Through the noisy, dirty, crowded and touristic street that lies as a ring around the lake, we found a passage with stairs to the so called Ghats. These are the basins in the lake to wash, and bathe, and pray. Christian and I sat down at the stairs to watch the water, hear the priests, and feel the sun on our face. After a few minutes, someone came up to us and gave us a hand full of petals. He pointed at the water and said ‘Give, give.’ A priest invited me to sit with him at the curb, in between the basin and the lake. He had a yellow dot in between his eyebrows and carried a little plate with different items on it. Rice, different colours of pigment and more petals. He put down the plate and sat down in front of me, with his legs folded. He washed his hands in the water of the lake. In broken English he told me to repeat him, and cited a few mantras in Hindi. I repeated him. He explained that he was thanking the gods for all the good in life, then he started to ask about my family. One by one he called my mom, my dad, my sister, my girlfriend. He asked me to wish them health, luck and wisdom. If I wanted, I could do a donation for them. With his thumb, he mixed the pigments, and drew a red and yellow stripe in between my eyebrows. He told me to make a wish, throw the petals in the water, and then wash them away with five splashes.
I wished and there they went.
He gave me a pack of holy sweets and a leaflet with a bright Hindu illustration. With it, I got a band around my wrist, called a Pusha-passport, closed with three knots. It will never break, it will get loose at some point. And if it finally comes off, I just make another wish.
And then, then he asked for money. How much are you willing to give, as part of this, for your mom, your dad and your sister?
This is where you buy something. This is where it happens. Your mind is with the happiness of your family. This is where you are emotionally bribed. Don’t resist. Bribe yourself into it. Give. This is where you give in. Give in to it! For once, give in. Trust that it’s worth it.
Pay as much as you can. Pay as much as the moment lets you. How much cash are you carrying in that moment after all?
And if you paid that much, you better make it worth it! If you don’t believe it, it was not worth it. The more you pay, the better you will remember this happening. Remember it. Engrave it in your mind. This can be the moment where you realize how much more important family is than money. You can buy it. And this realization is priceless.
I bought it. Sitting there, on the curb of the birthplace of Brahma, in between the two mountain tops where the wives of Shiva live. Some call it insight. Some call it enlightenment. Some call it a divine intervention. I’d call it peace of mind. Like all my sorrows sank to the bottom of the lake, together with these petals. Thinking about what I wished and to whom, life became so simple all of a sudden. No career, no success. Love, luck and health for you and your significant others. And I sat there with the sun on my face and stared over the lake, so empty of thoughts that it could have been ages.