Monday, February 07, 2011


i stared at the bowl the teva monk had just handed to me. time seemed to have stopped. and the maroon robes swishing around me made me feel as though i had been caught in the middle of a flutter of giant storks flapping their wings at the same time. the bowl was the size of a singing bowl the monks used at prayer. but this was made of wood.

had it been the singing bowl, i would have seen the quzzical smile on his face. it is not fair, i thought. for someone who has given up everything to be so damned good looking, and happy and so amused at having read my mind. i was sure he could.

'join us in the morning.'

at that time i did not think too much of it, but nobody ever said 'good night' and when i mentioned this to the teva monk, his face dazzled with the smile.

'you aren't awake, how should anyone wish you good night?'

i had come here to hide. not to be lectured at. and yes, he answered, 'you asked.'

morning was so silent, even the dust raised by the sweeping of the courtyard did not swirl up to the sun in joy. it simply sank. i joined the line of monks who would be stepping out of the gates of the monastery to experience humility.

in principle, this is a fantastic concept. eat what is offered into your bowl. no more. there were stories of how someone offered meat, dried twigs and even husk... but none mattered.

i followed. head bowed. bowl in hand and the silence in my heart. no palpitations of fear, no heartbeat that said run away and hide. there was nothing. not even the imagined 'bhavati bhikshan dehi' from theprevious night's dreams.

there was just silence. maybe one day there will not be the need to fill that bowl. the bowl would be full of that something everyone was seeking.

when i came to, i found myself in the room. Cruela sitting near my mat, writing something in her book.

'you fainted.' she stated, 'had he not stuck a leg out and saved you from crashing on the ground, i would have been sitting here bandaging your head.'


'you were halfway to the village when you chose to disturb the butterflies by panicking. and fainting.'


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