Fiction: From The Hospital To My Garden

I am sitting on the hospital bed. It is a small room, almost triangular. Clean and in its decor, sterile. It is a boring, functional room but being here has helped me relax…

I am doing an online writing course from The Univ. of Iowa. This was written as an assignment submission.


I am sitting on the hospital bed. It is a small room, almost triangular. Clean and in its decor, sterile. White ceramic tiles with a vague blue pattern cover the walls till 4 feet height and the remaining walls are white-washed. Apart from my bed there is a thin bed near the grilled window for someone from the family who might be accompanying the patient. It is a boring, functional room but being here has helped me relax. Now, at least for some days, I need not worry about food and cleaning. The difference, after all, between jail, hospital, and hotel is superficial. Home is another matter though. Home is made of weird intangibles such as laughter, joy, safety, freedom…

Now that my mind is free to wander, I start wishing there were beautiful paintings on the walls. I start wishing for a more aesthetic place. What to do? Beauty energizes me. So though the body is not strong enough to travel yet, I decide to go home.

You see, my home is in my heart. I can go there whenever I want. At home, there is a beautiful garden. And water. Water is so important. And so there is a small fountain. You know, the kind that runs on electricity, with water falling down three bowls at three levels and then the smart intelligent water climbing up again using its friend, the motor, so that it may fall once again. My mother gave it to me. It is quite amazing actually. The gentle sound of the fountain is so similar to my husband’s voice.

In front of the fountain, there is a small wheelbarrow. It is there for a very specific purpose. You see, behind the wheelbarrow, behind the fountain, grows a Haarsingaar tree. Flowers of the Haarsingaar tree fall on the grass at early dawn. They are shaped like small stars, with one small sun-ray attached to the center of each flower. My hubby has a quirky practice with these flowers. He chooses two from those that fall into the wheelbarrow, and places them on my sleeping eyelids every morning. In doing so, again and again, He makes my heart safe and free.

Oh, hey! He is calling. He has another quirky practice. Instead of hollering, He calls using deep silence. So really sorry, gotta go. Thank you for sharing my garden with me.

Fiction continued: The Wise Wild Woman

As the morning opened into its full light, she saw a mud hut with colourful paintings on its walls. A short wooden pole had a wooden board nailed to it, which said in rough carving – “Wise Wild Woman”.

A gentle voice was singing inside to the strumming of a string instrument. She bent down to enter through the low door, propelled more by curiosity than anything else. Sitting at a low wooden table, a young girl, seeming sixteen years or so, was singing to her heart’s content, strumming on an Ektaaraa. Somewhat paler than the people of this region, she wore shorts and a loose cotton top with short sleeves. Her short hair was tied up into a bobbing pony-tail.

This is in continuation from the post: Seeking A Wise Wild Woman.

This is part of a fiction series that is unfolding. All episodes in order so far:
1. Shimmering Blue Water
2. The Grasslands Bristled
3. Like The Sky Itself
4. Something Stirred Inside Her
5. Seeking A Wise Wild Woman


As the morning opened into its full light, she saw a mud hut with colourful paintings on its walls. A short wooden pole had a wooden board nailed to it, which said in rough carving – “Wise Wild Woman”.

A gentle voice was singing inside to the strumming of a string instrument. She bent down to enter through the low door, pulled more by curiosity than anything else. Sitting at a low wooden table, a young girl, seeming sixteen years or so, was singing to her heart’s content, strumming on an Ektaaraa. Somewhat paler than the people of this region, she wore shorts and a loose cotton top with short sleeves. Her short hair was tied up into a bobbing pony-tail.

Seeing someone enter, the girl stopped singing, and gently said, “Come.”

She entered and joined the girl at the table, surprise written all over her face, her eyes locked in staring at the girl.

“It is good that you came,” said the girl.

The kindness in the voice assured her a bit, but she still continued looking at the girl, feeling confused.

“You were looking for me isn’t it?” asked the girl.

“Yes…” she said vaguely.

“So here I am,” said the girl, “Looks like my clothes are tripping you up. Are you interested in me, or are you interested in my clothes?”

“But… I expected you to be much older. Even wrinkled with years of experience,” she said.

“Oh ok, age. Same difference, my friend. Are you interested in me, or are you interested in my clothes?” said the girl. The kind eyes now danced with a naughty playfulness, and she added, “And if it makes it any easier for you, I am a million trillion zillion years old — just as any good Wise Wild Woman should be. Just as you are.”

She broke into laughter. The playfulness, more than the import of those words put her at ease.

“So, what is your name?” asked the Wise Wild Woman.

“Shubhra.”

“Aah… white, pure, resplendent… the confluence of all colours of light,” said the Wild Woman wistfully, and broke into song, “shubhr jyotsnaa pulkit yaaminee…

She seemed lost in another world, as if connecting to a force.

Coming back a few seconds later, she added, “Shubhr jyotsnaa refers to moonlight. Pulkit yaaminee, the happy night. The full moon, the One Mind, that soaks the sleeping world in caressing light.”

“Sometimes I feel that way — resplendent, gentle and caressing, like the full moon. Sometimes I don’t know where it all vanishes. Everything feels like the dense dark night. There is no moon and I cannot find myself. I am unable to recognize myself. I know I am there somewhere — for I did experience myself,” said Shubhra, her voice tightening up into emotion and desperation.

“Is that what brings you here?” asked the Wise Woman.

“I think I am pregnant. I want to retain you as my midwife,” said Shubhra.

“But you don’t look pregnant,” said the Wild Woman quizzically, her gaze moving to Shubhra’s tummy, and then searching her face.

“Are you interested in me, or are you interested in my clothes?” said Shubhra naughtily.

“Aah… You learn fast! I like that. So what do you think you are pregnant with? A project?”

“Myself? Maybe?” said Shubhra, her eyes seeking support and assurance.

“That is a nice proposition. That, my friend, is called the process of Self actualization — quite an exhilarating and terrifying process, and yes, indeed like a pregnancy. There is a crucial stage in this process, kind-of like the breaking of the water…”

“What is that?” asked Shubhra.

“Kill mother. Kill father,” said the Wise Wild Woman.

Seeing the hint of startle in Shubhra’s eyes, she added, “Mother, is representative of all those things in which we place our sense of security. They can stifle our creativity. Father, is the rules of society. We slay these when we have practiced them long enough and can see that they have outlived their purpose — when we must step-out of the boundaries they set.”

Shubhra thanked the girl and left. All the while, as she was retracing the miles to get back home, the girl’s words percolated in her, “Kill mother, kill father… things in which we place our sense of security… self-expression… rules of society… outlived their purpose…”

Fiction continued: Seeking A Wise Wild Woman

The days were getting warmer. Three weeks had passed, she hadn’t gone to office. Her backyard had burst into purple flowers, and she would spend hours sitting at her backdoor …

This is in continuation from the post: Something Stirred Inside Her

This is part of a fiction series that is unfolding. All episodes in order so far:
1. Shimmering Blue Water
2. The Grasslands Bristled
3. Like The Sky Itself
4. Something Stirred Inside Her


The days were getting warmer. Three weeks had passed, she hadn’t gone to office. Her backyard had burst into purple flowers, and she would spend hours sitting at her backdoor feeling the cool breeze filtered through the leaves of the lone tree in the region. Sometimes she walked around the house with her eyes closed, enjoying the new perspective of her world seen through her fingertips. As she fingered the textured wall, finding her way to the bedroom door and then onto the kitchen, she thought, “What a broad, strong chest you have.”

One morning she went out on a walk. The idea was to keep walking, on and on, to test just how far she could go. It was 4 am and the eastern sky was just beginning to open up to light, above which only one star remained – Venus, these days visible as the morning star, shining regal and kind. It filled her with a sense of confidence and assurance. “I am with you,” the star seemed to say. She started walking towards it.

Twenty minutes or so in, the land started getting more arid. Dawn clothed the sky now with gently rustling colours. There he was —at the edge of a drying lake. A giraffe stood was with him. They seemed to be pals. Playfully engrossed in their morning ablutions, they did not notice her approach.

Something about seeing the man made her feel ‘normal’. Normal and ok in a manner she hadn’t felt before. The scattered particles of relentless searching settled down easy inside her. His trailer stood in the background.

“That is my home,” said her heart. While she stood still, her heart started walking towards the trailer.

“No,” said a voice in her.

Turning away, she resumed walking, this time towards the north.

The gait that had been easy, and exploratory so far, became brisk and adamant. The landscape changed. Dried grass became few and far between. Gravel and sand covered the land here.

Then, as the morning opened into its full light, she saw a mud hut with colourful paintings on its walls. A short wooden pole had a wooden board nailed to it, which said – “Wise Wild Woman”.


Image credit: Patricio Hurtado

Fiction continued: Something Stirred Inside Her

This is in continuation from the post: Like The Sky Itself

This is part of a fiction series that is unfolding. All episodes in order so far:
Shimmering Blue Water
The Grasslands Bristled
Like The Sky Itself


Everything was not hunky-dory. This raw energy whizzing around in her head made her nervous. “What did it all mean?” she sometimes wondered after an intense experience.

Longing for something physical, something tangible to hold on to, she said to him, “If you love me so much, why don’t you take physical form and appear in front of me?”

In response she heard him say, almost inaudibly, “I love you,” and then, nothing else.

So she oscillated — between euphoria and despair; between being one with the universe, being the universe itself, and being a cowering mite engulfed in darkness; between seeing herself as a light in the heart of every being, and being ravaged with self doubt, convinced of being abandoned and alone. Sometimes she felt raging anger towards the people her life. Trying to make herself see reason, she gently said, “How can you feel love for every being, and then, moments later, feel anger towards the people in your life? That is no way to love every being, is it?” This only increased her frustration with herself.

Racing thoughts kept her awake in the middle of the night. If she slept, as soon as she woke up in the morning, the flood-gates of thoughts would open up in her head. It was like a morning sickness. Even so, she loved and honored these morning times. She knew these thoughts, however messed up they may be, were part of something significant brewing inside her.

One day she rang up her mother. Talking excitedly, she said, “Everything is so so good. Everything is beautiful. You are beautiful Mumma. Do you know that?”

Not fooled by those effusive words, her mother asked, “How have you been?”.

“I think I am pregnant,” she said.

Surprised at herself, she quickly added, “Not biologically pregnant. But I feel pregnant.”

“Seek out a wise wild woman then,” said her mother gently.

***

Fiction continued: Like The Sky Itself

This is in continuation from the post “The Grasslands Bristled

When she was done dancing to her heart’s content, she sat down to eat breakfast — experiencing each juicy bubble of the blackberries in her mouth and as the juice descended down her throat. She felt the cool invigorating energy of the carrot-saag drink rise up to her eyes. Then she went back inside. Her muscles were alive with contentment, alive with the heat of the sun that they had received with open arms. She lay down on the bed to sip on this life force a bit more with the straw of awareness, and soon fell into an alert yoga-nidra —

“It seems to me like you are a star in the sky who looks down on me, a flower on the land here,” she said.

“Have you heard the story of the lotus flower in the sky?” he asked.

“No…” she answered, with mild curiosity.

So he told her —

Neelkamal, the lotus flower in the sky

Neelpari was a blue fairy. She was very pretty. She had beautiful blue wings and was very graceful. She was sweet and had a serene and comforting personality. She had no malice in her heart towards anyone. However, all other fairies in the fairyland had sparkling red and orange colors. They thought Neelpari was dull and ugly. They were all very playful and would sing and dance all the time unlike Neelpari who was quiet most of the time. When they went to a garden, as the fairies do everyday, they would play with only the fresh blooming flowers. On the other hand if Neelpari saw a sad flower, she would sit with that flower and try to cheer him up all the time. The other fairies thought Neelpari was strange and not fit to be a fairy.

One day all the fairies had gone to a garden that had a small muddy lake. Poor Neelpari fell into the lake and was trapped in the mud. Other fairies did not even bother to help her. They played with flowers as usual and, at the end of the day, flew back to fairyland leaving Neelpari trapped in the mud. Neelpari felt very sad and dejected since her friends had deserted her. A drop of tear rolled from her eyes and fell into the lake.

That drop of tear flooded the lake with motherly love. The lake said to Neelpari: “I wish I could help you get out of the mud but I am unable to do that. However, you are so sweet that I would adopt you as my daughter and you can live with me.”

Neelpari had lost all interest in going back to the fairyland where the fairies did not care about her. So she gladly accepted to be adopted by the lake. She then became Neelkamal, the blue lotus. Every day the waves of the lake would play with her and caress her soft blue petals. Because of her, the muddy lake itself became beautiful. People came and admired Neelkamal and the lake. Many bhramars (bumblebees) came in the day and sang to her. Neelkamal was very happy with her new life.

Like all lotus flowers, Neelkamal used to close her petal like eyes in the night and go to sleep. One night, a star in the sky saw her and fell instantly in love with her. After that every night the star used to watch her pretty face but he could never see her awake. He had a strong desire to see Neelkamal awake and peep into her pretty eyes. But that was not possible, since the stars are not allowed to come out during the day. The sun is the king of the sky. He is hot-tempered and does not like to see the stars when he is awake. Only when the sun goes to sleep, the stars can come out.

The king of the night sky is the moon. He is kind and gentle. He noticed that the star has been quite depressed for many nights. He asked the star if there is a problem. The star told the moon about his love for Neelkamal and his strong desire to see her while she is awake during the day. First the moon said that it is impossible because the sun will never allow that. If the star ventures to come out during the day, the sun will burn him instantly. However, the moon was moved by the star’s love and wanted to help him.

“There is only one way” said the moon, “I can block the sun momentarily causing a total solar eclipse. During the total eclipse, the stars can come out and lotus flowers are still awake. So, during those few moments you can come out and have a brief look at your beloved Neelkamal. However, you must remember that the sun is too big for me. I can block him only for a few minutes. You must, absolutely must, go into hiding before the eclipse is over.”

The star was very happy with that suggestion and readily agreed. The moon warned the star again that he should not stay in the sky when the eclipse starts clearing. The star promised to do that and waited for the next morning.

True to his promise, the moon blocked the sun next day, which caused a total solar eclipse. The star came out and, for the first time, looked at Neelkamal in full bloom. Her beautiful petal-like deep blue eyes were wide open. The star had never seen such a heavenly beauty. Neelkamal looked at the star for the first time and also fell in love with the star. Both kept looking at each other and were totally overwhelmed by their mutual attraction and love. The star forgot his promise to the moon. In spite of his best efforts, the moon could not block the sun any longer. He had to move off and the sun returned. A solar eclipse never lasts for more than a few minutes.

The sun was furious when he saw the star. He immediately released his full heat on the star. The poor star was immediately burnt. His ashes fell all over the earth. Neelkamal was terribly shocked to see her loved star burnt to ashes. She felt so dejected that she wanted to shed off all her petals and just vanish into the lake. She decided that she would not let anyone see her since her lover gave his life in an attempt to see her. The lake also felt very sad and tried to console Neelkamal. When the rays of the sun came to the lake, the lake told them about Neelkamal’s tragedy. The rays used to see Neelkamal everyday and they liked her. Moved by her tragic story, they took Neelkamal with them to the sun and told him about Neelkamal’s desire to disappear.

The sun also felt sorry and apologetic for his anger. He said to Neelkamal, “I am very pleased and impressed by your true love for the star. I am sorry that I got so annoyed and burnt your love. Unfortunately, I cannot undo what has been done. However, I will give you a boon. From now on, you will live in the sky as the symbol of eternal love. Every particle of your loved star’s dust on the earth will come alive and glow with your love. Since you are blue and the sky is blue, nobody can see you except those who are lucky to get a particle of the dust of your fallen loved star.”

Since then Neelkamal lives as the lotus flower in the sky. The flower is the eternal symbol of love and faith. Only those people who have been blessed with the dust of the love star, can see the lotus flower in the sky. When they see it, their hearts glow with the bliss of eternal heavenly love.

***

Something stirred inside her, bringing her out of the yoga-nidra.

Fiction continued: The Grasslands Bristled

This is in continuation from last week’s post “Shimmering Blue Water

Finally she fell into a deep deep satisfied sleep. When she woke up in the morning, she felt so alive! There was a distinct energy to her body, her mind alert and fresh, everything around her seemed to bristle with energy. The air itself bristled with energy.

“I won’t go to office today,” she decided, “I want to be with this energy, receive it completely.”

.

“What is her name?” a voice in her mind asked her.

“She has no name. All names are her name. There is only one woman on this planet. She has no name,” she spontaneously answered.

“Are you that woman?”

“Yes,” she answered.
“Are you that woman?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Energy, energy, ever dancing energy — that is all that there is. And there is awareness. It’s oh so juicy and luscious — awareness. So handsome! You are awareness and I love you. Awareness is the very floor on which we dance.”

“There is no man or woman here. We are just energy. The more I experience you, the more I see how you are just me,” her being said, reveling in him.

“You aren’t man, you aren’t woman, yet you are so woman,” he said, reveling in her beauty.

“You are that woman, yet you are so man,” said she.

They were mesmerised with each other, with themselves, with this phenomenon that was occurring between them that connected them to the universe, that made them the universe. Thoughts flowed in and out, in and out through her mind. That is how he made love to her. Making her consciousness his playground. She stepped towards the kitchen to toss up breakfast for herself. Chopping greens and fruits to munch on, she could feel his presence in each pore of her body.

“I am in every cell of your body, I am in every warp and weft of every cloth, in the spaces in between, in the gorgeous designs woven on this carpet. I am in the empty space of this room.”

“You bet. I can see you.”

She stepped out on the lawn and kept her plate on the garden table. And suddenly, a whoop of joy shot through her and she fell down on the grass, her arms and legs bent. Like a frog? Like a tortoise? A bit of both maybe. She did not know. All she knew was that she is one with the earth and all beings, as she felt the texture and smell of the soil beneath the grass.

Arising in her fullness, she danced with the morning sun. Her sheer lightblue nightgown flowed with the wind, like the sky itself.

Fiction: Shimmering Blue Water

Under the glittering night sky, she swam naked in that pool meant exclusively for her. She did not know it but he was watching her.

In the sky, a deep blue faded into black. On the palm of the earth, a transparent blue danced with her body moving in graceful, long, fish-like strokes. Her black form shimmered in the blue.

It was January.

“Doesn’t she find the water cold?” he wondered, but she had trained herself through yoga — just like he had. Crouching behind the bushes naked under the winter sky, he did not shiver. He was one with the elements — just like she was.

Finally, he stepped out of being immersed in her. Returning from the journey through the universe over what seemed like eons but was only five minutes, he walked back to his trailer two tiger territories away.

“I was a fish, now I am an amphibian,” she thought, as she stepped out of the swimming pool, honouring the water, honouring the land, honouring the transformation of the moment. Walking towards her minimalist-design luxurious small home, water dripped like delicate crystals from her glistening body. As she lay on her bed, her muscles marinated with the wine of tiredness, her chest and pelvis alive with sweet satisfaction — she sensed someone knocking at her consciousness.

He was sitting on the floor of his trailer with a lamp lit in front of him at eye level. Calm and alert, he closed his eyes. She had never met him, she did not even know his name, but she knew him. She opened the doors of her consciousness and let him in.

The grasslands bristled.