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Tantrika: Traveling the Road of Divine Loveby Asra Q. Nomani
Chapter One Learning American Tantra
My search for Tantra, sex, and love began with a gnarly foot wash in a forest of pine trees in the Canadian countryside.
"What am I doing here?" I asked myself, trying not to look at his gangly toes and smashed toenails.
"You are creative," he told me. "If the real world is bad, you can create a new world. Through your writing, you can create a new world."
Now, his doe-eyed daughter, a long-legged gazelle of a poet in flip-flops and cargo pants, brought the beauty of the world to me again. She helped me recover what the damaging relationship had obscured. Lucy cooked dal and chawal, lentils and rice, for me. She stirred me awake before work to run through the tree-lined brownstone streets of Brooklyn Heights, down the Promenade. Step by step, life began again, but I was disillusioned by romance. I wondered if I could ever find love.
Then Ken Wells, one of our page-one editorsat the "Wall Street Journal, came to me with a reporting assignment. "We want you to look at the business of Tantra. Go find Mr. and Mrs. Tantra." Ken told me Tantra was America's hottest new fad. It was a natural assignment for me. I'd earned an informal reputation on the tenth floor among my fellow reporters as the "Journal's sex reporter, the rising incidence of "Mile High Club" sexual misconduct on airplanes among my page-one stories.
In my cubicle at the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan, adjacent to the World Trade Center, I tapped www.tantra.com into the address line of my Web browser. The browser led me to steamy pictures of men and women in different sexual positions. Clicking further, I came across ancient images from the Kama Sutra of men and women in acrobatic positions of lovemaking.
"You know, Tan-trah?"
They finally figured it out. "Thun-thruh," my mother said. They didn't even pronounce it the same way. In India, it turned out, Tantra wasconsidered a cult of black magic used by evil people. It was to be avoided. It had mantras that were like spells. I didn't know any mantras. I certainly didn't know the word was actually pronounced "mun-thruh" instead of "mahn-truh." As a Muslim, I didn't even know the spiritual significance of the dots Hindu women in India wear on their foreheads. I just knew I wouldn't be caught dead with one ...
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