Words – 100 Grenades with 99 pins.


It was somewhere in the year ‘98 or ’99 when AOL was the new ‘in’ thing. But back then, it was the next big thing after IT. It was some kind of spiritual revolution. Office goers formed the chunkiest sections of this fan club. And, AOL paved way for many spiritual gurus who emerged quite successful with powerful oratory and, ‘enlightenment’ derived from Hitopadesha…Upanishads…Bhagwad Gita….et al. My father was an AOL follower during his days in service. And then, began the coaxing and cajoling. “You should attend at least one of the lectures. It is good, kanna. Why not go once? Just try the experience first hand. Meditation and Yoga are taught with such finesse.” I had umpteen arguments with him and, given my age then, I was absolutely gagging over the entire spirituality shebang! My mum remained distant from the topic as she never really entertained gurujis advocating spirituality. She used to seal the argument with that one powerful punch of a sentence – “How do these spiritual gurus WITHOUT ever having gone through the arduous rigmarole of the term ‘Grihasti’, preach so fluently about anger management, peace of mind and, art of living? I neither understand the guru nor the disciples!” (my mum unlike dad jibes rarely. But when she does, it is like Indra’s Brahmastra! There is no weapon to disengage her sarcasm!)

Words 1

But all that did not stop my father from showing me the pros of following ‘spirituality’. Regularly, he would hand me something written by AOL spiritual head. I used to read. Not because, my father asked me to. But because, I simply loved to read. And in this particular case, I pounced on every article he lent me only to find loopholes in the ideology. Every reading session was followed by a loud discussion on why we both were right about what we advocated for, though the two ‘right’ things were as different as chalk and cheese.

Oh yes! My teenage years were absolute bonkers. My parents pushed all the wrong buttons with absolute pleasure to ensure I did the right thing. And that is how I was hooked to reading newspapers and political magazines like Outlook and India today since my fourth grade. It had so much to feed discussions and arguments, you see? And, I was like that debate magnet! I just wanted to prove the whole world wrong then. Don’t ask what it was. Age or hormones, I am not sure. Well, you see I am again digressing by habit. So, where was I? Spirituality. So, my father assumed that I was averse to AOL only because I found its reviews ‘diabetic-aly’ sweet (I wanted to write diabolically, but then, no ill feelings to be harbored). Since, my father was reading many books on the subject, he badly wanted me to see what he was seeing. Unfortunately, the generation gap played in my favor. I couldn’t and, wouldn’t budge so easily.

And then, another spiritual guru came along. This man is a learned man and, he hailed from Bangalore and, ran some kind of school cum home for special children. He was conducting a workshop in Baroda and, without asking me, my father enrolled me in it. I was furious for two reasons.

  • One, I wasn’t asked.
  • And two, he shelled out 1000 rupees for two day workshop and, I could see a beautiful dress I saw in a show room slip out of my hands.

That morning, I was to travel with father’s friend and his daughter to Baroda for that workshop. I became a couch potato with absolute conviction, not ready to move my bum a bit. And, my father could not understand why I was being so stubborn. That morning, anger crowded the air. My father almost lost his cool when he saw me still not ready to catch the train that was to leave in fifteen minutes. Finally, mum took a break from her chores and told me categorically“See! I am not into this spirituality gig. But then, you both are fighting over such a measly thing! Look, Narayani….If not for yourself, just attend the workshop for your dad. Atleast, you will meet new people. You will make more friends. What is the harm? You aren’t losing anything. Food and shelter is taken care of.”

I suddenly caught the sound of new people and, new friends. Although a seventy percent of me was still unwilling, a thirty percent of me started pushing through. And so, I decided to go. And, it is not some disciplinary workshop. It can’t be that bad.

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Surprisingly, I enjoyed the workshop to my heart’s content. The man was a wonderful orator. (Before I forget, I have to thank my father profusely for enrolling me in this workshop. Because, what oratory means was comprehended by yours’ truly for the first time….and, I won many Inter school debates after having attended that workshop)

Coming back to this event that I speak of, the way this man conducted meditation and yoga was absolutely amazing. Sitting with our own yoga mats and, doing meditation in a crowd of over hundred people, I was a bit taken aback by the energy dynamics. Just imagine, a place like railway station or, an airport or a school. Even twenty people are enough to create a noise that tests your Eustachian tube’s resilience. And here, there was pin drop silence. I gather, I could almost feel what meditation is like. Absolutely comfortable in one’s own skin. If one had to take effort to point out noise, there was just this soft breathing of fellow meditators. That is it.

The two days flew away in a jiffy. I was floored by the man’s command over English. We also danced towards the end on some MJ tracks. It was cool. It was a fresh beat to my otherwise mundane routine music. To dance mindlessly, make new friends so easily and, to be oneself with no pressures in a crowd that had people of all age groups was something I cherished for a long time after I came back.

So, I came home with a resolution – Meditation and Yoga are happening every day. No matter what.

My father was visibly impressed. My mum was as usual nonchalant about my sudden bubble burst of enthusiasm. And, I was mighty pleased with self.

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Two days later…..

Two days post the workshop was all it took to throw me from the fluffy clouds of meditation and serenity into the daily grind of academics and, more academics.. And, all my calmness dissolved into the molten lava of all the pending class work.

I couldn’t meditate the way I did there. I couldn’t bring myself to do yoga like I could do there. And, I ended up comparing every experience with the one that happened there. Frankly, I felt miserable. I craved for an experience there.

So, what was there in that workshop, that was not here at my home?

I will get to that part later.

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It has taken me about two decades of life experiences to understand that words are 100 grenades with 99 pins. You never know how the one without the pin shall explode – In your favor or, against.

Words are those bursts of flavor that kiss your palate and, make you crave for the zest. They are like those pipes containing Hash.. that once puffed, will drag you back into a world that plays your senses sensuously. They are those strings of connection that seek a certain energy band to fit in. They are the most powerful weapons that man has. The fact is, some men know how to invest in the power. While, some fall for the con their own tribe weaves.

To see how words affect human beings, just go through the Internet. You read a fiery post and, it starts creating chaos in your mind. You read a psychology post, your mind starts to relate to it. You read about the chakras in your body, you start identifying with the methods to improve the state of your chakras. You read about some experience of a person that resonates with yours, you are filled with exhilaration that you aren’t alone. Well, it is not how the mind plays you. It is about how words play our mind here. Our feelings and emotions are string tied to words we let into our mind. Study a particular kind of books, and the mind ought to get trapped in ideologies of that particular subject. It is a very natural phenomenon. The same applies to people who preach about spirituality. Those words seem to take away pain, stress and other uninterrupted emotions for a while. Men and women conducting workshops to mentor people about how to manage lives with zero stress precisely know who they are dealing with. They impart their knowledge in a way that the crowd feels as though they have been deprived of this wonderful piece of information for so long. They feel so indebted to their mentors. Nowadays, it is not just the ‘gurus’ but even retired corporate employees who have taken up this gig and, are doing an amazing job lifting spirits, imbibing sense of community and, bringing in the power of prayer chains. I have deep respect for all those who are doing it with a genuine intention of instilling brotherhood in people. Did you know FaceBook has become a one stop complex for healers and mentors. That said, there is no free lunch. You got to pay if you want to heal.

I understood why I felt miserable a couple of days after that workshop. “You got to pay if you want to heal” – This is exactly what I comprehended within a week after that workshop I attended.

And, this is exactly the point I want to break away from the façade of inspiration for two reasons.

  • One, I fear being overpowered by the urge to un-follow myself and, follow someone because, the momentary workshops de-stress me for a short while.
  • Two, I have come across real life people who are healing people without mentioning a thing on FaceBook and Twitter. And, it is only after knowing them I have understood how difficult it is to take the road of less fame and, still put your heart and soul into healing people.

As for the fame savvy spiritual healers who conduct fabulous workshops for people, I have a few earnest questions (trust me, I am seriously trying to understand):

  • Can you truly feel the pain that you haven’t experienced ever?
  • Is controlling pregnant fears of mind synonymous with running away from reality by simply diverting your mind for a particular time window so that, the fears don’t overwhelm you?

I am sure there are going to be countless answers and explanations laced with science and logic. But then, I shall yet remain unconvinced while you answer both the questions in affirmative. While I shall take time to go through answers and prerogatives, I would love to share what makes me come up with these questions.

How can you possibly cure someone of a pain that you don’t know of, just by some healing art you learned and, was convinced that you can control your mind? No offence here because, I believe in Reiki and, very strongly. What I don’t believe is, people learning it by doing a course. To know how powerful your mind is, you must be conscious of what it is capable of turning you into when you cross over to the dark side. So, have you met the demons in you? If you haven’t, you cannot preach about the bright Sun without understanding the experience of Eclipse! That level of consciousness where you are able to visualize your own other half that you are hiding from the world, is a terrifying prospect to unveil. But, it cannot be ruled out. Because, time decides how the odd shall engage. In or against your favor, is not in your hands, friend! If you have watched the movie Ice Age : Collision Course, there is a scene where Manny and his entourage enter the land of healing crystals and, things are unbelievably hunky dory with animals stuck in their ever green youth and, with waves of optimism flowing like a perennial river under the rule of their top man – Shangri Llama, the leader of Geotopia, an epitome of serenity. It is only after the asteroid attack, the reality surfaces. Shagri Llama gets angry too!

Is controlling pregnant fears of mind synonymous with running away from reality by simply diverting your mind for a particular time window so that, the fears don’t overwhelm you? Having battled a serious medical condition that introduced me to dark fears of life besides gifting me with some life long side effects for life that I believe I am strong enough to endure, I can assure you that there can be no better mentor than fear. Well, how you face your fears is something you cannot learn from any guruji or teacher. You just have to do it yourself. No crash course in holistic healing is going to enlighten you more about your mind than your own dark fears, fears that you fear to embrace.

The other day, when mum and I were discussing about this topic (this is one of the few topics that we agree upon), I asked her how she has dealt with the bleak phases of her life without approaching anyone? For my readers, let me tell you that my mum is someone who is made of steel. She was married off early. And, the first ten years of marriage (before I was born) was not a cake walk for either my father or my mother. With extended family to support, my parents had it tough. And it was in those years, my mum suffered health wise and, slipped into coma for a month post my maternal grandfather’s demise. When she emerged from that period, she found that her nails and teeth had deteriorated. She had lost a lot of weight. And, the worst moment came when she found her left leg struck by paralysis. To take every step ahead, she had to lift her left leg physically up and then, place it down. The doctors said she cannot walk normally ever in her life.

One year, people! One year is all it took for this woman to gather her will power and determination to making that leg walk! If you did not believe the reel life Beatrix Kiddo wriggling her piggy toe after thirteen hours of conscious paralysis in Kill Bill series, then you better believe the real story I am narrating here! And boy, she walked and how! I still cannot match her pace when we go for walks together.

In those years, the doctors also mentioned that she will never conceive. But then, she did. I was born exactly ten years after they were married. And, I came with my dad’s cherubic face and my mum’s curly hair!

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I asked her once – “How did you find strength in those days? How?”

And her answer was as simple – “I listened to music. A lot. I love listening to devotional songs and, I healed. But what I learned is – Learn to trust the Universe a little more than yesterday. God is watching over us. If He pushes us into a hell hole, He will also give us the ropes. Trust that!”

It is years later when an old family friend from Orissa Chapters of my parents’ life visited us in Bharuch and, narrated about the tough times my parents had in the first ten years of their marriage, a time when every couple around them were enjoying the highs of life and youth.

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Today….my father is a changed man in many ways. He doesn’t follow any spiritual guru now given that, he has seen and handled turbulent storms in his life, way more than what many people his age have seen and undergone…My mother is the same tough bird who is very vocal about rubbishing ‘spiritual’ nonsense. Like me, she believes in the power of Reiki. Only not in people who claim to be healers because they did a course.

And, I have become a selectively vocal human after facing my health woes and subsequent fears heads on! Yes, I still get anxiety attacks. I still panic over the 2013 episode. For some reason, my subconscious mind does not let me repress it. But now, I am not as paranoid as I was a couple of years back. Because, I believe that even those fears are signs from the Universe. They are perhaps making me aware of my thoughts, my words and, my actions. And, that is a huge learning curve that I am riding on currently.

Have I made peace with myself? Just to an extent, is my answer.

I still have a long way to go when it comes to conquering my fears and, embracing my volatile side with the same love as, I project my saner side out.

And, that is what spirituality means to me.

To be myself. To be Unapologetic-ally me. Anywhere. Everywhere.

i

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