Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The Ravenous Dikini Ate My Homework
It was the eve of my first tabla gig, and i had just come from rehearsal. Not being completely present i broke the first rule in city living. Perhaps i was preoccupied with the current miasm circulating in my brain. I was obviously not thinking clearly when i left my tablas on the back seat in plain view. I'll admit that a large black duffel bag was probably too good to pass up to anyone in desperate need of a fix, and the broken glass that carpeted the block is a good indication of what was to come, yet i had parked in this parking space many times before and my forgetfulness was out of complacency. And after all, it was still daylight when i closed and locked the doors, and went to class.
After learning the difference between "krodah", (anger) and "kama" (desire), "paapa" (destruction) and "narakam" (hell) i left my sanskrt class feeling elated and enlightened. Saying good-bye to my last classmate, i walked a block to my car, and met Auntie a slight woman, shaken with alcohol in her veins, and a frail heart. She looked at me, her age showing on her pale skin and said, "Someone's been in your car."
Sure enough my window broken, and a mess of random items on the front seat revealed what i had feared would happen some day, and here it was.
Then i began to inventory what i had left that was of value to me. And as if in a grade "B" horror film, i slowly turned my head and looked behind the driver's seat to where my tablas were. They were no longer there. On the eve of my first tabla set, my drums were gone. The drums were history, great, now what? They were gone along with my yoga mat and my notebook from the my first year of Sanskrt class.
I ask the beaten woman with the broken heart, "Auntie, did you see anyone come leave here with my stuff?"
"No dear. I saw this the same time you did, I'm sorry." she apologized as she shrunk away into the shadows. I hopped into my beaten car, with the gaping wound in the passenger side window, bits of glass glistening on the dashboard.
I took off down the allyways, and the sidestreets in search of my tabla that i knew would be dumped somewhere, too heavy to carry, not worth the price. Stopping at various dumpsters, and trash piles, looking and searching for the only things dear to me, preparing for the journey which lay ahead.
Turning down one alley after another, i glanced into the shadows, into the places where homeless sleep with their belongings. I stop only to see if my things are among them. I pass some punk kids conversing in the street, i wonder if i should ask them if they know of a place where things are often dumped, but instead i keep turning, and traveling down south of market, Grace, Hollis, streets i have never heard of, and cant remember now. Descending into the bardo of unwanted souls, the street of Grace, i stop to look inside a dumpster, as a junkie passes and i ask him, "Have you seen a black duffel bag with a set of drums?" He looks at me, a man with a generous face, and a soft presence. "No, i was just shooting up over there, i didn't see anything, i don't rip off cars. People usually come from other neighborhoods and do that. Hey sister, if i see them i will let you know." I didn't know how to suggest he do that, but appreciated the intention. "Thanks" i replied. "You don't have a cigarette on you do you?" he asked. "No, sorry man, i wish i did for you." And i wish i did have something to give him, only his sugar to keep him balanced in this world.
I turn down the last street, nowhere else around here, nor do i know how i arrived here. Men grouped together in purposefull postures, protecting their posse, selling their stuff. I drive by and glance, but am careful not to stare. A half dead cat twitches as it lay on the cold ground, its head smashed, yet still alive, twitching nervous system an empty shell of what was once alive and vibrant. I had realized that i had finally come to the realm i could not leave. The last of the bardo. Were my precious drums so important to arrive at such a place in this underworld of humanity? And yet this too exists. As i am attached to some objects there are people living a few blocks striving to remain alive, human, intact.
So, whatever Dakini ravaged through my car, left my passport and checkbook intact. Removed my Sankrt, yoga mat, and tabla, i hope that she is having a good laugh at my expense. The inerweavings of the mind, letting me understand what we hold dear is relative in this Kali Yuga. Whether it be art in the form of drums to create music, or a hypodermic syringe.
I am grateful for the lesson, and the experience to come and go between the worlds.