TO SHED OLD SKINS —

At midnight a few nights ago I was reading Arundhati Roy’s exquisite and politically profound new novel, “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness,” about suffering in India.

In the morning, after anxiety dreams recalling my intense three months traveling alone in India in 1971 trying “to find myself,” I fantasized going to that amazing country again.

“But you can’t go, I scolded myself. “You’d never find food there. With your crazy diet, you’ve painted yourself into a corner, Idiot.”

So on a sunny July morning, privileged to perform my ordinary chores around my farm house in the lush Bali-like lush hills of Western Massachusetts, an old part of my mind just wouldn’t let go. Like an addict, it returned again and again to the delicious pain of the sharp knife in my gut — “You can’t go. You’d never find food there, Idiot.”

“Drop it,” I warned myseIf. “You’re not going anyway. Your deep journeys are inner now.” Until finally I actually googled New Delhi health food stores and found plenty of them.

It’s hard to shed old skins.

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