Saturday, June 24, 2017

Endless suffering – 2 (JACKAL)

(Reading part -1 would make more sense as you dig into part-2; just further down!)
You could say in a way I was born anew at 38.  Three events burst on me more from chance than design: mother moving out of Besant nagar, at long last I found a writing job, and finally out of the blue I fell in love. Each transformative in itself and together combined spelt new hopes and filled the heart with “dreams may come true” optimism.
            My eldest sister found a one-bedroom apartment for the mother bang opposite her bungalow.  She could keep an eye, feed three squares and yet not have the nuisance in the house.  
            Working for Worldwide Media from home gave me just the drive to develop my writing. I spent long hours in the dictionary and starting to develop some craft. 
            “Writing” and “mother’s issue” gave a lot of relief to the mind but it was “romance” that gave the mind its dreams. 
            Enter the “Jackal” phase:
            I used to blog in rediffiland in 2006.  One day I find in my inbox a co-blogger’s request to read her posts for a feedback. I run my eye and within half an hour I feel the first flush of romance. We write to one another, more love flows in the heart.  A month later we take to the phones, we are inseparables whispering the “magic three words” without an image being exchanged.
            Ishita (name changed) impacted my mind with a force of a thunderbolt. I was 38 to her 40.  This tale is so interesting, let’s break it into stages: (I promise it's worth your while!) 
First Stage: Soulmates 
            We met on a mid-afternoon sultry day in the mid 2007 after I had flown specially to meet her in the Gujarat capital.  The emails and phone-calls of three months set us up beautifully. By the end of the day our heart sang in unison: this is for real as we hugged and kissed.
            Ishita seemed perfect in every way – attractive, sunshine personality, spontaneous humour, and wore clothes to her best advantage.  Those eyes blazed radiant cheer and rosy cheeks ridge to a curve each time she smiled.   
           The next six months were pure magic. We met less than 8 days in our lives and they were made in heaven including a pre-honeymoon vacation to Kodaikanal.  We speak over two hours on a daily basis; I love the fruity voice rattle on the happenings of the day.  Ishita sang Hindi hits over the phone, read her poems, and her incessant sms texting:  Given to frequent travels on work, she reports by the instant: Now, "security". Ten minutes later, "boarding".  And then an hour later “Landed”.
            Ishita, in her own words, sums up this period, “Sathya, Thank God you have a stable job for once.  I believe we were destined to meet. Aren’t we soulmates?” while tossing me the Brian Weiss book.  
               Second Stage: Standby mode
We speak couple of hours each day – remember we were separated by geography, Chennai and Ahmedabad – and gushing passion. The ma’am plans honeymoon locations, Mauritius is bandied and I nod my head like a good boy: anywhere, as long as she is there for hugs and kisses.
            Six months pass by and I am frantic at the delay. Each time there is talk of marriage, the subject is deftly changed.  I meet her in Bangalore in one of her monthly visits to her Corporate Office with a stern tone: What’s on your mind? Am I an embarrassment or a time-filler?
            Ishita climbs down from the high horse, “Sathya, I have not spoken to my parents as yet. Please come to Ahmedabad and we’ll make it official”. I wonder what kind of parents allow their daughters on pre-honeymoon trips and not be in the know.
            I visit Ahmedabad for a tête-à-tête for a complete fiasco. I am introduced to the mother who is seated on the sofa and legs stretched over the coffee table! I say nothing, but the gesture doesn’t escape me.
            The whole “marriage” thing rings hollow.  Ishita would just not commit on a date.  Worse still we were fighting over trivial things; I now believe she fabricated them and douse my ardour.  All my instincts scream: IT's OVER. 
            But strangely there is no letup on the phone conversations. I keep saying: Either marriage or stop calling. It’s emotionally draining. The diva is insistent and keeps the mobile ringing. 
            As for me the memories of Kodaikanal were too etched on the mind to let go.  This stalemate continues over the next 12 months. We no longer coo and whisper sweet nothings. All the fantasies done and dusted. 
Third Stage: The knockout
It was apparent this relation was going nowhere.  Then out of the bolt I find her Orkut post with the status: Committed.
            Something snaps in me. I had never felt a devil lodged inside; now it was aroused to a blinding fury. I wrote to her office on her character or the lack of it, wrote blogs and the woman cried over the phone for the last time: Sathya, I am not a prostitute. I don’t know where I have gone wrong. I am sorry to have hurt you. But I have a right to choose my life-partner. 
            I thought: Of course you have a right to choose after 500 calls, 100 snaps (I mean pictures/images!!!), 400 mails, Kodaikanal trip, sharing beds, hugs, kisses and more! 
           Fourth Stage: Reflections
One devil of a mother reduced me on “mood balancing" drugs.  Ishita was told about this Bipolar even before we met; she knew all about my earnings (was even a nominee to my Mutual Funds savings), she came down to Besant Nagar for inspection at the height of fever shrieking: wow, great.  She saw the beach and Theosophical Society and suitably mesmerized. 
            I try to make sense of events and pick the pieces: Ishita was extraordinarily charming to a James Bond girl level. No man could have resisted her charms. It took me years to realize that she was wicked, scheming, and morally loose. * ***It's unlikely her Prince Charming appeared one fine day riding a white mount and dropping from the skies, she had been dating for weeks and months and keep my telephone conversations going. It takes an evil mind to keep two horses running at the same time. That's why long distance online romances are terrible.   
            I feel smaller than a miserable worm, worthless, a big time loser. 
           I am baffled. She burst on my life for no reason, showers love which I greedily lap, then close and open the charm tap on whim,  my utility over and then kicked away.  I felt like those "use and throw" napkins. 
            I spent years lamenting the play of destiny.  After 38 years of AMMA and her genes, I thought Nature would compensate and Ishita verily the medicine. But reality couldn't be more cruel: I escaped the SNAKE of a mother only to embrace a JACKAL for a lover. Destiny caught me by the short collar and really shoved it in!
           The Plight of Loneliness  (2010 onwards
            With Ishita chapter hermetically sealed, I feel the full weight of loneliness. I adore my writing still and that’s there’s no creative juice in it. My career nosedives further south.  Writing jobs in Chennai is a hopeless case, I am now well over 40 and defeat written all over the face.  I get into insignificant jobs like Tattvaloka (incidentally that got me a lot of friends) and India Cements (again lot of banter).   
            But staying alone in an an empty house brings its own misery.  The feeling of inadequacy plagues the mind like a tambura shruthi:  worthless, hopeless, never amount of anything in life (exactly the sentiments my mother felt when feeding me as a two year old).  
            The years kept marching by. I had foreclosed romance though a few attractive faces impinge on my mind for no more than a week’s fancy. I dread another rejection. I find friends at the beach, India Cements gave me Manikandan and his brand of laughs, weekend spiritual discourses, hours of Vipassana, chanting classes and my sister’s daily calls for a sole human connection.  Even my writing goals and career aspirations watered down: no more chasing anyone, anything the day brings.     
            To wake up alone, mostly work from home, cook for self, and go for days without a human being in sight is vulnerability to the extreme.  My highest aspiration is dying in sleep and take solace in suicidal thoughts.  I stock barbiturates feeling my time is just around the corner. I had run out of any reason to live, or nothing in the horizon to bring cheer.      
            I take an assignment at Abu Dhabi only to run into another monster boss, suffered and came home more hurt and defeated.  I realize earning fat salaries does not assuage loneliness. You may end up buying more in a mall but adds nothing to your stored-up agitations.  Whether in the UAE or in INDIA, loneliness follows you everywhere. 
            Post UAE phase there is no gas in the tank. The script reads a decade of loneliness; living my life felt a never ending marathon. Loneliness eats away your will to live. My life's so hollow; my living or dying makes no difference to others except me. I go through days and weeks averaging less than a dozen sentences a day for human interactions.  The mind fills the rest of the day with repeat runs of "I am worthless, hopeless, good for nothing" on a circular conveyor belt " and adding one more "enough of this nonsense. Just do it". 
          "live miserable" Vs "Die now" Debate rages on
           My scoreboard in life reads: 38 years of AMMA+ 2 years of DIVA meant four decades GONE (the best part of anyone's life) and 7 years of LONELINESS to an extreme frightening degree. If this not end of the road, what is?  I almost do myself in towards the end of 2016 as to engage a quack’s injection in Theni (500 km away) for a forced exit. I backed out at the last moment not out any fear of uncertainty or karmic punishment but I did not want to die so far from home and no friendly face nearby.  
           For years my daily prayers were: Lord, end this misery quickly. I want to die next instant and reborn a human again minus this family, minus this bipolar. Maybe then I qualify for life's blessings of love, family just as anyone else.  But I hold back. 
            Death makes perfect sense but for this countervailing thought: Death is irreversible. However much your current sufferings are, there is no end to destiny’s mischief to piling more.  I see a cage of love birds at the vegetables shop I frequent; they chirp unmindful of being trapped in small space. They are locked from the outside for the nights; even natural light is denied to them until the shutters open the next day.
            Life is not easy at all for anyone; be it animals in the wild or birds on migratory flight with all this climate change nonsense.
            Even when you are at the extreme limits of human endurance, snuffing your own life out feels criminally offensive.  It's not as though death would confer happiness that living denied. I am so high on the misery scale to Guinness Records but animals have it worse. Here I am in a beach-side residence and I still have enough to feed myself.  What if I am condemned to those love birds in the cage of that vegetable shop for my next innings!!!  
          Then the truth feebly seeps through: only as human being there is a possibility. Possibility to learn lessons of peace and happiness even if you die ploughing through rivers of fears, tears, rejections and those depressions.  It is for this remote possibly that you hold your life. Human life is very precious even if it smells of death for years and you languish in splendid isolation. 
           
I'm unabashed admirer of Eckhart Tolle 
That's when I discovered Mindfulness tapping into the wisdom of Louise Hay, Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, Jon Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR., Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Kristin Neff , Thich Naht Hanh, Byron Katie and more. I feel a new world open inside where suffering is the starting point to discovery.   
         “I have suffered so much that I don't want to suffer any more, “ was the quote that directed my attention to Eckhart Tolle and Mindfulness.  Louise Hay says the same thing: Thoughts and intentions are the only tools I have and let me junk all those that drag me down, don't serve me. Used to prayers hoping for a quick end, I now pray: God, let me have a shot at romance again. I don't want to end up just a 2007 winter collection of an irascible diva out to suck the male population dry.  I finally learn to love myself. Stand up for myself. Resolve to treat myself gentler and kinder. And maybe that is all that I need. 
         It takes me 48 years to realize that DESTINY  may have been extremely kind. It takes a master-planner to use the SNAKE and the JACKAL into making an EAGLE of an ASS.  
Life's just begun and I can’t wait to read the next page!        

Post Script: The road on the journey of life is unpaved and full of pebbles,  and our only chance is to trust ourselves completely - be gentle, kind and compassionate to oneself. So I better trust myself at all times and in all situations was the thought that saved me. Not even a crazy mother and hot shot partner and plighted loneliness can rob the intrinsic joy which is me. 

**** It is not normal when a "soulmate" stage is downgraded to "Standby" note for no reason. It is not normal for a woman to go oral with one man and another the next month. Again no real reason for change of heart (maybe it her GENES). I have no doubt in my mind that she was faeces best flushed. I narrate this Ishita episode only to show how cruel my destiny had been. My father could have been a very rich and famous  even if he had a half a decent human being for a spouse. He got the devil HERSELF (surely Satan is feminine) and he died before his time. As for me, Ishita was slow death too but bitten by charm. What makes the story stick is life runs in cycles, we too often ignore and miss out. 
                    
(My Twitter handle @Sathya33 is packed with MINDFULNESS posts. My Facebook page is filled with these thoughts. So anyone can check them out at: https://www.facebook.com/MadrasSathya?lst=100000018632520%3A100000018632520%3A1498666249. It transformed my life, so I guess it can work for anyone!! Actually the motive of the twin "Relentless & Endless" posts is to inspire any desperate person to stay in the race however dark and long the tunnel is.  There is no light at the end, you have to make your own torch along the way) 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Endless suffering – 1 (SNAKE)

Relentless & Endless suffering defines perdition, isn’t it?
What is the worst karmic punishment?  Born blind??  Muscular dystrophy?? Deaf and dumb??? Spastic??? Autistic??? 
            I make a case for “Being born to a mentally retarded parent” for the emotional damage is often permanent and suffering prolonged.  
            The tale is so gory. So let me keep it absolutely short and crisp. Bare essentials and no frills. 
            My father’s side of the family were simple, honest Brahmins. The menfolk studied the vaidika sastras for a living while the womenfolk supported them by cooking and raising kids. Those days – say until mid-1980s – families were large, cohesive, and a set lifestyle. Faith, piousness and rituals summed my grandparent’s generation.
            My father was a simple man, a calm temperament, soft spoken and measured in conversations. Besides he was intelligent and capable of clear thinking too.  Born in 1930, he studied till SSLC (10th grade by today’s standards), toiled extremely hard for four decades and died prematurely.  
            My mother side of the family were not ritualistic Brahmins but landlords and highly educated. My uncle was an IAS, influential in the corridors of power. But there is a sinister dark side in the gene pool, high on geniuses and evilness for a sickening combination. 
            My maternal cousins are world-class talents: One son an observational scientist of worldwide eminence, daughter a classical dancer of rich fame, another son an IIT educated engineer, and last son a Chartered Accountant; something none in my father’s side can ever boast. But this high intelligence came with a heavy price: these were rigid people prone to lifelong grudges and resentments. The genes never accommodated kindness and compassion for a genetic defect at source
            The behaviour of my maternal uncle (the IAS fellow is still alive and kicking at 92) amplifies the dichotomy of evil and genius side by side: His eldest son married a woman of his choice in the 70s.  The son was thrown out and boycotted socially.  Even the news of his sudden death in sleep four decades later did not soften the hearts of the parents. Another son married a Christian divorcee and he was similarly snapped and estranged.  My mother – his sister whose mental dumbness may not have a reference even in our epics – was sternly told off on her wedding day in 1961: I have done my job in finding a groom. Now get lost and don’t ever show your face; you’ll be thrown out if you ever step on my doorstep.  This admonition from a brother of the bride in full view of the groom’s family; my father was horrified at the vehemence of hatred.  His genetic makeup could never understand this “cut and snap” in family ties.
            My mother is a prized idiot: deaf (another genetic characteristic), natural arrogance of stamping down people, and in her case the genes took a turn to genius dumbness.  Hopelessly unlettered, zero social skills, loud mouth, high pitched energy which began every sentence with a “ayyo” (most inauspicious word in the Tamil language) made her a stand-out pain in every company.  Soon others ran away from her path and sight. Loneliness and social boycott is a feature of that genetic side. 
            My mother did not work hard to drive my father to an early grave: her lashing tongue from those messed-up genes was as venomous as a cobra. She nagged him to death with her daily cribs provoking the poor man into banging his forehead in disgust.  It takes an evil genius of a mind – one exclamatory word in high pitch screeching voice to pierce every armour of tolerance and target the heart with pinpoint accuracy for maximum damage.  I saw my father die inch-by-inch; none strong enough to cry halt the daily warfare. 
            My father lived with his wife for 27 years on a daily supply of high decibel squeals and threats and “ayyos”. His body ran out of gas and will to live before he turned 60 years.  My mind rebelled and condemned to moodswings at I entered my 21st birthday. 
            Even at 21 I knew there would be no romance, no marriage, and see how far I can go without being a nuisance.  It looked a suicide script to me before 30, before 40, whatever. Reaching a milestone as the 20s or 30s was a huge achievement in endurance.
            What made my mother such a genius monster that no man or beast could stand?  
With her around, any human would feel being in a battlefield. When my second sister was born in 1964 the mother refused to breastfeed the baby for a week. Her mind reasoned: not a girl child again!!! Once a two year old baby in 1967 insisted (I am deliberately avoiding names) on swinging the cradle standing up for better bounce from inside a cloth of a saree.  My mother reacted by banging the head of her infant daughter inside the cradle to the wall. The baby turned blue and breathless and rushed to quacks for first aid and treatment.  My mother was equally outraged and ranting: if the baby does not listen now; will she not turn out rebellious later on? That child grew up shy and diffident until she found a husband 22 years later for some semblance of normalcy.
            As to the torture she inflicted on me, they are heart-rending to this day.  Even a male child was not spared.  Her violent savage nature would keep me wailing in hunger as a one year old. The feeding bottle would be sterilized upon my squeal, milk heated, and later to cool down under the fan as the child bawled out of the skin. 30-45 minutes from the first sign of cry would peak to a crescendo when the feeding bottle got ready. Again no words of solace instead abuse, slaps, and threats.  Imagine a baby being breastfed with taunts and a volley of harsh abuses in a high pitched voice on a daily basis.
             As I grew older, I kicked the feeding bottle to ground to register my protest at the inordinate delay. It was met with more kicks and abuses. That same rationale prevailed: if the child does not mend now, when??  I still recollect going with an empty stomach, sobbing my heart out and my chest in spasms.  My mother’s tongue knew not one word of kindness and sympathy instead a rich vocabulary of abuses and threats and ayyos.  Even while feeding solids, she would throttle it down my mouth yelling to my tiny ears (remember she was a lot deaf): if you don’t eat, crows will swallow you up. Or I will complain to the police and they will beat you black and blue. I grew up in this putrid air of the worst verbal and physical violence any child can stomach. I grew up listening to this daily litany: you are useless, worthless; you will not amount of anything.  I turned out exactly similar. 
            It was during the MBA days in Ghaziabad I found to my horror these stored-up hurts were activated when thrown in the midst of a happy boisterous crowd.  I used the maternal side of my genes to hunt a name for the disorder in the library; while the paternal side counselled patience and endurance. I realized before my 21st birthday: I had contacted a high grade mental disorder and it would take a lifetime to set right the wrong, and if that it is at all possible.
            I entertained little hopes of a career; I had a heart surgery at 29. I discovered a passion for walking especially on Theosophical Society lawns.  I also found weekend Spiritual discourses a soothing balm to the tortured mind. My aspiration never rose higher than feed myself and support the devil and even address as “Amma”. I was on “mood balancing” drugs for decades now. Though I had a lot of friends, I was a loner and painfully shy in boisterous party atmosphere.   
            Life treated me as I treated life: I walked in the side alleys; I never got into tangles, and zilch career and romantic aspirations for myself and think dying thoughts for solace.  My personality was a hybrid mixture of my dad’s side – honest, simple, hardworking, and not outreach my station in life – and my mother’s side on talent, resentments and grudges. 
            Suffering needs actors and events to generate tales and drama.  In my case nature had earmarked my suffering to a lonely one. My father dead when I was 21, both the sisters got married and left the nest before I turned 20, and the family was now reduced to “perpetrator” mental MOTHER and “victim” Mental SON.  At 38 I realized that two idiots can’t be in the same house and a very accommodating eldest sister taking responsible of the old woman.
The diagnosis was Bipolar or mood swing is the medical jargon to account for those childhood tortures. In simple language it meant “continued and sole exposure to hate”.  Few lives on earth are condemned to such depths of emotional poverty and deprivation.
            Failures cause fear; fear causes hatred of oneself, which in turn manifests as extreme diffidence and impending disaster at every turn – I kept losing jobs at frightening frequency unable to blend in an office environment.  With each failure I withdrew into a shell like a tortoise at the first hint of danger to avoid more failures.   
            The hate sowed in baby state by an evil mother was now reaping the whirlwind. The worst of bipolar is: Your story reads a like a movie script playing on the screen; you know what is going to unfold couple of scenes later yet immobilized to alter a line of the sub-plot of the script in your favour.  Suffering in ignorance at least gives birth to false hopes and misguided efforts that suffering in knowledge deprives: you are reduced to awaiting death and sober prayers: God, end this misery quickly and give me a new innings. I want to be a human being again minus this family, minus this bipolar.
            Right from my 21st birthday I knew the gravity of this disorder caused primarily by rotten genes and terrible upbringing.  This is “multiplication of misery” – any genetic defect can be rectified in a loving and caring environment affirms a BBC documentary.  Even if you are born with normal genes, continued exposure to my mother’s level of rants and high pitched wolves howling noise would cinder a human mind – which is after all tender, impressionable, fickle especially a mind of a tender child- to dysfunction and go out of operating range. 
I had to find my own medicine and in this I spared no effort.    
            I ran to every astrologer, every faith healer, yoga teacher, decades of listening to Swami Paramarthananda and Vipassana. I had consulted a dozen of the best psychiatrist the metropolitan had to offer. I had the mental strength of a man who will make his own road even if it meant tunnelling through oceans and mountains. I have an endurance not seen in either my father’s or mother’s side of genes.  If god made me a donkey, I had its heart to bear the load.
            Every search for mitigating bipolar was a hopeless one; each gave a momentary relief but no lasting remission until I discovered Mindfulness and Eckhart Tolle.  One is so engrossed in healing the mind that one forecloses the possibility of going beyond the mind.
            But those came in much later before life threw in a surprise as I turned 38: I got a writing job after a decade of strenuous search and I fell in love with a woman of my dreams.  I felt destiny was showering roses at long last and my plane finally take off.  
But nature was still not through with me. I kept getting hammered and knockout defeats fighting Mohammed Ali in the ring which we shall see in the next part. 
As TM Soundararajan sings to Kannadasan's lyrics and MSV's music: Sothanai mel sothanai pothumada saami. Vethanai thaan valakkai endraal, thaangathu bhoomi. Meaning: Lord! enough of piling sorrow upon sorrows. If living is only about misery, the earth cannot endure. 

Post Script: Every human being causes happiness to someone at least once in a blue moon. Amma is a constant negative kinetic energy of fear, distrust, stubbornness and not an atom of gratitude to even the hand that feeds.  There is this repulsive reptile feel to the woman – scared and scary at the same time, hyperventilate, deaf, stubborn, and firmly set in her ways to cause storms and turbulence in every encounter. She was hopelessly sick with those terrible genes. When the cause is rotten the result is only sorrow.  And those genes were taking a heavy toll on me.   

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I’m alive!

My favourite profile: no dye, no pretense
“Can I speak to Sathya?” as I held the landline arm to the ear.
“Yeah, speaking!”
“Thank God! You’re alive. Am I really speaking to Sathya. You are not dead right.”
I don’t get flustered as I gently plod:  You ask for me and when I identify myself you want a confirmation I am alive. Not fair. Who is this?
“I am Arijit Manna from Kolkata.”
This intellectual from the great land of Bengal was a Facebook contact as he complained with just reason: no blog post in years, Facebook account deactivated. I was fearing the worst.
            It made me happy for a while; that someone takes the time to ponder on me. Next week another call and this time from Mumbai: Sathya, I am Siddhan.  It’s been more than two years since I heard from you or about you. I keep enquiring about you with T H Iyer mama. It seems you have evaporated into thin air.”
            It is not that I get a stream of such calls. Only these two to be honest.  Yeah, I am very much on the planet earth and very much alive.
            After my return from UAE in 2014 I went through prolonged blues. I lost all zest of writing and living. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I went to the depths of hell only to realize that earth is not such a bad place at all.  But more than that, I lost the writing twitch. From 2006 onwards I have been very prolific on these blog posts before realizing after UAE sojourn I had nothing new to write: unremitting and unrelenting loneliness stretched for eternity as the Sahara, miserable job experiences, and agonies of world-class cribber of a touch-me-not oversensitive soul.
            One of the best things of life is nothing is permanent; not even my sufferings.
            It’s came as no surprise that both my sisters reached out in my darkest hours.  For months I stayed put in Adambakkam, my eldest sister’s place.  After 10 years of lonely living in Besant Nagar I lost all joys of the Eliot Beach, Theosophical Society and weekend Upanishad lectures.  My second sister would invite me to her place in Kodambakkam and drag me to temples or entreat for Ayurvedic treatment for my arthritis.  They advised in different words, “Sathi, things are bad but you’ll bounce back.  Just persevere. Keep a little faith.”  
            There is miraculous pattern repeated time and again in my life: Balakanth became a friend soon after my father’s death. Manisha in 2006 when my boat was sinking.  Vivek is another friend who lavishes warmth and a human connection. I offer nothing in return but I get so much. I get free medical consultation from depression to arthritis to migraines from doctor friends: Manisha, Vivek, Rajaram
           
With Mr. and Mrs. Iyer at the beach
The miracle this time was Mr. T H Iyer mama.  I have known him since 1998 when I first started walking in the lawns of TS.  He is by far the wisest man I have known. He is an engineer who spent 4 decades in Germany in executive positions of MNCs, every great spiritual leader of our times – Sai Baba, Swami Chinmaya, Swami Dayananda – have been personal guests at his residence and they interact with him on an one-to-one “equal” basis. His wit is spontaneous and world-class. We are oceans apart - Iyer mama is the best advertisement of a human being while I have never deluded myself other than a failed writer, failed human being, broken spirits and now in free-fall.   
            One day he said: Sathya, Lord Guruvayoorapan came in my dream and asked me to keep an eye on you.
            Had any person said this, I would have shrugged it off.  In fact, it was his suggestion that I would daily chant “Kanakadhara slokam” in the years 2011 and 2014.  He would say: chant “Vinayakar Agaval” and I implicitly comply.  Another time he would suggest a “Sudarshana Homam” at my place or a visit to Kanchipuram for Mahaperiva’s blessings. Anything he said; I follow without questions.
            My redemption came in the most unlikest of ways. I started with Louise Hay’s affirmations 30 minutes morning and night from the youtube and her magnificent book “You can heal your life”.  At first the affirmations felt as distant from another galaxy but I persisted in absorbing the ideas and psychology.  That led me to Jon Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR – a free online 8 week course on Mindfulness.  Within two weeks I was hooked; I ravenously read “Buddhist” literature for 7-8 hours in a day.  Every idea felt the bars of the mental jail opening.  When I first heard “The Power of NOW” as audiobook on youtube before ordering a hard copy, I found a guru in Eckhart Tolle.  Swami Paramarthananda’s talks would take me to Himalayan heights in an experience of timelessness. Eckhart did likewise but one difference: each sentence in the book felt like it was written specifically for me.  "The Power of Now" became a practical guide to handling a tumultuous mind.    
            For the first time in life I felt: reading this book was worth all the trouble in my life starting from a sick mother used to banging the head of a one year old to the wall in 1970.  The belief system of such a child growing in such venomous hostility is fundamentally antithetical to peace and joy.  Having such a cannibal at home meant I never grew wings to fly.  
           One of the first lessons of spirituality is SUFFERING is not such a bad thing. In fact in Buddhism it is the starting point of liberation. You have suffered so much that you don't want to suffer any more.  
            My mind cluttered with so much negativity - with more than half a mind to escape the pains of earth - now found new energy fields in the mind. Transformation is a supercharged heavy word; it simply means re-wiring the mind. I became an alchemist changing my fears, resentments, hatred, and insecurities to GOLD in the form of healthy love and respect for myself and my life situation. We improve by degrees so whether the transformation is 10 % or 90% is good enough as long as the mind is set on the road to peace and happiness. In other words, being transformed simply means: I am willing to change to these wholesome thoughts!
            Mindfulness is my new buzzword.  My twitter handle is full of posts and interactions on mindfulness.  I listen and read the greatest teachers of MINDFULNESS of our times to savour and course correct: Tara Brach on Radical Acceptance (I loved her jargon on “trance of unworthiness” “constant war with oneself” “definition of prapancha” RAIN meditation. Again every sentence of her talks and writing is pure gold).  Jack Kornfield on Forgiveness, Dr. Kristin Neff on Self-compassion, Thich Nhat Hanh (loved his “ringing the bell” and “no mud, no lotus”), Byron Katie’s The Word in the form of 4 questions for replacing a negative thought into a positive, and so many really. This is no place for name-dropping but listening and reading these teachers has immeasurably enriched my life.
            Gautama Buddha asks: “If you get struck by an arrow, do you then shoot another arrow into yourself?” I spent over 47 years of my life shooting a second arrow with my cribs of lousy parents, genetic predisposition to moodswings, monster bosses, footloose romance, and growing old to loneliness and misery. Just 4 months of Mindfulness I see new hopes; new energies and a possibly that I can still make something useful with my life. 
            I think I lost that writing twitch for good which is vitally important – the love to communicate (its actually more a flaunting), addiction to words and thoughts and an endless and tireless labour to shape words into visual imagery.  I don’t foresee I will ever hit those peaks of 2011-2014 as a writer.  But writing is something I can't totally eliminate from my world. There are some topics I want to record like my uncle's sudden passing away last year. Besides "mindfulness" serves me so many lessons. These potentially can make for good reading as Rocky says: When I can change, you can change then everyone can change. Come to think of it, capturing a change process in the mind is why writing is embarked upon in the first place. 
            I am totally indebted to T H Iyer mama for hauling me up to this side of life. 
            I am still very much alive and kicking and in Besant Nagar and God in his rightful place and everything perfect in heaven and earth.  Life is a journey and it will have its ups and downs. But I’ll survive and maybe even surprise myself.