My friend Jeevan Babu rang me up while I was in the garden. Although his voice sounded ice-cool still it carried the usual warmth.
“Party tonight buddy, come over to my place at sharp seven in the evening, there is much to share between us, only you and me”- He went on.
Like all other occasions I was interested to meet him and share with him the ethereal truths of life and living. Literally I jumped at this, while knowing for sure that there must be a purport behind his words.
As I reached his house, his petite wife and daughter waited for me. Being experts in classical dance of Orissi they were sweating from a just concluded class.
“Papa would come within fifteen minutes”- His daughter said while welcoming me.
“Please be seated”- My buddy’s wife said indicating her hand towards their drawing room.
As I was seated his wife rushed in with a cup of steaming coffee and few snacks. For the cold winter evening, the stimulating drink was too tempting. I took large sips at it, being merged in thoughts, unmindful that when my friend had arrived.
Jeevan babu came inside the room being clad in his usual ‘dhoti and kurta’. He was wearing his brilliant smile on his plump visage and I lifted my head to cast a smile in response.
“What’s up”- He asked, getting seated?
My companion was in one of his best moods this time. He was prepared to narrate before me the story of Mr. Hothead.
My friend was known for his excellence in clinical psychology; his simple solutions of disturbed psychological cases.
Mr. Hothead barged in to my friend’s room while the latter was getting all set for a lecture in one of the colleges where he is one of the regulars as a guest faculty.
“I am no-where, please help me”- Hothead yelled.
“Wait for me, its time for class”-My friend said indicating at his wristwatch.
Hothead was not prepared to listen.
“No, I have waited too much with my fingers crossed for the good things in life to turn up”-He shouted.
“I have got nothing except frustrations. Today it’s enough. Enough is enough. I have decided to commit suicide”- He added.
My friend had once told me that anybody giving the threat of ending his own life is a serious patient. Hence he must not be taken lightly.
“Then please do this exercise. This is the first thing compulsory before I counsel”- Jeevan Babu told Hothead.
He asked the latter to be seated on the floor with his eyes closed and after a few minutes asked to open it. As Mr. Hothead squatted on the floor, my friend made him more comfortable in a good posture.
“Rub both your hands and tap the fingers against each other. Start from the thumb and go sequentially ending at the little finger and then rub both your hands for a while”- He asked Hothead to continue it for some time.
“Take break after sometime and then for five minute sit in silence being absorbed in your incoming and outgoing breathing”- Jeevan Babu advised.
“Keep on repeating both the acts for forty minutes, till you hear the bell in college ring implying the end of class. I shall talk to you then”- My friend added and left for his lecture.
After forty five minutes he saw Hothead relatively relaxed and seated on the floor with his eyes still closed.
“Stand up and sit on the chair please”- Jeevan Babu requested.
Hothead woke up. He sat with a slightly downcast face.
“What’s the matter? Why are you so perturbed”- My friend asked?
Hothead began narrating his story. From his childhood he just dreamt that he would be a great man; a man commanding respect for his abundant riches. He said ruefully that his life took turns and twists from the age of twelve. He found that no body loved him. Teachers called him very often ‘a donkey’. Hothead found his sentiments bruised. His father disallowed him to sleep in the very room where his mother slept. He spent time in the solitude of another room, where his father would come thumping. Every day there was in store for him a dose of abusive behaviour and in case his guilt was bigger there was beating. His father would beat him severely if he insisted on buying something.
What about mother? Well she would retire to the comforts of nursing home once in two years and reappear with a newly born tot. She would object if Hothead dared touching the skin of the infant.
“Keep your dirty hands off from my child. How dare you move so close to him”- She would show the vexation.
While growing up, Hothead experienced growing up in a bitter, struggling atmosphere of an oversized family. His mother’s bias towards the younger children would very often culminate in complaints against him. She knew that at what time to find fault with his deeds before his father which would end in his thrashing.
But somewhere down in the pit of his being, Hothead was an optimist. Life taught him that if he kept on continuing his efforts then one day it would fructify in to excellent outputs. But poor chap that he was. He was disappointed at every step. Mental agonies shattered him. He felt the pangs of anguish whenever unsavory thoughts appeared from time to time. Time came when hell would break loose on his head. He was utterly helpless and tinkering with ideas of self-killing. The worst came when he lost his job as a sales executive, which was his sole source of income. He shed bitter tears with his cute daughter and wife. One night he wrote a suicidal note and made up his mind to end his life on the nearest railway track. He woke up in the night and cast a look at his wife and daughter. Cocksure in his mind that it was the last. He spent a few minutes looking at the pretty face of his daughter. The little angel still held in her hand the doll that Hothead brought for her before two days. There was something in that face which held him back. Out came the memories of his only child in a flow. He remembered the occasions his daughter smothered him with kisses. Her first birthday, first day in the school and oh God the first time she called him ‘papa’ held him captivated. As he ran his fingers through the hairs of the child he found her face dazzling even in the darkness.
Was she the last shred of hope?
He sighed again in despair. In India a daughter is considered a burden forever. Where would he get money to get her married off to a suitable boy? But at that instant, though being immersed in despondency his own conscience dissuaded him not to go for suicide for the cute child sleeping next to him.
Hothead was merged in self-pity. My fiend Jeevan Babu listened in silence and heaved a long sigh. Hothead had come to him to get his counsel.
It was characteristic of my buddy to go digging for the root cause of unhappiness.
Was Hothead unhappy because of his childhood? Was he nowhere because his parents had deprived him of what he needed the most? An unhappy childhood coupled up with growing up in the middle of thousand miseries. At every step his parents failed to provide him the much needed sustenance for survival because they were laden with multiple responsibilities.
“Tell me dear friend that why have you so far missed happiness in your life”- Jeevan Babu asked Hothead.
“I do not know. In the twenty five years of my life I have never had a moment of peace.”- Hothead told him.
“There was a time I was also very frustrated like you. But my mother saved me in the nick of time by narrating before me a story of a similar unhappy man that she had read in her childhood.
His mother had recounted that once a sad and dejected man decided to end his life. But he was lucky to have the company of a saint. The saint sat in silence while listening to the story of the disillusioned man.
The saint’s advice to all the humans living in utter despair on earth was in the shape of a true tale of his own.
The saint said that once he was very depressed after he was initiated into sainthood. He went to his spiritual preceptor and grumbled about his state-of-mind.
“Oh my Guru, literally I have been paralyzed from the thoughts of my past and while thinking about my future I am in darkness”-The saint explained to his spiritual master.
His Guru held his hand and asked him to walk with him. There came a graveyard. Both stood there watching the dead bodies getting buried by their kith and kin.
“Just see the ones getting buried and the ones who stand there alive with sad expressions on their faces. With the burials not only the bodies would go down the earth, but the memories of the dead will slowly move into oblivion”- The Guru told his disciple.
“This is the axiomatic truth on earth that death shall not only finish the body but also reduce the antecedents of dead ones to oblivions”- He added.
“There is nothing wrong in this illusory world which make us forget the people who have left for their heavenly abode. But what a preposterous nature of mind you have that you carefully nurture the dead things of your past”-The spiritual preceptor asked?
The grieving saint asked his Guru about his future. His preceptor asked him to spend a night in the cemetery.
“Be here for one night by the side of the graves. I will come in the morning”-The Guru said while parting company.
In the dawn while he came back he saw his disciple lying unconscious on the ground. He came back to his sense while the master sprinkled water on his face.
The saint let out a cry of panic as he saw his spiritual master.
“Oh my revered Guru, I saw ghosts walking all over the place. I was saved because I recited the spell given by you”- The saint yelled while catching the feet of his Guru.
“No, my dear chap, actually there were no ghosts. How could I go away leaving you here? I kept you under my watch only by hiding near the boundary wall of the burial ground. The reality is you saw your future not the ghosts”- Guru opined.
The gist in the words of the spiritual master was,mind would invariably produce dark and bright images of future if you live away from the present and remain imprisoned in the confines of past.
“All the good and bad thoughts about future are unreal images and therefore called ghosts”-The master’s voice sounded authoritative.
Then the master and disciple walked and stopped at the sight of a beautiful garden. Both went inside and sat in silence for a time. The rows of flower plants blossoming in multi hued flowers welcomed them. The silky, lush, green carpet on earth soothed their beings.
“What are you watching now”- The master asked?
The disciple-the saint in the story of Jeevan Babu’s mother was wiser now.
He quipped-“my present”.
“What do you see there”-The master asked him?
“The presents of my present”-The saint told his Guru.
“Brief me”-The master once again requested.
“The flowers are new relationships and the newer ones are waiting to be born as tiny buds”-The disciple replied.
“What else”-The master asked?
This time the wiser saint was choked in his emotions. He was in tears while explaining. He rose from his seat and caught the feet of his Guru.
“The root cause of my suffering is I have always neglected my present. I have kept myself incarcerated in the past, taking the fallacies out of it as my future. Anybody who does not live in the present is bound to suffer like anything”-the saint concluded.
“So the root cause of your suffering is always you have failed t live in your present.”-Jeevan Babu told Hothead.
“Just imagine your wife and daughter doting on you so much as flowers in the garden of your life”- My friend told Hothead.
“You can know thy self by silently watching the people who still love you. There must be people who still appreciate and like you. There is no life on earth which is not appreciated and loved. Our scriptures say that you are born as a human because you are meritorious. You have the most caring relationships from Mother Nature, which has provided sustenance for last twenty five years in your life”- My friend counseled.
“Just hear the music of the fleeting moments of your life. They promise to bring newer relationships: more supporting and vitalizing”- Jeevan Babu concluded.
As he finished he found Hothead sat with his eyes closed. His meditative pose implied his integration with life.
Hothead rose after some time and touched the feet of Jeevan Babu and left with a promising smile.
Srikanta Mohanty, MBA(Symbiosis)
H.I.G-1/60,BDA Colony,Kapila Prasad