It was a bitter night. The wind was howling outside and she recalled how it had tugged at her hair and the umbrella almost yanking it out of her gloved hands. She had been glad to have gloves on as it was biting cold outside. Her cheeks seared with the acid bite of the cold. The elements raging outside were no match, however, for the cold that was biting into her heart as the days went by without him. She wondered if he was now gone forever or if he would come back like he had done after a period of absence around a year ago.
She stretched on the sofa where she had been lying down watching the screen without actually taking in what was going on in the Television set just across the room. She looked at the reed in the canal outside her room and could see it bend wildly this way and that as the wind tore away at its roots attempting to uproot the reed. The wind was, however, no match to the resilient reed which withstood the tear of the wind and just bent gracefully one way or the other depending on the twists and turns of the wind.
She felt she should be more like the reed and adapt to the situations as they arose. She should get used to the times when he disappeared however much they hurt. He was anyway like a ghost in her life so she should not expect him to have a normal pattern of behavior. He was gone for longer than the other time but it did not mean that he would not be back again. She felt ice fill her heart as the veracity of his absence sunk into her mind. There was no sunshine when he was not around. Indeed she thought, there was no sunshine without him….
She put the kettle on the fire and reached for the tea leaves in the tin on the shelf above the stove. The tin had again been displaced by her mother-in-law it seemed. She did indeed find it in the lower shelf under the stove. She wondered why her mother-in-law even bothered to do that as she never made tea for herself but came to her instead, even if it were in the middle of the night. Shanti hated how her mother-in-law would storm into their room whining that her throat was hurting her and that nobody had given her any tea or any milk and honey before she had gone to bed. She knew very well that her mother-in-law was lying as she remembered having given her whatever she asked for before but her husband would still growl and ask her to tend to his mother properly.
It pained her that she had to take care of everything relentlessly and that nobody in the house thanked her for it, on the contrary. It pained her more to think that her own mother was alone back in India since her dad had passed away and that her husband would not allow her to bring her to live with them. He did not have a problem keeping his mother in their house but always found excuses for why they could not have her mother with them. She felt anger at the age-old traditions well inside her. It was always the woman who had to give up her home, her name, her family and serve the family of her husband. When she thought about all the books she read and how they spoke about emancipation, she felt a bitter laugh rise in her throat. All that education just for making tea and meals now for a grumpy old woman. She felt like a slave and it was ironically even worse than that considering that her father paid a high price for that slave condition.
She had had so many dreams and her mother had kept feeding her more dreams, telling her that all she had to do was succeed in her studies and she could do anything. Unfortunately when her dad had decided that she needed to be married to one of their distant cousins abroad, her mother never spoke a word. She and her father both pretended it was in her best interest as her future husband was living abroad and she would have better chances to find a job and use the university degree she had got. It was all make believe as they knew well that he came from a very traditional side of the family who only wanted women to be educated so they could have a better match. None of the women in his family had ever made it to a paid job despite their higher studies. She winced as she took the vegetables out of the fridge and hit her hand against the door. Her hand was still hurting her from when her husband had twisted it. He had apologised but it was not the first time and she had started to understand that it would not be the last.
She slowly started dicing the vegetables. Her mother-in-law peeped through the kitchen door. « Still cutting the vegetables. When will the curry be ready ? » she yelled. « Where is my tea ? » she continued, almost in the same breath. She seemed to be hiding something in her saree’s hip area. Shanti followed her out of the kitchen and watched as she put what seemed to be a letter inside the drawer. She waited as she knew her mother-in-law would soon be going to the toilet. As soon as she shuffled out of the room, Shanti swooped into it and took the letter from the drawer. It was addressed to her and was from an aunt. She ripped it open, a bit confused why her mother-in-law was hiding a letter sent to her. In it her aunt asked why she had not come to her mother’s funeral. She put the letter down in shock. She was supposed to speak to her mother that weekend.
Normally, her cousin would go to her mother’s house every three weeks to ensure that she was able to use the video chat of whatsapp as her mother could not figure out how to use the device and the elderly neighbours were not of much help. It was no point calling her when she was alone as she would never hear the phone ringing despite the number of times that her daughter would call her. She had become quite deaf with age so it was a very complicated process to get in touch with her and speak to her. The letter mentioned she had been buried almost two weeks before. It was shortly after she had spoken to her that her mother had passed away. She wondered why nobody had got in touch with her to let her know that over the phone. She read on and realised that her cousins had called and delayed the funeral but they had reached her husband who had not passed on the message. She remembered now why. He was due to go to a convention that week and did not want to have to find an alternate solution for his mother.
Her mother-in-law came back and found her with the letter. She sniffed and snorted and pretended that she was not aware of what was going on. Shanti started asking her why they had not told her. Her mother-in-law pretended again she was not aware of what Shanti was talking about. Shanti started screaming with tears of rage and hurt streaming along her face as she held her mother-in-law by the shoulders asking her again and again why they had not told her. Her mother-in-law’s attitude infuriated her. All of a sudden she felt somebody haul her from the shoulders, throw her on to the ground and kick her in the stomach. She realised it was her husband. « Don’t you ever dare touch my mother » he yelled. She thought that it was rich. She had not touched the old grouch and instead he was the one hitting her. She tried to sit up and felt a searing pain go through her belly. She seemed to be bleeding at the bottom of her dress. Her mind was swirling. He had kicked her in the belly which was still terribly painful. Why was she bleeding down there ? Her mind went blank and she blacked out.
When she woke up in the hospital the nurse told her softly that she had lost her baby. She was sore all over but barely felt any grief for the baby. All her grief was turned towards her mother and the ache of not having been able to be there for her funeral was just eating at her. She felt terrible but she was not sure that she wanted that baby at all when she thought of it. Now that her mother was gone she could finally go away and be free and if the baby had lived, she would never have been free. When her mother was still alive she would not have wanted to cause her any shame but she did not care what the rest of the family thought. She knew that she would not stay with her husband once her parents had passed away. This was not the life she had wanted for herself and she had never been the kind who would take abuse. She had only kept quiet so her parents would not feel bad and she had not asked for a divorce because she had known how crushed her parents would have felt with the shame. Theirs was a traditional family after all.
When she returned home she picked up her clothes and piled them up in her suitcase. Her husband had stayed back at home and followed her his fist raised as if to strike her. She lashed out at him when he attempted to. She was no longer going to take it silently. He lunged at her again and she struck back. It was a bloody battle, with her scratching and biting and him striking. At the end he won of course with his brutish force and she lay on the floor bruised and battered, her belly aching again. At the end of the argument he had taken her passport and burnt it on the stove. She had tried to retrieve it but it was all charred. It would take her several weeks now to be able to get a new one. She could not imagine staying another day in this house but she would still have to wait until the next morning before she ventured out as she had no money and no documents to identify her. She went to the stove and put the kettle to make herself some tea hoping it would help ease her belly pain. She could hear her mother-in-law creep into the kitchen. It felt like déjà-vu except that it seemed to have a more sinister feel to it.
She turned around just in time to see her mother-in-law splash some liquid on her dress, face and arms. As the liquid reached her, she could see it lighting up like a wave of fire all around her. She realised that her mother-in-law had thrown some inflammable liquid on her. She could smell her skin burning and she tried to run and find something to put the fire out but the old woman pushed her with her cane. Suddenly she was not so frail and plaintive anymore. She hissed in a horrible voice while she struck her with the cane at her forehead « That’s for lacking respect to my son. He is hundred times your worth ». Shanti fell to the ground, her body writhing with the combination of pain from her belly and the burning. She tried smothering the fire by rolling on the floor but the flames kept licking at her as the old woman kept spraying her with the liquid. She could see her husband’s face appear at the kitchen door. He looked aghast at what was happening as he watched his mother bathe his wife in alcohol while she was burning. « Mother, how could you ? What are we going to do now » was the last thing Shanti heard.
When the ambulance arrived, she had been severely burnt all over her body. She passed away the same night. Her husband told the police that his mother and her were cooking in the kitchen and all of a sudden the bottle of alcohol they were keeping to clean items had spilled over on his wife’s clothes making them catch fire. He explained that his mother had tried to help but owing to the fact that she was old and walked with a cane she had tripped and slipped instead making the whole bottle spill over his wife. He had just come in to see that happening and had quickly gone to look for a blanket to smother the flames on his wife but she had continued to burn. The police did not find his story very credible given the amount of scratch marks and bites all over him and the bruises all over the parts of his wife’s body that were not burnt. They charged him for murder in the first degree. His mother watched and whined plaintively as they took him away in the courthouse. She would have to go back to the village now and live with one of her other sons who had not done so well and gone abroad. All because of that stupid Shanti she thought.
Shanti’s husband sat in a corner of the prison courtyard. There were a lot of inmates who despite being hardened criminals did not take kindly to men who beat up their wives who could not defend themselves. Some of them were eyeing him and planning on teaching him a lesson. The bell rang for lunchtime. He plodded along with the rest of the prisoners knowing that things were not going to be so easy for him in here. This was his first day in prison and he was already regretting that he had not told the police it was his mother who had killed Shanti. Would they have even believed him, anyway ? They would have simply thought he was trying to pin it on her using her as a scapegoat. He reached the dining area. There was a sickening smell coming from the kitchen area. He knew that smell.
The prisoner at the counter smiled at him. « Meat for your first day, you lucky bum» he said smiling. The man had not heard unlike the others why he was in prison. Shanti’s husband looked down at the meat. That sickening smell. « I can’t eat it » he screamed. « I need to eat everything raw. Raw, you hear me ? Raw, raw, raw ! » he continued screaming as he tried to throttle the man at the counter. He seemed to have lost his mind. His eyes were glazed and he was frothing at the mouth. He screamed and kicked while they carried him out of the dining room and into the infirmary. He never recovered speech but he only got raw food since then or there would be another scene of him turning into a madman again. He ate his food quietly in the corner. The other inmates did not even bother teaching him a lesson. He was like a ghost, barely noticeable as he had thinned down a lot. Nobody bothered talking to him and none of his family members asked for him. From time to time the prison psychiatrist met him and when she asked for him, the guards would only answer referring to him with the nickname he had earned there :« Raw ».
According to Wikipedia “In 1995, Time Magazine reported that dowry deaths in India increased from around 400 a year in the early 1980s to around 5800 a year by the middle of the 1990s. A year later, CNN ran a story saying that every year police receive more than 2500 reports of bride burning. According to Indian National Crime Record Bureau, there were 1948 convictions and 3876 acquittals in dowry death cases in 2008. India reports the highest total number of dowry deaths with 8,391 such deaths reported in 2010, meaning there are 1.4 deaths per 100,000 women.”
She felt him return. It was imperceptible at first but then growingly clear that he had come back. Her mind went back to the preliminary stages of the initiation. The being that had taken her on the path to the land of all beginnings was back again. She wondered whether he was there to castigate her for she had not listened closely to all his teachings when she had ventured on the path. He had told her that it was primordial to lose all fear before she started but she had not fully realised what he had meant then. The split that had occurred between her etheric and bodily selves had been extremely painful and instead of being an experience full of light, it had been overshadowed with fears and had lead to an uneven ascension.
She turned towards where she knew he stood looking at her and voiced her regret. He answered her back in her mind that there was no point in regretting now. She had gone through the needle’s eye but had not fully gone through the purge of the flames and until she did that devoid of fears, she would not be born into the light properly. Her higher birth had been hindered by the fear and she was therefore only partially born again into the etheric. Although she would maintain the contact with the land of all beginnings, she needed a token and would not be able to freely interact with it until she had completed her rebirth.
A phoenix is reborn through the flames and not just by undergoing the impression of flames, he said
I do not know if I am ready, she answered
When your mind is devoid of fear, you can take the path again. Your deeds will no longer be weighed but you will undergo other tests for your rebirth, the first of which is the preliminary birth through the flames
Aren’t the flames enough ?
The flames are just the beginning, the shedding of your mortal self and birth into the eternal realms
Will my bodily frame disappear completely ?
But my dear, you have no body. It is all a concept of your mind and the more you attach yourself to that perception, the more mortal you become
Are you saying that we could become immortal ?
You are already immortal but you do not realise it. That lack of realisation of your immortal selves is what makes you age, die and come here again as another bodily self but it is always you. Until you realise that you are immortal, you will keep coming here
So what happens when we realise that we are immortal
Well, you either stop coming here because it no longer interests you or if you have built relationships with beings here that you care for then you come back as guides that hardly age and do not die but transcend when the density of this world becomes too much for them to bear
What should I do then
Start from the beginning again. Focus on clearing yourself from the fears and then we will start the path again. You should have started meditating properly like I advised you to before initiating the path
I am meditating now. Will that change things ?
Yes, you will be able to see beyond your fears, the true nature of things
She realised he was showing her parts of him and she wondered whether it was her imagination or whether he really looked like that. She took in the majestic demeanour, the perfectly shaped torso and the strange birdlike face. It all looked very familiar and then suddenly the realisation hit her. She ran to her laptop and googled what was on her mind and there he stood, much like the being in front of her, except that the picture was an exaggerated version of his physical traits. It was him, the one that had been on her mind all the while before this being had made its entrance into her life : Horus !
She gathered the diamonds in a small cloth purse and gave a few phone calls to diamond merchants she knew. One of them who had helped her earlier invited her to his office in Deira. She quickly slid the cloth purse into her handbag and set off to the diamond trader’s office. When she reached she found him sitting in his usual corner inspecting a batch of diamonds. He beckoned to her to apprach and she sat on the bench facing him. He was surprised to see her as she had mentioned to him that it was the last piece of jewelry she was selling the last time he had seen her. He knew her to be a very resourceful woman however and was ready to see what she had brought him as she had been quite mysterious over the phone.
Nothing prepared him though for the sight of what she brought out from her purse. Huge pear-shaped diamonds that were worth several hundreds of thousands of dollars and a couple perhaps worth a million or two. He reached out for the diamonds and inspected them closely. Surely enough, one must be worth around two million and the other big one a million and a half. He looked again surprised as something caught his attention and he realised what it was. Some of the yellow coloured diamonds were those that were supposed to be sold at an auction before they had suddenly disappeared. He asked her where she got the diamonds and she told him she could not provide that information.
She walked out of there stunned and dismayed. He had told her he would not be able to buy the diamonds as they had been stolen from an auction. He had told her that there was someone else who could buy them but he would definitely pay her much less than what they were worth given their provenance. She looked down at the number he had given her and dialed it. The man answered and gave her an appointment for the same afternoon. She decided to take only some of the diamonds and passed by her home where she hid most of the diamonds only taking with her one of the two big diamonds and three smaller ones.
How did you do it, was his first question before he even greeted her.
I did nothing she answered. I got them from a friend.
Of course, he sneered, beckoning to her to show him the diamonds
He took the larger diamond from off her extended palm and whistled.
I’ll give you four hundred thousand for this one he said.
But it’s worth more than a million
When you buy it at an auction, maybe but down here it is only worth that much.
That’s very little
I’ll tell you what. I’ll throw in an extra hundred thousand because I feel you’ve got more to show me.
I don’t have much. Only two or three
She laid the diamonds out on the table and he picked them up quickly.
I’ll give you hundred and fifty thousand for these three he said
Sure she said. She was glad she had not brought the other ones with her or she was sure that he would have downplayed them even more and perhaps given her that same amount for five of them.
She carefully counted the bills he gave her and he put the diamonds in a safe behind a portrait on the wall. She was still stunned by the combined effect of finding out the diamonds were from a heist in an auction house and of how much less they were worth now because of that. She realised however that she had a handsome amount in the big bag he had given her that would pay the bills. Now the problem would be how to pay in cash for the medical treatment of her son. She would need to get the money moved into her bank account and that would cost her an extra 15% she thought gloomily. She dialed the hawala dealer Ashok and sure enough he confirmed he would be charging 15% for the transaction.
A few hours later she was looking with great satisfaction at her bank account balance that had increased by several hundred thousand.
She sighed and thought to herself that she would need to summon the Marid again to ask him why he had chosen a heist instead of just creating the diamonds for her. She set the candles around her and summoned him using his special name. He appeared in front of her and seemed to know what she had on her mind. She explained to him that he could not simply steal jewelry and give it to her as it was not simple to handle. He told her that he could not create the diamonds from nowhere. Either he got them from somewhere or he got the energy necessary to create them. He told her that if she wanted him to create them then she had to provide him with enough energy. When she asked him how she would do that he answered that she could grant him energy in a condensed manner by giving him several months of her life. She stared at him, realising what he was suggesting and asked him to leave. She looked at her laptop where the amount on the screen was still visible. This would last her a few months of treatment but soon she would have to think seriously about his proposal.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend – Marilyn Monroe
She gathered the children around her and asked them if they would like to hear a bed-time story. They were thrilled at the prospect and huddled closer. She took the youngest of the group on her lap and started the story. Soon enough the children were all sleepy and she had no trouble taking them to bed where she tucked each one of them in. She smiled at them though her heart was sinking. Soon they might not even have a place to live in anymore.
She took out her laptop and looked desperately for an answer. She had sent emails to all the people she knew including the office of his holiness. She browsed hopefully including in her junk emails but there was no response. She knew that most people would not be at their homes during the holiday season but had hoped against hope that someone would be there and would help them out. She looked at the children. They had grown since she first came and the youngest had been just a baby at the time.
She could not think of what would happen if they were not able to find the funds to keep the house. The more she thought of it the more it seemed hopeless. She realised that even if the landlord did not chase them away, they would still not have money to survive. What was she going to feed them ? For the first time in years she doubted her faith and her mission on earth. How could it be that while so many were enjoying themselves at Christmas the children should have noone to stand up for them ?
She clasped both hands in prayer and looked up at Christ on the cross on the wall in front of her. She closed her eyes and pleaded or mercy. When her prayer was finished she went out to buy bread for the next morning. She felt so tired and desperate. She wished she had kept some funds aside from the previous job she had before she had decided to become a nun but unfortunately she had donated everything to the Church just before she had taken her vows.
She did not find the usual shop open but saw a small shop at a corner where she had never seen one before. She thought it strange that she had never seen it before and that she had not heard of a second shop opening in the area. The shopkeeper gave her a dozen baguettes and added some cheese. She told him she did not have enough money to pay for the cheese but he shook his head and told her it was on the house as it had just been Christmas. He added that he was just sorry he had no turkey left to give her.She smiled and thanked him telling him that the children would already be thrilled with the cheese.
Just as she was about to go the shopkeeper gave her a lottery ticket telling her it was valid for the New Year and he hoped she would win something. She told him that she did not think it was appropriate to gamble but he assured her that as she had not paid for it, it was not gambling and that besides, God always worked in mysterious ways so why not in this way. She thanked him and returned to the orphanage. The children were all fast asleep. She fell to her knees again in prayer begging the Lord for mercy. These children had already been through so much and she wished would not have to go through the process of having to find a nw orphanage again.
She spent the whole week in prayer every night and tended to the children during the day. They were happy to be with her and oblivious of the fact that soon they might be separated perhaps forever. The first day of the New Year, the usual shop was closed and she was surprised to see that the other corner shop was open again while it had been closed during the whole week after Christmas. She went in and asked for a dozen baguettes again and the shopkeeper gave them to her smiling. He had a well-trimmed beard and his eyes were full of kindness. She wished there were more people with such kindness in their eyes and hearts.
How did it go sister ? he asked softly.
How did what go ?
Oh, I did not check it. I think the ticket must still be somewhere in the bag where I had put the bread
Maybe you should check it
Something in his voice and demeanour seemed so familiar. She promised him that she would check it once home and he gave her the winning numbers on a piece of paper. She returned to the orphanage and fell on her knees in prayer again. She was getting weary as nobody had responded to any of her emails yet. She remembered that she had promised the shopkeeper to look up the ticket and so she checked the numbers. She had to look twice as she could not believe her eyes. She seemed to have won the jackpot. With trembling hands she folded the paper and tucked the ticket into her pocket. God worked indeed in mysterious ways. She clasped her hands in prayer again and looked up at the cross. The Christ was no longer there.
She looked at the water that was breaking into foam at the edge of the sand. It was a pale grey colour, unlike the blue water of the day before when the sun had been out. The night fell gradually upon the beach plunging her in a temporary darkness before some street lights flickered and illuminated the edge of the water. The deep side of the sea remained pitch black and undistinguishable from the edge of where the sky had ended at sunset.
The disappearance of the sun changed nothing in the stickiness of the atmosphere around her. Crows cawed as usual high above, their restlessness never curbed, not even by the night. Just before sunset a batallion of dragonflies had fought the crows for some space in the skies and though they outnumbered the latter, they still looked remarkably fragile in comparison and she had wondered what the outcome would be. For some reason her thoughts had drifted back to the boy in her childhood who used to pin down dragonflies with needles or a side of a safety pin. The memory of that cruelty had made her shudder.
She looked back at the skies but all the dragonflies had left now. Only the cawing crows were hastening back to the shelter of the surrounding trees. She felt the waters call to her again and she turned back to gaze at the black outline of the waves that she could hear breaking on the shore. She would have loved to plunge into the waters had they not been so polluted at this spot. She longed for the beautiful beaches she had once been at and where she could first soak her toes before plunging in delight right into the sea.
Her gaze went up beyond the waves and she saw a flickering star. She wondered how it was that something that looked so alive was but the last message of a dying entity. Something within her stirred. She could almost remember a journey through the void and in between a myriad of planets. Her eyes glazed over with tears. She wanted to be back up there, on that roller coaster ride far away from Earth. She could almost hear that other deep calling out to her. She sighed and looked back again at the shadow of the sea. One day she would be back there. One day she would return to the stars.
The rain was falling heavily on the roof of the car. From time to time a coconut, its stem loosened from the tree it had clung to, fell onto the roof of the car causing a more audible thud than the falling rain. The air that had recently been hot and heavy grew cooler. The driver turned off the air conditioning and opened the windows. Some rain fell into the car and onto her lap, startling her and making her leave her daydreaming.
She looked around her and her eyes met the landscape of heaped piles of rubbish and slowly filling sewages. The rain had freed the stench of the sewages that had been slightly more discreet earlier. It reached her nostrils and she felt overpowered by the stench. The driver caught her look and reassured her that the pouring rain would soon cleanse the sewage. He smiled at her nodding his head in the typical way that all Indians did, a halfway between a yes and a no that was difficult to decipher for anyone who was not from the country.
The light turned red and the taxi came to a standstill. She looked back at the sewages and the piles of garbage. She still wondered at how she had reached here with what seemed to be no real purpose or mission other than making her father happy. She was not sure this was how it was meant to be. She struggled inwards against the feeling of hopelessness that gnawed at her heart.
Outside beggars were busy grappling with their tatters trying to cover and shield themselves from the pouring rain. Some stood stoically beside the windows of those drivers who had opened them and stonily asked for money, their faces devoid of any sense of expectation of mercy. A few vendors shook some toys and other gadgets in front of the windows, yelling the prices across. Their faces held the hope that some of the children in the back seats would help the parents in the front seat make a positive decision in their favour. She watched as their faces fell when the lights turned green and the cars resumed their rush across the streets.
Somewhere at the back of her mind she could feel an analogy forming between those vendors, the beggars and herself. They were all hoping for something that simply did not seem to be coming their way. She looked out at the beggars making their way through the swerving cars. They seemed in no hurry to get out of the way and there were no policemen coming to mend the situation. It had always surprised her to notice that there were so few policemen at the points of great turbulence although there were several hanging around in groups laughing and exchanging pleasantries where there seemed to be no traffic problems at all.
She smiled a wry smile at the thought that where she had indeed seen a policeman at a point of turbulence where beggars and other vendors had been obstructing traffic, he simply did not seem to be concerned. Another oddity, at least for her, was the regular crossing of cows which made their way across the street oblivious of the traffic. Some of the cows actually simply stayed in the middle of the street and the drivers artfully drove around them thanks no doubt to years of experience doing that. The drivers were not so kind though to the stray dogs which sometimes ended up in the middle of the road or on its sides as roadkill.
Her mind strayed back to the times when she had been musing on the meaning of life and the equivalence of all beings. It had seemed to her earlier that all beings had to be equal for there to be a proper energetic balance in the world. She realised now that in practice it was going to be very difficult to achieve such a state of being because nobody seemed to be willing to consider what they coined as lesser beings as their equal. She realised that she too was not yet at that stage.
It then occurred to her that perhaps beyond the desire of her father, this was what had brought her to this country. Practice what you preach she told herself inwards ironically She had indeed always embraced the theory that all beings were alike but in her daily life in a country where she was not confronted with the reality of all these beings swarming together in the same context it had seemed easier. Now that everything was let loose and seemingly at par, she realised that it was not so easy to live that concept in its entirety.
She thought about the dog she had lost in her old location and how much more it had seemed feasible to consider herself as equal to it while it seemed much more difficult
with the dirty stray dogs in this country. She knew that with the practice of the stillness of the mind she could extract herself from the context and reach a feeling of inward peace but somehow she felt that she must go through this sense of uneasiness stirred by the filling sewages and their stench and reach inward peace while experiencing all of this. Perhaps this was one of the reasons she was here, to be at the heart of a turbulent, dirty city and yet feel the sense of inner peace pervading her.
She giggled at the thought that she might be stuck here a long time as she did not feel capable of attaining that inner peace within this context if she were not to extract herself from it mentally. The rising stench slowly sobered her and she watched again the whizzing landscape of beggars, vendors, piles of rubbish, flowing sewages and cars. The rain had gradually gone down to a trickle and she gratefully noticed that the sewages had not started overflowing. She had heard horror stories of people having to wade through sewage water to reach their destination and she really did not feel up to such a feat.
She relaxed into her seat and stared at the sky which was clearing up seemingly at the same speed that her thoughts were. She felt great satisfaction at having reached the realisation of one of the reasons she was here. There were surely other reasons and she felt that some of them were tied to the acquisition of empirical knowledge and acceptance of some of the theories she had embraced earlier purely in the form of a thought process.
She felt that once she was able to experience these matters and reach the same conclusions as in her thought process, she would no longer have to be in that context because context as a concept would no longer hold any meaning for her. It was a necessary stage in the journey towards identifying within her the traceless and placeless. Just as it was necessary to be in a context that exacerbated something to be able to say that one had truly overcome its effect on oneself, it was also necessary to be in a context that challenged one’s beliefs to be able to say that one truly held those beliefs as valid. She now was on the right path in the journey of self-discovery. Know thyself she thought and within her welled a feeling of having overcome a stage towards that end. She smiled at the sun that peeped from behind the clouds signaling the end of the rain.