Tuesday 30 December 2014


Outside, I hear morning birds and someone begins the onerous task of sweeping dust. Dust in India cannot be swept away. Can be swept from here to there, but mostly it fluffs itself up in the air and lands daintily again by the sweeper's feet, as though to suggest they would both be more comfortable if they could just accept each other for what they are to each other. Dust provides the sweeper with a job. And the sweeper provides dust with excitement, a little flurry, a change of pace and place.

Why is dust? It is not pretty or useful.

Why is illness? It is not pretty or useful.

And yet here I am. Dusty with illness and that ubiquitous meaningless word - pain.

And yet here I am, loved.

I am kintsukuroi, broken pottery joined by gold dust and laquer. Where the break joins, there is no seamless transition. You can see the suffering and the mechanism of healing. A friend of mine sent me an image of such a bowl made more beautiful by its interesting narrative; she hoped to inspire a poem. But the kintsugi philosophy made me want to write more words than a poem might permit. It has made me think of my broken pieces joined not by stitches and scar tissue, but by the gold dust of love and friendship.

I have always been hesitant to return to India since my diagnosis of lupus in 1997 because I didn't want to return ill. But I am ill, and I am here, and both must be joined somehow. I say I am kintsukuroi not because I am made beautiful, but because I hope such beauty can be possible. Are we all broken and scarred in some places? Then are we not all beautiful? I sat outside for a few moments yesterday, and a cluster of sari and bangle clad women gardeners wove a little circle around me. They were off in the distance one moment, and the next were crouching inches from my feet. One lady asked me the time - maybe she really needed to know. Maybe she just wanted to hear me speak, make a connection. We don't speak the same language - I am in the south of India, where the pace of life is very different from Bombay. But the smiles are the same.

The only difference now is the smiles are not for me - two small figures fascinate their passers by. I am just in the shadow of their smiles. But shadows never looked more beautiful.


Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this glimpse of Aunty Shai in India. Beloved Country. You are steeped in Soul just being there. I am sorry you are ill, and love the comparison to kintsukoroi, "because I hope such beauty is possible." Kiddo, you radiate beauty! I watched, the other day, for the second time, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. For that hour and a half, I inhabited India with you. The beautiful land.

garofit said...

Beautiful post.Love and peace to you.

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