Unpacking some books I had to stop and pay respect to this one – “Journey Towards The Heart” by Osho Rajneesh.
“Do you have any RajnEhsh books?” I asked a street book vendor 30 years ago somewhere near Washington Square park. I probably didn’t know where I was exactly, but I knew Washington Square was the address of the NYU campus where I was given room and board after I flew in on a PanAm flight from Moscow to JFK.
“Bhagwan Shree RajnEhsh? Osho?”
“Ah, RajnEEsh, it rhymes with quiche, let me see, I’ll be right back. Watch the books for me.”
I was excited and a little concerned that someone may steal from the inventory under my care, but the vendor quickly returned and handed me the book.
It was a pretty worn out paperback copy, but to me it looked magical. Osho, dressed as a Sufi master, looked at me from the cover. Until that moment I had no idea what Osho looked like. All I knew before was blue cyrillic letters on old yellow paper typed by hand. Osho books were illegal in the USSR.
He looked at me. It was clear I couldn’t have had more than a few bucks on me.
“Two dollars?” Osho was already winking at me from the book cover, but fifty cents could make a difference.
“You got it!” The vendor looked pleased, and I was thrilled.
I handed him the money and put the book that was falling apart carefully in my bag. It was my holy book, my pillow, my English language textbook (as I knew Russian translation by heart).
All in all it was my hope, or rather assurance that everything will be fine in the new chapter of my life.