It was in my early twenties that I undertook a trip to Vaishno Devi. I had always heard of the power of Vaishno Devi and that what you ask is given to you. That you get to meet her only when she wants you to.
My sister and her husband decided to take me along with them to meet Vaisno Maa.
The arduous journey is still in my mind. Back breaking climb. So much so that turning over in sleep was painful.
The ambiance during the climb up is amazing. Maa builds a camaraderie between young and old, the north and the south. "Jai mata di" resounds as you go up and down. These words build strength and stamina to go higher with up with more vigor and greater determination.
The food served by T-series instills humility. More than twenty years later, the taste of the pure white rice and daal remains in my mouth.
The fresh air filled with smell of halwa and roti brings back memories of the food relished.
We reached the temple of Mata and had to take a bath in freezing water.. seemed like freshly melted snow on my body.
The queue was long. With hands folded and chanting "Jai Mata di" I caught a glimpse of her for a second before I was pushed by the pundit to get into the cave and emerge from the other side.
What I asked for, all along, on the way up, through the melee, around the hills, singing aloud, was "Shakti".
Once I came back, I forgot all about the trip and life went on.
I was called for an interview by Puneeta Roy, a flimaker. I started working with her on a television program, a talk on social issues with women's perspective.
Working on this show changed my thinking, my personality, widened my horizons, made me get to know people from all walks of life. Street performers to Phoolan Dvei, women activists to gurus, politicians to rape victims. I learnt a lot about people, life, and living.
I became stronger and more confident. I travelled a lot for the program, from Jaipur to Bombay and interiors of India. My mind set changed, I became more acceptable of people with their way of life and living. Puneeta's way of working taught me lot. She accepted people the way they were, with their varied strengths. She gave a lot of opportunities to grow and manifold. The program did well and was on air for almost three years.
Having forgotten about my trip, one contemplative evening what struck me was that I had received what I had asked for. The name of the talk show was "Shakti'!