Tapati (tapati) wrote,

The Odyssey Pt. 1

The seeds of the Odyssey were planted when my ex-husband Mahasraya and his friend Keshava got this idea to rent a house in Atascadero and use the land around it to have a martial arts camp. I came back from my trip to see my family with my two small children and they had moved in to this house already. It was billed as a fixer upper and a bunch of bikers had been living there. It was filthy. The fireplace was filled with trash, they'd broken the plumbing so that you had to turn on the water only briefly until it was fixed, as a big gushing leak would occur outside, and we only had cold water as it was. The stone floor was so dirty that I washed it several times and the water was always black. I couldn't let my son run around on the floor or his feet also turned black. It was a real dump, but I could see it had potential. I was dubious about the camp idea but whatever...

One day the guys went into town and I was alone with the kids. It was quiet outside as there was little traffic and no nearby homes. We were down the road from the mental institution there, out in the countryside.

I heard footsteps outside, walking toward the house. I went to the door, sure someone was about to knock. Nothing. Footsteps had stopped.

Puzzled, I looked outside. No one there. Ok, I thought, I heard something else. Went back to work.

A few minutes later, I heard the footsteps again. Really clearly, the sound of footsteps on the loose soil around the house. This time I went right outside (just as they stopped), looked around, walked around the house, looked to see if anything could be making any noise whatsoever...birds, anything. No breeze, no branches blowing, no birds in sight (we had one sparse tree, it was hot summer weather, everything was brown and dead looking).

I was still puzzled and a little uneasy, but still hoping to figure this out. I went back inside. I knew it wasn't my kids--my daughter was an infant and my son was with me when I heard the noise, so I knew it wasn't anything he did.

I heard it again. Before I went out I looked out front and back...nothing and nobody was out there. I went out and walked around again, looking for anything that could make any sound. Something loose, something moving, any sign of a breeze? No, it was one of those California hot, dry, still days. I really wanted a natural cause by this time, as I was all alone with my kids. And it was so clearly the sound of footsteps.

It stopped after that. I admit at the time I put on some kirtans and tried to "exorcise" whatever "it" might be as I was spooked. I told my ex and Keshava when they got back. Of course Keshava had been to Brazil and he had brought back plenty of ghost stories, he told us they were worshipped there and were very strong and powerful as a result. So they bought right into it.

We didn't stay very long in that house anyway because it required so much work to fix up and they really had no funds. We ended up back in L.A. I was happy to leave it behind, whatever was going on.

Their next idea was moving to Santa Cruz, California. Mahasraya went up to check it out on the bus. While there he found out about some pot plants that were growing in the woods, and decided to rip one mature plant off by stuffing it in his duffle bag. He brought this rather aromatic bag back on the bus with him and dried it in the basement of the house we were renting on Baldwin Street in Culver City. He then started selling some of the pot. Meanwhile, our landlady let us know that she wanted to live in her home again and was going to evict us. Mahasraya went on to Santa Cruz first to find some kind of work and get us a place to live. He had heard he could work in Soquel on Webb's farm. He ran into his dad and Shawn and they all shared the cost of a hotel room together. I came up by bus with the kids, an 8 hour bus ride. Yes that was as awful as it sounds!

We spent a few nights at the hotel and then the job at Webb's farm started, so we were dropped off with our stuff there. (Our other belongings were in storage.) "There" was an old, funky trailer with 3 levels, a ten foot wide by maybe forty feet long affair that was perhaps as old as the trailer my mom first owned. It was filthy and the lower section was not really usable. The bathtub was in scary condition and took a lot of cleaning. Since the rent was part of the wages, I guess the Webb's didn't think they had the duty of normal landlords to present the unit in a clean state.

Mahasraya was to be a farm hand and was frustrated immediately with the hours, getting up before dawn. I was to mind their little store where they sold milk and baked goods along with frozen produce. While my kids milled around and tried to get into trouble I tended to whatever customers drove out to the farm and honked at me. Meanwhile I tried to make the trailer as clean as I could so my kids could play in there. While I loved being out in the country, I hated the fact that we had no car and the bus stop was so far away.

Fortunately for me, Mahasraya didn't last in the job more than a couple of weeks and we returned to motel living. We went to the St. George hotel. We ran into an old friend, Jamadagni, who urged Mahasraya to take greater responsibility for his family and sign up for public aid with us. He actually was shamed into doing so, and while dragging his heels did cooperate with their training program and signed up to learn how to be a baker. He continued to sell his pilfered pot on the side and even bought some machine that concentrated it, enabling him to sell what passed for "hash." Mahasraya also had a pot plant growing in the bedroom at our new hotel, the Casa Alta.

to be continued...
Tags: atascadero, bio, keshava, mahasraya, odyssey, santa cruz

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