Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole

There was the rabbit hole. Beautifully ensconced in the wilderness. There, where it was all green and lush and beautiful. It was all it was set up to be and more. Its entrance was a guild of jewels, it was everything promised. She had grown up with stories that bespoke its mystery, its wonder, its secrets. She had been waiting her whole life to find it, she had been seeking it out for as long as she had known. It was where she would find the treasure.

She hurriedly cleared the awning. She wanted to see what was inside. After all, the wonderment of life was down this rabbit hole. The entrance was unexpectedly small. Maybe if she squeezed in this way, and then that way, she might be able to get in. So she tried. She contorted her body; she went in, head first. It smelled enticing. It smelled of sunflowers. Her favorite flower. So she mustered the courage to contort some more. An inch here, an inch there, and then she felt herself slide. Suddenly the rabbit hole opened up. No one had told her this! She was down a slippery slope. Down she went. Head first.

The wind whizzed past her. The smell of sunflowers lingered. She saw open skies and seagulls; she saw dolphins in the sea; fishermen waved to her. She moved on. She zipped past the sea; she crossed straits, a coral reef, the smell of salt lingered. Suddenly she was in the middle of a forest. The rabbit hole yawned open. She could stand up. She dusted herself clean and looked around.

All was silent. Not a leaf stirred, not a bee buzzed. She heard the beating of her heart as she forayed into the unknown. But she was no stranger to the wilderness. She had been lost many times before. Albeit, never in a rabbit hole. Always a first. And so she trudged on. She had worn the wrong shoes. And dress. Her feet hurt, her dress caught on thorns and ripped in patches. She carried on.

“Hey, little lady, where ‘re you going?” said a big ANT with a bigger load on its back.
“Down the rabbit hole,” she replied. “I’m sorry, was I in your way?” She stepped aside.
“Nah, I’m just doing what I always do,” said the ANT. “It’s all the same down here. If you’re looking for the way to the treasure, turn right, then left and then stay on course. You’ll walk into a SPIDER’s web, he’ll guide you after.”
“Good luck,” said the ANT and moved on.

And so she walked. Her feet hurt and her dress ripped, but she took a right, then a left and kept walking till she found herself stuck in the sticky web of the SPIDER.

The prickly SPIDER made its way to where the little lady was stuck. Sweet, sticky web stuck to her hair and her torn dress. She was expecting him.

“I was told to ask you the way to the treasure,” she told the SPIDER. She didn’t bat an eye as he inched closer, with his hair standing on edge, his eight legs moving assuredly in her direction.
“I was expecting you,” she said.
“The ANT sent you here, did he?” asked the SPIDER. “Are you afraid?”
“Of you or the rabbit hole?”
“Depends on the story you’ve heard,” said the SPIDER.
“I’m here to find my way to the treasure. You don’t want me. I have rotten shoes, a torn dress and a palpitating heart. You’re better off with someone ….intact. Moreover, you have a structural issue in your web. It’s going to unravel right there if you take one more step towards me,” she said, pointing to the upper right side of the web.
The SPIDER weighed his options. He saw her point. She was dirty…and lean. He’d get more out of fixing his web than indulging in a meal he wasn’t keen on.

“Take a left at the fork till you reach a stream,” he said wearily. “You’ll see a Fisherman with a boat. He’ll take you across. Pull at that thread near your left shoulder, it will unravel and free you.”

“Thank you, SPIDER. Good luck with your web,” she said and set afoot.

And so she walked down the rabbit hole. It was the most beautiful place she had ever seen. There was not a human being in sight. The birds chirped, the trees whispered, and the forest floor opened up to greet her. Before long, she was at the edge of the stream. She saw the Fisherman. The same one who had waved to her earlier. Was she back to where she had started? She pushed the thought out of her mind and signaled to him. Her shoes were soaked with silt and her dress weighed her down as she waded through the water to where he was anchored.

“Where ‘re you off to, little lady?” he asked.
“I’m off to see the treasure,” she gasped out. “Can you help me get across?”
“I’m afraid I can’t. I haven’t eaten in a week and I can’t move my boat further out,” he said.
“Can I help?”
“I’m afraid there’s nothing you can do to help…”
“Hang in there, will you? I’ll be right back!”

She sprinted back to the SPIDER.
“SPIDER, what if I told you I could show you a new way to spin your web, would you help me with something?”
“Will it get me more six-legged creatures from the forest?”
“Yes, it will!” And so she spun him a new web; a strong one, made up of enticements and provocations and encouragement – the kind she’d been spinning in the world above. The SPIDER was impressed. He agreed to help.

“I’ll be right back!” she said and hurried to find the big ANT.

“ANT! If I tell you that I can ease your burden, will you help me with something?” she asked.
“What do you mean?”
“How much food do you need to survive every day?”
“A quarter of this morsel of sugar,” said the ANT, signaling to the sugar on his back.
“What will you do with the rest of the sugar morsel?” she inquired.
“I’ll store it of course!”
“What if it rains?”
“That’s why I collect more than I need!”

She looked around, picked up branches, leaves, stones and made the ANT a canopy.
“The rain won’t get to the sugar now,” she said. “You can carry less and store what you have.”
The ANT was ecstatic. He was ready to help.

He followed her down the road… right, then left, right up to the SPIDER.
The SPIDER, the ANT and she walked down the road, took a left at the fork and reached the Fisherman. The SPIDER spun a net so the Fishermen could catch fish to eat; the ANT used his strength to push the boat out into the water. The little girl hopped in with the Fisherman, waved goodbye to the big ANT and SPIDER and they were soon on their way.

The Fisherman dropped her to the other side, bade her well and set off to fish. She followed the path up the hill….she climbed and climbed and climbed. Sweat poured down her body; she paid no heed to her tattered dress and her missing shoe. She rallied on. She was off to find the treasure at the end of the rabbit hole.

She reached the top of the hill and stopped to catch her breath. The valley looked beautiful from up here.

Stop. Breathe. Stay still, little lady. Take it all in (this was the treasure)! But she didn’t know it. She was restless, impatient and eager. She started downhill….and missed a step. She tumbled head first, down, down, and down the rabbit hole. The wind whizzed past her. She smelled the ocean again… she thought of the Fisherman in the stream… she streaked through open skies and sea gulls flying high; she caught sunflowers in her hair.

She tumbled on to the grass. It was green and lush and beautiful. Just as it was before she went down the rabbit hole.

She got up and dusted herself. She was missing a shoe, her clothes were barely concealing her beauty. She had tumbled down the rabbit hole in search of treasure. Instead she met an ANT, a SPIDER and a Fisherman. They all knew each other now, only she wasn’t there.

She turned towards home. Maybe there wasn’t any treasure at the end of the rabbit hole, she thought. Maybe there was, and she missed it. Maybe she missed it.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Vows of a Yogi

It's been over a year and a half since I posted any new tale of the yogi. That's probably because in the interim, the yogi got into a PhD program in anthropology, moved to the United States and made sweet, sweet contact with the man of her dreams (not particularly in that order). She will continue to walk, to run, to wander. She will continue to traverse life's vicissitudes with the passion of a nomad, but now, her steps fall in sync with one other's. Together, they have their feet on the ground and their heads in the clouds. 

What better way to start a new chapter of Wanderings than with the Vows the yogi and her man made to each other on Dec 21, 2013....vows that eventually culminated in 16 auspicious rounds around the ceremonial fire and the promise of 58 years and 6 more lifetimes together. 

This is perhaps the most important tale of the yogi to date. 

I COMMIT TO YOU, my wife
[Dec 21, 2013
Approx. 5:30 pm
Coronado, California]

Taapsi, my love.
You are the “YES” i was always looking for and knew, deep down, existed. I can speak no higher truth in saying that I have waited my whole life for you… all paths and experiences have lead to you and my capacity to love and be loved by you. And in my heart I have always imagined being with you- meaning I have always imagined being with my ultimate partner, lover and friend- someone who I adore, enjoy, love and am deliciously in love with all at the same time. I have thought and talked so often about dream vs. reality… and believe We are that harmonious combination.. feet on the ground, head in the clouds. You are without a doubt the LOVE of my life and a new beginning in my understanding of Family.

As I have surrendered to this amazing journey, I offer these promises....

I will respect you on your best and worst days and stay by your side.
I will protect and care for you, fill your cup and hold your hand.

I will help you look for the things you seek
I will Hope for you, Concentrate on you, Shop for you and Learn with you.

Whatever you give, I will cherish and multiply,
add harmony and keep rhythm with everything I possess.

I present these words as an affirmation and commitment
to you, my eternal partner and wife.

And as I also love Haiku…

We are found today
Grounding feet, parting clouds, ripe 
A waking dream, Still.

I COMMIT TO YOU, my husband

The first night we met, all I really noticed were your good looks and orange backpack. I thought to myself, I really like his genes – we’d make great babies. When I saw you, it was like watching David Hasselhoff in Baywatch – you looked way too hot to be available. And then you reached over, shook my hand and said “Hi, I’m Mark”. Holy cow. This was for real! That moment, for better or worse, was the beginning of us.

Here we are, almost four years later, ready to take the plunge…perhaps literally in the pool after all this. Ours was a bumpy ride (might be an understatement, actually). But for the past two years, since we chose to live together, I have come to value you and love you and cherish you more than I have ever before. What I am feeling right now, in this moment, standing in front of you, is a culmination of sweet joy, pure love and intense attraction in a way I have never experienced before.

You have been the beginning of so many “Firsts” in my life, baby. I had never held hands in public before I held yours, I had never listened to classical music or watched a ballet performance or heard an opera singer before I met you. I had never been inside a Land Rover or inside a tent or sat naked in hot springs before I met you. I didn’t know how powerful haiku could be or how weak Ray Lamontagne could make me. I had never eaten a mushroom risotto or drunk as much as much coffee as I have with you. I have never met a man who has cried freely before me and then held me as I cried. I have never met a man for whom chopping wood is as manly as breaking into a Bollywood dance which is as manly as making kettle corn and watching Luther in bed. Our love has been a revelation. I have become a person I Never thought I was, or would be…and I am riding this wave, baby. How can I Not want to marry you?!!

Selfishly, I cannot and will never let you go because you Really are my other half…you’re my other half that I didn’t know I had! Our friends and family stand witness to the fact that I am more a woman, more a partner, more a sister, more a friend and more a human being than I have ever pushed myself to be. And you are more than part of that reason. I can’t wait to marry you because you make me blissfully happily (my facebook pictures seem to be testimony to that!). I have always been your woman…with my head in the clouds and my feet on the ground. Now I am ready to be your bride.

I vow to always meet you halfway. I vow to be your equal partner – to stand by your side always, to always choose you, to ease your burden even when you tell me “I’m the man”…I vow to wipe your tears, share your laugh and offer you a sanctuary to laugh and cry some more. I vow to be open and honest and love you even when you play Youssou N’Dour :D

You are My man, baby.
And I will always love you. Like a crazy person.