photo by ellen reitman.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

leaving on a jet plane.

     waiting in lineups is not my forte. 
     i know.  i'm supposed to be really good at doing nothing.  be that as it may, as i waited impatiently for the u.s. immigration service at newark airport to process the long que inching forward, my stress level rose steadily.  i was in danger of missing my flight to india. 
     eventually, it was decided that i was not a threat to the u.s., during the ten or twenty minutes i would still be in the country, and i scurried through the halls of the terminal looking for the right gate.  it had been changed and time was running out.  i was practically running.  in every waiting area that i passed, well-coiffed passengers sat reading, chatting or lined up single-file in an orderly fashion.  i noticed one little boy playing with a defibulator before his mom snatched him up, scolded him and whisked him into line with her. 
     then, in the distance, i saw a large crowd all milling around, obviously ready to surge forward, vibrant, dynamic, totally different from any of the other groups i passed along the way.  and i knew intuitively it was the flight to india, my people.  it was like a scene from out of 'my big fat greek wedding.'  nobody waited in single-file or sat quietly, and it was anything but orderly. 
     a couple of the continental airline, (or as i like to call it; incontinent-al,) attendants, were trying to get all the indian people to form a line, which is a bit like trying to train a dog to stop chasing its tale.  it's just not going to happen.  by and large, one has to understand that indian folks just don't do single-file.  the attendants were getting more and more agitated.  watching from a distance, i admit that i thought; 'why am i doing this?'  i even thought; 'why can't i be joining one of the other normal waiting areas for once?'
     every few minutes, one or another of the attendants would start barking at the crowd, hollering things like; 'move back! clear the isle! form a single line!! what's wrong with you people!!!'  actually, i began to find them quite rude, started to even feel protective of the group.  the people would move back a bit each time, look like they were listening, never showing the slightest irritation.  but, within a few moments, they'd again bunch up and shuffle forward en-masse, waving passports, children hoisted on shoulders, ready to surge through the gate and onto the plane to begin the fourteen-hour flight. 
     after several unsuccessful attempts to impose their will on the unruly mob, you could see the attendants begin to give up.  and in the end, as they opened the gate, having lost all control, one even began to laugh.  i laughed.  i was going to india, again.  i was going home. 
     india, at times, can be like that.  india, often, can be like that.  india, most times, can be like a great teacher.  it's no accident that a real knowledge of life, vedant, raj yog, dhyan yog, (meditation,) was born there.  it's like how water can become stronger than rock.  it's like how the fluidity of water can end up cutting through a solid himalayan mountain.  
     and that's just the way it is for me these days.  i have a foot in one boat and a foot in another boat, two homes, loving them equally, though differently.           

1 comment :

  1. Oh, Thou! with a split personality and neat sense of humour: enjoy your home coming before you come home again here.

    And I hate this 'yog' stuff. It's 'yoga' in Sanskrit, where every consonant must be followed by a vowel; and 'yog' only in the debased language of your part of India. It's a bit like saying 'wee' instead of 'small'. Cute, but in the end intensely irritating unless you are in Scotland or love a Scotsman (or Scottish woman). If you get my meaning.

    Love anyway,