MY THIRD LIFE, SHOPPING, AND THE WIDE OPEN DOORS OF THE HEART


 I’m in
India now, in the city, with my mother, my loving family all around me,
embedded in the larger community of my mother’s help, maid, cook, gardener,
driver, cleaning person, and teeming humanity outside, living my third life:
Urban India. I hit the ground running after an extremely busy time in the US,
negotiating for a new car since we had sold ours before we left for the US in
October. My nephew, JD, helped with everything, and within two days I had a car
and had it fitted with things I wanted, seat covers, mats, bumpers, roof rack,
etc etc. Though I had so much help with it, I was so exhausted at the end of it
that I spent two days in bed with a fever. Today I have to get it registered,
which I am told is a long and perhaps tiresome process.
Yesterday
I ran some necessary errands, stepping into the teeming bazars to get two
zippers fixed on my backpack. A new development in my psyche says, don’t buy,
fix. Fortunately, you can get just about everything fixed in India. My bill was
about 50 cents. Another of my mottos these days: make do or do without. It’s
all in the service of simplicity. Unfortunately we have to wait till our later
years to learn the supreme necessity for simplification. At least, this is so
in my case. But don’t let me fool you into thinking I have arrived! Instead of shopping
in the stores I simply love online shopping for its convenience, and, yes, I am
still shopping! My amazing discovery last year was that amazon has a branch in
India, amazon.in, which takes the pain out of driving around in the city buying
necessary things. And don’t let me fool you here, either! I don’t always buy
things that are necessary. When the shopping bug bites, I like to buy things
that are not in the least necessary. I have discovered that instead of carting
gifts from America, I can buy them on amazon here, which takes my American
credit card and makes things so easy. I have bought a ton of books for my grandnieces,
and kitchen items for my nieces who are building a new home. Though I deplore
amazon for its business practices, convenience at this age of my life wins the
conscience battle.
         But I had to ‘descend’ into the market
place to get my zippers fixed, buy medication for myself and my mother, some
delicious seekh kababs, and get my old sim card fitted into my new iphone. I
marvel at the crowds, the teeming, colorful humanity that overflows in our
bazaars. I can take it only in small doses now, another function of aging, I
suppose. My mother at 94 rarely, if ever, leaves the house. Fortunately, she
too has old contacts with stores that send her items she needs. Last year she
had expressed a desire to have new curtains for her room and I thought it was a
good idea. It would give her something to be involved with and it would
brighten up her room in which she spends most of her waking and sleeping life.
So yesterday I went looking for curtain material with pink flowers and found it
in the first store I walked into just as I walked in. I clicked a photo of it,
and she liked it. How very merciful when you don’t have to go looking far for
what you are looking for. And doesn’t this apply also to our inmost needs for
the Divine? No need to go to temple or church or gurdwara. One simply has to
walk through the wide open doors of the heart.
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