IN DEVOTION TO THE DHARMSALA MOUNTAINS

{some reflections made on the mountains and sweetness of meditation}

Today, the mountains were particularly spectacular, let me tell you, there was no need for glasses or binoculars, for the mere vision of them would bring holy water to the eyes, healing anyone in its path. They jutted out, razor sharp hips and edges where light would hit in parallel lines, turning each crease of the fabric of snow upon mountains into soft peach, indigo satin. Crowned like a godly halo, the kings of the valleys sat patiently, waiting to be bathed in gold. The blooming light from the red biscuit sun tiptoed, leaving behind a trail of lemon light sitting straight-spined like prickly baby hairs on new mountain skin.  All dressed in their sunset gowns, these kings and queens sank back into the soft pillow of the sky, the color of flower petals: a melting from pale, new violet to deep wine, like spilled paint, lathered with a butter knife. And if you tilted your head back enough, amidst her guardian bright tufts of clouds, you would see her. The moon, an elegant milky fingernail, cutting the sky apart with a smirk that implied she’d seen it all: you dancing on the roof below, countless times.

The sweetness of meditation: 

It is the feeling that is indescribable, beyond human petrified symbols such as ‘stillness’ or ‘vacuity’, for they are a mere skeletons of reality. It is the feeling of blowing on a pile of weightless ash with a single exhale, or the complete collapse of a sandcastle, with the sweep of a satin nightgown. Smaller, lesser, lighter than the bare wisp of vapour emanated from whispering lips. Slighter than the sound of a vanishing mid-born intention. And that’s when you realise the marble under your feet, holding the equation to what you’ve always thought was frigidness, bed-rock hardness was actually a door into something minuscule. An ink spot sitting comfortably, languidly stretching out, amused at the pattern at the tip of your finger. It urges you to look closer, squint, yet it will only show itself if your spine unlocks, muscles melt like butter and your gaze drops nearly to sleep. Only then, in that sweet promising moment edging into darkness, will that minuscule microcosm pull back its curtains for you. Once you open the door, it is sharp as the rays of noon sun, biting through the fangs of winter cold, crawling invisibly under your skin like an unknown yet completely familiar traceless shiver of a lustful memory. That’s when you know it’s gotten to you. And at last, you ingest every last drop of its essence, and you’re all of it. You explode like a sunset flooding the sky completely, leaving behind infinite traces like clouds cut up by a child and thrown into the air, to have them stick to the clear blue canvas sky as if it where a whiteboard. 

You realise you’ve been dog barking at the reflection of the moon all your life.

It’s a gloomy, cloudy day, which happens to the consequently lead to very cold temperatures. I’m wearing an immeasurable amount of layers and a lukewarm hot water bottle. There’s a cut in the crease of the fabric in the sky and the sun bleeds through it hazily, like melted white chocolate. The prayer flags whistle in the wind- their limbs running urgently, trying to catch the last train of the night. The big tree in front of me swings its big head- a mop of oblong leaves forwards and backwards, like a melodramatic lover, weeping at the balcony. Meanwhile, the tall, stark, mustard bamboos stay still like statues of living things, crystallised by medusa. The wind or threat of the rain is not a source of discomposure for them. And I, sit by the steps of the gompa, splayed and scattered like the unfortunate bougainville flowers blown off their branches at the ripe age of their effervescent magenta.

I’ve realised that my mood reflects the weather like a mirror. On cloudy, murky days, this body walks slow, feels mellow and seeks warm comfort. Its breaths are longer and deeper and time moves slowly. Every sound elongates at the touch of the ears, and every taste tiptoes up to it like a silent ballerina. This body and mind just want to fall back into the bunch of feathers that composes the sky. Make me some warm tea, read me some bedtime stories, let’s bake some cookies and give them all to our neighbours. But mostly, what I seek, is human body warmth.

And on days where the sun blazes its radiant teeth out, reflecting infinite rays, this body opens up like a bud and follows the light like a sunflower. It becomes pure gold, malleable, there, yet not there- motion of a compendium of sparks exploding. I’ll gobble the world up and sprint across all oceans, exhale breaths full of love with hands in prayer over my racing heart. The world is my garden, flamingly alive, every lead and cloud and rose petal breathes in unison with mother earth and this blood that is of mother earth. Nothing is mine. My fingertips loosen their grip and become like the hands of each mother: transparent, yet powerfully there, healing. Like vines, I wrap this self around each everlasting yet fleeting present moment. Come sit with me in this enchanted place of a dream and let’s marvel at it all, with a pen, a book and  pair of sunglasses. Sprawled like lazy caterpillars on this grassy meadow. 

Hello, I sit on a small bumpy rock in the middle of these yellow rice paddy fields that roll like small waves on ocean foam ridges. Sitting where I am, if you tilt your head slightly higher, you’ll be met with the forked spines of naked trees, fanning out their branches like hair in the wind. And even behind that, you’ll find what I’m really here for: these mountains: relaxed, as if on a reclining chair, yet vigilantly aware, they stare back at me. Their white snowy eyes, blurred azure shadows of mouthes and deep dark arms of furry trees- all bare through my pupils, with gentle insistence. And what is this soft whispered urgency of the mountains? It is the truth that has been begging to come home to our fluttering hearts. The reason to why we always long for a home we can’t reach for. For we do not know, like blind moths stumbling, that the power and essence of these icy snow-capped giants already runs through our bloodstream. It is the air we exhale, it is the glue to our flesh and bones, it is the string to our words and songs, it is the last moment before we roll into sleep, it is in the deepest cry of our human sorrow, and the lightest feather of joy. And even when your breath has been snuffed away or your heart misses a beat, in that absence of all, that clear, pure, power undresses itself completely. 

I walked by the fire he had created with sticks and dead bougainville, and wrinkled leaves. We nodded to each other and I silently placed myself next to him. He put out his hands in front of him, and I imitated. We both tried to communicate- me looking straight into his dense light brown irises, trying to decode something, while he stared back at me blankly. “Ok.” He would reply to my questions. I would nod back at his hindi. Both of us knew this was going nowhere, yet there was something intimate that remained when one shares a fire with someone. Both beings seek for the same primal need of comfort. The fire crackled like ice-shards cracking into millions of pieces, patiently and elegantly. The wind blowed and the soft red flames hid their own ashes for while, which then sneaked out like sheep after the wolf had gone. They were persistent: these slow, laughing, blames, as we fed them smaller branches and they exhaled in relief. For some time, the wind changed direction, blowing bits and pieces in the lanky man’s direction. He lowered his cap, keeping his head down in his squat position. He asked me if I was from America, and I said no. Then we sank bak into silence. He sneaked a cigarette, which he hid below his crossed arms, and then we both went back to watching the fire as if it were the only thing keeping us alive. After some time, he got up and walked away. A few moments later, I followed suit. 

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meditations

On the rare occasion where I settle down and stop my wheels of blood from rolling, I sit down to watch the burning trail I’ve made- the friction between the soles of feet and unnerving city cement. I cremate the moment and look at its ashes. All that exists are the flames, the heat, the black dots dancing across vision. I empty my vessel, picking and scrubbing at all corners of this machine. I unhinge the engine and I’m left with splutterless silence. Suddenly, I realise how obsolete certain things in life are, yet at the same time, the intentionality behind everything. Immortalising this moment, I immortalise myself. I, who thought I could conquer and bellow tyrannically over soul and mind, control life like a maniac. Now I dress in titter tatters, sit with simplicity, hold rocks in the palm of my hands and happiness comes in with mischief. Caught red-handed, I surrender my fortress, my megacity of plan-thoughts and let the moment pierce my skin like a subliminal vaccine. Protecting and giving asylum. The future in my head is now past-tense overgrown weeds, that only belongs to night terrors. I realise its opacity, and in turn, my solidity as I breathe. Thick, unkempt hair and rosy cheeks. Elbows propped against knees. It’s all at ease and I exist, slightly hovering above this body.

Sudden Magnetism

Unexpected magnetisation

i realised i was iron ore

commanded like a puppet

willingly under magnet

she was inadvertently

radioactive, bathing in

pure electromagnetism

and I spun and spun,

poles switching

like blades,

positive and negative

and furiously so.

 

And somehow,

my charge

became complete opposite to

her the moment those

electric blue eyes

caused fire on me,

my whole body internally,

turned haywire and some

part of her did too

so we started the

dance of polar attraction,

forward, backward, contraction.

Souls grasping at each other

from afar.

 

She pulsated the whole

truth of the

universe on me like

a madman, yet discretely like

flashing light

came in for a carnal

embrace (it was all

but human) rather,

supernatural for in

that moment

something ancient became

aware of itself,

realised its one-ness,

born for re-uniting in

self-awareness.

Walking in the Forest

Walking in the forest,

I tore my shoes off, coat off, past off,

irises merge into aquamarine fish

swimming from eyes to chest:

now a nest of soft dew between the cracks

of tree barks,

fingers edging on backs of

beautifully bumping roots.

Hands turning,

squirming,

into fledgling pepper green moths.

Naked salt-skin opens up like

undersides of leaves.

 

And the trees

whispered me these things:

“We’re wise, and old, yet still sons of this earth,

you too have been birthed

from this mother.

This is your womb, just like any other.”

I listened to them hum, these

old folksongs delivered by wind, like drums,

each word, a mellifluous golden heart

lulled by the her petrichor sweet pitch.

My footsteps followed to the beat,

attenuated tones of riverbeds and creeks:

I listened and listened like a child.

 

Walking in the forest,

she pecks me on my cheeks with sun,

lathers me in the buttery buzzing sounds of bees,

blankets and bandages my toes with primrose.

I thank her in profusion,

she shakes her head in confusion,

poses before me, and says,

“Welcome back.”

Ends meet

Window half

open, letting

a bear breath of the

world in,

swollen dark

lid

oozing out obscure

waters.

 

Ends meet in

airplanes, your past

bends its back,

cracks its spine and

stretches out, mews

for your milk.

Feed me.

Feed me.

 

So ends meet,

yesterday, today, last year, next week

shake hands like

wives meeting ex-wives:

horrible yet necessary and

completely unavoidable.

 

Tugging at my scalp,

my unhappy

nagging children:

fostered with my love

and attention

now over-dependent

clinging clams of

past versions of my identity

meeting who I am now.

Ends meet,

and I’m helpless staring out

the airplane window,

seeking for some

motherly nature in

clouds.

 

Ends meet with who

I am, with future craft,

scraping past remains,

my brains (but before) meets

my brains (but now).

Dots connect it all,

it’s one big murder investigation

and I’m the missing

person.

 

This issue is getting

quite

repetitive, I might say.

Alone time is okay.

Alone time is okay. And it’s okay if some days you just want to dig into cloudy soil with muffled breaths to make a blanket out of morning sunlight and just go back to sleep. it’s okay if an assail of jitters takes over and all you do is sink- so let yourself sink, and let yourself fold into a beautiful paper crane. your wings might be tainted with vermillion cuts but know that they will heal with each  peppermint breath of silence. Dear, it’s okay if some days, faraway echos of laughter tug at you but your limbs only want to weave into empty spaces and places where your arms can stretch for miles.

it’s okay if unlike other flowers you don’t explode, pirouette with light around presences and constant talking. instead, you might just want to ease on the accelerator, eyes enraptured by one one pair of pupils at a time.

some take it fast, and gulp down the day all at once- but it’s also okay to glide from one second to the next,

expanding gently,

unfolding,

unbinding

with time and patience.

at times you just need to stop with a mouth full of marvel and a deep breath.

you bloom in quiet beautiful places, and that’s okay too,

because honey, in the end, we all water our flowers in different ways.

So dear, take your time hopping from soul to soul. languidly expand and you’ll find that meeting each individual glow will soon feel as soft as braiding hair underwater.

mystical speaking

she spoke of realms that exceeded the world and overflowed your mind, sprinkling evanescent glitter on the top of your head with the tips of her fingers. Open your mouth, she’ll place a pill behind your tongue; and it spreads like acid as she speaks of these unknown worlds, mouth shaping sound after sound oh so majestically. now you’re in a state of bliss questioning whether space even exists or does it only appear between each blink of her incandescent blue lashes. she speaks in elision and you also wonder if she’s got human blood flowing in her veins or does she come from mercury or some other elegant planet? one moment or another you’d expect her to turn taciturn, lean over, slice your tongue in half, pocket the pill and replace it with sugar.

you want her to teach you how to see sunlight under leaves or count how many arteries a tree has compared to a wave because you feel like she controls it all, controls how strongly the wind blows or how many clouds there will be today and what shapes they will form. but you know she’s most enchanting under an eclipse’s moonlight or early dawn, barefoot on your terrace. jaw slightly slack, eyelids too, and of course, speaking. you’ll make her soft fur accent into a pillow and fall asleep, dreaming of all those faraway realms she says one day she’ll visit.