Dr Naren: Every person you meet has been assigned to play a role in your story as you are assigned to play one in someone else’s. I often say that the people we come across can be one of the four kinds. They can be like pebbles, fountains, quagmire or bridges. Pebbles are those who you meet commonly and in abundance. They do not facilitate anything great but they help you continue walking on this journey of life. Everyone you cross in life without really connecting with them are pebbles. Then there are fountains – who spring water of happiness on you. They bring positivity and joy; they nourish your soul and irrigate the seeds of good thoughts. Your friends, well-wishers are all fountains. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, you have quagmires. These are the people who cause you pain. Now, even some pebbles may have caused you pain as it happens if you tread on a barbed pebble but the difference is that quagmires do that on purpose. They pull you down, induce fear and negativity by discouraging you and worrying you. They will not let you move on – that’s why they keep you bogged down in your failures. Finally, the rarest ones are the bridges – they connect you to unchartered ground that you wouldn’t have reached on your own. They unite you to your destiny. With them, your plane of consciousness expands, you see things you have not seen before; your life becomes more aware, more enlightened. Your parents, your teachers and anyone who touches your life and transcends it into something more beautiful – they are all bridges.
Meera: I want to but I can’t.
Bungy guide: Yes you can if you really want it.
Every time someone asked her, “Have you made up your mind?” or “Are you sure?”, she would internally bleed. How can anyone be sure? The only way to be sure is to live it through but who will then pay the price of being wrong?
For the first time, she realized that her mind had begun selectively blocking off certain memories. Second, there were not many happy memories for it to block.
Meera: Today’s sunrise was beautiful. May be that’s when the magic started. I shall see the sunrise tomorrow again.
Artist’s choice of colors made the subject all the more striking. The world outside and the afflicted woman was painted in violet monochrome and the scene on the other side of the window was done in yellowish-golden tones. The colors magnificently enhanced the contrast and use of monochromes displayed the mastery and confidence of the artist on his talent and subject.
With simple letters, the title of the painting was scribed at the bottom – it read WEREWOMAN.
What can one say about railways stations, that too the Indian ones. These harbors of persistent and constant commuting are a true reflection of any country’s populace and so, it shouldn’t be surprising to find chaos, crowd, poverty and resilience breathing alive in here. The bickering haggles between coolis and travelers might make a first world citizen stare in shock but when such a service is available in abundant supply, who will pay two hundred bucks to carry 5-6 suitcases across three platforms? For fifty rupees or so, one can find many willing porters put unspeakable weight of luggage on head and dandy shoulders and run up and down the stairs. If one were to give Olympic medals based on weight-one-can-carry to body-mass ratio, these coolis could probably beat professional weight lifting athletes. When a hungry stomach growls, body develops the stamina without gym and protein shakes. When one is eating only one meal a day, its not a matter of shame to sleep at the station floor with no chaadar. When one is barely meeting her ends, hygiene or its lack of thereby, becomes a non-issue.
Madhur: You looked too sincere for your age.
Meera: So do you.
Madhur: It took me years to get here. And that’s why I took the liberty of assuming that you belonged to some organization too.
Meera: Life teaches what no organization can.
Madhur: So, would you mind telling me why you were smiling?
Meera: Not in the least. Your fingers on the keyboard reminded me of Krsna dancing on Kalia
[Her eyes looked steadily into those of Madhur as she spoke the unlikely words in a manner incongruously casual. She noticed the expressions of her interlocutor taking on the gravity now demanded by her confession]
Meera: I witnessed the long dance – the lotus feet rhythmically jumping from one hood to another till the demon succumbed.
[She continued looking steadily at him in a manner that challenged – ‘let’s see if you have the courage to believe that’]
Madhur: I wish I had your eyes.
In America, people talk about weather a lot, work, food, dating, workout and travel. In India, topics are confined to family, religion and jobs. Travel for pleasure sake is catching up among working youths these days but family trips mostly remain religion oriented. Adventure as a travel category never made much sense to Indian parents. Meera did not talk about her bungy at home else she might have heard something to the effect of, “yahi bacha tha, bachche ab pahaadon se kood rahe hain!”
Madhur: Why don’t you join us for the session tomorrow morning? Dr Naren is giving a discourse here.
Meera: Will that help me find God?
Madhur: Yes, but you need to bring your nishtha along.
Meera: Ok, I will.
Dr Naren: The so called atheists follow another religion that they are not aware of. It is called alcoholism.
Sumer: Do you know what Radha means?
[Meera shook her head in negative]
Sumer: In Yugandhar, Shivaji Savant says that Ra means attaining something and Dha means moksha. So Radha essentially could mean someone who wants to attain moksha.
[She was now hooked and stared curiously at her father]
Meera: But that could be anyone, that could be me, no?
Sumer: Exactly. Anybody and nobody.
Meera looked at the entrance gate and saw a girl standing tranquil and looking in the direction Krsna had left. Her face was as radiant as that of Madhav – wistful, tender and glorious. The very next moment, she appeared to be bigger than other girls crying next to her. As Meera realized, the girl’s form was actually growing. And, it continued to grow in dimension, making up for the distance between her and the chariot. As it grew, the face itself started to morph into that of Krsna. Soon, the figure expanded to encompass the whole sky and filled in every pore in every direction. After kissing every particle of Brij bhoomi’s atmosphere, the form dissolved and disintegrated like a rangoli washed with water.
Meera: And the fact that something so badly damaged could be healed proves the existence of a power of incredible nature – one that can restore. Time heals but it always leaves a scar behind. Only a true restorative power can ease you of the pain and the scar.
Bhanudas: This is Meera. She is the new intern.
Chitragupta: We are not accepting any interns currently, Bhanudas.
Bhanudas: She was sent by Vaasudev, Sir Chitragupta.
[The weight of the reference was not lost upon the man as he stood up at his desk gently. Any hints of surprise were quickly replaced with a reverent acknowledgment for the name that had been pronounced. Bhanudas stepped forward to hand a scroll to him]
Bhanudas: Do you look at that index symbol glowing in green? That symbol stands for the number zero. That is what your destination is. Towards zero.
Meera: [in awe] Towards zero.
Bhanudas and Meera started walking through the sand. In few minutes, a caravan on camels could be seen in some distance.
Bhanudas: Those who seek truth have found it even in deserts you know.
[The confounded Meera followed the caravan with her gaze as it vanished farther away]
Meera: But that’s not Hinduism!
[She had barely finished her sentence as the whole scene transformed to an urban setting. She could hardly recognize Bhanudas in a classic black suit]
Bhanudas: Which setting do you prefer?
Meera: [staring] Doesn’t matter.
Meera: And you can help me understand the truth?
Satyapoorna: Well, I am your own truth. I am the truth that lies within you but is still to be revealed. So what I tell to anyone depends on what lies within them and how much are they capable of understanding.
Meera: I’m sorry but I don’t understand. What is my truth? Isn’t truth absolute? How can it vary from person to person?
Satyapoorna: That is what you think but truth comes from knowledge and knowledge is inherent in everyone. When we say we ‘know’, we mean we have ‘discovered’ that piece of knowledge that already lay covered within our soul. We have the infinite library of universe in our own minds. Newton did not discover gravitation from some external flash of knowledge, it was all there in his mind. Some are able to tap it better and others not so.
Voice: I see you prefer illusions.
Meera: What do you mean?
Voice: You prefer living one illusion at a time. You prefer riding between the highs and lows of your life so that you can keep crying or laughing over it. Mortals are funny creatures.
Shimit: That’s called an itch for accomplishment and every talented person has it. I know I sound like a big douche bag patronizing myself right now but what I’m telling you is exactly what you need. Only accomplishment and appreciation can give you the peace you need to continue on your spiritual path. Make yourself feel accomplished again.
Meera: And then, one of them starts dying inside. May be the other one is dying too but they don’t even bother to die together.
Shimit: If you don’t know the question, all answers will be equally wrong.
Meera: What do you mean? Blessed are those who get to feel pain?
Dr Naren: Yes, imagine what will happen if there was no pain. Would you try to change anything? If your life was uninspired but not really painful, would you have come back?
Mr Shiraz: Which one of those women are you?
[She smiled because that question meant he understood what she was talking]
Meera: Right now, I think I’m in between the two. I have unfettered myself but am yet to reach the boat.
But how? She did not know. And when she did not know what else to do, she often turned to traveling. She was a wanderer at heart. Sometimes, the best way to find yourself is to wander and get lost.
Those struggles and scrambles of a new path define a person; they leave an indelible imprint on a person’s journey for one never really forgets them – they are the toughest to overcome and sweetest victories to relish later on.
She knew that one day she will fondly remember the lonely night when Krsna had first talked to her and smile at the day she had met him. Yes, this is another path and she will overcome the initial rough patches. It is not the road she had planned to take but a higher hand had intervened and she shall walk it to wherever it takes her.