Those micro second love stories

One of my favourite dialogues from the Sex and the city movie is “Some love stories aren’t epic novels, some are short stories. But, that doesn’t make them any less filled with love”.

But here I am not only talking about love stories which transcend into a relationship, I am talking about the ones which may have lasted for just a few minutes or even seconds like a conversation or a glance exchanged with a stranger. The ecstasy you experience in those moments which isn’t accompanied by any kind of need or greed! The state of trance filled with unconditional love!!

Those who are aware of spirituality, must have figured out that these are nothing but meetings with a soul from the same soul family whose connection in this human form isn’t necessary for the lessons to be learnt, but those meetings nevertheless ignite some kind of happiness, hope, strength, faith etc within us. There is an absence of any kind of  fear or doubt. These moments where our alter ego/ shadow self has been successfully overcome by our innate awareness of being one!

And I guess having this feeling for every soul around, be it a ferocious animal or an ant, is what self-realisation is truly about!

 

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Releasing thy self

As per Spirituality, we have two selves within us. One is the true self and the other is our wounded self, better known as the “EGO”. Our true self or the soul is aware that we are all part of the same infinite existence, no different from each other and aligned by the Infallible Way where only unconditional love exists. Our wounded self is the exact opposite, it wants us to believe that we are all different from each other and we need to either rise above the rest or do specific actions to be worthy of the love around. Mostly everyone is living according to wishes of the wounded self. There is a paradox too, unless we repeat those actions of our wounded self, we will never experience certain things to learn those lessons which make us aware of our true self! Strange isn’t it?

I always wondered that in spite of certain spiritual practices, there were certain times where I knew that I wasn’t able to maintain a calm sense of mind. I would be either infuriated, restless, sad, hopeless etc. It was almost like, those situations would trigger my behaviour according to the wounded self! It almost felt like a trap!

While reading the book “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse, I got an idea! The only way to accelerate my transition from the wounded self to the true self is to mindfully trigger those situations. I recently attended a 3 week course which was essentially to groom the 40 CAs to become job worthy. I instead made it my play ground. I behaved exactly the opposite of what my wounded self was asking me to. I have always been an enthusiastic person when it came to group activities, where I could display all my qualities especially leadership skills. I did the opposite, I never voluntarily took up leadership instead I followed the leadership of others even though I sometimes disagreed with them. I was contradicting myself at every step. Earlier I was never vocal about my spiritual side, here I almost become the brand ambassador of it and was sometimes trolled too, but I loved every bit of it! I was consciously maneuvering every sentence and action of mine just to get varied reactions from others to go through all kinds of emotions! That was extremely liberating!

Almost every faculty that came, recited the Japanese Shark story, trying to motivate everyone that we all need a shark in our lives to exceed. I almost had a debate with one faculty, that you are basically asking everyone to be continuously unhappy and unsatisfied just to achieve certain heights in human terms! Fret not, I not once lost my cool nor did I go to the extent of trying to convince him even though he was trying his best to instigate me! My motive of that debate wasn’t to prove myself right or him wrong, it was just to put a seed of thought in the other 39 minds that you are all worthy of the same infinite amount of love by just being yourself! Please don’t confuse conscious inactivity with slack & careless behaviour. After all most people perceive a yogi in meditation to be asleep, but I know, his mind is at the operational level that most of us can’t even fathom!

Tango with the Cyclone

A Blog about a Trip that almost did not happen!

My husband and I chose to go to the Adaman Islands for our annual holiday in December. All our bookings were done by September itself. Our plan was as follows-

10th December- Pune -> Mumbai. (Watch Cricket Test Match at Wankhade Stadium)

11th December- Mumbai -> Port Blair (4 am GoAir flight, visit Kala Pani Museum and do scuba diving)

12th December- Port Blair -> Havelock Island (ferry ride and enjoy 2 nights here)

14th December- Havelock Island -> Neil Island  (ferry ride and one night stay)

15th December – Neil Island -> Port Blair (ferry ride)

Port Blair -> Chennai -> Pune (connecting Jet Airways flights)

We were ecstatic in anticipation of our first wedding anniversary trip.We planned the trip to the T. Booked really beautiful and comfortable hotel rooms. We even booked our private ferry rides online. Everything paid in advance for deep discounts!

On 7th December we first heard that a cyclone had hit the Adaman Islands. On 8th and 9th, the real panic started, the Navy had to be called in to evacuate 1500 tourists trapped in the Havelock and Neil Islands. The devastating photos were all over the news and every person who knew about our trip was calling us up to ask if we had heard about it. Both of us busy at work did not really pay attention to all this until 9th evening.

I had reached home early, when both sets of parents asked us to try and cancel our travel plans. I kept my work aside and immediately asked my husband to forward all the booking details to me. I starting calling all the hotels up. Not a single phone was reachable. Next step, I started reading all the terms and conditions carefully. The hotels said that in any event, if the cancellation is made within 7 days from the check in date, the charge will still be 100%. The ferry rides first said that if there is any cancellation is made due to bad weather conditions, the entire liability will be borne by the customers. My anxiety levels started soaring high! In spite of both of us being so financially prudent, this was going to be a major hit! Kartik asked me to start looking for alternate holiday destinations, but in case of no refunds our plan would have very much been only Goa! It was already 7 pm, our flight leaves from Mumbai in 33 hours and we have absolutely no plan of action! Our tempers were flaring and continuous arguments were taking place on calls and chats.

I decided to make myself a nice cup of coffee and relax till Kartik reaches home! I then remembered that I also had to close down the kitchen so I started clearing up. That’s when I found the last Chinese fortune cookie left from the Diwali hampers. It read ” Each day of your life is going to be a new adventure from hereon”. I took a deep breath in and calmed myself.

Kartik was home by 7:30 pm. I greeted him with positivity and informed him about everything. We decided to reassess the entire plan starting with the flights. Our attitudes changed to “if flights are operating, we are going there”. GoAir has probably the worst Customer Support system, but the flight was on schedule. Next step, Port Blair was functioning but the other two islands were not, so we could go to PB. I re-read all the terms. Found a loophole in fine print for the ferry rides, if the cancellation is done by any other reason apart from bad weather and before 2 days of the ride, only Rs 100 penalty, that too if the cancellation was done only via personal contact. Again, phone lines were down, so Kartik started writing emails. We even started negotiating with our hotels around their refund policies. All the flights were non refundable, so we decided to play along with it. Our action plan was, 2 nights in Port Blair instead of 1, prepone only one sector of the return flight i.e. PB to Chennai from 15th to 13th, 1 night in Chennai with our doctor best friend, then drive down to Pondicherry next day morning for a night and catch the same 15th Dec afternoon flight from Chennai to Pune. We started making all the new reservations.

10th December morning, with so much to do, we cancelled our Mumbai plan, and decided to take a KK Travels cab directly to the airport at night. We spent all mid morning at Jet Airways office at the Airport for all the changes. Our hotel reservations in PB, Chennai and Pondicherry were confirmed. We then booked a Self drive Zoom car for a round trip from Chennai to Pondicherry. By 1 pm, we finally started packing our bags. The weather updates were that Cyclone Vardha had moved away from Andamans and the weather was cloudy.

All went well and we reached our hotel Mega Pode in Port Blair by 8 am safely. It was hot and humid. We had not slept all night, so decided to chill at the beach the entire day and do scuba diving the next day. We decided to hire a bike to roam around, instead of a cab. The Senior Manager at the hotel Mr. Delhiraj (yes that’s his name!) took an instant liking to our free spirited nature and invited us in his cabin. He took charge of planning everything for us, including drawing road maps on the back side of old bills! (so cute!) img_20161211_083403

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Much to my husband’s dismay, we were given a non geared bike with a feminine helmet. We spent the day at Wandoor beach, about 28 km from our hotel. It is a virgin beach with less than 60 people around including the small time vendors and policemen. Little did we know that our troubles were not yet over.

Next day, we went to the dockyard from where the ferries depart for scuba diving. We got our first shocker. All transactions in cash! A nightmare in times of the Demonitization drive in India. We had to give away all the cash we had, 9k approx there for the booking itself. There was some time for the ferry to leave, so we decided to hit some ATMs to withdraw cash. We did not have an SBI account so our limit was 2k per person. So we went to HDFC ATMs. None had cash either. So we went to the Branch there. Words cannot express the kind of customer service we received at HDFC. In spite of not carrying our cheque books, they had a provision for cash withdrawals and we were refueled with enough cash for our entire trip. We reached the dock, just to find out that all ferries have been postponed. My dad calls me up with news! Cyclone Vardha decided to change its course and has hit Chennai badly. It will then move onto Pondicherry! My husband and I burst out laughing instead! We just could not believe our luck! Were we following the cyclone or was the cyclone following us?

After 2 hours of waiting more at the dock, the officials announced that the Deputy Commisioner has cancelled all ferries and there will be no water activities because of the cyclone threat. Another bummer! We both decided, that we are not going to let anyone or anything ruin our holiday. Instead we decided to head to the Sunset Beach at Chidiyatapu. I can’t decide what was more beautiful, the ride to the beach or the beach itself. The road was either through the jungle or right next to the coast. We stopped multiple times just to listen to the silence of the forest with absolutely no other human around or to gasp at the sea side wonders. It looked even better at night. The beach itself was like a swimming pool for us since the water was calm and we could go deep inside and watch the sunset! In water, jungle behind, the orange sun setting on one side behind the mountains and a full moon on the other side shining between the clouds. I have never felt more spiritually alive in spite of being in a crowd. It was all worth the effort! (unfortunately I completely forgot to click pictures at the beach, and these are only of the drive)

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Our flight to Chennai was delayed but nevertheless we reached there but were unable to meet our friend thanks to the cyclone damage. In Pondicherry, we ate at The Promenade, walked along the Boulevard sea coast in the evening, attended a Salsa Night at The Disdis Cafe & Co., had French food there, then had authentic Italian ice cream while sitting on the rocks by the sea in the moonlight!

For 5 days we were completely disconnected from the rest of the world, no internet and rarely any mobile network.We reached home in one piece and have never been happier in spite of so many bummers. After being together for 5 years, we learnt a new thing about our relationship, we are indeed capable of crisis management!

The Spiritual Drug

I am sure after reading the title of this blog, some of you might remember the blue pill or red pill offered to Keanu Reeves in The Matrix! Trust me, every time someone comes up to me and says we know about your gifts, I am like what??? I for sure haven’t had any pills nor did my mother do anything special when she was carrying me. She is definitely a catalyst to my spiritual awakening process. I am 26 years old and I have finally accepted spirituality as my essential process of being. I don’t shy away from it nor do I actively seek to discuss it. Self awareness and mindfulness are now integrated in my daily life. Breaking through the illusion is a constant effort. Dissecting every thought, situation and experience to learn lessons which will lead to self realisation is the aim.

I recently attended a Satsang (hindu spiritual gathering) hosted by my mother in law for chanting the 108 powerful shlokas (verses or sermons) in praise of Goddess Lakshmi. It is considered a very big and important affair, with more than 25 ladies chanting at once! My mom had a surreal experience with her crown chakra rotating. I was a mere spectator to all of it, and observed everyone and everything keenly. There was a 3 year old girl who had accompanied her mother, who wasn’t really a hindrance but wouldn’t sit still either. One lady in particular caught my attention, she was sitting in front next to the Guru which is basically an important position and yet she was playing with the little girl all with a smile! There were many others who were getting bothered by the constant movement of the little girl. As Bama, my husband’s paternal grandmother who is an amazing combination of spirituality and religion, describes it, that today’s religion is extremely mechanical. Everyone is absorbed in following the technicalities of the rituals rather than understanding the actual meaning. This applies to all religions. What is the use of these prayers and chantings if in reality your character and behaviour hasn’t improved? If you aren’t polite and kind to everyone around you without differentiating between people and practicing unconditional love all the time and not just when it is convenient to you, how will these shlokas have the powerful effect on you that they are supposed to have?

I have completely stopped being religious, not because I don’t believe in them, but because I want to be completely self aware and reduce my ego to the lowest level possible before I practice it. I do believe that these shlokas help in increasing a person’s vibrational frequencies since I have seen amazing effects of them on my mom and Bama. I do recite a few verses in my mind to go into a meditative state, but not in front of an idol or photo. Understanding spirituality with a logical and questioning mind is my approach and I don’t accept anything on face value so easily. There are many people out there who have different views on religion and I dont disregard or discount their opinions, but my question to them is how have non religious people in the West achieved self realisation without reciting a single verse in their lives? Jule Gaiges, one of my mom’s spiritual gurus in the US being one of them.

Just like my mom, I too at times go into a state of trance inspite of being surrounded by many people. I am slowly rising above the characteristics of an Empath. Only spiritually aware persons and one other category can relate to the magical feeling of trance. The other category is those who consume illegal drugs. By saying this I have pretty much validated the fact that every person has the innate desire to be in that level of vibrational frequency where there is only peace of mind.

In all what I have read, spirituality does not define consuming alcohol or drugs as a bad karma as such, but it so happens that majority of the actions of intoxicated persons tend to be negative. I do have friends who consume drugs and I have seen the effects. Not a single one of them has progressed in any material sense even from the time they started consuming them. Most of their arguments are that even Shiva, the God of destruction and the most powerful God as per Hinduism also smoked Ganja or weed. One factor that they are all missing is that Shiva being a highly spiritual being, knew how to utilize the state of trance for things like astral projection/ astral travel.

Many Self righteous people question me, that how can you hang out with such persons and be present when everyone around you is either consuming alcohol or smoking pot when you are now a teetotaler. My reply is very simple to such people, I completely understand the fact of keeping our lives drama free, but when you yourself can be so rude, mean or negative to people around you in spite of practicing religion in its highest form, then how different are you from those who equally want the same level of trance but by incorrect means? These people wouldn’t be my friends in the first place if they were such negatively polarised persons. Point is that there is no point in being so judgemental cause all it does is enhance the person’s ego who is being judgemental!

 

 

Out of sight, out of mind

It was in the 90’s when my sister who is six and a half years elder than me had to leave Lagos, Nigeria for further education in India post 1oth grade. I was less than 10 years old when a gentleman came up to me and asked me the whereabouts of my sister. All I could reply was that she was fine, thanks to the standard Sunday international calls made to my sister wherein my parents would speak to her and I would stand aside in anticipation of getting a few seconds on the call. My reply seemed insufficient to him and he said, “you don’t speak to her, so out of sight, out of mind huh???” That statement pricked me, how could he mean I did not love my sister.

In all these years, whenever I was away from a loved one, being family or friends, for some reason I would never take the extra efforts to be in touch. Yes, I did offend a lot of people unintentionally. My high school best friend, who unfortunately is no longer a friend would complain and argue with me every single time we spoke calling me selfish and what not.

People in India too, especially neighbours and relatives think I have tonnes of attitude cause I don’t do the usual poking around in everyone’s business and I limit myself to small talk. My husband being the only person who knows me honestly, thinks of me as an onion who needs to be peeled one peel at a time.

As I am getting deeper into spirituality, my social circle is reducing  by the day merely because of no contact. I  have started the process of listening and observing my own thoughts through meditation. There are a few moments when I feel lonely, so I decided to actively do some introspection on why don’t I have this innate need to be in touch with others in spite of not having any hard feelings, why do I crave for some solitude if I spend more than 2-3 hours with other people etc.  Just being an Empath wasn’t the answer since how is it possible for somebody sitting in another continent to affect my feelings? On the other hand, I am an extrovert and can be feisty at times for the things I believe in.

In the books that I have read about spiritualty, I have come to understand the concepts of Maya (the illusion) and Brahma ( the supreme truth or Infallible way or God). In the book “Towards the silver crests of the Himalayas” by G.K. Pradhan, this has been explained exceptionally well and I urge everyone to read this book. He explained these concepts through similies and metaphors using the Sun and the mirage. The mirage is the illusion created when the sun is at it’s peak position and the illusion is lost when the sun is in any other position. The sun is unaware of the creation of the illusion through the energy emitted by it. Thus meaning, anything that is perishable is an illusion which includes any life form too.

As some other books call these illusions as experiences, they say that a soul to achieve its higher self has to go through these experiences to learn vital lessons in self realisation. So it can be said that everything that we human beings experience in our lives is what is required by our souls and it is up to us if we learn those lessons or not. If we don’t learn them, the cycle of karma will continue as it is.

In this context, we can say that being away from a loved one can also be an experience. Then again, with all the technological advancements “bringing lives closer” are we negating the same required experience? In a way, beautiful memories aren’t  being formed. They are either captured in photographs, videos or trying to be continuously relived. Is being out of sight yet distantly loved and fondly remembered a lost art?

 

 

 

 

An Anti-feminist Empath

It’s well known amongst my close friends that I’m not a feminist inspite of living in a country like India. The reason is simple, the entire war is being fought against the wrong people.

Women keep asking men to respect them and treat them as equals etc. But have they ever stopped to think about the root cause? Yes, men are definitely guilty of objectification of women but if they think you are below them, there must be some place they are being instilled with such thoughts. Look no further, it’s their homes only.

Nobody brings down women as much as other women. Just scroll down on the newsfeed on Facebook. Everyday I find atleast one post from a single female friend, that says things like I don’t need a husband to buy diamonds or I strive to be self sufficient without a husband etc. These women think they are showing men how independent they are but the truth is men absolutely don’t pay heed to such posts. So in reality, all these posts are doing, is putting down housewives or other pampered wives. Have you ever seen men posting things demeaning other men? They barely even demean rapists publicly! If a man gets married young, most men will first make fun of him that he balled in so early, but later they will be happy that he found love so early. Feminists aren’t that generous.

My husband and I got married young inspite of not completing our higher education. I’m at the brink of completion so basically I’m a student housewife for the past 9 months. For this so many people have judged me, none of them being men. We recognised each other as soulmates and marriage was a natural progression of our relationship.

Passing a competitive exam in India needs a lot of luck too and I have taken my sweet time to complete it. There was one particular girl, who asked me why don’t you just leave it, start working immediately or else when will your life start? I just smiled, chose not to reply, not because I did not have one but because she wouldn’t understand it.

Her meaning of life starting was earning good money so that you can buy all the expensive materialistic things in life. I somehow never had this need burning inside me. Life has been happening since I was born and I’m pretty sure my soul isn’t having a human experience so that I can “afford to buy things”.

If it wasn’t for the relentless complaints from my family, I would have happily spent my entire life with the existing number of clothes that I have. My idea of an ideal life would be me, locked up in a library, learning about everything possible under the sun, especially quantum physics, anthropology and different studies of spirituality.

The most disappointing part is that I have barely found any girls around me who have such thoughts!! To them I’m just a plus sized nerd with no fashion sense!

I started writing blogs about being an Empath just so that I could find more female Empaths! And if you are one, please contact me, I would love to hear from you.