As I had done last time a trip overseas with a stopover at Dubai means I must appear there in plainclothes. I will change in the plane while we are in the air. I will do like Clark Kent. Instead of a telephone booth, I will use the washroom to change in. But it will be reverse to what he does. He goes in the booth to change into his attire of empowerment.
I will strip down from my robes, my attire of empowerment, to put on my civies (civilian clothes). It’s not by choice. I love my clothes, my devotional clothes.
Remember the lyrics by Donovan where he sings, “I love my shirt, I love my shirt... I love my jeans, I love my jeans.” Well, I feel the same way about my devotional wear, my monk suit. I like my dhoti, kurtan and chauddar for comfort and for what they represent.
I recall years ago when going to a woman’s shelter to deliver, after cooking it, meals of tasty Krishna prasadam (blessed veggie meals). The women, some of whom were not of the highest grade, enjoyed it so much. One lady asked with all frankness why I was wearing a monkey suit and I corrected her, with no offense, “A monk’s suit, ma’am!”
The coordinator of the shelter said, “You handled that one very well, Mr. Swami.”
After all, one has to protect one’s domain and as a monk the clothes on your back is about all you’ve got except for a few books, a set of meditational beads and a tooth brush.
I will travel with this meagre paraphanelia to Mauritius today via Dubai with an enviable lightness.