via the body;


a list of things i am bringing back

on the bottoms of my feet — memories of earth: angular red cement blocks holding the sun; rain-polished-yellow-orange-blue-grey slate; flat, brown, stones thinly covered in dirt and imprinted with small symbols of simplicity; grass blades intimate in their compactness and will to grow. a culture similar to my mother’s in its shoe-less-ness. an off/on rhythm of familiarity and transition. a lack of socks as a way of connection.

on my legs — unkempt hair as a result of continuous pants-wearing, laziness, and misguided water-saving. invisible trails forged by sweat drops succumbing to gravity.

on top of my knees — a sense that hands, palms upwards, are missing.

in my right pocket — an undelivered note about Truth, poetry, and forgiveness. a soon-to-be-delivered note about friendship. one half-used tissue.

from my chest — knowing how deep, lasting laughter feels and how hard it is to stop and how easy it is to evoke and how quickly it brought together four people in a car named peace (though maybe the car should have been named joy).

throughout my lungs — the breath. but more importantly, awareness of the breath. knowing that i am existing.

on the palm of my right hand — mehendi: fading, subtle circular patterns transferred onto my skin with confidence and pride; a way of relishing imperfection because art is human. fingertips gently tracing the darkened lines: new friendships consecrated in touch.

on my fingernails — lasting, dark auburn mehendi. as my fingernails grow the clear nail overtakes the stained one, the distinct contrast serving as a reminder of physical change.

on my left wrist — a black watch born of the earth: cool granite and red/yellow hands relay the current time in Ahmedabad: 10:06 PM. i wonder when i will change it back to Boston time.

up and down my spine — a desire to hold myself with dignity and humility that is surfacing more and more.

from my mouth — gujrati and hindi (namaste. tammaru nom su che? jai matadi. aawjo. aabhar.) and the innate language of love (smiles. hand-holding. hugs. eye contact. smiles, again, because the heart has no limits).

on my tongue — food cooked with love, the sticky-sweet-smooth-smooth feel of mango contrasting with the tough, bitter skin (all fiber and sunspots), the way cold water would taste so much cleaner and sharper when falling from a metal cup.

from my eyes — all of the tears that have been shed: singing, seva café, jayesh-bhai, a final ESI farewell — i owe these tears to someone who has taught me about Openness, Maitri, and so much more — the depth of my emotions is magnified in her presence.

in my heart — openness.