“I’m in an unbelievable place. Is where I always wanted to be. It’s an ashram in the desert of Rajasthan. It’s so beautiful and peaceful and they do so many relevant things for the environment. The Guru of this place wears leopard prints shoes and there is this American lady, that goes under the name of ShreeJan here, that wants me to help organising this festival, about the Great Mother,ecology, ecofeminism, the seed and divinity. Well… I said we are doing this, Lu, we are going to organise and make our art this festival in India next year!”
It was about this time last year when GG wrote to me to inform me about her discovery, and our future. I was travelling South America at the time.
It is hard to imagine something until you don’t see it yourself. That’s why I was so curious about this Guru Ji, ShreeJan, the ashram (which is like a monastery in Indian religions) and all.
They came to pick me up in Jodhpur.
ShreeJan is an American blond lady with an angelic face, she is on a spiritual path alongside Guru Ji. She teaches yoga, practice Ayurvedic medicine and run the festival. GG told me that when ShreeJan was a kid she used to have regularly something similar to epilepsy and passing out for hours and feeling she was literally on Pluto, where she would hear the sound of the universe like a OHM.
Guru Ji reminds me of my flatmate A., and this make me laugh a bit. He only wears orange and he has a very sweet face.
After 2 hours in the jeep to get the destination, few stops for samosas and chai tea, we leave the busy roads with car and cows behind and we arrive to the ashram.
It is hard to describe the sensation of being in the right place, at the right moment for the right reason. My heart, that I thought shrunk two sizes in the past months, become as big as the moon and beats with a new sound. I have an immense sense of gratitude, for everything.
It has been 5 days now that I’m here. I live in a room inside the palace, facing a garden next to a beautiful temple, in the middle of the desert.
There is still no one else from the festival, either guests or organisers. Sometimes men and women from the village come to pray. They are curious about us, they stare and giggles and I admire the women beautiful traditional clothes. Because the influence with Pakistan here some of them cover even their faces with the colourful veil, and I found it intriguing. You can still see their faces through.
It’s very quiet life here. I wake up every morning at 5.45 am and have an hour of yoga. 8 pm is breakfast time and then we work for the festival. Currently I work on the laptop, I sketch plans for the set design and draw and read. In the late evening you can go to pray, outdoor in the temple, with beautiful singing, mantras and bells. You can see the stars and the moon very clearly, and the marble of the temple shines against the dark blue sky.
The food in incredible and they grow it here, in a little piece of land next to the temple. The Indian man that take care of the land is so sweet, GG told me that he is a Pakistan war survivor and apparently he screams as crazy at night. I would have never guessed. When he showed me the garden he saw me taking a rotten tomato from the floor and he went like “no no no” then he picked and offered me the best coloured and shaped ones. Right after that he gave me mint, oregano, and lettuce to try. I was so happy holding a little salad in my hands.
Dinner is at 6.30 pm after the prayers. Here I learned how to eat, with no forks, using only with one hand and some pitta bread to help. Using both of the hands in not polite apparently. At 9 pm I’m already in bed, I’m reading and writing a lot.
The research and work I’m doing those days is reflecting everything I ever been interested and researched in my life time. The depth of this feeling touches my soul and heal so many wounds.
I feel that, if we don’t devote our powers to nourish something bigger than us in this world we are not taking part of the evolution of the humankind. You don’t “save the world” with big actions, as you probably never “save the world”, but you can figure out what’s your role and do your part, trusting your gut and remembering your values and the reasons you are here. We can do it in every day life, in our family, in our friendship group and in our community. We are here to constantly grow. To help others in growing with us. I’ve an infinite love for this planet and the beauty of creation, for the masculine, and the feminine energy, which is the one we are celebrating here. This Earth. Mother of all, seeds keeper, intuitive emotional and brave creator.
Utsava Maa is the festival I’m working for here, which means The Great Mother. It’s a festival in a country where most of the women can’t walk on their own in the street, they can’t travel, they can’t smile at men , have a job they like, or have any power whatsoever. They work in their house until they die, biting their tongue and covering their bodies. Isn’t it paradoxical in a country where its history is dense of references regarding infinite power of the female energies, reflected in the Indian goddesses and spirituality?
My role here and our role with Undergrowth Collective is to enchant that power through the medium of art but also just standing for ourselves as privileged white women, born in a fortunate country.
It’s with gratitude and devotion that I proceed.