Radhika experiences close encounters with animals.
How could someone, with his heart in the right spot, let go easily of Osho boarding a leaving train? Not even a dog. Osho tells a story of that very dog who once accompanied him to a station in India, then ran next to the train as it pulled out and picked up speed.
It seems that animals even react to people connected with Osho. After a longer stay at the resort in Pune I had a stop-over in Thailand for some weeks. A friend and I lodged in a tiny hut for a while, spectacularly built on a cliff high above the beach, but then it was time to move on. All we had to do was enter a thick jungle, then cross a hill on a small footpath leading to the island’s other beach. To avoid the heat of the coming day we had our backpacks ready to set off at sunrise.
As I sleepily opened the door onto the small platform in front of the hut, I noticed that it was blocked by something. Now wide awake I saw a huge dog, slowly getting up to make room. My heart began beating faster. Who was that dog and why had he blocked the door? The dog looked at me calmly as if we had an appointment, turned and began walking towards the footpath behind the hut, leading right into the wilderness. I was mystified by the unexpected meeting.
We began walking behind the dog as the green fabric of the jungle closed us in, the small pathway as its only cleared space. I expected the dog to go back at some point, but he didn’t. I began to grow fond of him, his relaxed, friendly and confident manner. After two hours of continuous trekking we saw the jungle give way to a view of a beautiful beach with bright sands, impressively shaped rocks sparsely set here and there and palm trees swaying in a soft breeze. By then I sort of had adopted the dog, presuming that he would stay with us. But as soon as we walked onto the sand he took a turn and dashed off swiftly in the direction we had come from. All my calls were taken by the wind and the dog was never seen again.
We stayed on that beach for quite a while. It was very remote and only a few people visited during that time. A group of dogs was living there freely. They came to the beach for sunrise, greeting us with their tails wagging, playing with each other in the sands. As soon as the sun was up they disappeared, then returned for sunset, galloping and rolling in the sands again. Each time it was such an uplifting sight.
One dog was my favourite. He had white socks, which the others didn’t, a distinguished look on his face and a strikingly elegant trot when he walked by. It was lunch time – when no dog ever showed up – and this one day the meal I’d ordered turned out to be made with chicken instead of tofu.
I was about to return it when I remembered my favourite dog and thought that he probably would like the chicken chunks. But how to find him? He could be anywhere, dozing in the shade. I closed my eyes and, envisioning him, I told him about the food waiting in that one little restaurant on the beach. It took just minutes for the dog to stand in front of me. I laughed when I saw the dedicated look on his face. He had clearly received the message, skilfully catching each chunk I threw in the air for him, then finally prancing back to his secret place.
But not only dogs seemed to click. The sea was warm and the water lovely. One could swim and float for a long time without getting cold or tired. My friend and I were floating in shallow water, embracing each other, closing our eyes, letting ourselves be softly rocked by the gentle movements of the tiny waves. It was a beautiful, relaxing experience. I wondered why suddenly I felt an impulse to open my eyes.
Looking down into the crystal clear water I could hardly believe what I saw. A school of about ten fish, cream-coloured and very flatly built were swimming tightly around us in a perfect circle. I whispered to my friend: Don‘t move, open your eyes and look into the water. It was simply magical. They only left when we decided to swim back to the beach, after we carefully let go of their embrace.
This was more that twenty years ago, but there is another story that happened just last year. Hungry after a long day strolling through London we entered an Italian restaurant in a lovely and quiet street below Kensington Park. It was a place that had probably had its heyday, and was trying its best to still appear as posh as possible, and not really succeeding. So was the food, the drinks, the waiter very Italian and I decided to not necessarily eat there again.
It was time to visit the bathroom. I knew beforehand it would probably be an unpleasant experience. I walked through the back room and down a long, steep narrow staircase to pass what seemed to be the kitchen, equally small and dim with a friendly but very lonesome cook. I tried not to catch too many details of the basement territory.
Having climbed back up the stairs, while approaching the table I suddenly noticed a huge aquarium to my left with various exotic-looking fish swimming leisurely inside. I stepped closer… and I saw a large fish swimming towards me. She was of iridescent radiating shades of pink with beautiful blueish-green eyes and remarkably puckered lips. I lowered my face as she swam right towards me, to kiss me through the thick glass while looking deeply into my eyes. Swimming a little backwards without losing eye contact she attempted for another kiss. I was mesmerised by her deep glances and the total attention she gave me. I kissed back and answered with the same profound eye contact.
She started a little dance with small movements, never stopping the look into my eyes. I received and gave many kisses, and began to feel strangely dizzy. I quickly retrieved my camera and began taking pictures because she looked so special. Even then she never stopped her flirtatious game which I promptly joined again. Golden flakes began to dance before my eyes, blurring my vision. I don‘t know if this was due to the strange light emerging from the aquarium‘s lighting device, but I knew then I had to say good-bye.
Staying at a nearby place for a couple of days I often thought to visit her when passing the restaurant… almost as if she was calling me. But I never did. When I see the pictures I took that evening I almost feel the same hypnotic state and the exquisite softening in my heart evoked by the transmission of love during this quite out-of-the-ordinary encounter.
Illustrations by the author