Aaru sits opposite me on the dark green, velour sofa. The cushions flattened by years of languid bodies sinking into the frame from the heaviness of the heat. It’s night and the temperature has dropped to a breathable 30 degrees. “You tell me anything and I will sort.” I’m worried about my laptop and about getting to the Apple shop in Ernakulam. I’m anxious about ‘getting things done’. I’m not in control and things aren’t working properly. “Everything is possible. You see, you don’t worry. You ask and you find. All is coming.” He’s speaking my language and I remember that everything is, indeed, possible.
We met Aaru on our second day in Cochin. I was putting posters up around the town to promote my yoga classes and he beckoned me over to his rickshaw. “You put here. On my rickshaw.” Having been programmed to believe that all rickshaw drivers had an agenda, I asked him if he wanted something from me. No no. Put here. He helped me cellotape my hand drawn poster to the side of his rickety auto and my outdoor advertising strategy was complete.
Throughout the day, Aaru would appear, asking us to come with him to a government shop. “We like walking,” we resisted. “You go to the Kathakali Dance and put posters there.” He would give me tips on where to position my posters for the maximum footfall and impact. We’d follow his instructions and when we arrived, he’d be there, smoking against a lamppost with a tomcat grin on his face. The golden hour bathed the parade fields in a dreamtime orange, and our posters were plastered all over the town when Auru appeared for the final time. on cue. In a last bid to get us in the three-wheeler, he let Pete drive. Swerving from right to left a short while up the road before coming to an abrupt stop, we had, as if by magic, arrived right outside the very shop Auru had been asking us to go into. All day.
Over the following weeks we did a couple more favours for our new friend but his service greatly outweighed ours. There has been nothing we couldn’t do or couldn’t get or couldn’t solve with his help. From a gas stove to a speaker for my classes. From constant yoga promotion to settling our bar tab when we didn’t have enough money. He’s taken us for dinner when we were hungry, ferried us to the supermarket when we wanted to cook, taken me to teach each morning, been the star in Pete’s short film and reminded us to trust. To trust that all is coming. That everything is possible. That obstacles can be removed. And that, in this infinite, vast universe, we can create whatever we focus on. It doesn’t mean it will be easy. But it sure will be an adventure, as we travel through ourselves.
Thanks, Aaruji. Ganesha, in real life.
P.S. If you ever come to Cochin, here’s the magic number 009194950190007