Friday, April 29, 2011


My father. Auspicious, kind, gracious. Eternally pure. He does not have an elephant’s head and yet some say we look alike; the same confidence in our stride, I think. I was made from nothing; from the absolute emptiness that comes in between words and the beating of one’s heart. My conception nothing more than an idea arising in my mother’s mind. The mother goddess. The embodiment of the total energy of the universe and yet I had to come along to make sure she was protected while she bathed. Was there no one to hire for such services? Imagine, coming into this world. So much color and beauty, yes much sadness too, but there were mangoes to eat and sweet rice that could stick to the roof of my mouth, and  there were rivers to swim in. And what do I find out is my purpose after all? What do I get to do? Guard the door while I bathe, Ganesha, make sure no one comes inside. Ganesha, you cannot fall asleep, someone will come inside while I bathe. Why can’t you just do what I ask of you? Many say I was enthusiastic about such a role, because that is what my mother insisted on telling people. But the truth is I wanted a life of my own, more of a purpose than making sure no one disturbed my mother while her fingers pruned and her naked body soaked in the tub. I wanted to swim with a mouth full of mangoes and sticky rice. Father was away at war or some battle. If you ask me though he was probably getting high and fooling around with that dark skinned woman with the long tongue I always heard my mother ranting about. Kali this and Kali that. Kali the almighty warrior. Kali who is black, who is time, who is death, who can outdance us all. How could I have known what my father looked like then, if the only thing in this life I had seen was my mother reaching for her towel and the view of the mountains from the doorway to the bathhouse? No one had even tried to disturb my mother since I had come to life, and when my father came finally and when he tried to make his way through, I felt oddly excited and protective. This was my sole duty in life and there standing face to face with my father, although unknown to me, was my greatest test of all. Let me in, let me in, he demanded. No one goes in unless she approves, I said firmly. I stretched my hand out a bit preventing him from moving any further. And I wonder, thinking now about this, when I had my old head- the one I was born with, the one that somehow also came from a part of him that was busy flying around in the universe, if he looked in my eyes then and could see himself. One swing to the throat, and my head rolled onto the ground. For a few minutes my mind still worked, and I could understand what was happening around me. Mother storming out from the bath, her towel wrapped around her naked body. Water dripping into my eyes from the edge of her towel blurred my vision. She saw my head and shrieked. What have you done! What have you done! Our son’s head is on the floor! And father, well father did not want to disappoint his goddess. I could hear him explaining himself as I watched in the blurriness the metal bracelets on my mother’s ankles make a noise like a song. No god wants to disappoint his goddess. An agreement was made. The first animal my father saw would replace my head. And what am I thinking then? That eyes would soon shut and my body would have a new head, and I wondered would it still be me? I prayed for a clean and wise animal- with much aspirations and desire in this life to be something more than a doorman. An elephant walked past us then. An elephant. A magnificent creature if I have ever seen one. Its head was cut in a flash and merged together with my body. My old eyes shut as my new ones opened. And yes, still it was me.

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