Thursday, April 22, 2010


A faint flicker of light dances through the darkness from the direction of the hospital's temple catching my attention this morning. My curiosity takes me there. It's before dawn and I see little stirring within the temple walls. I see the source of the light that brought me here. A large metal bowl of oil with a long lighted wick. A sign tells me the flame always lives as the bowl is continually replenished.

Near the back, there are curtain-drawn rooms for the priests. I see a young priest (the same one who visits our cottage every day with an offering of flowers on a banana leaf) emerge from a room, yawn and stretch. Our eyes meet and we share a namaste. I continue my walk through the temple--my bare feet loving the cool stone floor. Watching with complete reverence, my curious heart observes an older chubby priest as he chants poojas in monotone for healing. Simply clothed in a white linen loin wrap and orange shawl, he sits cross-legged on the ground, and his body sways as he feeds the fire. An older couple sits and prays with him. A lone man also prays with them and struggles with the smoke coming from the fire, coughing and blinking his eyes. More people gradually join the group and then the kirtan begins.
All these people, coming with hope for healing whether it be for themselves and/or their loved ones. So much heart and faith. I say a prayer for healing for them, myself and Mahesh. On my way out, I pass the light that drew me here today and gave thanks for the lessons learned. May we also always have oil in our lamps.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Many women here in the south of India tie garlands of fresh fragrant jasmine flowers in their braided hair. This is me trying to fit in. =)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Nearly every day, I watch the action in the hospital grounds from my little perch. Though I meet only a few of my fellow patients here, I feel I know all of them as I see them evolve through their gaits. I see them get weaker and then stronger as the treatment progresses. I get concerned when they disappear or stray from their routines and relieved when they return.

I often see a certain distinguished man, perhaps around 60, strolling through the gardens, hand in hand with his adult son who is clearly developmentally delayed. Though the father appears tired while he carries a concerned disposition and hunched shoulders, I feel he radiates a patient heart.

Today, he pauses to speak with Dr. K who just so happened to be rushing by on his rounds. His son (I'm guessing around age 35) wiggles away from his father's hand, points at the doctor and starts jumping up and down full of glee. Perhaps all of Dr. K's patients get similarly excited to see him, but thanks to, or unfortunately for, (depending on how you want to look at it) our frontal lobes, we suppress such emotions from displaying themselves for fear of social embarrassment.

Though I never meet this family, I imagine a story of their life. Perhaps, they have gone to all the allopathic doctors who say "we're doing all we can do to help your son". But this does not satisfy the father. He craves answers and a better way. Perhaps, they learn about Ayurveda and the doctors here. I imagine how the father brightens with hope, but then the hope is dashed as he considers the time commitment of the treatment here and must go on leave from his job. "It doesn't can't put a price on health" he would say after much deliberation. The sacrifices he must have made during his life overwhelm me. But at the same time, I also consider the beautiful lessons learned and the grace I imagine he feels. They arrive here full of hope, an essential part of any healing process.

Even if throughout the day, events cause hope's light to dim and fade, it rejuvenates anew at dawn. It's as if our soul has travelled to some wonderful healing place while our bodies slept, bathed in the ocean of hope, and then returned to our bodies as we awake, armed and ready for a new day. Call it temporary amnesia or absolute wisdom, hope shines, even if for a moment before our mischievous-at-times intellect reminds us of something difficult and our light extinguishes itself. I consider the difficult but not impossible task of calming such negative thoughts which smother even the slightest glimmer of hope in our souls.

So many stories here. So much hope. I'm grateful to all the patients here. Though I haven't met each one, their presence alone reminds me of the healing power of hope.

I wonder what you, dear reader, hope for.