Apr 4, 2015

Cabbie recalls

Being a cab driver in Calcutta, or India as a whole, isn't an easy job. Underrated, yes, but definitely not the easiest. There's the navigating through our wonderful pothole-filled roads, the abuses hurled at you by customers and pedestrians alike, with the latter crossing at will, the lack of tips because of the failing economy and the most important, no family time. Life on the road can be fun when the destination is picked by you. Unfortunately, that luxury comes too few times in our lifetimes. 

You get to meet some pretty interesting people in your travels though. Once, a Bengali man from Bowbazar willingly parted with his wife's special mutton curry because my 5-year-old son was sitting in front with me and the two hit it off discussing the India-Australia match that we lost in. It was really more for him than me, but the gesture was much appreciated. Then there was the lady in the burkha who got on near Park Circus and smoked a cigarette when no one was watching. Every time we stopped at a red signal, she'd hide it and politely smile at me. I'm no one to comment but I admired that woman's guts. Even my wife, who enjoys the occasional bidi, refuses to light one in public, let alone in broad daylight. But I think my favorite customer was Naushik, whose mother has entrusted me with dropping to school and bringing back home five days a week. He tells me, with animated gestures and eyes, about the lunar eclipse taking place that evening and the play of the earth's exact position in the solar system that leads to this phenomenon, about the differences in the way the girls at his school behave compared to his boyish ways, about the jazz music that his father often plays in the evening and dances with his mother to. As eloquently as possible, he paints me a picture of his world and the characters in it and the roles they play. To me, that's more than enough.

Late into the night, after the last shift by obliging a customer who was heading in the direction of my home, when I tell my own son the stories I heard that day and the people I met, he's mildly jealous. Excited, always, but craving experiences of his own to tell me in return. It makes this job seem not so bad after all.

Mar 31, 2015

A conversation with myself

Maybe it's a problem of our times but at 23, I find myself being slightly uneasy and skeptical about spirituality in any form. I've sometimes had conversations about it and even tried my hand and meditation a few times and often fallen asleep, which is supposed to be a great result.

But when my aunt, Neerja Poddar, who works with access consciousness and hypnotherapy, asked me to attend a session, I found myself wanting to explore. Understandably, I had no idea what these two terms entailed but I had a hunch it could work, especially since her Reiki powers saved me from possible death many years ago when I was burning up with 106 fever.

So I reached her chamber, was asked to pick a partner from whom I felt the right energy to receive and lay down. What happened for the next 45 minutes isn't something I expected or understood. But to me, that wasn't too bad a thing. As my giver accessed various parts of my brain by placing her fingers in specific positions on my head, I started to feel calm. No clear visuals stood out in my mind but the blankness was appealing.

During one of the positions, I started seeing a purple dot, growing and then shrinking and then growing again, while dark waters surrounded it and I watched out of a sailing ship experiencing turbulence. That was the best way to describe it to Neerja, the facilitator. She explained that the purple implied infinity and the boat was  preventing me from reaching that infinity. Using the clearing statements of access consciousness, she asked to destroy anything coming in the way of this and as soon as I said yes, I felt lighter and the negativity went away. It's wonderful that certain thoughts and emotions can be removed so easily from one's system!

The same process worked at different parts of the session when for instance, I felt choked and she had already sensed that I would. Soon enough, my breathing was back to normal. We then switched places and I became the giver and my partner the receiver. 45 minutes later, she was a different person too, in the subtlest of ways that no one can pinpoint to.

It wasn't the kind of healing one would expect, especially since it's working with one's own mind and energy and body. But it's fascinating to see the effect, and I sure did when I couldn't stop yawning that night.

Thank you for the wonderful experience, Neerja Poddar. It's been a beautiful introduction into a fascinating process of making the world a happier, better place!