It is funny how a wrong pair of footwear can totally turn your day around. In this case it was a green Dorothy Perkins dress with a pair of mustard Woodland loafers. Some might agree with me that they totally go but my friends begged to differ. It came to a point where I was waiting to go to my room to separate the two of them from myself.
After a long day of classes which comprised of some nonsense about markets not utilizing the available space in the public utility areas, I stepped out of the revolving glass door which always boggles my mind into the biting London air at my usual time. Management education is surely generic shit but then there are times when you seriously question the intent of the people running the show. My generation has a lot of problem remembering simple things which happened a couple of years back due to the information overload from screens and hoardings and what not all around us, if that was not all, people now want to use the empty space on the walls of tube stations, pathways, hospitals and what not, can we have some peace of mind at least while walking? I can hear a firm No from the people of my league.
The evening walk from the Imperial Business School to the South Kensington tube station is an eventful journey with bricked streets and performing artists who are hanging mid air for no apparent reason or producing those fairytale like big bubbles which can fit either you or me. During the mornings, the science museum which is right next to the college, is filled with children with a glint of excitement in their eyes and the sparkle stays in those eyes even when I am done with my 10 hour long day in the grueling classes about the next best way to sell and market a product to people who probably don’t need it otherwise.
As a habit I picked up the evening daily from the basket kept right outside the station and swapped the card to enter the tube station which was bustling with commuters from all over. I was in a heated discussion with my classmate about the ‘footwear’ of course and the possibility of buying a new one on the way. As a typical Indian habit, we spoke in Hindi. It is ironic that we speak in English all the time when we are in our country and switch unconsciously into our mother tongue when we know people wont understand us. It gives us that sense of privacy and assurance that people are not judging us.
So, I was still trying to fight that losing battle with my friend about my ‘look of the day’ when a very euphonic voice from behind said, “ye dress is shoes k sat ekdum match kar raha hai, contrast hai na, it looks nice” (Those shoes and dress totally match. Those colors are contrasting and it looks nice), I turned back to a smiling face of a pretty woman.
You know those times in life when you see a face and you keep looking at it? The charisma and the gravity is so much that you can’t tear your eyes away from that hauntingly beautiful face? It was that face for me. Her pear shaped eyes were big and so beautiful that I can’t pen them down in words. Her face, so aristocratic and her smile so pure, I was hooked on to her like an iron to a magnet.
She spoke in Hindi and caught me completely off guard. I was in full form and bitching away about my dress and life and here I was standing in front of the stranger who not only heard all of that but also had an opinion about my dress. I felt exposed but comfortable. There was something very very mystical about her.
She initiated the conversation and kept talking to me and asked me about my life. She made me so comfortable and I was so mesmerized by her presence that I kept telling her everything. I was so in spell that I even told her about my devotion to Lord Krishna. She gave me a smile I can never forget and directed me to ISKCON temples in London which almost no one seemed to know, before that day. I struggled to locate those temples and Google wasn’t much clear either. I am a devotee of Lord Krishna and my small Krishna idol goes with me wherever I go. I am the only one in the family who religiously follows him and follows the principles of ISKCON too. Its my happy place, my safe haven.
She made a mind map for me to reach both those temples. To my utter disbelief one of them was of walking distance from where I stayed! We kept on talking about the temple and she even volunteered to take me to the one temple which was situated on the outskirts of the city. I was simply delighted.
“I can show your around the city and we can even go to the temple too on the coming weekend if you like”, she almost shouted with all the noise from the running train inside the dark tunnel.
“It will be awesome! I can’t possibly reach there alone! Thank you so much!”, I exclaimed with joy.
“Tanushree, Warren Street is here, let’s get down”, announced my classmate.
And as if the entire plan got completely erased from my mind, I nodded my head and started heading towards the door. Something struck me and I turned around to those beautiful pear shaped eyes which were still smiling at me.
“What’s your name, I completely forgot to ask !”, I enquired.
“Krishna”, she said and gave me the most hauntingly alluring smile.
I was so awestruck and so in shock that before I could figure out the absurdness of what just happened to me, the car door closed shut at my face and became a blur and disappeared into the tunnel.
I went to the ISKCON temple that evening and prayed. I sat there for hours and smiled at the things that happen in life which are so mysterious and so abstruse that your mind and heart say the different things. Any which way I wouldn’t have found the temple tucked behind the lanes of famous Oxford Street where I went almost everyday to shop.
God has his own ways of letting you know that he is there for you. We just fail to recognize the signs that are glaring at us in the face because we are too busy getting distracted by the superfluous noise surrounding us.
“I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I’ve been knocking from the inside.”