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Published: December 11th 2012
From my seat on the windowsill, I look out the open window. A man, either fearless or so desperate to earn the day’s bread that fear isn’t a factor, scurries up a palm tree with bare feet, a rope and a sickle. Precariously balanced at the top – eye level from my position in a fourth story flat – he cuts down bunches of coconuts, ties them up and lowers them to the ground 30 meters below. He pulls the rope back up, loops it around the trunk and shimmies back down to (relative) safety.
Just beyond the palm trees, an inlet of the Arabian Sea lies still as glass, reflecting a blue so calm it could quiet even the most restless of minds. Its shores are wrapped in verdant green, the vegetation untouched by the city’s ceaseless expansion. Blinding white egrets, stunning green parakeets, and fearsome falcons float, flap and fly by. Looking out at this small sliver of paradise, this virginal vista, one can imagine the “good bay” the Portuguese sailed into five centuries ago.
Across the water, the golden spire of the Global Vipassana Pagoda points to a lone cloud in an empty blue sky. Six
months ago, I sat under the pagoda’s grand, domed ceiling (the largest such structure in Asia), meditating with none other than S.N. Goenkaji himself – the man who brought the ancient meditation technique back to India from Myanmar. His baritone voice echoed off the stone ceiling, competing with the sniffles, sneezes and coughs of thousands of meditators. He called the Budda the “Super Scientist of Spirituality.” The moniker made me smile.
My mind strayed to some of the students I had served at a Vipassana course in Dehradun – strong, beautiful women that I sent my love to across unknown distances. The meditation over, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned, and before I could fully register the face, arms enveloped me in a strong embrace. “I was just thinking of you,” a voice said in my ear. I pulled away and saw the beaming smile of one of the women I had just been thinking about! Reunited with my phone a few minutes later, I received a message from yet another one of those women, wanting to know where I was and if we could meet. I was amazed by the amount of energy in a single
Photo Credit: Shachi Misra
Back to the present. On my windowsill, looking out. My last month in India; my last month of this great adventure. Some would say it’s being spent rather anticlimactically. I’d say it’s being spent perfectly. I’m the guest of the incredibly generous and beautiful souls Shreesh and Shachi Misra, in their lovely home in Marve, a beachside borough in NW Bombay. I walk the dog. I rearrange furniture, help pick out wallpaper and hang photos. I cook, I bake. Basically, I’ve become a housewife – and it turns out that I’m pretty good at it (which is in no way meant to say that I’m ready to get married).
I’m planning a big Christmas dinner and thinking about serving burritos. Can Mexican food be served at an Indian Christmas? Where do I get tortillas? Sour cream? Can I make my own? These are the biggest dilemmas facing me as I face out of my window. In short, life is good.
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