A Proud Grandmother
RANTEPAO. INDONESIA. 2015
Enroute to the village of Batutumonga, there is a small, anonymous, seemingly unwelcoming, monotone village. It looks abandoned, but clothes of little children hang out to dry beneath the tongkonans, which are traditional houses in which the deceased of the family are buried. You sit on a rock and take it all in: the walk up here has been long and rocky. And you see a little child peeking out of a tiny window to play with a rooster that has popped up at its window, and you snap a photo. Suddenly, the entire village comes to life as people come out of hiding, and a stern looking grandmother steps out of her house and calls you over. The village pauses as you make your way there. Is she angry? You wonder.
Then she bursts into a bright smile and shakes your hand, looking on proudly at her two-year old and invites you to come sit with her. And you do. You cannot converse because you do not speak the same language. But you talk with the eyes and smiles and gestures. And she puts her hand over your head and says something calmly. And suddenly you become a very part of this invisible little village. This is advaita.