A Day’s Worth of Detours

The sunrise this morning was spectacular. Almost biblical in its grandeur. Not an orb rising into a clear blue sky kind of sunrise; rather one that struggled to peek and show its face from behind a humungous mass of thick rolling clouds. I was so taken by the sight as I lay in my bed perhaps because it so accurately reflected my internal sense of struggle the past few days. So after sending out gratitude to the universe (this time with much less feeling), my spirit took a detour…

Yes, that crankiness that set in mid-week still shows no signs of abating. It’s a heady concoction of less-than-admirable emotions: Abandonment. Rejection. Loneliness. Fatigue. Anger (yes, even that formidable, undesirable quality). Feeling too far from the people I love most. Missing the steady routine and blessings of Linda’s yoga classes (she is on holiday – even though I enjoy Eka’s classes too). Getting tired of the roar and choking smoke of motorbikes, buses and trucks everywhere I go; fed up with the toxic fumes spewing from mounds of burning plastic and garbage; tired of facing obstacle courses everywhere I go, the sidewalks a mess of broken concrete, holes and slants; mildly annoyed with the touts and wonks that won’t let me pass without harking out: Taxi? Transport? Massage?

I headed out for my 45 minute walk to yoga class – only to discover upon my arrival that Eka was away. More crankiness set in. Another detour. On the way back, thicker and greyer clouds moved in, the drizzle gave way to a downpour further fueling my desire to climb right back into bed.

I was about to take another detour, down a street I’ve not yet walked; but decided against it because of the still-ominous clouds.

As I approached the intersection where I turn down my street, a crowd was milling about in front of a shop across the street. The metal shutters were closed shut, but still the gathering grew. I knew that store, meant to go in many times, so curious was I by the display out front, all manner of fish and fowl: towering rattan baskets of roosters and other creatures, aquariums, collections of fish, and more lurking inside.

Many people, alighting from motorbikes, still with helmets on their heads, hustled to hear and see what was the ruckus was about. A father hoisted his infant onto his shoulders for a better view; a mother and daughter in full motorbike gear pushed through to get closer to the front. There was joking and laughter, lots of smiling and friendly banter too. I imagined that a festival was approaching and the demand for roosters was increasing – or an imminent community-wide cockfight was looming on the horizon.

But then I saw a man, his smile widening across his face, make a gesture with his arms as if tying a noose around his neck and hanging himself. He was laughing gaily. Still, I thought that perhaps many of the animals inside had been killed… until I noticed a police car and a couple of uniformed cops waving on the vehicles that were slowing down. Then an ambulance pulled up, yellow tape was pulled around the front of the store – and suddenly I realized exactly what had happened…

So I turned the corner, and with a last glance over my shoulder, wondered what makes a group of people – especially parents towing their children – gravitate towards such a scene, but really what I wondered was… what makes them smile so.

What further detours await me the rest of today?

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