I don’t know who saw the bird first, but all four of us rose from our seats and headed to the window to see it more clearly. I was visiting the home of Parvati and Pranaba for the first time, and it never occurred to me that an open stairwell leading to the basement was on the other side of the half-wall to my right.
I was behind the others and couldn’t see the bird, so I took a step backward and to the side hoping to get a better view. Instead of solid floor, however, my foot went into space. I was close enough to grab my wife’s shoulder to break my fall, but consciously chose not to, for fear of pulling her with me to wherever I was going.
I was pretty reckless in my youth, falling off of every moving thing a boy can ride on—bike, skateboard, surfboard, snowboard—you name it, I’ve fallen off of it. Fortunately, I always escaped without serious injury.
So when I found myself horizontal in the air going backwards, it was a space I had been in before. I rotated my body to face into the fall and saw that I was going head first down a long, steep stairwell. “This is going to be a hard fall,” I thought. “Maybe this time I won’t get away unscathed.”
Then I heard a voice of power like I have never heard before. “Oh! God! NO!” It was Parvati. Usually such an exclamation at such a moment would be tinged with fear, pleading, or regret.
Not this time.
This was a commandment to the Universe, and the Universe complied.
Without any transition or time passing, I found myself standing right where I had intended to go when my foot went into the stairwell—behind my wife, looking out the window. It was as if what had happened just previous to that had been only a dream. Both my feet were now firmly on the floor with the stairwell behind my heels.
Later, when we compared notes, all of us had seen the same thing. I was falling down the staircase. Parvati exclaimed. Then I was standing looking out the window.
Pranaba told us that the night before he had dreamt that he fell down the staircase. Was he dreaming my karma? Did I take his? Or did Parvati, as an instrument of Divine Will, avert a terrible accident for both of us?