A fly fell into my daal

The Paradox of our Age - Hung signThe Paradox of our Age. “We have bigger houses but smaller families, more conveniences, but less time; We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more medicines, but less healthiness; We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour. We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication. We have become long on quantity, but short on quality. These are times of fast food but slow digestion; Taller men but short character; Steep profits but shallow relationships, It’s a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room.” — Tenzin Gyatso, XIV Dalai Lama

So, Sri went back to Karnataka to work as a medical volunteer at the “largest Tibetan refugee colony in the world” (around five hours from Bangalore), an encampment of over 10,000 Tibetans. He shares his experiences in an essay. An excerpt:

I found out quickly that I had entered a place with entirely different notions about life purpose and productivity. Soon after I arrived I pointed out to a monk that a mosquito was sucking his blood. He nodded in acknowledgement and said something brief about the accumulation of merit and allowing another being to nourish itself off your own. (Luckily, we were in a region where the prevalence of malaria is low).

The second day I was there, a monk took me to the local Indian restaurant. A fly fell into my daal. The monk’s reaction took me by surprise. I wrote this poem about it.

There are those who
When a fly drops Plop! into yellow daal
it is not their bowl of food they worry about.
It is the fly and her wings
The ability of fire and spice
To sear wings
And with so much kindness
They place the fly in their palm
Unfold a white creased napkin
Clean the wings and the space
Between the wings
with water rinse away
Any hot yellowness
Place the fly gentle
On the edge of the table
Until
by the end
Of our meal
The fly has flown
made her way
Back into the world

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