She came, She saw, She conquered.
Makati was benevolent with it’s weather, mood, and it’s people except for the unforgiving traffic. Again one cannot complain much; no one ever got everything perfect. It was time up and I was busy traversing through the shy showers, umbrellas protesting up to the sky and Honda SUVs stammering, maintaining a cautious respectful distance to the one’s before them… similar to a bewitched love struck teen holding on to his breath, blood rush and negotiating a proximity with his beloved; neither too close to touch nor far enough to miss heart’s murmur.
I was scanning for some money ex changers and in the shady lights everything seemed quite uninviting and traffic snarl coupled with rain, made mobility unpleasant. Thankfully there was a neon sign for a market place – A bag full of bananas and dry fruits were purchased to merely exchange a big peso note for small notes. I patted myself for a decent closure to the money issue, I looked around and Starbucks invited me for a chai – so headed out in the direction; which is when I saw her.
She may be around 7 or 8 years old, was standing by the entrance; an outsized tee shirt stained, torn in places, disheveled hair, eyes hungry and hands stretched to passer-by.
It’s a busy world out there. We are all busy negotiating with the clock work; sharing, tasking, delegating, multi-tasking, sneaking, the hours we seem conscious of and actively converting these hours to monetizing, dreaming, or attempting to save, pay off or create, destruct or preserve something that we call life.
She was invisible or she was one among many, invisible in this busy world. This outstretched palm has done crazy things to me. It never meant anything to me until I was nine years old when someone told me about the palms. For now, I will call this guy as “someone from the mountains”.
“The palms outstretch and ask – only when, either you are innocent of the worldly way; you are pristine enough that ego hasn’t been realized; or when you are helpless to the core and a conscious prisoner of situation and contexts that the ego is willfully ignored and you extend the palms to the whole world to save you, to help you and address your soul’s longing, in most case it is hunger, compassion or life per se- don’t mix this up with professionals who do this for living”.
“Your palms are antennas that convey; communicate something beyond the verbal cacophony. One needn’t be well versed in bio magnetism, reiki or healing to know how these energy centers in palms work; at some point in time you would have been held or you would have held someone, palm – to-palm and may have spoken the unspoken. Think about it. Nevertheless, opening your palms and communicating to the world to feed your hunger is a context of the underprivileged, unfortunate reality of a gravity balanced world; barring the sanity that the physical laws – such as gravity bestow upon this world, humanity largely remains unbalanced”
Irrespective of the tepid showers and traffic, I could only be distracted by her palms. Someone hopeful of a few second eye-contact to convey something and see if she could get something.
I was stoic as ever, processing numerous theories and anecdotes that were told to me by “the someone” who was & is always trying to guide me from far off from the mountains. I went near the star bucks and she reached out for my bag and it was an effortless exchange of a momentary hysterical gaze from her empty eyes and a backdrop of lighting. Not more than 10 seconds and I was already walking off away from her, a messenger’s simple rule is “to deliver and vanish”.
I missed the chai. It was a chilled cool Makati and this was the best excuse. For some reason I couldn’t bring up myself to cross her and go and get something to drink. By the time I reached my hotel there were 4 missed calls. Who else? It was “the someone”- from the mountains.
You cannot vanish from certain people in your life. It was like even before you were born you are destined to be someone’s son or daughter, husband, wife, worry, love, headache and disciple. You don’t get to choose and this is something one has to accept. After a long dial tone, he picked up, “Where were you? You could not even pick up your phone?”
“Sorry master it was muted” I managed (atleast I thought so!) ; “Isn’t a phone supposed to ring?, anyways, today is the last day of Devi (Goddess) Festival; you will go to temple, offer fruits or delicacies and don’t pray for anything; just do your pranayama (breathing exercise coupled with some gestures to regulate energy) and walk out; do not do any other external actions”, he was in his usual monologue.
“Master I’m not in a place where I could find any temple, I’m in Makati, and this is in the Philippines”. There was silence. Some static funny, star trek type noise; I often wondered if Varanasi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varanasi) was somewhere in the moon with all the static connects that I have endured with this “someone from the mountains”.
“It’s ok; but she should have looked out for you; Did you see her? She should have been unbearably difficult for you to look into her eyes; Did you offer her the fruits?” Now this is not the first time for me to be spooked that I have to appear surprised. Yet I couldn’t immediately react and was replaying the minutes that just passed; maybe I should go back and see her; my thoughts were interrupted..“Can you hear me? Did you offer her the fruits? ““Yes, yes Master, I think I saw her; she took the fruits and nuts and I walked away”, I was stammering.
“Ok good, don’t keep thinking about going back, tracing her etc.; your job is done; good night” The “someone from the mountains” smiled gregariously while the backdrop interplay had bell chimes, drum beats and chants seeping all the way from the celestial, celebrated spiritual centre called Kashi a,k,a Varanasi.
I never questioned the “master – someone from the mountains” as to how he knew what I have seen, experienced, yet never told. He always told me that I cannot question him, I cannot ask for favors, I may be forewarned but I may have to endure, find out and make things happen. As I said, it was a relationship that was already there even before I was born.
However this missive is not to talk about us but the message he had for me today: It was “to be prepared to meet the goddess in any form, anywhere”’; she need not be trapped in an idol with all signs of prosperity and exclusiveness; she may show up in any human form; the feminine grace, similar to its masculine energy counterpart, is equal, all pervading, omnipresent, and always surprises one from the most unexpected quarters. In the celebration of womanhood, it’s not just about invoking the divinity in statues; but invoking and seeing the divinity in each woman, maybe in each being”.
Again the “someone from the mountains” never gives sermons, never speaks much; It’s something I interpreted and even if it’s not the right explanation of what I did experience – it just helped me sleep without having to worry – “why certain things happen the way they happened”
Until another day.
By Aga Miyamoto