Lollapalooza!! The rustic there exhaled the scent of the mystic. The moment my feet touched that terra firma, the profundity of the lines “You may write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies. You may trod me in the very dirt. But still, like dust, I will rise.” from Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise, filled every cell of my being with a vicarious power of being a woman.
It was the power that was needed to absorb the experience that was to unfold in the following three days. The frictional disconnect from the fast and furious Mumbai life slowly began to morph into fractal enlightenment and quotidian sneakily disappeared into oblivion and what surfaced was just utopian.
The tall trees plumaged over my head allowing me enough exposure to the Sun and otter-like ocean to set my spirits into motion. Goa and God, after all, have sixty percent common. You get it, right? I was nudged from my stupefying thoughts when our Pilates coach Cam called out in her inimitable style, “Girls, on your mats, please!” And each one of us followed like obedient and compliant sepoys. Camilia Oberoi’s persona is such - almost otherworldly. She doesn’t walk, she flows; she doesn’t shine, she glows. She is like a dancing flame, a rippling wave. Sometimes a playful dolphin, at other times a chiseled mannequin telling us how to play and how to be still. And there we were squatting, lunging, plunging, planking, yanking and spanking ourselves. We did postures inhaling and exhaling, sweating and fretting, wailing and regaling. We loved it all.
‘The Goa Escape, as our team of 13 women was called, was nothing less than an army led by our posit commander Camilia. The female of a species is always more dangerous, you see. The army had charming Bush with her dulcet voice, loving Neer with her abundant patience and wisdom, fastidious Kala with her lawful take on everything, winsome Sara with her towering disposition, stylish Preet with her uninhibited chutzpah, honey-sweet Khush with her silent glow, petite Tibha with her discerning and quiet personality, compassionate Beh with her special veterinary acumen, vivacious Dana with her hourglass figure and her relevant cerebral questions and feather-like Shweety with light eyes making her even lighter, Bhavi was the healthy nut who guided us with her senses and sensibility about food, and precocious Sam, a 10 year old, and then there was humble me observing and absorbing the dynamic amongst all of us.
We were all so veritably different yet together we were all like a flight of birds. Each one her own person, but still in unison. Each with her individual energy contributed to collective synergy. We ate together, we swam together, and we went to the ocean together. We talked, we discoursed, we introspected, we reflected, we deflected, we added a bit, we subtracted a bit.
We alternated between fasting and feasting, overdressing and under-dressing, between anti-fit and fit, between norm-core and couture, between earthen and epicurean, between the present and antediluvian, between dance and trance, between Bollywood gupshup and Hollywood gossip, between terrestrial and celestial. We celebrated our ignorance and enlightenment with laughs and chaffs. We shopped, we hopped. We picked some, we dropped some. We truly lived in the space of, “the more the merrier”.
Bhavna drove us nuts, rather healthy nuts with her healthy Whole Food Plant-Based recipes. We made almond milk and others of its ilk. We licked, we clicked, we flipped, we tripped, we complied, we lied and a few of us eloped to ‘Mustard’ to offset the effect of vegan custard. We sipped fresh lime and wine and we devoured avocado toasts and chicken roasts. We cribbed and crabbed a bit and we loved and thanked a lot. We learned that when it comes to food “Less is more”.
Then we came to the moment, where we were to shift from doing so much and doing everything to “do nothing” with Satori duo. We truly experienced “Dolce Far Niente”. It is an Italian phrase which means ‘pleasure of doing nothing’. Well, we all know, ‘doing nothing’ is more difficult than ‘doing something’. Putting your body and hands to rest and listening to percussive sounds of hang pan for one and a half hours to meditate on various parts of our body in complete stillness was the most solemn and celebratory. The febrile flames and the sensuous incense made it ambient for us to surrender ourselves to those sounds to hear what our hearts had to say. We cut all the noises and heard our inner voices.
Slowly and slowly we emptied ourselves of all the baggage that was weighing us down in Mumbai. We scoured till our inner side was totally empty and we began to realize our sense of proprioception anew and the strength of our worked–upon core and sinew. We felt spiritually fulfilled but not jarringly filled. We felt empty–empty of grudge and guilt, of vices and viciousness, of burdens and boredom. And we were empty enough to take on vagaries of the world—after all, it is the emptiness of the cup that makes it useful! Amen!
About Ritu Garg
Ritu Garg, a wordsmith. She collects words like a philatelist would collect stamps or a numismatic would collect coins. Words give her power, She shares a relationship with them.
Words make her thoughts tactile, tangible and transferrable.
She is a management graduate in finance. She has a strong passion for languages, history, social institutions, food, fashion, parenting and health and now following writing and translation as her profession.