This story has been around for months now. It is time to dust it off and take it out of storage. The actual event happened in early February ( for me a very fortuitous time), yet I kept it stashed away with the other drafts. Why the wait?? I did not want to finish the story. Too many memories and bittersweet emotions were rising to the surface and I simply did not want to deal. I began questioning my intentions “Do I blog about this or not? Will anyone care about this anyway?” The answer came quickly but the writing dragged at a snail’s pace. So here we are four months later and I am still stalling!
I do think this story is worth telling and hope it proves to be both provocative and compelling. So without further adieu:
I drove to a popular Indian restaurant for lunch on the way home from dream group. I had a wild craving for lamb biryani which could not be denied. Driving down the hill towards the shopping center, I realized that a former chain restaurant was situated in the very same place. I quickly reflected on a college boyfriend’s affinity for their double stuffed pizza. He often brought take-out to my house when we were dating. This is when I discovered their amazing red double -stuffed pizza. He bought a lot of takeout because I was not much of a cook back then. Little has changed! It has been so many years since I last tasted this decadent, greasy, cheesy delight.
I find it strange that I am now spending more time in this Philadelphia suburb. This area had been pretty much forgotten about by me. My life has taken me in many different directions since then. I had worked down the street from here right after college graduation. At that time Indian food was less mainstream and lunch usually consisted of sandwiches or hoagies. Much of this neighborhood has changed, but it has still retained its charm.
The colorful dining room before me is rather empty. Some lovely music is playing in the background and the smell of spices lingers in the air. When I enter the restaurant , the waiter motions me to a table directly behind a young couple. The man is sitting towards me and the woman is sitting directly across from him. The man is speaking rather loudly so I can hear most of the conversation. It begins “I traveled to the ashram in India to worship with ***** (an Indian Guru). I stayed for several weeks.” He goes on to describe his experiences there. I immediately realize that my college boyfriend had visited the very same ashram to spend time with this guru. I think to myself ” I am surprised that people talk about this guru anymore as he has been dead for quite some time. ” I look forward to my vegetable samosas when they arrive:
The samosas are crunchy on the outside, with a fluffy potato and pea filling that is spicy and comforting. I cut them up in small pieces and dip them in the chutney. Then I generously pour raita over them and savor the hot/cold, crispy/soft, and savory/sweet elements and textures. Just like the imposed duality of living, there is enjoyment within the complex messiness.
I can hear the young man’s voice over the music once again. I wonder if he is trying to impress his companion with his intellectual prowess. He then compares Eastern spirituality to Judaism and how the people in India were less repressed. I find it interesting because Judaism is a part of my heritage. The conversation then progresses to his enjoyment of a Grateful Dead cover band. I practically worshiped the Dead as a teenager and young adult and had seen both The Jerry Garcia Band and The Dead with aforementioned college boyfriend. He then discusses a particular Philly Neighborhood. The streets he mentions are very familiar because I lived only a few blocks away as a senior in college. He goes on to detail his car being burglarized while living there. My car was also broken into a couple of times in that section of town, all those years ago. Unfortunately, that situation was not uncommon at all. Yet, I continue to be amazed by all these shared life events. His were quite recent, while mine occurred decades ago! I am feeling rather vulnerable, like in those dreams when you are outside and realize you are naked. My mind wanders back to my senior year, filled with so many dreams and way too much drama. Where is my biryani ?!!
The lamb is fork tender and gamy, just how I like it. The rice is spicy and loaded with cashews, onions, and perhaps raisins. The sweet mango chutney and cool raita are wonderful contrasts to the steaming hot savory meat/ rice mixture.While I am deep in biryani heaven, I think about all those Indian meals I ate during college. Am I there or am I here…. Who IS this couple? Should I introduce myself ? When I have either dreamed of someone or overheard a meaningful conversation, I have been known to tell the party all about it. I figured that this information may be valuable in some way. I mull this over while waiting for my leftovers to be packed up. I decide to leave well enough alone and smile over at the couple as I leave the restaurant. I am so grateful to make my exit to the parking lot.
I could not make sense of what happened. It wasn’t a planetary cycle, although the Saturn return of my senior year would have been quite fitting. I have occasionally overheard people talking in public about matters relevant to me. I tend to attract these situations and don’t really get jarred by them anymore. Synchronicity is very common in litebeing’s world.
See related posts – https://lindalitebeing.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/calendars-and-collisions/
This experience seemed to be more of an anomaly somehow. It felt quite awkward and somewhat disturbing. Does the spirit of the pizza restaurant live on in this shopping center? Does my love of Indian food and culture attract some type of quantum vortex ? Is that couple now living a distorted version of my former life? Was something added to the food that altered my perceptions? (no, just kidding!) What possible lesson is meant for me by examining my senior year? Am I simply more able to access different realms without even trying? Perhaps I was more open as a result of participating in the dream group. Four months later, I honestly still have no idea. Perhaps the act of blogging this story may generate some insights for me………….
Please share your experiences with parallel time and space. I know I am not the only one out there! I am curious what triggers these events for people and what happens afterwards. Instead of posing questions, comment as you feel led and feel free to suggest some questions of your own.
I have included the song Eye in the Sky by The Alan Parsons Project because it was on heavy rotation during college. This song has multiple meanings for me. For one, when I would hear it playing, I thought it confirmed the telepathy between me and my boyfriend. We were very connected to one another, even long after we broke up. It also has a haunting quality that seems to complement this post. Imagine if it were playing in the restaurant while we were dining!
For a final touch, I included Taylor Swift’s 22. I was 22 when I lived in said neighborhood and dated said boyfriend. My days contained so much promise, confusion and exhilaration. (And the occasional exam or term paper!) That year of life was so jam-packed with romance, adventure, heartbreak, accomplishment, freedom, disappointment, excitement, and sheer fun. I was finally on my own, making everything up as I go along. Taylor, my home girl from Wyomissing ( I lived in nearby Reading as a child) did an amazing job capturing that time of transition and youthful exuberance. So whether you are 22,82, 12, or somewhere in between, play the song and consider what it would be like to step into a parallel dimension – where you embrace the joy and levity of a pop- song worthy moment.
update 9/22/13: I have been back to the restaurant a few more times and found myself both relieved and disappointed that I remained in ” real -time.” I was back this past Friday after my dream group and the biryani remains stellar. I noticed a few odd appearing people waltz in and out of the restaurant, but nothing particularly mystical occurred until … the check arrived. Look closely ( image is dark) at the picture below.
I have never been happier to pay tax in my life! Wonders never cease.
pizza by flickr user ninjapoodles [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
indian entrees by Karan Verma http://www.flickr.com/photos/43426405@N00 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en