Tammy T. Stone
We were at Panthip Plaza, the electronics megaplaza in Bangkok, looking for an external hard drive. This is how we try to manage our space, by keeping an entire library of books and movies in two tiny boxes we will carry around in our daypacks for six months in India.
I get bleary eyes at Panthip, every time. There are so many people, fluorescent lights, goodies that I look at but do not see. I only see colours, shininess and for sale signs, and hear raucous music changing every few feet.
We wandered into many stores and in one, my dizzy eyes fell on a bright pink keyboard. I thought it would be Hello Kitty but it was just pink, and this was enough to induce me into more of a trance. I started to stand at the keyboard, which was at the perfect level for me to type with. I started typing in little ditties, like I Am Cute – I’m not sure if I was referring to myself or the keyboard, because the space between myself and things became increasingly blurred throughout the day, throughout this trip to Bangkok, even. I was having fun.
Soon I noticed that I was keying in more personal messages, and that I was talking to something or someone out there, beyond myself. I had no computer screen so I didn’t have my usual interface with which to communicate. I was reaching out to something vast and nameless, like when I used to put little pleadings and wishes onto scrap paper to stuff into the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Only now I was in an electronics shop, joyfully requesting things like:
Can Everyone Be Healthy?
Let’s care, please!
Happiness for all?
Later, we took the bus back to Khao San Road, the backpacker haven in Bangkok, and mused over a street stall dinner of jok (rice porridge with ginger, fried onion and egg): I can teach English in Thailand, and my husband can teach Japanese in India, where everyone already speaks English. They love the Japanese and many either speak or want to learn.
He can offer Japanese lessons in exchange for free accommodations. But one hour a day will turn into invitations to the family home for meals and endless chais, and more invitations to teach Japanese to relatives and friends, and soon ten years will have passed, and there will be mass gatherings outside Baba Ji’s room, throngs of people who will form Ohayo Ashram, waiting for their guru to utter one word, for times a day: Ohayo, Konnichiwa, Konbanwa, and Oyasumi.
Happiness for the whole world, please!