Chapter 7 - Dimensions of Dancing
The morning after our return from the temples of Khajuraho began like all the previous mornings that we had together. It began with me opening my eye to the eternal sunshine of India, eternal so it seemed, and to the sound of Indira's voice and the melody of her gentle song, I greet you and I kiss you that opened up a day filled with kisses and delicate delights.
She wore a short and bright yellow dress that morning that was barely longer than a shirt. It seemed to be her morning dress. It had a row of buttons in the front from top to bottom. I noticed that only one of them had been done up when she sat down at the table for the morning tea. She smiled when she saw that I noticed that.
"Do you really find me beautiful?" she asked when we were settled down for our 'getting ready for breakfast' on the balcony.
"Beautiful?" I repeated the question.
My mind had still been aglow when asked the question. It was filled with the image of her standing at the balcony railing where I first saw her when I got up, her short silk gown radiating like gold in the rising sun, contrasting with the rich color of her skin. The gown had been completely unbuttoned then, when I came onto the balcony with my eyes not fully open. They opened fast to the beautiful sight. The gown was as open as the view across the city from our balcony high in the 'sky.' It wasn't that I hadn't seen her undressed before. Perhaps it was the dance in her eyes, the sparkle of it, and her smile, that instilled this wonderful warm feeling.
"The dress code has changed," she said with a smile when she noticed my delight with her new dress style. "Do you like my new morning gown that I bought in Khajuraho? I bought it for you. It's interesting, don't you think? It honors the pearl of Islam, but not its hard shell. I enhances the beauty of the human form, but it does not hide it. Islam dresses up its women with beautiful things. That is what my new gown does. But by new gown is also left open to honor the Hindu spiritual force, the force that is celebrated in the temples. My new gown honors both dimensions. Do you like it?"
I nodded with a great big smile.
"But what about myself?" she said. "Do I measure up to the beauty that we both saw in those temples? I often see myself as being drab, uninteresting, common, not exactly ugly, but a kind of 'small' in what men value about women."
She stood up and left the balcony before I could answer.
After she returned and was sitting down again at the table I noticed that the center button remained done up, perhaps to keep the gown in place.
"What is this beauty, Peter, that fascinates you about women, the beauty that I don't seem to see?" she continued her earlier question.
"The beauty that I see is in the beholder," I replied with a grin. "That's how it is and always has been. And that scene, Indira, is wide. It is as wide as the sea. Maybe you have set your own parameters up to narrow so that you don't see it all. When I first saw you, you struck me as someone special. But when I heard your greeting, I greet you and I kiss you, you struck me as someone most beautiful, a gentle woman with a beautiful soul. This amazing greeting turned and ordinary moment into a moment of celebration, and the celebration lingered on with a bright promise. It became a moment filled with light, and what followed became a delight beyond expectation. Just seeing you was a delight. In that delight my waiting with you for my baggage to arrive at the baggage carousel at the airport was a time of ecstasy. This day was the first day that I remember when I had hoped that my baggage wouldn't come at all. Unfortunately, it came down the ramp all too soon. I think we all need those moments of ecstasy, because out of them flows a higher kind of peace and a more profound love. That's why we need to let the ecstatic moments continue and unfold evermore. India's spiritual pioneers from ancient times were right to have built grand temples to celebrate those moments of ecstasy, which we all need. The builders of Khajuraho were right to keep those moments alive for all times to come, to keep the 'rivers' flowing for the building of a greater peace within and a richer love that has ever seen."
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