I had almost trekked for 6 hours on an uncharted path by now. And it reached to a meadow after a climb of some steep and some not so steep slopes. I was quite exhausted by now. I could see a big tree, the only standing tree by the end of it. I thought I’d reach this tree before bringing the ceremonial end to my summit. Uncharacteristic to the topography, it was huge with its branches extending to all directions more than its height and its broad leaves giving me an impression of a banyan tree. But it looked different; certainly it felt different. Without giving much thought to it anymore, I decided to take some rest under its welcoming shade. The lush green grass, the cool wind and the enthralling view from the top made me do something wild, which I wouldn’t have otherwise. I undressed myself and left everything behind before entering the abode of its shade and lied down on the grass stark naked. “Never had I felt more free. Never had I been this comfortable before.” I woke up from my short nap to find Brownie sitting in front, facing me. Seeing me wake up, she wiggled her nose, before taking her short steps forward. My breathing fastened as the idea of finding her again after so many years was too much for me to cope with. Tears of joy started rolling from my eyes as I forwarded my index finger close to her nose. She paused a bit sniffing my hand before jumping in joy in all possible directions…
“Tick Tick” I called her to come close. And she came and sat next to me as I started scratching her in between her ears. She was always very fond of it and continues to be so as she closed her eyes as I did that. Suddenly I got reminded of her departure from this world… I closed my eyes to stop this thought.
But guess, it was too late by now. And She was gone.
I started climbing down the mountain and somewhere in between in search for answers, I found a cave next to a spring. I drank some water from it and dared to enter it. A yogi sat in his yogic posture at the far end of the cave. I slowly but steadily approached him. He opened his eyes and he smiled at me as if he had measured and judged all my questions in that split second. I simply went close to him and sat there. We didn’t exchange any words nor it was meant to be exchanged. He brought his index finger forward towards my forehead as I closed my eyes.
“Silence finds it’s meaning only amidst the chaos. Sanity comes because we have all been insane before… You saw there what you wished for… Nothing was ever taken from you, nothing can ever be taken from you.”
Often we stand at crossroads, feeling dejected reflecting upon the mismatch between our expectations and what life has in store for us. But it is in these moments of extreme privacy, it becomes rather more important to sit back and reflect upon these as a result of one of the universal laws of nature. Love and Pain. Ironically we never think of them putting them in the same basket. But they always happen to chase each other… don’t they? Sometimes even occurring at the same time.
“Aab kya karein janaab! Aas he to niraasa to hogi hi… par kabhi kabhi.” 🙂
Kintsugi : the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver. As a philosophy, it means embracing the flawed or imperfect.
I had read this story once.
[There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”]
I had found it very moving having seen this evolution in myself personally; though at the cost of some scars. I had developed this bad temper during my adolescent years. Maybe it was the hormones or the lack of education and understanding or a mix of both. But it resulted in passing on my tantrums to others; mostly my mother and my sister, who had loved me dearly all my life and I was certain that they won’t ever retaliate back about it. And the reasons used to be very flimsy; sometimes for non acceptance of my choice, say of a TV to be bought or simply the hot humid weather; they varied with given time and space. But mostly it was to do with my narrow understanding of authority/ego someway or other, as I remember it.
Interestingly, if you google ‘Anger’, the first post that pops up explains it as one of the basic human emotions as elemental as happiness, sadness, anxiety or disgust; necessary for human SURVIVAL. Guess I had honed it calculatingly for my ego satisfaction in a sustainable fashion, when I had chosen my mother and sister as the receivers. But it all changed one particular afternoon and I think I should share this here.
It was summer of 2006; I had appeared for tenth board exams a couple of months back and was awaiting the result. We had gone out for some reason that I don’t remember; me, Didi(elder sister)and Maa. It was a particularly hot day and the high humidity was making it all worse for me. But the trip was short and we returned back home early; maybe it was one of didi‘s doctors appointments. I entered my room only to find the broken Air conditioner; the trigger that I needed for my fit of anger to come out. Hence started the slamming of doors, followed by raising of voices complaining anything and everything that was wrong with my family. A few more slamming of doors and a few kicks to the sofa later I found myself confronted by my didi. “Why are you shouting? What are you acting like this!?” And my rage reached its peak as I simply pushed her aside to slam a few more doors accompanied by a few more bellowed sentences. ‘Thud…’ My mother came running from the kitchen welling. “What have you done? Oh, God! Reeka, are you alright?” Only then did I realize that my push was hard enough to make her fall over her wrist and crack it. I stood numb there seeing all this commotion as my mother lifted her up and took her to the hospital. They came back some thirty odd minutes later. My sister had plastered her right hand. I was still in a state of shock to accept the severity of my actions. A few minutes later I found her sitting in the living room by the aquarium. I went and sat next to her. A few seconds of shame later I said, “Didi, I’m sorry”, as my words whispered by the end, weighed down by the shame. She turned towards me and held my hand in hers and gave me a peck on my cheek. “I love you,” she said. No advice, no warning, no deliberation: nothing. A simple “I love you”, in exchange for her fractured wrist. I’m not sure what I felt in those few minutes and what changes it brought to me. The weather continued to be the same; the decisions in house continued to be taken in the same fashion; the family continued to be members of four; but what changed was the absence of temper that I used to experience. I don’t recall ever getting angry after that.
I was lucky enough to have them; my family who kept on giving me chances. Not everyone is… “Thank you Didi for embracing this flawed individual.”
Hope this chapter of my past helps you avoid your fits of flow of anger on your near and dear ones. Stay healthy and spread happiness. Love.