The 72 year old beauty caresses her silver locks and throws occasional smiles at the passers-by as she looks out of her small cabin… A 10×10 cubicle full of beautifully handcrafted sea shells items…The confused tourists wonder what this foreigner lady is up to in a tiny shanty of the Puri beach… She is definitely not a handicrafts seller.. Enter her shop and you’ll know her story!
Clad in a breezy printed top and a wrap round skirt, she looks straight out of the hippy movies they made back in the seventies! Grill her a little and she will tell you an intriguing tale of her journey from Manhattan, NY to Puri, India via many countries throughout the world. A feisty stockbroker at Merrill Lynch she lived her adulthood surrounded with money, alcohol and adrenaline. Somewhere in between she fastened her pace and rose up to various positions at the firm. But at the cost of family life, she sighs. She is all about the tiny details but cut the story short, what brought her here? And you get an astonishing reply saying that she this is her rehabilitation, only this now gives her peace because the rave life had taken a toll on her. She was diagnosed with cancer and left with little money. After the traumatic chemo sessions someone suggested that she adhere to mediation and learn yoga to recoup. That’s why she moved to India, in search of better health and inner peace.
She saddens when you ask why she didn’t return because she says she has no one to go back to. But slowly she beams and explains that she is at her happiest best because she is closest to herself here.. Because the fishing boats remind her of the times she would go fishing at the Hudson River Park with her Dad, the seashells remind her of the love for craft she had as a child, the Jagganath Mandir keeps her close to Krishna whom she follows devoutly and the calmness of the beach which helps her maintain her sanctity. The fines lines on her face not just define her age but also her wisdom.
And at last you are bound to buy a showpiece, so that a story as enticing as hers deserves to be remembered.