Rita didn’t hesitate to sit down and join me at my table in the narrow cafe in Delhi. When I learned that she is Lebanese and recently returned from Tibet, I became intrigued. Like myself, she is a frequent visitor to India. Our conversation flowed in many directions like India’s many great rivers.
“Do you know about chakras?” Rita asked.
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“I know someone here who reads your chakras. He has a shop down the road. He also tells you what stones you need for your energy. I usually smoke with him.”
“Sounds interesting.” I admitted.
“We can go after I finish.” Rita said while chewing the rest of her salad slowly.
When we entered the small shop I knew at once that the owner was a Kashmiri Muslim. Against my will, a growing sense of distrust was influencing my impression. Assorted dusty, hammered copper plates and vessels were displayed on the shelves and dull silver jewelry looked lifeless in old glass cases.
Rita offered the man a cigarette. They relaxed as the smoke filled their lungs.
“You coming many years. I see you before..” The man said to me.
“Yes.” I smiled. When the cigarette embers died, the man motioned for me to pull up a stool beside him. He instructed me to remove all the jewelry that I was wearing that contained stones. In one hand he held a heavy, half round stone that he kept turning and squeezing. In the other he took my hand. I wasn’t sure but I think that he was taking my pulse. We sat there like that for what seemed like a long time.
“You are a very strong , very powerful person. Something happen to you three years ago. Something important.” He looked at me expectantly. I tried hard to think back but nothing stood out and all the years blurred together.”No, I don’t think so.” I told him about a recent lawsuit that had been especially upsetting for me.
“No. This you win. This not big problem.” I couldn’t think of anything else.
“You have three children.”
“No, I don’t.” He looked puzzled yet determined. “You are very kind, very caring person but something happen. No trust people.”
“Maybe it comes from my relationship with my mother?”
“Three years ago I think something happen.” I try my best to recall the past but nothing from three years back stands out.
“What is your favorite color?”
“Do you like to garden?”
“No. I like flowers and plants but they usually die on me.” I am not intentionally being difficult but we are going nowhere. It feels as if he wants to impress me but nothing he says or asks quite hits home.
“Do you have dreams?” He pursues.
“Sometimes but mostly I can’t remember them when I wake up.” I decide not to tell him about the dream of a man I was with who had two penises. The Kashmiri continues trying to jerk my memory with questions about past loves, past pets and past actions but whatever he is trying to get me to remember, relive or admit isn’t forthcoming. He explains the reason why a past love left. It was because my power overwhelmed his.
The merchant’s adult son sits on the side, stringing a pearl necklace. A foreign man with a German accent enters the shop asking about the pearl necklace that he ordered. The merchant shows it to him, not letting go of my hand. The foreigner does not like the clasp. The merchant agrees to change it and the man leaves.
After some more probing, the Kashmiri tells me that my chakras are blocked.
“Very big problem. No energy moving. All chakras are closed. But not to worry. With correct stones you can fix. I make you special necklace with sapphires and emeralds. You wear. After six months you wash with lemon.”
“Maybe too expensive for me. Tomorrow I’m leaving Delhi and I don’t want to change any more money.”
“Yes, some money it is costing but necessary.” I am starting to feel trapped and I don’t like it. I am anxious because of my pending departure and all the last minute details that I must attend to.
The foreigner returns. He examines the new clasp.
“Very strong. Best materials.” The merchant pronounces while tugging on the necklace. Like ammunition tightly packed inside a loaded gun, the pearls fly in every direction making a clack as they land hard on the floor.
“I fix. No problem. Come back ten minutes.” The foreigner leaves.
I look down at my watch and am reminded that I need to pick up something that I left with a tailor to be mended before his shop closes. The Kashmiri notices that I am distracted. I explain.
“You come back in half hour.” The merchant tells me. ” I make the necklace.” Not sure, I nod and leave with Rita but my faith in this man’s ability to read my chakras is broken like the scattered string of pearls that are left rolling on the hard floor.
Back on the street, I give Rita my card and we say good bye. I rush off in the direction of the tailor, plagued by doubt. Are my chakras really blocked? If I am as powerful as everyone seems to think then surely I can find a way to release these blocks if they exist but the doubt lingers.
How readily we are willing to put our inner most selves into the hands of a stranger and let them tell us what we are all about. Maybe my blocked chakras are those that control the purse strings that I do not open for the merchant or maybe it’s a romantic notion about India that I cannot relinquish.