believe that we could change the ancient ink. That life was spent wading up a river. In the next we read the script of our lives like skillful actors. We didn’t try to direct. Just like each character in a play, each person has a specific role on earth. That role is their Dharma. I’ll leave you with this Deren. Let your dharma quiet your other desires. In the silence, your dharma is obvious. Your dharma is whatever you do, that when you do it you loose track of time. Standing next to infinity this world is timeless. Dharma will lead to your destiny. Everyone’s destiny is great in the eyes of God. Don’t congratulate yourself too much if you can achieve this. Your life was written, you had no part in it, you just finally learned to read.
She gave me room to leave, and some thing to carry with me.
Then it rained in Bangalore.