by Weam Namou
My first spiritual teacher was from India. He was a customer at my place of work, a video store. We talked about God and religion and little by little, I joined his group of pupils who meditated and prayed together. He once recommended I read a book called “Daughter of Fire” about a British woman who goes to India to meet her guru. The book was over 800 pages and I read it twice, hoping to one day find my own guru.
I have since had a strong attraction for India, and although I’ve wanted to visit the country several times, it just never worked out. So I console myself by cooking a lot of Indian food and watching movies my director Mira Nair. My friend Elisabeth has a much stronger connection to that country. Elisabeth is from Belgium. Her mother is French. Her husband is from India. Recently, she built a home in India where she will one day soon move into.
She and her husband came over for dinner this evening. All was wonderful, except for my children who, to my surprise, tried to get the couple’s attention as if they’d never seen people in their lives. My son especially was not okay with his mother giving attention to anyone but himself and so showed off with super-duper shouts as he zoomed into the kitchen on his scooter. Thank God, my friends laughed off the crazy behavior.
I met Elisabeth years ago through the Rochester Writer’s Group. I’ll never forget the beautiful accent as she read a scene from her novel. Her poems are just as mesmerizing, and years ago when our poetry women’s group was active, we would alternate between homes once a month, on a Sunday, to recite poetry. Elisabeth went on to be the editor-in-chief of the Gazette van Detroit, a Belgian newspaper which began in 1914. She is no longer with them, but I remember when she gave me a few assignments and I got to know the community, which mostly lived in East Detroit until the Detroit riots of 1967, a little.
Elisabeth still has that accent, but I haven’t heard her read anything in a while. She said she might hold a poetry meeting at her home one day soon. Yes, before she leaves us to live in her adopted world, where I suspect she will have such an extraordinary experience, she will end up writing a best seller about it.
Well, my son is once again calling for my attention. When I tell him I’m trying to finish up something, he begs that I come beside him. “It’ll just be for an hour, mom,” he says. Now he’s looking for his penguin, named “Huggie.” More on that another day.