An unfinished story

By Jayshri Patel
I wasn’t dressed to visit a monk. In fact, I looked like I hadn’t showered in days. But despite my grubby appearance, the monk, Tapeh, tapped the mat in front of him, motioning me to sit with him.
He was a jolly character. He watched my every move and chuckled with a warm, tender-hearted smile. I felt obliged to return the happiness, and seen as we could not communicate verbally, we simply chuckled together.
In front of him was a dish with incense, a lighter, and one dollar in it. In his lap he held a book of palm leaves. Yes, palm leaves had come into my life again. In the middle of Angkor Wat I was out of place, but here on an island in West Baray Lake, surrounded by my friends, my fellow travel writers, I was asked to pick my fortune. I hesitated, but then figured that I was meant to inquire into my future.
Upon instruction, I prayed as I lifted the book of fortunes over my head. Then, I swept the pointer of the book over of edge of the pages. When I was ready, I wedged the pointer in between two pages to mark my fortune.
This I did twice because my first fortune was not the most positive. Our guide covered his face with has hands and said, “Try again, your work is maybe not very good in the future”.
Feeling the pressure, I concentrated as hard as I could and picked my second leaf. And this time, Tapeh joyfully laughed and gave me a thumbs up. I was excited. My destiny wasn’t all doom and gloom.
“Can you tell me exactly what he said?” I asked our guide.
There was no reply. Our guide could not translate this leaf! He said he did not know what the monk was saying in sanskrit.
Devastated, I sat in front of Tapeh and contemplated the inevitable ups and downs of my future; the message was clear. Sometimes, the future is suppposed to be left unsaid.

1 comment so far

  1. AnuFoi on

    Palm leaf reading in Sanskrit …. If only we could understand it. The future may be written in these leaves and it’s a nice thought but like you often say…. your life will be what you make of it. The fact that you have taken this opportunity to explore the world, speaks volumes and is an indication of great things to come.
    Looking forward to reading about more of your amazing adventures.

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