today was a grey day.
hot heavy humid air, no breeze.
i walked home for lunch, 20 minutes.
my hair in a braid to the back but the whispy strands around my face and neck clung wet as did my clothes. took the main road, crammed with tuk-tuks, old minivans, colorful chromey buses billowing black fumes making face level clouds going straight in through my nose.
i passed the giant snow white buddha with heavy lids and a smile. he looks pure and high and happy. in front of him the offerings of the morning, flower blossoms in small bowls, now wilted and stuck like old lettuce. a mangey dog scratching himself, an elegant sari-clad woman passing by...
i came to the street with the hindu-temple and mosque. lots of men going for friday prayer. on the corner is a shop with hanging strings of garland made of fresh flower blossoms. normally i walk quickly past but wish secretly to stop and stare invisibly for a time, to take it all in. today i stopped at the flower blossoms. i put my nose up to the hanging garlands and enjoyed an in-breath not of traffic but of jasmine blossoms. how much for one string? i asked the man. 15 rupees madame. (that's 15 cents...) yes, i take one string please. he cut me a string, dipped it in water and placed the wad of heaven in a small plastic bag. 15 cents....i walked home, smiling. for the delicious scent, for my growing courage to stop and smell the jasmine in this crowded and sometimes intimidating place.