A room with a view,
is like a window in time.
Where would anyone go in the blink of an eye
or in a flash faster than a lightning bolt?
I would go to a place where the heart felt no bounds and peace was the only element in the air.
My visit would be to see India; of course it’s the farthest point to travel from California. I see the picturesque skies; tainted with pollution coloring the horizon, start to swirl around like watercolors dissolving into the air.
Then the sound of motorcars and the smell of burning rubber start to fill my ears and nose.There is a sweet smell in the air too; it’s a combination of flowering trees, burning incense and offerings of Ghee from the temples.
The climate is humid hot and dry, but the lakes of Udaipur India bring a feeling of tropical richness to the skin.
In a hotel overlooking lake Pichola in Udaipur, the Palace of the king is just across the way. I can hear the cars,tourists and people echo over the lake. Its dusk and the annoying bugs start to fly at your eyes and ears.
As the lights start to dim, I look around and my friends that I have left a year ago are next to me waiting to enjoy a meal as we look at the palace.
Nightime at Ute Vilas
Traditional Rajasthan food.
I watch Raju, Malkeet and Inder roll up roti bread to scoop up the food. I can only smile at them, because I see such joy in their faces as we get to have food together once again. Watching Raju I see a sigh of relief in his eyes as not only is he enjoying his food, but also having me close again, brings him peace.
Malkeet, Raju, Inder
KERALA, SOUTHERN INDIA
Nighttime across the backwaters
The sky has just become dark, but the smell of tropical air, coconuts, being sold at local food stalls and food being cooked in the nearby villages permeates the air. The masala or spice lofts through the air so thick you think you were eating the dishes being prepared. Coconut, chilies, coriander. There is richness to the smell that is appetizing and fresh. Fermented dough sizzles in the pan as the dosa is laid out to cook on a large circular pan brushed with ghee. I remember eating them with Shashi and Tejaswini, two friends from Los Angeles. We would run to be the first in line. The Dosa was our favorite thing to share. A hot type of crepe filled with Indian savories and of course, potato. Both of my friends have a laugh that you can always hear in your mind. It’s the type of laugh that no matter how tough life is, the laugh makes you feel like this world can be one cosmic joke.
Then we hear the crowd stir, as the conch shell blows, I know that Amma has walked onto the stage in the main hall. Sa ga pa, three notes, like do re so fa… are played, and a song called a bhajan begins. its a prayer in a song form to Lord Ganesha. As Amma speaks each word of the Malayalam bhajan, you know she revels in bliss and you can feel it. The tabla (drums) kick in and your body moves to the rhythmic beat. Each thought or concern falls away and a contented solitude envelops you, creating a feeling of being safe and at home. I watch Amma onstage, each time she sings, she looks out and I think that I have caught her eye. There is one eye that looks after all her children, while the other one is riveted on God. There are no thoughts looming in the air, only the sound of bliss, serenity and of course the ocean splashing on the shore. Song after song I disappear deeper into my chair and the universal peace around me. As the ocean air blows I can smell the camphor and flames of ghee burning as an offering to the eternal God in all of us, that Amma always acknowledges. Drifting and floating I hear the birds chirp, and the dawn approaches, it’s as if the pinks and oranges of the newborn sun have a sound to awaken us and tell us that the light is within. The last bhajan finishes and Amma puts her hands on her head to salute the surya, the sun and us. This peace is the center of our heart in which all peace resides. The God of our heart is love and we are its keeper.
This is the room that has the best view.