“God is beautiful, and He loves beauty.”
A few years ago I went back to visit my old neighborhood in South India. Unfortunately I couldn’t see my apartment, as my landlady had long since packed up. A North Indian woman, head veiled with her flowing saree, replied only in silent surprise at the foreign face peering through the locked gate and asking for Andalamma in the local language, which fell on unknowing ears. English didn’t bring a response either, and before I launched into pidgin Hindi, a neighbor chanced by, letting me know that Andalamma had moved to a new area.
As I wandered the back alleys of the neighborhood, twisting and turning passages in that peculiarly Indian labyrinthine style, I came upon a small mosque, layered in details and the most delicate palate of fairytale pastels.
It was a moment of beauty and confusion.
Weathered and caked with time, it was obviously old, but how was it so unfamiliar? Had I simply lost it through the sands of the hourglass, or had it escaped the rainbow paint job during my time and therefore failed to leave an impression?
I spent some time marveling at it before continuing on my way. When I returned to the neighborhood in the evening, I tracked down old friends and we passed a good few days catching up, travelling by motorcycle to nearby villages and temples, and soaking in how we had each grown into full adulthood from those more youthful days.