“Sometimes, like today watching the birds, I have to close my eyes; it is too much.” -Sushantoda
This Sunday was wonderful. In the morning I slept in, then went for a run to my favorite coffee bar (one sugar, not two) and ran back home. I cycled to the beach with the group of British architects who recently arrived to work on a few design projects for the Society. They are all very nice and we had a great time, despite some minor jellyfish tentacle attacks. We all came back with red noses and forearms, refreshed from the salty swim.
In the afternoon a group of Society members had planned a trip to the ashram’s lake land, so Krishna and Rathi and I made halwa for the trip. Halwa is a traditional sweet, with as many variations as there are regions in India. Made sometimes from grains, vegetables, with nuts, raisins, and always lots of butter and sugar. We made our halwa with semolina flour, cashews and raisins, and lots of ghee (clarified butter).
On the the ride out of the city the air smelled fresh and clear. The clouds had puffed and swirled the light into lofty castles.
The biker gang
Our first stop was the island bird sanctuary. Thousands of migratory birds have come to this small, protected island. For our benefit they would fly in circles around the island and then settle back down again. More and more kept flying in to rest on the already crowded island. Black and white coromandels, herons, egrets, and even one giant pelican! Their chorus of calls was joyous, free. We watched the sun set on the lake, the light making the dew drops on the lily pads glow like diamonds.
We took a night walk through the lake land gardens, the dogs leading the way. It was a new moon, leaving the land in pitch darkness, but it only heightened the nocturnal music of the crickets. We were going up to the pond to hear the frogs singing and then we saw them–the fireflies! Magical, dancing pieces of sparkle. I have never seen fireflies before! Having taken the parallel path to the rest of the group, Rathi and Istopped to gently pick up a glow worm, the firefly’s wingless fluorescent cousin. It stayed for a while, crawling all over my cupped hands, resting on my wrist like an effervescent jewel. I thought, I want jewelry, nay, I want love that is only like this.
Slowly we wandered back to our motorcycles and drove to Matrikunj to have snacks and enjoy each other’s company. The dogs were hyperactive, so eager to see so many visitors. We had our halwa, and Rathi had also brought delicious fresh coriander and cheese sandwiches. Baburam’s mom made us tea and her special pancakes with jaggery and coconut.
It was great fun to sit with my Indian family at the table that I often sit at alone, in the heat of the day with my laptop. Trupti and I decided that we will soon spend a night out in one of the thatched-roof makans.
This day packed with too much beauty and life, I wanted to cry I was so happy. Sushanto and I discussed it all, walking through the night of the garden.
“I just want to share it, I want people to see what I see.”
“But Sushantoda, that is why we are artists, because we want to share what we see and feel with others… Sometimes my heart gets so full of beautiful things it would be selfish of me to keep it inside.”
Before I went to sleep I pencilled down my memories of this glorious day, impressing them deeper upon my happy soul, twinkling like a firefly.