Wonders never cease in real life. Some are small wonders and others are even smaller. I had a series of such teeny little wonderful things recently during my ten day sojourn at the Dhamma Peeth Vipassana centre in Dholka near Ahmedabad.
I am mortally afraid of insects – red ants, common spiders, roaches, crickets etc. – and lizards very nearly give me minor heart attacks.
When I went in to the room assigned to me, I froze with terror. There was a well fed lizard right under the stone slab that acted as bed. That was not all, there was more. At least 7-8 spiders of different shapes, sizes and colours and varying amount of fat and body hair and a giant bug stuck to the outside of the window. My room being next to the path leading to the meditation hall, the light outside was left on all night, inviting even more of similar little creatures to greet me when I stepped out at 4:30 am for the first session of the day. Life is tough indeed. Or so I thought!
The volunteer-managers for the course were kind. They shifted me to another room on the next day. Problem here being there was not one, not two but 3 happy lizards already living there. I was the intruder. They made me feel extremely unwelcome leaving a poop or two on my bed everyday. Despite daily cleaning and mopping with copious amounts of Dettol added to the mopping water. The fresh bed sheet was invariably soiled each afternoon for the next two days. I thought this is getting difficult and is pretty much out of anybody’s control. What can do!?
Here’s what I did. I thought of a letter. To the three friends whose peace I had bungled, whose space I had intruded.
The wonder was, this imagined letter, repeated in my brain a few times, worked. For an entire week, not only my bed, but my entire room was lizard poop free.
Dear Lizard friend,
(ok cancel that. It’s a lizard first of all. Second of all it’s not a dear and third of all, its definitely not a friend, fourth of all, d’you believe it’ll get even a word of this letter? But I still have to write to it…)
I hope you are well. And I can surely see we have started on a wrong footing. You probably see that or don’t. And perhaps that’s why you continue doing potty on my bed. Well, consider this, I’m a guest here, and you in likelihood do not like me. That, however is no reason to soil my bed!
Imagine, just imagine if I were on really good terms with all these big ants and crickets and roaches, and I asked them to visit your quarters everyday poop where you sleep – now how would that feel?
Please accept my sincere apologies for having disturbed and continuing to disturb your peace and lifestyle. And kindly bear with me for the week to come. I do wish you well.
Silly human that breaks into a crazy tap dance of sorts upon seeing you
(too long a name, eh? You can call me Sal then)
(a reminder of the unusual journey)