Back to Bodhigaya on a dusty road, we pulled over at the chai shop of an elderly couple.
We were soaked from head to toe, stained with a thousand colors.
Unexpectedly, a woman showed up walking from nowhere. She looked like a model, blond, tall and dressed in a green dress. She was completely unpolluted, without a single stain on her, something unthinkable during the Holi. She sat next to us and ordered chai. My friend the motor-biker and I looked at each other in disbelief.
“I’m from Canada, and you?” she said. “From Spain,” we answered.
She was somehow not well-coordinated, and when we shook hands she did it with robotic gestures.
“I’m writing a thesis about menstruation in the religious context,” she said out of the blue.
The scene was surreal: the elderly couple serving chais, the biker and myself looking like clowns, our faces stained green and fuchsia, and a stunning girl lecturing on the right of women with the period to participate in religious ceremonies… under a hot tin roof, in the middle of nowhere.
She disappeared as she had appeared.
Life has more of imagination than of Cartesian reason, I thought, regardless of the past three centuries in which we have kept on forcing ourselves to believe otherwise.
“Can you teach me to meditate?” asked the biker.
We set an appointment for the next morning on the roof of the monastery where I was staying. We sat down to meditate at dawn, for half an hour. Then we bid farewell.
From my window I saw him moving away. Sitting on the back of his motorbike was the girl in the green dress.
(Photo by Russell Shakespeare, at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar in 2010).