Wanderer and the sight of my glorious Radha!

I woke up bright and fresh to the morning chirping of birds. For the first time in my trip, I had woken up in the middle of a jungle, in a cottage of course. On an earlier day I had woken up on the rocky beach, then in a hotel room. Waking up to a jungle morning is altogether different. The birds create a symphony of serenity in the morning, the trees go whisha-whisha, the cattle grazing around moo or bleat, the sound of the water in the nearby canals sounds more like a water fall, and there is a pleasant breeze that fills the air with morning smell of the soil that has been vetted by the overnight dew. There is an innocent and eager childhood in each morning—a sense of the pure and clean that we felt in our childhood. Trust me, if you happen to wake up to a jungle, stand upright, close your eyes, tilt your neck backwards, spread your arms; you will feel like a four year old.

I looked at my watch; it was 4:40 a.m.

Early to rise,
Makes me wise,
The morning emerges from tired nights,
No hint of sleep in my eyes,
The birds chirp, and the rivulet sighs,
My loving angel, a seed of rye,
I am abode the Chariot of fire,
I hold her hand; pull her by my side,
We look into each other’s fiery eyes,
Off we go, into the skies.

Early morning poetry. I like that. Like I really like all that.

I was ready to greet the day by sharp 5:10 a.m.
I walk down from my cottage floor, open the gate and drive off in my scooter. I knew Kate, the Dutches from Kofi Bar, told me to go look for Radha in afternoon to catch the late bloomers.

I am not looking at tier two or whatever. I need to find her, find the early blooms, in the morning music of the birds. I ride towards Pondicherry town from where onwards the Chunnamar backwaters and beach is about another fifteen kilometers. I ride straight and I ride fast, pushing the engine to its prime, revving up the RPM and maximizing the torque. I feel like I am riding a sheet of wind rather than the tarmac. I reach Pondi in about ten minutes flat. I decide to ride through the beach promenade and take a sip of Radha juice if Le Café was already open. I was really hoping it would be.

What do we know, it was. I parked the scooter besides the old light house and walk to Le Café. Radha juice early in the morning by the sea side would be awesome. Let me put the picture the way I saw it. It is like sitting with the girl of your dream, your soul mate, your completion, the opener of your sprit’s bottle; looking through her and seeing how the world looks through her; then sip by sip drinking her and realizing that it is impossible now to distinguish between who you are and who Radha is. There is no definitive boundary between where Radha juice ends and where you begin. It is now one composite truth, indistinguishable, like it never existed in separate forms, like an alloy.

Taking a few steps around Le Café to reach the seating area, I spot the Wanderer gazing into the sea. He is lost, open and extremely vulnerable. I seat myself at the next table and hail in the solitary waiter and order Radha Juice and a fruit salad.

My order arrives, I relish the Radha juice and it fills me in with certainty. The Wanderer is unmoved, steadfast gazing into the sea. We don’t exchange words; however, I know that we both acknowledge each other’s presence. But this was more of a personal time for both.

The sea goddess is ecstatic, beautiful as ever. I see the sea change color and viscosity and turn into an endless sea of Radha juice. This juice has strange and beautiful effects. I pay the bill and ask for directions to the Chunnambar area and I am asked to take the winding road by the promenade until it turns right and I hit the first traffic signal from where I need to take a left and into the highway that will lead towards Cuddalore.

I ride on at tearing pace. The buses on the highway shudder past me at inglorious speeds. Against the wind speed and the velocity at which I was riding the Kinetic Honda, it was a test of my sense of balance. But I knew I cannot be harmed. I am being protected and propelled by a force that is way too higher and pure to be messed around with. I feel the touch of god in every breath, as if it is God itself is breathing out of me. As if I am only a shell and I am taken and consumed by the celestial unison.

A good fifteen minutes into the ride, I see a huge signboard that reads, “Chunambar Backwaters and Beach” and a huge arrow to the left. The weather is still awesome, the sun has only started to emerge out of the horizon and you can still see shades of grey in the sky reminiscing about the night. I take the guided left turn and enter a dusty path. The dust and the potholes slow me down. The breath of God is all too susceptible to dust allergies. I slowly wade through the bumpy ride and kick up a small dust storm of sorts.

Slowly the concrete of the highway gives way to sparse lining of trees on either side, while the dusty road blends into a motor-able road. I am back on a breathable track. The tree lining on the sides starts getting dense, the foliage lush green and I started seeing small pockets of water bodies on both sides. As I moved further, every once in a while I spotted a few peacocks, some with their feathers in dance. Such a sight! It reminds me of days when Krishna loitered around the magical forests with his cattle and played his flute while the peacocks danced to the magical tune. In that perfect moment, Radha slowly walked in, quietly, behind Krishna’s back, trying to keep her visit of this Krishna krida a secret from the flute master himself. While Krishna, the all knowing, keeping with Radha’s games does not make it evident his knowledge of her presence. Thus the two keep the world at balance.

Down the track a good kilometer, I think I saw something. I think I saw what I was looking for. Have I found what I was looking for? It took my hands a few moments before they pulled on the break and the scooter came to a halt. I locked the scooter and ran back a good fifteen-twenty meters. Towards the right hedge grew what seemed like the Radha flower. Was I dreaming? Was this even happening? There it was a flower as constructed in my mind by “Neeraja-the flower doctor”. It grew from the branch elegantly and quietly. I somehow knew this was Radha. My heart swelled with love. Like first love. I always know how first love feels. Some of these feelings can never be taken away from you, once they happen, they remain with you forever. They become part of who you are. That’s how I felt on seeing this indigo-blue flower. I stood there for moments, may be minutes, and may be an hour. I don’t know. From that moment onwards, I stopped keeping track of time. There was no need. I looked around for some assurance that this moment was achieved, to tell me this was real, to tell me that this was mine. There was no one. Not even the Wanderer. There was absolute silence; I could not even hear the usual jungle air or the rustling of the leaves, or the chirping of birds. I could faintly hear my heart beating in an absurd rhythm. The world fused out, obscured, out of focus, silenced, blanked out, blurred, dizzied out… and all those words once can use to describe when everything fades in to the background. There was this awesome looking flower and I felt love.

Unlike how I always feel, like a bolt of lightning, like a dragon’s fire, like thunder, like exploding supernova and all that jazz; this moment was the exact opposite. It was quite. Wow!

No one around during this glorious moment! Not even the freaking Wanderer. Why? Then I knew what I was to know and pick up. This is how one feels when one comes face to face with one’s destiny.

Alone. Perfected. Done.

Like a devotee, I take out my camera, adjust the aperture and white balance, rationalize the ISO and click. The images get captured in the camera, and forever in my heart. I look around the ground to see if at all a Radha flower had fallen from the branch. I see a few and I pick up two. They fit perfectly in my palm. Just like a baby sits perfectly in a mother’s womb. I was wiped clean. My trip was done in spirit with only days to roll for me to sing, celebrate and spread this glory in the world.

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