This afternoon I performed my last filial duty and scattered what remained of my father’s ashes at the Taj Mahal in India.
We landed in Jaisalmer at 5am on a cool morning and, swaddled in a fluffy pink blanket bought expressly for the night-bus, we drank sweet masala chai for an hour. A short tuk-tuk ride then dropped us at the outer gate of the fort and for the second time in my life I had the pleasure of walking up into this sandstone marvel in the desert a hundred kilometres from the border with Pakistan.
We left Anandwan over a fortnight ago and now, with time and distance under our belts, it is time to reflect on the time there and our transition back into everyday India.
Since I was 17-years old I have had a phobia about losing a finger or more.
The circumstances we sometimes find ourselves in can be bizarre. I never could have imagined that one day I would wake up and think ‘I’m looking forward to going to an Old People’s Home to massage the leprosy afflicted residents’. But nonetheless today was that day, my third on the job.
My lake-side seat has become my favourite place to sit at Somnath. Every morning after breakfast I head to the concrete plinth beneath a Mimosa tree and assume a position of dedicated intent; buttocks and feet are planted to establish a tripod and then I survey the scene (I am more of an eyes-wide-open meditator).
I might have neglected to say that I’ve brought my father along on this trip. Not the full blown article I hasten to add which would be rather difficult as he’s been dead for over 10-years.
I used to think that I knew how to sit quietly with myself. Now I know how wrong that assumption was. Continual distractions would arrive via my senses, an itch here or a sound there, and bounce me off the path.
OhmygodIwanttotalk! I’ve done it, a week of (near) total silence: hours of meditation, yoga at dawn every day, vegetarian food and no email, internet, television or interference from the outside world – just my own internal distraction to deal with!
Currently installed at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai is an exhibition entitled ‘Music and the Goddess’. Laid out over three floors of a sensuously flowing flying saucer-like building it has a very other worldly atmosphere.