Journey towards You : Pt 1

Writing about one’s own self is a pretty difficult task. Strange, isn’t it? We can write volumes about others yet always fall short of efforts to write about our own selves. The idea here is to just share some of my own personal experiences with you all.

I would like this website a tool for self-growth of everyone involved: the contributors and the readers included. I would really like every reader to share something here. Every person’s life is filled with incidents that have helped the person become closer to oneself, incidents which have given new perspectives about life, incidents after which one felt renewed with the newfound understanding and appreciation of life.

There are always apprehensions of writing about oneself; first and foremost is the vulnerability which comes with telling about one’s own deepest feelings and thoughts. However, like catharsis writing not only provides certain healing but also opens up one to new possibilities and expansion.

Sometimes, older events of this life feel like another lifetime; since so many things change over time and they change so much that even childhood memories appear to be a distant dream sometimes.

My oldest memory of this life is a dreadful evening where there is a stunning silence in the house. Old but large enough house where everyone seems to be in a sombre mood. It is getting dark and I try to go to the room where probably I had seen my mother last time. I sort of recall that everyone had gone somewhere and they returned. However, I don’t remember what happened before or after that evening.

I was only about two-and-a-half years and had lost my mother. I did not realize what had happened at that time. It did not strike me what fell upon me at that time; probably the shock had made me numb or I was not mature to appreciate that. I don’t remember crying. I might have but I have no memories. Neither do I remember the face nor do I remember any interaction with her.

The next memory I have is getting up in the middle of a certain night and reading books that my grandfather possessed. He had lots of books and also used to get a few periodicals along with a Hindi newspaper every morning. There was no television at that time.

Wherever I would struggle in reading; my grandfather would gently guide me. I became a fluent reader very soon. It was only Hindi and I did not even start my formal education until then. I would ask him every-time I did not understand any difficult word and he would help me. Most of the times, I would try to infer the meaning of a word based on the context and had filled up my mind with meanings of various words that I had decoded myself. Many of them turned out to be wrong later; however, the freedom and no pressure situation while reading helped me become a good reader on my own. My grandfather would almost every night meditate from midnight to early morning.

I always felt reassured around my grandfather. My grandmother was a more practical person. She had got nothing to do with books but she possessed practical wisdom. I was fortunate that I had the best of both worlds in some sense.

I was rarely scolded or reprimanded and never got beaten, which was usual with kids of that time. Though I was mischievous and naughty at times. Someone brought me a comic book on Krishna. During those times, books with too many pictures were rare. I absolutely loved the comic book. I read the comic book hundreds of times. And I must admit that I never really liked the ending where Krishna dies after getting struck by an arrow. I could not digest that. I would have liked the book to have a happy ending. And I was probably less than four years old by this time. I am able to trace back my approximate age because of certain incidents that happened during those times like death of Indira Gandhi or the launch of television in India etc.

I liked how Yudhistara reached heaven towards the end of comic book and it felt as if heaven was something which you could just walk in. When I learnt about souls, I did not really understand that. I repeatedly asked how does it look like and other questions to my grand-father and he always used to explain things to me.

Whenever I used to see fakirs, monks, nuns, babas etc; I always had some sort of longing in my heart to just tag along with them. I don’t know why I felt that way. On the other hand, everyone in my house warned kids to stay away from all fakirs and babas knocking at the doors telling us that they would kidnap kids. The thought of being kidnapped sort of scared me early on; yet attraction towards them never really faded.

My grandmother would be very strict about who I could play with, and hence my friend circle was very limited. I could never afford to play like other kids in the streets, chase kites, etc. I envied their freedom. In order to kill time, I would read books and never really realized when I became a bookworm.

Comic books had started becoming popular during those times and since most people would not be able to buy them; there used to be shops that would rent comic books. Before you rent them, you could turn pages checking out the book and rent if you like that. Not something which I appreciate now; but at that time, I would read a couple of books while turning the pages and easily finish them. So, I would read one or two books while taking a glance and rent the third one and bring home. Thus, for the cost of one, I would have read three of them. I would probably not do this anymore, but those times were different, also I was probably around 5 or 6 years old then.

During those times; themes of most books would be spiritual, religious, inspirational, devotional, related to the freedom struggle, biographies, etc. These were initial formative years, and I was exposed to things that helped shape my thoughts for a long time and probably define the undercurrent behind every thought of mine.

………… to be continued..!!

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