I was sitting in my mother’s chamber in the hospital. She had gone for her ‘rounds’, a medical jargon used by doctors checking in, on their patients and reviewing medical records routinely. It was Sunday but being a gynecologist my mother has reconciled to the fact that a holiday is a luxury that she can ill afford. As the head of the department she had opted for OPD duty on a Sunday. While she readied herself for her round, some sleep deprived house officers arrived and bundled her away, briefing her about the patients on the way. While waiting in her plush air-conditioned chamber replete with her exploits (shields, medals, certificates and a few harrowing posters of anatomical significance), I decided to write an article. My reverie was broken by a disturbingly familiar beep, getting louder by the second. It was my mother’s cell phone; as usual she had forgotten it in her bag and I wound up with the onerous task of attending to her calls. As I handled them deftly with the finesse of a call center professional, I wondered if I would have done well in precisely such a role. Maybe….but then maybe not….never mind the futile imaginations of an aging mind. As I was saying I was writing this article wondering if anyone will ever read it besides myself. But if anyone did then they would know that it is an incident in time, a moment I snatched away from my life to pen random thoughts about a journey.
As I sat there pondering over nothing in particular, my thoughts wandered to a trip we had reluctantly undertaken on the previous day, to a place of religious significance. My mother had been longing to visit this place, famous for an apparently powerful baba who has a penchant for puran polis. My mother had explained with sincere religious fervor that people traveled from all walks of life to this place to take baba’s blessings. My sister and I couldn’t stifle our amusement and guffawed at the same time. We questioned aloud as to why a person would travel miles to see a baba, leave alone taking blessings from a person whose divine powers were derived from consuming ghee laden puran polis. Ironically in all our sarcasm we were also traveling, just those other million hopefuls for a glimpse of the phenomenon. I reasoned aloud that I would have preferred tucking into some scrumptious puran polis at home, instead of traveling this far into the wilderness, to watch someone else eat them; much to the chagrin of my mother.
To avoid any further arguments my sister and I decided to focus on other inconsequential topics like politics and cheekily considered an alternative career in religious fanaticism. After a rather bumpy ride in the sweltering Vidarbha heat (the air conditioning obviously didn’t seem to withstand nature’s glare) we finally reached the temple. Surprisingly there wasn’t much of a crowd and we got a good glimpse of baba, folded our hands, muttered something like a prayer and tumbled out gladly.
We decided to have ice cream, an idea I found rather suicidal considering that we were standing in the blistering heat. We finally decided to cool off with fruit juices. My sister wandered off in search of a sugar cane vendor while my mother and I had some really over priced mango juice. I paid indignantly as the vendor mumbled about electricity being used to cool the drinks. I glared at him incredulously and sounded him on trying to make a quick buck right in front of a temple.
Fuming, I made my way back to the car and plonked myself in disgust. I then went on to narrate the episode to my sister. She shot back philosophically that the whole world was similar in their thieving ways and so we continued our baseless argument for some time. The conversation took a turn for the worse as she supported politicians and wrote off the administration; I did vice versa till my mother interrupted, disgusted at the unholy exchange of words. The rest of the journey was fairly pleasant, probably because of the ensuing silence. As I huffed over all of this, a sudden thought materialized stealthily in the background. A subtle realization that I had just spent some beautiful moments with my family irrespective of whether our wishes were going to be granted by baba. It was like a thick veil dropping off. I suddenly felt like laughing at our arguments; like a carefree child against the backdrop of some popular Bollywood music. A note worth mentioning, our driver has excellent taste in music and so when we asked him if he had some peppy numbers, he promptly played it with the expertise of a DJ.
As evening approached we decided to eat out and so we traveled to a place called ‘Olive’, an unassuming restaurant tucked away in an obscure location, halfway to Sewagram. It is a popular joint often teeming with medical and engineering aspirants that Wardha and Sewagram are famous for. We reached Olive and had to wait for 15minutes before we finally got a place to sit. My sister and I were disapprovingly observing the incessant chatter of ‘Gen Y’at the tables, boisterous as ever and reveling in what seemed like inconsequential jabber. Furtive glances were shot at us and a few giggles later the manager ushered us to our seats.
My sister and I shared our biased observations and laughed aloud at our hypocrisy as we remembered our time as teenagers and as boisterous 20 something ourselves.
When we reached home, I settled down with a magazine after a tiring but fruitful day. That night, slowly but surely the same niggling thought played in my mind, urging me to savor these beautiful moments since life is all about being in the moment and enjoying every bit of it as the grandest experience of one’s self. It struck me that in our search for the strange and the esoteric we often forget the beauty that lies immediately around us and our failure to appreciate it from time to time. Visions of the serene country side, birds chirping in the hot summer air, cotton plants swaying rhythmically in the fields wafted by, and our own conversations echoed; a perfect testimony of how oblivious we were to our surroundings and our blissful ignorance of the simple joys.
With these thoughts I slumbered into a deep lull, meaning to find myself in another realm where my next exciting journey lay.
-Anupama Hariharan Anupama Hariharan started out as a dentist before branching out into research and is now as a corporate trainer for an MNC. Her hobbies include singing,reading,writing,dabbling in investments and traveling. She is more spiritual than religious. She lives her life by the quote: "You become what your mind is".