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A Simple Twist of Fate

Cloudy With A Chance Of Miracles

INDIA | Thursday, 15 May 2014 | Views [95] | Comments [1] | Scholarship Entry

India is a gateway drug to spirituality. Your senses are bombarded by acts of devotion the moment you touch down, which in my case was at Bangalore airport. Ganesha, the elephant god, smiles down on you from billboards, up at you from trinkets, across the road from behind the sweet stand. As much as they have been commercialised, the gods and goddesses of Hindu mythology suffuse the air, and once the coughing and giggling has subsided, one is left with a cardamom flavoured light-headedness and an inclination to take on a guru.
I probably would have continued staying at the ashram if it hadn’t been for Mary, a demented Scot who blew straight off the highlands and into the spare bed in our ashram room. Her eyes were wild, she hadn’t slept in over twenty-four hours and after offering us shortbread biscuits and confessing that yes she had indeed spotted the Loch Ness Monster on her way to school when she was five, promptly fell fast asleep. We were all secretly relieved that it was she who had taken the spare bed instead of the rather grim-faced Russian with a penchant for ironing curtains and granting cockroaches moksha (liberation).
“Belter!” A thick Scottish accent reverberates around the walls, causing the tiny Shiva idol on the bedside table to tremble. “Yer beast!” A phone is slammed down on the bed. Mary looks at me, a plan already forming behind her eyes, “Aye, they found me leaf.” She gives me a wink.
Now we have to go.
The ‘leaf’ was a naadi palm leaf. Apparently, each and every one of us has a leaf upon which, carefully written down, our current, past and future lives are recorded, right down to the details of both our parents’ names. And Mary had found a swami that claimed to have her leaf.
Of course, the idea of a demented Scot and a bindi-bashing South African hurtling in a train towards destiny completely overtook both our imaginations. The whole idea still seemed absurd, yet after spending a few months meditating twice a day, immersed in work that had nothing to do with paying the bills and chanting Sanskrit, one of the world’s most ancient languages, something had shifted.
Who knows, maybe the swami would have my leaf as well. I had no idea how I ended up here, but it seemed Mary was the sign I had been looking for, and I was much more inclined to believe in signs, having quit my job, sold my car and bought a one way ticket to India. I was a few meals short of an Eat, Pray, Love novel and had no idea.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip



What a wonderful chance encounter. Love your banter-like writing style. Nice one.

  thebluegnu May 23, 2014 1:46 AM

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