M and I were backpacking through India. We’d taken an overnight bus which had been running on its last breath from Delhi to Jaisalmer, an 18 hr trip. After celebrating our arrival/survival over breakfast, we wandered over to the local markets.
M had been wanting to get her palms read. In this neck of the spiritual woods, yogis are not hard to find. Within 6 seconds of walking into our first stall, the shop owner/yogi/palm reader had already grabbed M’s right palm promising her answers. It was a sign M said and surrendered, listening intently to his broken yet very proper english. I buried my hands deep into my pockets and started to browse through the stall. I wasn’t to know, and I didn’t believe.
When he finished with M, he turned his attention to me, fixing his eyes onto mine. Deep set, I remember how they reflected the glistening sand dunes of his homeland. They had seen hardship, so much hardship, yet they remained hopeful and kind. But I didn’t believe. I said no thank you, politely rejecting his palm reading advances.
But his gaze never faltered from mine. His persistence caught me off guard. I felt exposed. I couldn’t remember the last time I looked into the eyes of another, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt so seen.
He smiled a big smile and reassured me that he didn’t need my palms to read me, for my eyes, they spoke volumes.
He asked me perplexed, Madam why are you so scared?
I laughed it off and thought of the two months I’d already spent in India. Proudly I proclaimed, nothing scares me!
No, no, he returned gently, not a thing madam, you are not scared of a thing. You are scared of you, only you.
Never again was a greater truth ever told.