It’s 4.30 am and I hear the sound of Guruvastakam from this old sanyasi vaisnava with a tiny temple behind my navadwip home. I keep sleeping. I hear the village ladies as they come into my courtyard to fill up buckets of sweet water. They are loud and bossy and peek through my window. They laugh and tell me to wake up. Everyone is awake – sweeping the dust and mango Manjari’s into a pile and smearing the earth with fresh cow dung and water. Prabhujis sisters come to my door with Champak garlands and gur rasagullas to offer to lord jagannatha. I get up. I walk to the Ganga. It’s warm enough now- days have passed, weeks, months the seasons have rolled into each other abruptly- I survived the monsoon- the floods and now it is spring and there is new life.

The walk to Ganga in the early morning is my favorite. The fresh misty navadwip air, the men brushing their teeth in their courtyards for 20 minutes, the baby buffalos stoically chewing- the naked kajal babies all round and smeared with dust. Kirtan resounding from all the Mathas. I go and say good morning to Gurudeva in his samadhi and continue. The road is inviting and loving and the green has never felt so alive. Mangos and jackfruits and coconuts and champak flowers. Everywhere I look- there is only love. There is love in everyone and in everything. There is love in every particle of dust and every ally way. Pure soul stirring life altering deep sort of once in a lifetime kind of love. I step in a squishy pile of cow dung and continue on the path. Didi kemon acchen? The little girls call out to me… and follow me barefoot for a while laughing at everything I say.

I arrive to her banks. Mother Ganga, glistening in the morning sun. I smear her mud on my body until it covers me fully. I had been through months of sickness , struggle trials and tribulations, dancing under the moon and in the dust, trying to leave , not being able to leave, tears, heartbreak, utter joy and deep longing, offense, defense, facing myself —- And there we sit together. I am alive. Her voice is deep and enchanting. I wonder how many lotus feet have walked this same path— over and over again.

I am alone. Without anyone. Without any means. Without knowing why.It’s just us. In this beautiful land my heart is divided. Where do I belong ? We sing. I can hear her song too. She speaks, caresses and listens.