I stumbled upon Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda in the Kharga Library
I had more or less finished reading novels of my interest – I hated cheap Love stories and silhouette romance – so never took them home. I was keen on finding a book on the ‘unusual phenomenon’, the other side of the iron curtain, about dreams and its significance, Angels, the paranormal , the supernatural etc. I found the Volume One of Complete Works. I just flipped through it and saw some topics.I read them. And I stood Still ! For I was told that he spoke on Vedas and Upanishads – but here he was talking about Dreams, Youths, women…..well – almost about everything under the sky !! I got the book issued. I started reading…and I could not get up! No novel till that day – how much ever mysterious or gripping it was –ever made me forget my hunger – but this one did ! I was called 3 –4 times for Lunch and I got up reluctantly. I always slept in the afternoon after Lunch. I forgot all about it ! What was this new light I wondered !! great – simply great !! (a` kon aalo laaglo chokhe`)
I issued the Volume II – read it all. By this time I also came to know about the Kundalini Shakti – the coiled serpent energy resting at the base of our spine. Spirituality and meditation was all about waking it up. Thus began my seeking. Seeking my Guru. I started issuing books on Kundalini Shakti – read experiences of people who had this spontaneous awakening of the Shakti. I read books on Yoga – everything I was getting from Kharga Library.
One thing was common in every book on Kundalini Shakti – Never ever try to awaken it without the help of a True Guru – a Sadguru – for the consequences could be fatal – one can die – go berserk – and no Doctor can heal it – NO DOCTOR – for Science was yet to discover this – it did not agree with something that is invisible.
Also it was written that once you decide to tread on the path of spirituality – be ready for hardships ! For what happens is that when you surrender to the Higher Self – you start facing unusual circumstances – which might be hurting /insulting in nature – its just a way to negate your Karmas – which you can do – if you can forget and forgive the ‘pain giver’ from your heart – a very difficult task – but this is what it is ! A human Brain is like a Hard Disk – when you know that certain files are just occupying space and will never be used again – its better to delete it – purge it – what’s the use of keeping redundant files …especially when there are chances of the same file becoming VIRAL – your entire system crashes – isn’t it ?! Therefore ‘Let go’ . Take every episode of your life as a Chapter – a Lesson – you liked reading a Chapter – Great – another story you did not like – well forget about it – you read it – saw what’s it like – don’t read it again if it gives you pain – avoid – ignore – don’t re-read it ! Anyways – to many people reading this – it must be appearing to be some Management Jargon – but folks – it is the Harsh truth – the bitter truth – do not ‘cling’ – Let Go….there is much more to You – than this Physical Body !!
Another thing that caught my attention while reading this book was the fact that Swami ji , in his utterly practical and Scientific approach also said something like ‘Avataars ( Incarnations) do come on Earth’ – now this was a welcome idea – I used to dream of Gods such a lot – of Lord Shiva, Vishnu, etc – so the fact that he reinforced this belief of mine was definitely a welcome idea . I used to sit on a table which I had decorated with many photographs of Gods. While reading this line – on Avataars) I had made a special request to the Gods ‘ Gods, will you let me marry an Avataar?’ – yeah folks ! I spoke like this with Gods…for deep in my heart I wished – since my childhood in fact – that my husband should possess supernatural powers – otherwise how else will he protect me – this desire had come from watching – Superman, Spiderman…Phantom…etc. Well as far as arms and ammunitions are concerned – even we girls can handle that ….shooting, tearing the Grenade lid with the help of the teeth and throwing with all your might etc – what’s the big deal? – but what about handling Aliens and other Supernatural Powers ?…well such things played on my mind all the time – not my fault – is it? The fantasy weavers are to blamed for such a state of affairs ! I think all girls want their husbands to possess supernatural powers for security reasons !
I once saw a movie – most probably ‘Aliens’….or something to do with it – in the last scene it died – after creating a lot of havoc of course – like killing people and breaking buildings etc. and after doing all this it died of Bacteria ! Anyways I was very afraid of the entire concept …and guess what? This fear left me only when I read Bhagvad Geeta – where Lord Krishna has proclaimed that the entire Universe is created by God and there is nothing to fear ! in Chater 10 – in his ‘Viswa Roop Darshan’ it was described that the sun and the moon and several other planets and celestial bodies were seen in His body ! Thus this thought of Aliens coming and breaking our stuff finally left my mind for I knew Lord Krishna would not let that happen to his devotees !
I later brought the 3 rd and the 4 th Volume of Complete Works as well – but then they were basically the replies of Letters written to Swami Ji – the same Question was asked and he was saying the same thing to them all – according to the mailer’s brain development ! Sometimes I used to really marvel at Swami ji’s patience – how he was managing to reply to some absolutly ‘dumb’ questions !! Well I guess it was required – for those days this piece of information was a ‘new light’ to the otherwise materialistic westerners – thus they could not probably comprehend the vast Indian Heritage so easily !! Basically I concluded that the Vol- I and II were enough to ignite and quench the thirst any searching soul.
Arrival of Shero (Lil’ bit about Rustom)
My father had this dream to have a big dog loitering in the house – especially Alsatian – German Shepard ! He told us that this desire to have an Alsatian had come while we were in Delhi, Dadu was the IG, Forest then and posted in Delhi and we used to go to his residence. He had 2 Alsatians – Alka and Betty – and they looked real regal! My father was more attracted to the ‘straight standing Ears’ – and had this wish to possess one such breed.
In Gangtok, one of the Officers residing in North Sikkim – or somewhere I don’t really remember– had a pup – jet black in color and was of ‘Mountain Terrier’ breed . While as a pup, the ears are usually drooping – but the Officer told my father that its ears will stand straight with time – when he grows up. So he brought the pup home. My sister named it ‘Rustom’. Sheba was extremely jealous of it – I could clearly see it in her attitude ! I was once cuddling our new pup when I suddenly saw Sheba looking at me very strictly. Feeling guilty I let go of him and tried to hold her instead – but she ran and hid herself under the bed and didn’t come out in spite of all the ‘sweet nothings’ I sent her way !
Rustom was a very ‘mast’ kind of a dog ! He used to collect his own ration himself ! Like he used to dig his nose deep in the ration basket and took out potatoes, onions for himself and keep it in his corner – the next day the cook had to collect his ration and make his soup etc. with whatever he collected. Anyway I left for the Hostel and when my sister got married – he was given to her as a protector actually – for in the Tea gardens she had huge premises and its always good to have dogs in such huge Bunglows. My Brother in law was a dog lover so it was not much of a problem for Rustom to adjust with them. His ears remained droopy – thus a new name was given to him by my brother in law – ‘Defective Kaani’ (where ‘Kaan’ is ears in English). Rustom became more pally with him than my sister ! She anyways was never a dog lover !!
So in Ambala there was one Bhushan Uncle who had an Alsatian Female – Mona. Pups were born and we wanted a male. I still remember going to his house with my father and the pups were playing with their Mother. One of the pups came and started gnawing at my shoes ! Bhushan Uncle came and checked – there were 2 females and one male and it was the male who was gnawing at my shoes !! I remember picking him up and sitting in the Jeep with him on my lap – suddenly his mother came out and started pursuing our jeep – she was stopped at the gate. Her son fitted perfectly on my lap and was trembling a bit for it was the first time he was out of its house – he was quietly watching the road – and his ears were drooping. We had kept our fingers crossed – for him to have standing, straight ears !
I kept his name ‘ Sheroo’. Actually I had read that Swami ji had a dog and had named him ‘Bagha’ (Lion) – so in order to – not to cheat him totally – I kept his name Sheroo (Tiger). My sister found the name utterly ‘remote villager like’ and used to write in her letter something like ‘ give love to Mom & Dad and the ‘Ganwaar Sheroo’ that you have got !’ – where ‘Ganwaar’ means village bred !
Shero is one dog who has defied all the basic rules and norms applied to dogs – esp. their breed of dogs! He was the most docile of all – His name in the Dog’s book was ‘Lovable Lad’. It is usually said that how-much-ever your dog is close to you – you should never disturb him while he is having his meal – whereas I sometimes even snatched away his bone that he was gnawing at – ever so gently but all he used to do is look lovingly towards me so that I give back his bone to him !
Shero came in March – last week of March 1992 I think .. Sheba was as usual jealous. She started sleeping under the Tulsi bush – maybe to feel cooler – we had many Tulsi plants which grown automatically in our garden !She became infested by maggots – probably because she slept too much under the bush – and since she was so cranky that she never even let us clean her properly. She was taken to the Vet and treated there. She was given injections and lots of medicines. During her last days I remember she always came to me whenever I combed my hair – she wanted to get brushed – combed as well. I used to brush her coat with powder etc for a long time and she let me do it too – although she never used to stay so long with so much patience before !
One day ,while returning from the Computer Institute – I saw a vulture picking up a dead piece of meat – I felt like puking on seeing that. When I reached home – Shero welcomed me so after caressing him a bit , I went straight to see how Sheba was feeling. She was no more. We buried her near the tree where I had gotten a Shiva-Linga installed by the bhaiyas. I lit a ‘single wick’ lamp for her for 7 days and prayed to God that she should be led to higher Worlds and be comfortable wherever she was ! I did not cry much for probably I had Sheroo to fall back on – and moreover I had seen her suffer so much – it was okay that she had left her physical abode. My Sheba died as a chaste, virgin dog under the Tulsi plant effect – an unusually pious and pure dog …I do not like to use the term ‘bitch’ for her for it is basically more used as an abusive word!!
Sheroo was given an old Military gum-boot for teething
Sheba had ruined many of our shoes – esp. my sister’s heels etc. while she was teething. But we were careful this time – so we gave Sheroo a big old gum boot belonging to my father – he was just satisfied with that – although the shoe rack was in the open – he could have gone and picked up any stuff but he never did it – he was happy with what he was given !
Only once we all went for a Party – he must be some 3-4 months old – so he had chewed the hanging side of the dining table cover – the designed plastic Dining Table cover that we had bought from ‘Dulhabaari’ (Nepal) – a place which has a special attraction for all Army Officer’s Wives – if they ever get posted that side !! We had not even notice that ! When we came back and generally changing our dress – he barked a lot and drew our attention towards the ‘deed’ ! While we were feeling sorry for the beautiful table cover – he was wagging his tail – kind of asking us how we liked his way of punishing us for leaving him alone and going to some ‘blasted’ party !!
Sheroo tore apart Richard Bach’s ‘The bridge across for ever’
I had kept the novel on the bed and had gone for my Computer classes. I came back home and saw the book torn apart !! I took it to the Library and told the Officer in-charge about the mishap. He just took the novel back and asked me to be careful the next time – didn’t charge me any fine or anything !
Later I came to know that it was basically a love story – on soul mates – I had written to my sister about him so even she had started reading his stuff. She had found it very interesting – about souls mates meeting etc. Maybe God didn’t want me to be open to that idea…for I had to eventually meet my Higher Spirit….and not waste time with soul mates……there can be many soul mates – who touched you in your last life – they could have been your friend – not necessarily your Life partner for that life – think about it !! What is a ‘soul’?- a transition period of an ‘entity’ between its rebirth ie. between birth & death of a Physical body – which has all the records of all the previous lives in it (for the ‘Coiled Serpent Energy’) too gets released when the Soul leaves the Body after death. What is ‘mate’ – a companion or a friend. He/ she can be your school friend, your helper,teacher,student – just anyone you met in your previous life – so you can get drawn towards that person in the present life – does not mean that if you marry that person . you’ll be 100% satisfied !!
By the way – Richard Bach eventually divorced his soul mate – according to him ie. that he wrote about in this novel. He had re-married (after leaving his wife and 6 children) Leslie Parrish – who was an Actress ! Well maybe this is the reason why I could never read this particular book for it had an Actress as an inspiration – and we all know that Actresses never make good wives – can never make – only Actor husbands can handle Actress Wives – you know the ‘You are okay, I am okay’ strategy !
Like all parents , my parents also started looking for a suitable groom for me. First they read the Matrimonial – even sent a letter to one – never got any response – Thank God !!
Later a proposal came from a distant relative of ours. He was some Engineer in L & T. He came to see me. He was very fair, short – 5’5” maybe and stubby – chubby…well you can call him fat as well ! He liked watching the most boring TV serial of the era ‘Surabhi’ – yuk !! My father had taken a liking for him – well settled and from a known family background. Both my parents failed to understand why I was turning him down ! I winded up saying “ Okay – along with my bridal outfit, do not forget to buy a shroud for you’ll have to get my dead body back the very next day if you force me to marry him”
This filmy dialogue cooled them down.
Another fellow – some Rajpoot fellow of Ordnance Unit – some Eliot group – fell for me – he had seen me giving Sheba a walk ! He had some audacity folks – he actually rang up my residence and started talking to me – much to my Mother’s disapproval! My Mother is after all a Bengali woman – and Bengalis have this tendency to believe that when children grow up – they surely fall in love…lust and indulge in ‘mongrelish’ stuff (chumma-chata dhoom dhadaka kinda thing) – it’s a very common thing in the suburbs of Kolkata actually – she, after all, basically belonged to the Kolkata suburbs – and one cannot totally forget about one’s root !!
He told me that he had seen me while I was taking a walk with Sheba –I saw him once – he told me that he would be on his bike wearing some particular colored shirt ! Well I saw him – he was tall and good looking as well – no doubt about it – but folks I had this major mental bloke – I only wanted to marry a Bengali Brahmin !! Sounds very backdated but well I am like that !! I had heard my friends and seen in movies as well – how difficult it is to adjust to a completely different life style – different religion, food habits.. adjusting etc – such things were not a very welcome idea to me !!
Moreover I had, kind of, gotten bored of the Army Life – as a Daughter its cool but for a wife its not all that cool also – I mean packing and getting posted and again settling down – my Mother has very high energy levels – but I don’t think I have even 10% of her Energy level !!Thus I was not interested to get married to some Army officer !!
She stopped me from going for walks altogether and said to loiter within the huge premises that we had.
There was another fellow – an Army Officer’s son – non Bengali – but he was also alone after college , he had joined his parents. I had met him during my evening walks. During Durga Pujas, he used to stay/walk/go around with me for he didn’t know anything about the Pujas and I used to tell me – basically show him around. We were just plain, simple friends nothing more than that at all – but my Mother thought that probably I had found my ‘elope’ mate in him – she asked me why he- as a Punjabi – should spend so much time in the Durga Puja Pandal with me !!
Well – I told her that he had no friends – and nor do I have any friend so he is generally pally with me ! But this she interpreted differently – according to her – I was extremely foolish and unable to understand that he was ‘line maaroing’ me !! and probably if it goes on – I might even elope with him !! I was really amazed at my Mother’s interpretation of things !! anyways, as Khalil Gibran ..and many other seers have mentioned – generations cannot be compared – different generations and different USP’s!
But anyways folks – it’s a Mother’s heart after all – they have this tendency to think the worst for their children I suppose – esp. Indian Mothers – suffer from immense insecurity complex !! Moreover she was afraid that my reputation might go for a toss – for – if people around were asked about my ‘character and personality’ they (neighborhood) would have reported to them of my daily evening walks with this fellow and my marriage would probably have broken !! kind of : Haw jee !! yek ladki Evening walks ko jati hai – shaadi tod do ji !!- (omiegosh! She goes for evening walks? Marriage cancelled ! )….so do you see folks ?- how fragile is a middle class girl’s life (reputation) in India? Their marriage and proposals can break at the bat of an eye !!….but for Indian boys (all categories – high, middle, lower class) its very different – they can go ahead and start having ‘sex’ with any ‘desperate Housewife’ or any available ‘bold-game girl’ as soon as they reach puberty – for it’s a done thing in India since they are very famous for their virility and highly libidinous qualities …notice how India is going steadily towards ‘Population Explosion’….
Another proposal came – this time a son of Air Force Officer – his son was in the Army – we went to Delhi to see him – I saw his snap first – he was physically not there – he was …not good looking at all. I rejected on seeing his snap itself !!Later they invited us for Lunch once again – when I saw him face to face – he failed to impress me !! Anyways – my mother also did not like him and the matter was closed there ! Even they did not show any interest any further – probably even they did not like me ! Thank God !!