‘Let’s run away,’ said Swati in an exhausted tone. Exhausted of pursuing me for umpteen time.
‘But where we will go? The problems are not going to end, they will follow me everywhere. The solution can be found over here too. What’s the need to run away?’
‘Yes, you are right. But trust me, you need a break. A change from your routine. Right now, you are focusing only on problems and not on solutions. Maybe if the environment changes, you will get new ways of solving the same problems. Importance is to find yourself and not lose yourself.’
‘You feel that will happen?’
‘Trust me once on this.’
‘Done then. We leave tomorrow. You have made the bookings, right?’
‘Yes. Don’t worry about all that. It’s done.’
The next day, we left with our bags packed. The train was scheduled at 7:00 hours from Bandra terminus. In the wee hours of the morning, the station buzzed with people, everyone ready to join the bandwagon for bread and butter. The train arrived on time. Settled on our seats, none of us spoke. I was absorbed in my Sherlock Homes and Swati updated the world about her errand. It was a 32hours long journey. We had ample time to ourselves and me to myself. The journey through the three different states was a pleasant one. The atmosphere outside the train was serene in stark contrast to my bubbled and confused mind. The train journey continued into a cab journey as our destination was still far away even after we reached the capital of the country.
The fresh air of the countryside soothed my stretched nerves. It whispered sweet nothings into my ears. Just like he used to. No, I am not going to think about him anymore. But how can I not? Wind tears started streaming down my cheeks. Swati pulled up the window pane and I rested back on the seat.
The five-hour journey was a more pleasant and relaxed than the train one. Impromptu, we decided to visit the Ganga. The mother who absorbs pain, grief, and sufferings – we were lucky to be a part of Ganga aarti. Divine lights floated in the womb of the calm river. Hundreds of wishes floating on the body of one God. I, too release a wish, a deep-seated one to heal.
It was midnight when we arrived at our destination, a home for our next 15days – Yoga Capital of the country. The huge ashram sprawled across hectares. The sky was clear as stars twinkled without their white buddy, but the stench of fresh air wafted our nostrils. We retired to the bed immediately.
The early sun soothed like the night stars. The first ray beamed directly through the windows. Freshened, we left the room. The tour of the Ashram felt as if we were exploring a new home with childlike enthusiasm. Every single piece of artefact was a sign of peace. Each room has its own purpose and designed accordingly. We entered the beautiful garden. The flowers smiled with the sun. We walked in the garden, the bare feet touched the wet grass. The legs moved automatically. Each touch of morning grass felt like a destresser. It was my first experience. I felt confident, at least I had nothing to lose, if not gain in the adventure.
The journey was a different experience altogether. It was to find oneself. The day began at 3 am and ended at 10 pm. Each minute felt splendid. The chants of Om were an alarm. No one had to be woken up. Each sevak considered it as their duty to be on time in the meditation room and clean it before the session began. Every corner dusted off of negativity and fresh air welcomed wholeheartedly. The sessions began with prayers, followed by deep meditation. The first day went tough. I could concentrate only for few seconds. Eyes opened; I saw everyone deeply engrossed. Not a single eyebrow or eyelid moved. Even Swati’s face felt as if immersed deeply in meditation. I closed my eyes again to concentrate. The thoughts popped up, of my recent break-up. Every moment came out as fresh flowers as if they have never vanished from my mind.
Six months back
‘Tarun, who is this girl messaging you so late? And why are you entertaining her at an odd hour?
‘Rujuta, she is my boss. I can’t ignore her. I am due for a promotion.’
‘For promotion will you do whatever she asks for?’
‘Mind your language! I am not making plans with her to be on the bed. We are chatting casually.’
I slept with a disturbed mind. I tried hard not to think negatively, but for a change, my heart was not ready to accept. The errand of late-night messages and calling continued for some days.
One day, Tarun informed me he was scheduled for a work trip with his boss to Jaipur and would be back in 4-5days. I felt fishy. The clothes packed, the smile on his face made everything appeared suspicious. He didn’t even open up about the details of the stay. So, I decided to sneak in the information.
I took the boldest step of my life – the most difficult one. But it had to be done to save my relationship. What if Tarun was proved to be innocent? What if it gets proved that it’s just my perception? In that case, I will accept my mistake and ask for forgiveness. But I cannot stay with these thoughts in my mind permanently. At least I would be relieved that I was wrong to mistrust him.
I followed Tarun to Jaipur. I waited an entire day for them to finish the meeting and arrive at the hotel. I made sure I was not in his visible zone and at the same time kept an eye. The duo walked in and departed towards rooms. I followed them after a small wait. Both entered the same room. Somehow, I managed to hold on to the railing for support. I didn’t want to believe what I had seen. I waited for some time and then knocked on the room.
Tarun’s face went pale. He had never expected me to be there. On questioning, he couldn’t provide a single satisfactory explanation to even a single question. The truth unfolded in front of me.
The pieces of my life’s puzzle came down crashing on my heart. The guy whom I had loved for
eternity. The guy for whom I fought with my family. The same guy didn’t think twice before
betraying me. Was it so easy for him to move ahead with me still around? Was it so easy for
him to break my trust? My entire life revolved around him and I was just a leftover tissue in his life. That day marked the last day of our beautiful relationship build over 7years.
Shocked, I opened my eyes and came back to the real world. Tears dropped from one corner of the eye. I tried to conceal. I didn’t want to be a sympathy gainer. Everyone was still in the meditative posture. It was only me who couldn’t concentrate in such a blissful ambiance too. I stood up to walk away but Swati held me back.
‘Just close your eyes and sit. Let thoughts come and go. Do not think about them and do not analyse them. Don’t focus on them.’
I sat back to try once again. But to concentrate on what? Only one thought pops into my mind. Let me try not to think about it. But it didn’t meet with much success.
The first day of the meditation and yoga sessions ended. We were not taught the difficult asanas, but only one asana- inner world. Every minute get closer to your inner world and far away from an outer one. The only mantra preached by Guruji was to leave the attractions of the material world and become closer to your inner world. Each sevak worked hard to achieve it on daily basis. Many failed but no one gave up.
The day progressed with works assigned to each sevak. It could be anything from scrubbing the floors to cooking food. Everyone worked as if it was their home and we all been a huge family. Some seniors were assigned work to teach newcomers. The newcomers were welcomed and made comfortable just the way we did for siblings.
The food was another blessing of the ashram. The preparations from organic produce on their farms were heaven to taste buds. The Pizzas, the burgers couldn’t match the authenticity of dal-chaval cooked here. Served with a dollop of ghee, made it perfect to satiate the longing of homesickness. That night I slept with a smile on my face after six months. Not a single bad thought, not even a single bad dream. The night went peaceful. In my heart, I thanked Swati to be able to convince me to visit the Ashram atleast for one time.
Day two began with Om chants as an alarm and cool breeze welcomed the new day and new hope. Again, the challenge was the first task at hand – meditation. I closed my eyes and tried hard to concentrate. Whooopp!!! I opened my eyes in two minutes. Gosh… I couldn’t concentrate.
I am the dumbest woman; good for nothing. Only a woman like me would not be able to absorb in such a blissful environment where the worst person too become one with it.
The cycle continued for several days with hardly any improvement in my levels of concentration. Finally, I burst out into tears. Seeing this, Swati took me to Ashram’s Guru.
She left me with Guruji.
‘Guruji. I am not able to meditate. Whenever I close my eyes, my entire past starts revolving around me. It’s not leaving me.’
‘First of all, calm down. What do you expect from yourself? You will come here and become a spiritual practitioner on day one? Do you think all the problems will evaporate the moment you step on this piece of land?’
‘No Guruji, I am not expecting anything of that sort. But my past is not leaving me.’
‘Is it going to leave you anytime? You have given your heart, body, and soul to it. It will be with you always. You have to choose where you want to keep it or store it?’
‘I didn’t understand.’
‘When a person dies, we mourn for few days maybe for weeks. But we move ahead because we know he or she is never going to return. But when we want to move ahead past a dead relationship, it’s more difficult as the person is still in front of us breathing. Now the challenge is if the person returns to you, are you going to accept him again? If yes, then hold on to the emotions at the back of your heart. But if the answer is no, keep the sweet memories and erase the bitter ones. Let the memories stay, bid the relationship goodbye forever. Don’t allow it to take the front seat. Let it be like the first alphabets which you learned – you don’t revise them daily but using it you make many new words in your life. Here, too, using the experience build new and better relationships with yourself and people around you.’
Guruji’s words felt like a feather stroking the dry scars. Not to infuse life in them but silently
telling them to stay the way they are.
Is the pain worth it? Is the grief worth it? Does Tarun deserve my time and energy?
The answer was no.
Bowing and seeking blessings from Guruji, I left the main chambers. Like the first day, I walked again with barren feet on the same wet grass. The sun shone brightly. The dew drops evaporated with the mist. The life of dewdrop was of one night. It stayed with the leaves for some time and transpired, soon to be a part of the large clouds. Yet it expected nothing. It stayed till it was asked to and left the very next moment.
Imagine what would have happened if I would have never understood the real picture? I would have been under blankets of grief and misery for years. I should be thankful to Guruji for opening my perpetually closed eyes. I should be thankful to her for liberation from the bondage of bitter memories. I should be thankful for showing me the new path. It’s now on me to walk on it or stand over here for years to come in the hope to return.
Life has given me a second chance. Second chance to stand again. Second chance to walk again. Second chance to prove myself again. I couldn’t lose this chance.
The next day felt like a new lease of life. The morning sun bought a new hope.
The mantras began and everyone closed eyes, I tried to concentrate. But this time the target was different. It was to be a better version of myself. Better than yesterday. Step by step, one by one. The thoughts did come, but this time they didn’t stay for long. Or rather I didn’t allow them to stay. For the first time, I could feel my ribcage expanding and relaxing. The warm air gushed through my blood. I could hear each heartbeat. Yes, I achieved it. The start of a new journey began. Though it was only for 15 mins, still it was better over two mins.
Slowly progress began from 15 to 30 to 60…
Our 15days stay also ended. But I was still not ready to leave the Ashram. I felt something is left for me to learn and give back to this Ashram which had given me my inner peace back. Swati and I continued on our respective journeys – she back in her journalist world and I in my spiritual world. The days progressed into months. I not only found myself but also a new spirit of life. The past dwindled, and I learned to stay in present. I learned new things and also unlearned my old redundant school of thoughts. Each session with Guruji gave a new lease of life to all present over there. I found my meaning in life. The reason to live.
The notice board on the Ashram read – today’s yoga and meditation session will be conducted by Sevika Rujuta for all the newcomers who desire to seek harmony and balance in life. Welcome to the new world of happiness and satisfaction and embark wholeheartedly on this new journey.
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