I had the same routine every day Arun was in prison. In the morning I would dance three hours. Then I would drive to the prison and pay a daily bribe so I could enter the prison and give him lunch and clean clothes. Then I would go to the lawyer and hear the latest on the defense case. Then I would give Arun’s sisters and family an update. After two years in prison they let Arun go, only charging him with a misdemeanor.
While Arun was in prison his wife divorced him. As soon as he got out of prison I was notified I was being deported. They literally nailed a paper to my front door telling me I had to leave the country immediately. It was clear they were deporting me to punish Arun. We got married because we thought it might stop the deportation, but it didn’t make a difference.
Since Arun had been charged with a misdemeanor the government confiscated his passport. When I was deported I decided to live in Kathmandu, Nepal because you only needed a driver’s license to travel there and Arun could see me whenever time allowed.
I tried to put my life together in Kathmandu. I explored every jungle and every mountain. I climbed Everest to 16,000 feet. But acclimating to life there was challenging because the Cold War was going on and all foreigners were suspected of being spies. I worried that my deportation from India might be misconstrued if I were to ever be considered a ‘suspicious person.’ I didn’t want to get deported from Nepal too so I kept on the move, which made acclimating to life there very stressful.
In the meantime Arun got increasingly nasty and jealous that we were spending time apart. When I asked him why he was jealous, he told me he’d had me ‘watched’ the entire time he was in prison. One would think he would then know that I honored the relationship – but it turns out that people who are not trustworthy are distrustful themselves. A few weeks later friends from India told me he was chasing every woman in sight. I was shocked and confronted him with the news.
“What is a man to do?” He said. He went on to say that if I had been there, it wouldn’t have happened. Somehow everything was my fault. This turn of events hit me like a hammer. I was very much in love and attached, but I knew I couldn’t stay with him any longer.
“If you leave me I’ll make your life miserable!” He threatened.
“More miserable than you've already made it?” I said. “This is how you talk to the woman who brought you lunch every day for two years while you were in prison?”
Believe it or not I could have forgiven him for everything but not for the mean spiritedness. I left him.
Hindu devotional dance is a rich expression of delight about being alive and linked to God. It shows you all the beauty of life in its magnificent variety. Despite everything around me continuously falling apart in India, I went there to gain a philosophical foundation from dance and I got it. Those lessons permeated my being. When I finally left Kathmandu and returned to the United States, it took time, but eventually I realized I had gotten everything from India that I had gone for.