Monday, December 12, 2011

mother and son (repost & a hope for my future)

I witnessed something beautiful today. I arrived for Mysore practice around 4:30 and two of my teachers were there- Barbara to practice and Carla to assist those of us practicing. There was one empty mat, which belonged to Barbara's young son, Worcana. He was stalled for quite some time in the bathroom, doing whatever boys of 7 or 8 do in bathrooms for that long. Barbara was patiently waiting for a time and eventually decided to begin her practice. And I began mine- mat down, opening dedications made, ujjayi breath established. When Worcana came out of the bathroom, he hopped a little boy's hop onto his mat and began Surya Namaskar A. Carla talked him through a couple and he bent and folded and jumped with the ease of the unburdened body. It was, as it always is, sweet to see his pleasure.

And then Barbara stopped her practice, she was perhaps 6 or 7 poses in, and began to repeat them. And mother and son began moving through the poses together, she teaching him to respect, to cherish, each one, he smiling with a delight not often seen in the Mysore room. I couldn't help but sneak glances through my own bent and twisted limbs. Mother and child. Practicing together. The mother graceful and serene, the son giggling with joy. Both honoring the other's way.

I was reminded during this practice of something I read recently in Shadows of the Path, by Abdi Assadi. He has an entire chapter dedicated to romantic relationships and their connection to, and necessity in, spiritual growth. But there are just ten words in that chapter that have stayed in my ears and they are the words I heard with every stolen glance and childhood giggle.

Most of us consciously yearn for union with another person.

This is why we fall in love. This is why we have best friends. This is why we parent children. This is why we go to happy hour with co-workers. This is why we join churches or book clubs or running groups. And this is why we practice yoga in yoga centers. It's why we choose to, sometimes without grace, move our bodies into unusual, often unflattering, positions, let other people's sweat splash onto our mat, forgive farts and bad breath, and lie still, with our eyes closed, vulnerable on our backs, surrounded by countless strangers. It's the union that I witnessed between mother and child that was so beautiful. And by my mere glancing, I found a small part in it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

dreams caught (5)

you’re with me, but i don’t know you
i should
and i want to
but i can’t place your name or your face
i don’t recognize your smile or the sound of your voice
but the outline of you i know
the essence of who you are
and what you might represent
these i know
i have lived in this dream before
this dream of you and i talking
speaking of familiar and mundane things
as if you are a part of my everyday 
and i am your most trusted companion
but even as i manage to keep 
up my end of the conversation
i am really only thinking about,
who you are
and why you are here
and where you will go when i awake

Friday, November 11, 2011

the other direction

When the fearless step comes calling
You’ll be ready if you listen
To the voice heard in prayer
To a steady invitation
And though times may be hard
And the week behind was painful
He won't ask us to shoulder
A weight too much to carry
I don’t believe in God. Not in the man-in-the-sky kind of way. I don’t believe in one magnificent power who creates and destroys, who determines our fate, judges our rights and wrongs.  It's the practical side of me (which is most of me, actually) that just can't see any one being, no matter how omniscient and supernatural, being able to effectively manage that many people. It's just too big a task.
What I do believe is that there are forces beyond our capacity to understand; we, as a collective human race, haven’t the brain capability yet.  Perhaps those forces reside within us (as the Buddha taught) or perhaps those forces come in various forms (as with Hinduism). Maybe the Native Americans and Wiccans have it right; God exists in nature itself. I can't prove any of it right or wrong, and, after many years of questioning, I've decided not to care about that anymore.  I've reached an agreement with myself to let whatever exists exist. All I'm committing to is the possibility.
I was introduced to spirituality through yoga, which, incidentally I tried begrudgingly simply because of the rumored spirituality. I wanted no part of it. But, as with most things important to the Self, I ended up having no choice. I went because I wanted the exercise, I kept going because I felt something I had never felt before.
Very soon after my first yoga class, I found myself telling the teacher how much I felt myself changing. I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of my mouth. Very soon after that, I found myself in more intense yoga classes, learning about the Buddha’s teachings and studying mindfulness. And again, I was struck with disbelief at the thoughts in my mind and the words in my mouth. Very soon after that, I found myself in a yoga teacher training. And then another. And now I find myself singing to Krishna and Ganesha everyday, wishing I had learned better how to pray, and wondering if I need to know more fully who or what I should pray to.
I sing to Krishna because I find him inspiring. You could say I kind of have a crush on him. He is wise and patient and honest. In the story of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna lets Arjuna, the troubled warrior he is conversing with, make his own decisions, come to his own conclusions. He simply illuminates the choices, so we can find our own way. Much like Jesus, Krishna offered his own love for God as proof of God’s existence. He, himself, was committed and he offered this commitment as an opportunity for others.  
I sing to Ganesha because he is the remover, and sometimes placer, of obstacles.  His job is to clear the road for us. Or, if the road is the wrong one, he might throw something in the way so we can no longer travel down it. He forces us to stop, re-evaluate, and turn around. Whether or not Ganesha or Krishna exist is not something I care to decide. I merely appreciate the possibility.
Recently, I find myself wondering things like, Why can’t I just catch a break? or When will it be my turn? or How much weight can even the strongest of people carry before it causes lasting injury? I have been wondering if Ganesha is responsible for the newest of my struggles. And, if he is, what is he trying to tell me?  Don’t mistake- I’m not a yogi who is grateful for suffering because it allows for practice. I’m tired from that and am ready to practice in joy. I’m trying to listen, trying to find truth, but, if I am to be truthful, I am quite frustrated with Ganesha’s meddling.  
So, what do we do when the road that seems obstacle free is not the road we want to be on? What do we do when, in our heart, we know we want to be on a different road, but each attempt leaves us derailed in more bold and more obvious ways?
I want so much to be free to exist on the present road, surrender to the obstacles, honor the value of the other direction. But it's hard. This road is not what I dreamed for myself. It's not how I thought my life would be. It’s not what my heart craves. 
It makes me wonder: perhaps the weight that feels too much to carry, is not from the obstacles, but from the fight, my fight, to be on the road I want to be on, instead of the road on which I'm meant to be.

acf 11/2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

a collection

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a book of short teachings (sutra means thread) that, when read together, provide the way of practice for a yogi. I was once told that the Sutras were written for the yogi in ancient times (approx. 2000 years ago) who left society to live and meditate and reach liberation (ending the cycle of rebirth). Today, it is studied even by those of us who want to live in society, but are looking for more meaning in our yoga practice. Some of the sutras are tangible and apply to everyday life, kind of like the Christian Ten Commandments, and some are really wacky and exciting (like attaining the strength of elephants, levitating, or becoming invisible). Book 1, Sutra 14 is one of my favorite and I think everyone, no matter what your "practice" is (prayer, running, painting, taking long walks, loving your family), can relate to. It says: 

 Practice becomes firmly grounded
 when well attended to for a long time,
 without break 
and in all earnestness.  
In one translation of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the translator and commentator, Sri Swami Satchidananda, tells a story from Hindu scriptures. 
There was this great maharishi named Narada, who traveled around to see how earth bound yogi’s were doing. As he was on his way to Heaven for a visit to Lord Shiva, he came across a yoga student who had been meditating for so long, ants had built an anthill around him. 
The Yogi asked Narada where he was going. When Narada told him he was on his way to Heaven to visit Lord Shiva, the Yogi asked him to inquire about how many more lifetimes he would have to spend meditating before becoming liberated. Narada agreed to do this. 
Next, Narada saw another man. This man was not meditating; he was dancing and singing to Krishna with pure joy. He, too, asked Narada to inquire about how many more lifetimes he would have to sing and dance for Krishna before reaching liberation. Narada agreed to do this, also. 
Many years passed before Narada returned. He found the meditating Yogi first and told him Shiva’s reply. Shiva said the Yogi must take four more births before liberation. The Yogi was exasperated! “FOUR MORE”, he exclaimed! “Haven’t I waited long enough?!”
Next, Narada found the singing and dancing man. He told him that Shiva gave him a reply. 
“Do you see that tree there? Can you count the leaves on it?”
“Sure”, said the man. “I have the patience to do that. Shall I do it right away?”
“No”, Narada replied. “Take your time. Lord Shiva said you will have as many births as the number of leaves on that tree”. 
“Oh!”, said the man. “Is that all?! One tree? At least he didn’t say the whole forest!”
Just then, a messenger from Shiva came. Shiva was ready for the man now. 
“You were ready and willing to wait and work and take many more births. If you are ready and willing to do that, why should you have to wait?”
I want to think that Satchidananda tells this story to tell us that, instead of sitting around meditating all the time, we should sing and dance all the time to reach liberation faster.  (This would be SO much more fun!)  But I know this is not what he means. I know he means to tell us that if we are willing to be dedicated and committed to our practice, any practice, we can attain what we desire sooner than we think. 
He says:
If you are that patient, your mind is more settled, and what you do will be more perfect. If you are unsettled and anxious to get the result, you are already disturbed; nothing done with that disturbed mind will have quality. So, it is not only how long you practice, but with what patience, what earnestness and what quality also.
I’ve always been a destination over journey kind of person. More product over process. I’m not one to take a wandering stroll. I need to know that I’ll stop at the cute little cafe 10 blocks away. I’ll sit at my favorite corner table, read a few chapters while I’m there so I can finish this book and get on to the next one. I’ll get a cappuccino and a cookie. And I’ll probably walk there as fast as I can and forget to look around. This is the kind of journey I go on- the kind that I know for sure will end with a cappuccino and cookie. 
I do the same thing with knowledge. I have a dear friend who, when things are challenging me for, always says “it’s all information Amy. That irritation with your colleague? Just information. That broken heart? Just information. Your endless struggle with marichyasana D? Just information.”  Just like the Yogi in the Hindu scripture, I am always left exasperated, thinking OK, great, it’s information. Now, what does it MEAN and what do I DO with it?
When people ask me why I practice yoga, my answer often changes. I vary it based on who is asking. Sometimes I answer that it is about staying healthy. Sometimes I answer that it is about spiritual understanding. Sometimes I answer that it is about grace or beauty or just simple pleasure. But the truth is, I don’t know why.  
With asana, there is no clear destination. No final product. Just when I thought I had gotten bhujapidasana, Barbara told me to put my head on the floor.  Just when I thought I had a totally solid tadasana, a teacher told me to lift my butt off my thighs and “give it a home of its own”. Likewise, just when I thought I’d never be able to hold my headstand, there I was one day, upside down. 
I don’t know exactly why I’ve committed to a yoga practice. I only know that I get on my mat and work as hard as each day will allow me.  I go through each practice, as if counting the leaves on the trees. Collecting moments. Collecting breaths. Collecting information and waiting, patiently and earnestly, for it to make sense. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

a human. being.

It's the morning sunlight, green through curtains
Gets me every time
Wondering how it still comes through
Should be dark but I always think of you

Awake too early, sometimes late
But lately I feel warm, and right
You have been here, as I wished
Warmth tells me, it's time to finish

A very human feeling
As I am
A very human, being

Amy tells me 
She's practiced 
Moves like wind in May
As graceful and more
She knows her story has just begun
But now, in her way

A very human feeling
As she 
A very human, being

The anger of siblings 
The shared pinging loss
It eats you like water to rust

It eats you until you remember
In a human feeling
In a very human way
We are all very human beings
And we will finish this day

A very human feeling
A very human, just being

written by Christopher Howard Faust, my bro

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Saluting the Sun

Inhale arms up, exhale fold forward. Inhale flat back, exhale chaturanga. Inhale upward facing dog. Exhale downward facing dog. Inhale one. Exhale. Inhale two. Exhale. Inhale three. Exhale. Inhale four. Exhale. Inhale five. Exhale. Inhale hop forward. Exhale fold. Inhale arms up. Exhale samasthiti.
This is often the dialogue in my brain. Or, mantra, really. I didn't actually decide to use surya namaskar A (sun salutation A) as a mantra. It happened quite by accident. In my first yoga teacher training, I was struggling to lead surya namaskar.  Even though I had done hundreds of them, even though my limbs and muscles knew exactly what to do without my thinking, my mind and my mouth couldn't keep things straight. I just couldn't remember the steps. My teacher suggested I write a script, with simple and clear language, memorize it and recite it over and over until the words became automatic. I did this gratefully; I was tired of feeling embarrassed from stumbling over my words when I led surya namaskars.  And it worked. You can ask me on a dime to recite surya namaskar A or B and I won't even have to shift brain patterns; it's become that innate.
But something else happened, too.   All of a sudden, I found myself practicing surya namaskar everywhere I went. Walking around the city. Riding the subway. In bed at night. In the shower. Even sometimes in meetings at work. Not physically practicing, of course (although I won't deny having the urge now and then to bust out a sun sal on the subway platform). No, this practice is different, even more powerful, in some ways, than the physical practice. To understand this, let me first offer some context.
Surya namaskars open the ashtanga practice. In most vinyasa classes, one will complete some form of surya namaskar. They warm the muscles, set the rhythm, explicitly attach breath to movement. They are devotional (bowing to the Sun Gods) and encourage humility before entering the more advanced poses. Traditionally, they are practiced facing east, as the sun is rising.  
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the Indian yoga teacher who brought us the ashtanga practice, writes beautifully about surya namaskars in his book Yoga Mala (originally published in 1962, in English in 1999).

The practice of the surya namaskara, or sun salutations, has come down to us from the long distant past, and is capable of rendering human life heavenly and blissful. By means of it, people can become joyous, experience happiness and contentment, and avoid succumbing to old age and death.
As scriptural authority confirms, “The Self cannot be gained by one devoid of strength.” With strengthened bodies, sense organs, and minds, [people] would become healthy and righteous, live long and intellectual lives, and be able to attain eternal liberation.
[People] knew the blessings of the Sun God are essential to good health. If we reflect on the saying “Arogyam bhaskarad icchet (One should desire health from the sun),” it is clear that those blessed by the Sun God live healthy lives. Therefore, for health- the greatest wealth of all- to be attained, the blessings of the Sun God must be sought (p. 34-35). 

What I love most about Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’s words is the assertion that strengthening the body is necessary in order to strengthen the mind. One cannot happen without the other. In fact, I remember learning that the asana (physical pose) practice of modern yoga was introduced as a way to connect the body, the mind, and the Self (feel free to substitute soul or inner consciousness or another name here). One cannot exist without the other. One cannot advance or reach liberation or be joyous when the others are not. It is why exercise is not selfish. 
The connecting thread between the body, mind, and Self is the breath. In the ashtanga (and subsequently vinyasa) yoga practice, each movement is attached to either an inhale or an exhale. It's often said "without the breath, yoga is simply acrobatics". The special thing about surya namaskars is the clear opportunity they provide to create a connection with breath. It is not the repetition of words in my mind that is so powerful (although they alone, I find quite soothing, like an old friend); it is the breath. The distinct inhale and exhale. The purposeful filling and emptying of my lungs. The effect is slowing, calming, grounding. We breath all day and all night. Yoga practice makes us think about it. Surya namaskars make us mean it. 
Here you will find a brief (and less than professional) video. I am leading you through surya namaskar A, in three variations. The first two times are the most basic and are meant for beginners. The next two are more intermediate and the final two are traditional (thus for a more advanced practice). Watch them. Try them. Practice them. Say them out loud. Say them in your head. Do all as basic. Do all as advanced. Make your practice your own.  
(NOTE: Traditionally, surya namaskars are practiced 5 times in a row. There are 6 here, so that you can see two of each variation. On your own, I suggest doing groups of 5.) 

Don't forget to breathe!

VIDEO: surya namaskar a

Monday, October 10, 2011


stories of new babies and recent deaths feel exactly the same
the beginning of the end
the end of the beginning
the beginning in the end
the end in the beginning
the beginning is the end
the end is the beginning
in between, 
trees blur and eyes close and time passing is ignored and remembered. 

dreams caught (4)

i don’t welcome you
released to the unwanting
go back, please
stay caught.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

happy birthday

the dawn of another year
delivers itself
wrapped in a package 
of quantitative measurement,
a specific set of decades
(three and one half, to be exact)
an undeniable doorway into a very new place
the sign overhead blinks “enter at your own risk”,
which is a laughable joke
because you have no choice,
you have to enter despite the risk.
it’s the only door there is.
and there you are, 
on the other side.
i’m there already 
and i see you  
in your slightly ill-fitting 
but somehow perfect
brown suit
leaning away from your table
legs wide apart
one arm draped over the top of an empty chair,
a proud statement about the collection of time.
maybe the chair’s occupant has disappeared from this room
and into another
twisting her curls
glossing her lips
making sure she matches your beauty.
you’ve thoughtfully placed your arm on the chair’s back
so she knows, when she returns
that she has a place beside you to belong.
maybe there is no she, 
no chair’s occupant,
and you drape your arm just so
to reserve a place in the world, in your life,
for something else. 
something else that you want to belong.
either way, 
there you are.
and i see you. 
the beautiful gold of your eyes 
seduces more completely than you realize.
the ghosts of Parisian past
can’t help but find you
can’t help but crave your company and affection.
and you see them.
every writer and artist and thinker
has found their way to you 
in your brown suit 
on your three- and- one- half- decades day.
a staggering beauty sits down in your empty chair
she wants to remind you that life is to be had, 
even though she can’t see hers yet. 
you do, though,
and you see her as she really exists,
sensual and still,
yet devoid of what it is you most crave.
but today
it doesn’t matter
today is a day of measurement 
a day of entering at your own risk
and you accept that,
with a playful smile
and a happy heart.
I dreamt this for you before your departure
because this is what i wanted to give you
this is how i wanted to see you, 
and now 
this is how i will remember you
in your slightly ill-fitting brown suit 
with your arm draped across an empty chair 
reserving a space for whatever is missing. 


Sunday, September 18, 2011

dreams caught (2)

i love when vampires visit me.
don’t get excited (or horrified)-
the visits are embarrassingly rated PG.
they simply sit with me.
i enjoy their company because
worrying about one soul
is work enough.


Friday, September 16, 2011

dreams caught (1)

last night i dreamt of you
the way the cuff of your pants rests at your ankle,
brushing the top of your shoe
just a few millimeters too high.
I wonder, but can’t ask, if you can feel that. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

in 10 years

in 10 years,
i’ve had my heart broken 3 times, dented a 4th and 5th
i’ve lived in 4 apartments, in 2 states
with 7 different roommates
i’ve studied 3 kinds of spiritual practice
been in the presence of The Dalai Lama twice
and followed the advice of 1 spiritual psychic
i’ve voted in 2 presidential elections
and elected the winning candidate 1 time
i’ve celebrated 1 birthday with a date
9 without
10 in the company of good friends
i’ve survived all 10 holiday seasons alone
and kissed 3 men on new years eve-
two of whom were strangers
i’ve worked in 4 different schools
been promoted 3 times 
and almost tripled my yearly income
i’ve gone through 2 yoga teacher trainings
and earned 1 Masters degree
i’ve become an aunt twice
i’ve married 1 couple
i’ve traveled outside of the country 1 time
inside the country 5 or 6
i’ve broken 0 bones
but did herniate 1 disk
i’ve spent approximately $120,000 on rent
but have still managed to build a shoe collection numbering near 30 pairs, 
i regularly wear about 12 of them
and have never worn 2
i’ve lost 15 pounds, dropped 2 clothing sizes, and 1 bra size
i’ve had 5 different hairstyles
and 3 different hairstylists
i’ve had 0 valentines
0 kisses under mistletoe
0 romantic weekends away
0 love letters
0 hugs at the door at the end of the day
0 dates to my own parties
i’ve gotten 6 tattoos
planted 6 gardens
and received flowers from a lover 1 time
i’ve taught about 150 kids
read 100’s of books
but can only remember about 20 of them
i’ve ridden the NYC subway system more than 3,000 times
have had at least 4,000 cups of coffee
and probably just as many beers
i’ve had 3 email addresses
been on 5 dating websites
met 2 men i liked on them
0 turned into anything worth mentioning
i’ve been to 2 therapists
who taught me nothing about myself
i’ve spent well over 117,000 minutes in yoga poses
completed about 10,000 sun salutations
1,000 headstands
4,000 heart openers
and millions of ujjayi breaths
i’ve dropped the f-bomb over 11,000 times
and regretted it just twice
i’ve been in love 4 times
was loved back only once
and twice turned down possible love to protect someone else 
i’ve seen every female friend i have, except 2, coupled off
i’ve had 2 friends elope
counseled 2 friends to leave their husbands
witnessed 0 friends get divorced
i’ve been joyous at the birth of 10 babies
i’ve grieved the death of 1 grandparent
1 family dog
and countless dreams
i’ve aged 10 years
look 10 years younger than i am
and don’t know how many years i feel

Monday, August 29, 2011

the practice of living

The man on the sidewalk with the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee
said to the girl on the bench with the ocean in her eyes
“Let me tell you a story. 
I was lost and now I’m found.
Behind every cloud is a silver lining.
If you love something, set it free and if it’s yours it will come back.
Trust in the universe.
Ask and you shall receive.
When one door closes, a window opens.
There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”
The practices of living has been whittled down to these small strings of words.
The modern Yoga Sutras.
We recite them when we think they will help.  
We tell them to people we love or to complete strangers.
We tell them to ourselves over and over.
We paint them on decorative plaques and hang them above our toilets.
We hope that they are true. 
How nice it would be if every dark cloud was simply covering a beautiful blue sky.
If letting go of those we love actually changed their path to lead them back to us.
If asking was all we really needed to do. 
The practices of living are not simple. 
Living is complex and terrifying.
We try to practice it with every breath and every step.
We recite these strings of words so that we can make some sense 
of a practice we very much do not understand.
We are human creatures.
We want to “do” and not “be”.
We need action to make things real.
We need words to make things clear.
We need the man on the sidewalk with the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to remind us that we are human,
And we need the girl on the bench with the ocean in her eyes to remind us that we are more.
We are more than all of those words.
They are just sounds strung together 
piled one on top of the other 
and decided to have meaning.
When we can finally see that these words are empty
When we can finally see beyond their intention
When we no longer need the man on the sidewalk with the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to remind us that we are human
When we no longer need to girl on the bench with the ocean in her eyes to remind us that we are more,
That is when we can finally begin the practice of living.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

not very convenient

Pema Chodron, a beloved Buddhist nun, devotes an entire chapter in her book The Wisdom of No Escape to inconvenience. “When you hear some teachings that ring true to you, and you feel some trust in practicing that way and some trust in it’s being a worthwhile way to live, then you’re in for a lot of inconvenience.” She tells this story about a Buddhist monk's travels out of Tibet when Communist China invaded: 
A great group of Tibetans, maybe 300, left eastern Tibet with their guides. When they got to central Tibet, the guides didn’t know the way any longer, because they knew only eastern Tibet. Furthermore, the snow was so deep that it was up to their armpits, so the biggest monks went in front, prostrating their whole bodies in the snow and then getting up and prostrating again to make a path. At times they would go all the way up mountains, only to find that they had made a mistake and would have to come all the way back down.They didn’t have much food, and not only that, had they been discovered, they would have been shot by the Chinese. At one point they had to go through a river, and their clothes froze on them. If they tried to sit down, their robes cut their skin because the ice was so sharp. Not very convenient. 
I am a sucker for convenience. I go to the grocer right off the train, even though their produce always go bad in a day or two. I drop off my laundry so I don’t have to waste 3 hours in the laundromat. I go to ATM’s from other banks, despite charges, because I don't want to walk the extra blocks to my bank. I watch bad television on Netflix because I can stream it instantly. Life is full of things to do and convenience makes it all the more bearable. 
When I started understanding the spiritual side of yoga, everything changed. And Pema is right, nothing about spiritual exploration and commitment is convenient. And nothing about yoga asana is convenient. It’s not convenient to bind, or focus on ujjayi breath, or the bandhas. It’s definitely not convenient to work 10 hours every day and then go move my body in a sweaty yoga class for an hour and a half. It’s not convenient to always think about how my meals will affect my practice or worry about karma and rebirth in every action or thought I’m involved in, every moment of every day. Not very convenient. 
But it’s worth it. I never look for convenience in my asana practice. I work hard and expect my teachers to expect me to work hard; I want to work hard. I bind, I breathe, I engage the bandhas as best I can. I leave my job and, somehow, despite exhaustion, eventually find myself happy to be on my mat. I consider asana in my meal (and drink)  choices and I let my worries about karma and rebirth inform my every action. 
I do it because Tibetans fled for their spiritual freedom. I do it because monks prostrated in the snow for the freedom of their people. I do it because they trusted that they would one day find refuge in India and, on that day, the inconvenience and suffering would be worth it.