22. Seven out of Ten

It was my soul’s day, several years after Subarata’s passing and half a century on from my newborn cries and first startled starings at the world. I was in New York, standing in front of Guru with a large and weighty cake. Against the dark chocolate the loops and swirls of yellow icing spelt out “Happy Soul’s Day.” Guru was smiling and meditating, then looking at me appraisingly with that scrutiny which often preceded a remark or a question or a mild scolding. Guru looked at me for a long time then finally he spoke, very quietly, saying lots of encouraging things. Then there was a long pause, and I knew something further was coming.

“I give you eleven out of ten for all of your dedicated service,” Guru said to me – I had to bend forward to hear – “but”…and now a long, suspenseful silence and I braced myself for what was to come…“but Subarata only gives you seven out of ten.” Now another smiling silence to let this soul’s day chiding sink in. “Subarata feels you can do even more – much, much more!” Guru continued.

Since her departure from this world, Subarata the spy has quite often taken issue with me from the soul’s world, though I knew it was Guru himself who was telling me to work harder – with or without Subarata’s complicity. Yet I was grateful for what I knew was true, and for this birthday’s rekindling of intensity, the reawakening of the inner promise, the sense of urgency and velocity and dedication that Guru always brought forward from our souls.

Love, encouragement, praise – and a gentle birthday rev-up. Guru was masterful at summoning the best in us in the most loving and compelling way, even invoking the complicit and diligent soul of Subarata.