(This is the second installment in the memoir series. If you haven't read part 1, you can read it here)
When you found out that I was born a Hare Krishna, maybe you imagined that this would turn into a story of crazy cult practices and fear and brainwashing. I'll tell you right now that it won't. It didn't. It wasn't. It did make my childhood different than yours (probably) but the reason I'm not a Hare Krishna anymore has nothing to do with 'breaking free' of something scary. It has purely to do with philosophy and theology, and isn't that the most boring thing you've ever heard? What I'm saying is that if you're here to see the seedy underbelly of a mysterious organization revealed, you're out of luck.
When I say my childhood was different, I mean that we moved to Spain when I was 3. 2? I don't really know for sure. I do know there was a transatlantic flight with a rambunctious toddler and her adolescent mother. And that I learned to speak Spanish and acted as my dad's miniature translator. But it wasn't weird to show up in another country that you'd never visited, a place whose language you didn't speak, back in the 80's as a Hare Krishna because every temple was your home.
Every morning program (that's what the daily temple services were called. Probably still are. Clever, right?) started at 4:30 in the morning. The songs were all in Sanskrit, so it didn't matter if you didn't speak the language. We all wore the same clothes and ate the same food and did the Indian-head-bob of appreciation when meeting each other. Well, the adults did that. Kids were just...kids.
So there we were in Spain. And then somehow England. And I had a nanny for a while who used to put a band aid over my belly button because she thought it was unhealthy for me to "tickle" it as my security blanket. And according to my dad we knew Hayley Mills.
And somewhere in there, things started to go wrong. Not super wrong, just a little...off. I start to have more memories of my dad and fewer of my mom. We became a team, somehow. And then she wasn't there at all.