Tuesday, November 29, 2011

maharaj tai tai

what is this?  where am i? let me back up a little. as i type this i am cooped up in a cubicle in an internet cafe in pune, india. not from my computer. how long have i been in india? feels like lifetimes when it's, really, the fifth day. we're staying in this nice, airy and spacious apartment on the fourth floor. a roof-top terrace outside the bedroom. my hostess, sadhana, says, people ask me, who are these people from america staying in your daughter's apartment, her classmates in university? graduate school? her colleagues? or relatives? i say, no, no, no, my daughter says i go to see their house for renting, we talk, they are such good people, you'll like them, mother. just like that we end up staying with this wonderful family. i must confess when kanchan, sadhana's daughter, shows up at my door i was scratching my head and pulling hair trying to figure out how to get to satara to visit my brahmin priest, vivek, the person in white garb who is between me and hwubby in the pix. satara is six to seven hours by car from mumbai and pune is midway between them. that much i know. since i don't know anyone in pune i think i have to go straight to satara from mumbai. i have no idea how to do that. how do i get a trustworthy driver who knows how to get to where i want to go and at a reasonable price? not to mention i have a hard time trying to understand english with a heavy indian accent. i am sure the indian on the other end of the line feels the same about understanding english with chinese accent. at one point when i am feeling exasperation spilling over my eyeballs i say to myself and hwubby, maybe it is not meant to be to visit the brahmin's school. hwubby says, but you want to go to vivek's school. i do. vivek is a much loved and respected brahmin priest. he has dedicated his life to preserving and spreading the ancient, timeless and timely wisdom and teachings of vedas, the hindu scriptures, the equivalent of torah in judaism, only two thousand years older. he sets up this school, takes in young boys. they live and study with him. they milk cows, look at stars and planes, and learn the scriptures. it is a way of life. they live and breathe the teachings. it moves me to tears to see these little children loudly reciting the sutras that have endured thousands of years with their fresh and vibrant young voices. so, yes, i do want to visit vivek's school. it is always wonderful and marvelous to be around people who are into the upliftment of humanity and to do it with so much joy. yes, vivek is a lot of joy to be with. so you can't imagine how thrilled i am when kanchan offers me, practically a stranger in her life, to stay in her home in pune. and check this out. her mother, sadhana, has a car and driver whose sister lives in satara. so he knows his way around. on top of all this, it turns out sadhana and vivek has connections that go way back. when vivek was doing advanced studies he went to benares and stayed with someone in sadhana's family. his teacher likes to play with sadhana the little girl. vivek therefore knows all of sadhana's family in benares. what does all this mean? i am reaping the benefits. hwubby and i are being taken care of like maharaj. i have anointed myself to be a maharaj tai tai. tai tai is the chinese name for a wife who is used to being pampered and spoiled. i have no problem with that. we have a sublime time in vivek's school. he and six brahmin priests perform a beautiful ritual to bless hwubby's forthcoming book. we are divinely happy and grateful.

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