Turning back

She found his sister-in-law walking down the street opposite to her house. It had been 8 years since she had seen any of his family members. Debating whether to avoid or not, she found her approaching. In her heart, she missed the friendship she had shared with his sister. It was an easy-going friendship, one that was without judgement. She called her ‘didi’, and not ‘bhabhi’. She did not want to bring the ‘weight’ of a bhabhi-wala relation into the simple sisterly friendship.

As didi approached, she hugged her, reminiscing the days gone by. Didi took her to her house, where there were a lot of people buzzing around, maybe for a wedding that was planned in the house. She felt amiss. Didi took her to a room and asked her to wait. On the other side of the room, she felt a presence. Ma. She jumped in surprise, went ahead and hugged ma too. Touched feet. Ma was distanced and detached. She handed me a letter. A handwritten letter.

She just took and just gave it a listless glance. No expression. When she went to her room, she found him there. She had forgiven him and had no weight in her heart. So, she greeted him politely.  Apparently, they all wanted him and her to get back together. She thought in her heart, that it was a foolish wishful want. She debated whether to cut this conversation short or see what he had to say. Curiosity took over and she took a seat 5 feet away from him. They spoke about inconsequential things. Then his intention was to move on to personal chat, but she sensed it and cut him short. She wanted to leave, but he got angry. All she said was, “You are still the same. Lower your temper.”

And she went to her parents to tell them to go and ask that family to move on. What did she achieve from that conversation? Not sure, maybe she had the satisfaction of knowing that it was the right thing to do, to walk out. Rather, to accept that he walked out. That a piece of paper with two signatures mean nothing when someone does not want to nurture a relationship. And of course, vice versa.

She thought of the man she now had in her life. Dynamic, mature and extremely loving. She thanked her stars. A small smile escaped her lips.

Track 2:

In her words:

The wedding atmosphere suddenly turned into tension filled melee. She was puzzled. Then people came running and shouting that the groom has halted the wedding celebrations because he wanted 10 lakhs immediately. The bride’s parents tried to ask our parents to arrange for the money. And fools that they are, they way they chose that man for me, they scrambled around, arranging for it.

I asked them to stop the madness. Just. Stop. It.

How dare that girl not stop this by taking a stand?? This for God’s sake is the 21st century. Educated people do NOT blackmail the bride’s family for money on the altar of marriage. What stops her from walking out? Is it okay to see her parents begging others for money? Is it okay to see the elderly couple scrambling around, and losing their wits on something as inconsequential as “buying a groom for their daughter”????

Track 3:

She wakes up with a jolt, angry and upset. Why after so many years, did she see this dream? Perhaps somewhere in her psyche, she expected him to come and apologize to her. And perhaps, somewhere in her psyche, she wants all those girls to stand up for their parents, who feel they are a victim of the society’s demands for sending a daughter with loads of materialistic things, with or without demand.

Track 4:

She thought of her parents who had the strength that ONLY true love could give, to support and in fact, help her in the brave decision she took so many years ago. She smiled as she saw the way her father’s head held high, when she told him of the salary hike she recently got. He is one proud father – he has seen her move from being a meek domestic girl to a confident corporate lady.

She immediately picked up her phone, and dialled Papa.

Smiling Female Business Leader With Arms Crossed

Diaries of the Hechicera: The love she knew and the love that grew

His face was not very clear

There was dream upon dream
She waited eternally for him to appear
But her dream was still a dream

“O! Please please come soon, dear
Come and take over my life
I want to see you, touch and hear!
The stories of your life and strife.”

She would beckon in her dream
To that hazy not-so-clear face
And imagine him standing close to her
Real close, like a miracle on a good day.

The love she finally knew, twice,
Was ugly and wild, for all that she grew

Her hopes, aspirations, all the anticipation,
Everything lost, evaporated like summer dew.

Little did she know that this was not to be
For there in time, waiting, was someone worthy
She knew not, the test of her lord,
She was being groomed to become adored
She imagined her life, disintegrating, bit by bit
Her fate was, in truth, being sealed in the right orbit.
And her life was being set so so right.

Her destiny took her to true love
The love she knew earlier was a hallucination cove.
She thought she had seen it all
But the truth struck her with his arrival.
There he came, her Knight in shining armor, riding the sea waves
His arrival was so calm, absolutely a wonder

He came, bruised and battered, soul searching
Found solace in her suffering and healing.
She gave him what he missed, he gave her love

He gave her what she missed, she gave him trust.

Had their fates been sealed earlier? One does wonder.
When the universe decides to give the love u knew
Is there anything else that you wish to do?
You start believing that it is a circle
Life falls into its destined oracle

Why do you think it was over then?
Because, it’s never over, ever.

There was another story in the offing
The story had someone and you starring
The Love she knew, was the love that grew
The love he deserved was the love she gave

And they lived, happily ever after.
And they lived, happily ever after.

Being reserved

Pouring my heart out today – rant alert. I am an introvert. In the last few days, I have been reading a lot of posts on introverts and realized one thing – that we all face the same issues and that very few people understand us.

When at work, I would like to be included in the conversations and get-togethers but usually I do not participate. I just listen. As a result, people isolate me terribly and I end up being the most misunderstood individual – and lonely.

Group discussions and gossip irritate me. Hi and Hello conversations just put me off as I feel they are wastage of time. Yes, I greet people, but that is all. People do not understand that I am totally into one-to-one conversations. Conversations that turn into memories and not just idle gossip.

I need my ‘me’ time and love to get lost in work. When I am working, the world fades away – another complaint I hear about myself. I don’t know what else to do. I prefer my own company and love to paint, crochet and read. But once in a while, I do feel like going out and meeting people who add value to my life (and who, by the way, are very few).

There is a small set of people who understand me very well – they do not judge my introvert qualities and are very happy to invite me when going to the cafe or just for a break. They speak and mean well and I believe I am not a bad communicator. However, why some people misunderstand me is beyond my comprehension. I know I should not get affected by this and mostly, I don’t. Once in a while, it gets to me and today is one of those days. Yes I have read Susan Cain and have heard her videos, I have read hundreds of articles on the web. But it’s just the same pain everywhere.

Somewhere, I happen to believe that I have been at the receiving end of office politics, due to which, my being an introvert is being abused. I have reasons to feel so. I can not let it affect me, and more importantly, I can not have anyone know that it affects me. But it does. Again, this is one of those days.

I think my thoughts are pretty incoherent and I will just stop here before the mish-mash becomes too hard to read.

Diaries of the Hechicera: Bleeding Roses

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Image Credit: Nicolas Raymond

In my mind’s eye, I envisioned a story that had no beginning,
Years and years of wait, is what I could only imagine.
Life’s most fruitful years, one by one just disappeared
Left me wondering, wandering, perplexed and tired.
It’s raining bleeding roses. Know it. It’s raining bleeding roses.

In my sweet innocent little heart, I heard a heartbeat whisper,
It questioned, in doubt, finally!! Will the wait be over?
And I really really thought, it would be,
So I convinced my innocent heart, hour after hour.
It was raining bleeding roses, I didn’t know. It was raining bleeding roses.

There they were, the heart and mind, rejoicing a tad bit early,
For in store for them, was a story that would leave them both gory.
I had no answer, nothing to tell them, their eyes reflecting hurt deep,
For they felt that I had betrayed them, beyond repair, ruthlessly.
Would you please tell them I hadn’t known, it rained bleeding roses?

Would you? You? and You? Please explain, clarify for me?
I am as innocent as a child’s playful glee?
I had no vendetta, I had no theory,
I hadn’t any big wishes, except for joys and a bit of cheer.
I knew not, truly, dear heart, we had bleeding roses in store.

Stories that have no beginnings, tales without endings,
That start lonely, and end lonely, they rain bleeding roses.
Of hearts that cry and learn to live alone and stop questioning,
They just keep sucking manna out of solitary trysts, always beckoning.
They know now, that life will always rain bleeding roses.

Know it, heart. Know it, mind. It’s always going to rain,
And rain it will, in soft and tender, beautiful bleeding roses.

Diaries of a Hechicera

I used to write this series called Diaries of a Hechicera in my other blog. I was going through the other blog, reading some old blogs and feeling really really wistful – but I decided to start this series on A Walk into the Woods again.

Hechicera has grown up – she has seen enough in life to understand that a la-la land does not exist. She carries some mishaps from her past, some difficult to handle consequences that will remain with her forever.

Hechicera loves life today. She has learnt to accept and believe that dreams will come true only if one lives in the real world. That there is no one who will make her happy and that happiness has to come from within.

She has days when she is so down that lifting her up is herculean. But she has learnt to manage it and she has learnt to accept herself with all her good things and faults. She looks at life today with a top of the mountain view and understands that she is just a small speck in the huge abundant universe.

*Hechicera means enchantress.

Cults and Young Minds

Har Har Japoon Main Har Har

depressed-woman

Har Har Japoon Main Har Har

Har Har Japoon Main Har Har

Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images

Picture this:

A lone girl – Just divorced/Just broke up with her BF/staying alone in a big (or small) city

A middle-aged lady – son has left for US/ daughter just got married/ is in a middle age crisis/going through empty nest syndrome

A young man who has lost interest in life because he does not know how to earn million dollars.

A student who consistently fails in exams, but is promised miracles.

What do you think is common between all of them?

At first glance, perhaps nothing.

Think a bit more, and one word will resonate – VULNERABLE

EASY PREY

When you are low in life, apart from fighting your own demons, you also have to fight predators who are looking out for people like you. Cult members are everywhere around us. The reason why they are not apparent is because one of the requisites of their modus operandi is to remain inconspicuous to the general public, and very very ‘in-your-face’ conspicuous to those who are like the ones described above, vulnerable and easy prey.

In many cases, it starts with a trust building statement that goes like, “I know what you are going through. I have been there. I know how much it hurts. But I had ‘grace’ and was saved from this suffering’. And then begins the story. Then begins the seva. Then in the name of seva, they suck into your time, slowly and surely, through mental manipulation and guilt mechanisms; ensuring that everything you do, is connected to ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘good’ and ‘sin’ and then, you end up spending a large chunk of your life with the cult members, doing seva of various forms. And then the Guru talks random stuff like, “I know what you are going through. Let it go, set it free. You will feel better.” – as though he knows what IT is. No, he does not. He is counting on your blind faith in him, to “fit” your issues into his words and believe, “Wow! Guruji is really omnipresent, he is really antaryami! He knows what is in my heart and mind.” And thus goes the story.

Meditation is a good way of calming your mind. You do it yourself, with a guided meditation audio in your phone, and you will still feel relief. Hence this is a primary weapon that these cults use. Through meditation, one’s mind does respond, in a different way. However, cults take this as their success. It is so harmful to have your senses opened by cults and to be left all alone in the darkness of the other planes, that the trap keeps getting deeper and deeper. The fear keeps getting larger, and your dependence on the Guruji solidifies into a life long relationship that sounds like, “My life is nothing without Guruji. I will get destroyed if I do not share my problems with him.”

Mostly, the cults have a “living master”, or a “living God” or someone like that. They insist on 100% devotion to “The One”. They can not bear anyone talking ill about their Master and will ensure that the person knows he/she has committed a sin that they would pay for. These Masters travel first class, stay in the best of luxuries and visit foreign countries in name of getting followers. They go to extent of publishing wrong statistics about their sermons. You can not ask them questions. You have to “trust” them unconditionally, because The One trusted YOU unconditionally and CHOSE YOU to be the fortunate one. Being among the followers is being fortunate.

This Master is a good preacher. He knows the psyche of the human mind. He knows how to twist it. He uses positives and negatives and negatives as positives to mess up the followers’ minds. He ensures that he talks about sadness, sorrows, circle of life, importance of Guru, why even Arjun needed Krishna to guide him, importance of surrender etc. etc. so on and so forth. This is to seal dependence of followers into him. When such people play with psyche, they turn young fresh vibrant minds into machines, clueless about what and why they are doing as told.

Another significant characteristic of cults is that nothing comes free. In name of seva, they collect funds, which they claim to use for various charities. However, no one know or dares to ask about where the funds go. Many followers who have given up their karmic lives, to do seva are cited as examples and glorified, saying, become like them. They have given up their luxuries and donated their earnings into the cult. So, slowly, followers who came here for peace of mind and direction to be able to learn ways of life and earn the luxuries of life, slowly are made to give up even what they currently have.

If you are in a similar organization and are being asked to keep it a secret, please ensure that all your antennae are up. Many cults encourage secrecy. They arrange member meetings behind closed doors and preach and preach and preach them to get  more members “inside”. There is an “inside circle” that is not open even to members, esp new members and the new members are encouraged to complete courses to move ahead in their “spiritual path leading to the Master”. As the members start with courses, they become elevated as the next course is always an attraction – to reach the Master. Thus, leaving the cult becomes almost close to impossible, as one keeps moving further, and further.

This circle of exploitation is never-ending and I have not mentioned the “out of ordinary” stuff in this blog post at all – stuff that is tricks of hand, hypnotism, magic, etc. I am assuming that the victims are intelligent enough to understand that “Sweet” can not come out of “thin air” – something a Guruji once produced, and gave it as “prasad/offering” to a troubled lady who had trouble conceiving.

Very recently, and the reason why I was prompted to write this blog, was because I came across the following blog published by Art of Living survivors, one of them, in fact, was an exalted teacher in the group. Although I am not against or in favour of AoL, I think the way these authors have presented the choice of knowledge without thrashing out the cult case in point, is commendable.

They clearly demarcate between their own discoveries within the AoL as an organization, and offer blog readers the choice to explore further or the choice to move away, if they are ardent followers. As opposed to a normal cult behaviour, that emphasizes “conversion”, they offer the wisdom of experience and the freedom to choose.

Anyone interested should check out this: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/the-purpose-of-these-blogs/

Now, talking about the purpose of my blog, I was in a situation recently, where in I witnessed a young mind getting pulled into the trap of an organization deeper and deeper, and when I researched, I was shocked to see and read the truth. My own brush with another organization, and my “thank god for good sense” that I could recognize that things are not right and listening to my own intuition, walking out bravely, was something that served as a strong blast from the past. I did not want the same to happen to others, however, I have grown wiser and I do realize today, that each one has come into this world, to learn their own lessons and I can not influence anyone.

All I can plead is for God to give common sense to the vulnerable.