When yoga class wrapped up yesterday late morning, I was nudged out of my near-blissful state of savasana, collected my belongings, bid adieu to a few friends and turned on my cell phone to check for messages. Among the messages waiting in my inbox was one from Iluh (manager of my guesthouse). After an intro in Indonesian, it read: … we need your room, next one for make table offerings. Can we move your stuff because people come already for make table. We speak with you when you come. I’m sorry Amit. Once the full impact of her message sunk in, it dawned on me that this marked the end of my stay at that guesthouse.
Sudden forced eviction. Not what I anticipated.
When I returned, I saw Iluh and called her over. I wanted to speak to Pak Ketut… right away. Just as I was about to launch into something that I might have regretted, I turned on my heels and there, with the timing and prescience of an angel/apparition in disguise, stood my friend Monique. With a smile, she said: it looks like you need a hug.
We went upstairs and, after a brief meltdown, I began to pack. With Monique’s help, bless her… Not in a fury, but just with the knowledge that it was, irrefutably, irrevocably, time to go and that I was persona non grata.
Shortly after noon, we both acknowledged we hadn’t yet eaten, so we recessed for a much needed Bali Buda break (c/o their delivery boy), both feasting on gorgeous green salad topped with edible flowers, seeds and thin crackers.
Monique wisely reminded me of an irrefutable law of nature: when one door closes, another one simply must open.
Then the rains began, another in the series of unexpected but incessant torrential downpours that have punctuated the beginning of dry season. Much like the showers that accompanied the royal cremation just the week before, I took it as an auspicious sign.
Monique called a driver, and with ten minutes to go, we wrapped up the packing and brought a few things downstairs and outside. Still no sign of staff. But suddenly there was Ketut, appearing as if out of nowhere. We settled along the edge of the central bale (pavilion) where I simply let him speak.
He spoke of men in Denpasar, of Pak Hay in Lombok, of black magic, of medis and non-medis, of water in the bathroom, of Nyoman’s continuing sickness and trances, of needing to clear the room above theirs and create a space for offerings and meditation.
While Ketut spoke of his wife, his children, his staff, his stress, his headaches, his responsibilities, and how bad he felt, Monique and Wayan lugged my bags to the car.
I leaned against the bale silently, listening, hearing what I already knew I would hear – and disbelieving a good part of what he said; but realizing that it no longer mattered.
When I turned to leave, Ketut offered his hand and, reluctantly I gave mine; we shook and he invited me back to visit (or stay in another room). I said goodbye, looked around and marveled at the yawning silence, the drawn shades, the emptied kitchen.
Which is how I took my wholly unceremonious leave of the Family and their staff with whom I had lived for nearly two years: Bapak Ketut, Ibu Nyoman, their sons Hendra and Udi (daughter Ubi and grandson Dede already back in Denpasar); Iluh, weary-looking Wayan, Kadek the girl who does the daily offerings, newlyweds Ngurah and Yuli, newcomer Putu and little pups Zero and Bella.
Under overcast skies and a constant drizzle, Wayan drove to the other side of Ubud, up the hill, to a house overlooking the Campuhan ridge.
Sometimes, due to circumstances or a lapse of intuition and faith, we forget that life manifests challenges in packages not of our choosing… but if we are mindful, and if we surrender, we may be gifted with the sudden and much-needed presence of a friend together with an unobstructed view of sunrise – all of which remind us of The Doors that help balance out our lives.