How was my trip to Pondicherry? 15 April to 24 April 2022.
I have returned to my primary home station in Bangalore. And, I am afraid of the number of times this question will arrive: in my inbox, as a hello in my immediate in-person meetings, from the family, the work network, and the dear followers on the social media. “Hey Amee, so how was your trip to Pondy…?
Hence, I choose this easier way of answering myself, by writing. Will you read the entire answer?
I travelled to Pondy & Auroville. The entire week was meant to engross in the air of this city. The stay: as much as gave me what I exactly intended to get from the trip, it also gave me more than what I could have asked for, or even not asked for.
I lived all 8 days fully, in a wholesome way. Hereon, I welcome you to read through the days, and …. write to me in response to express if the writing speaks to you…
Day 01 and 02: I live my desires.
I had taken a break from living my desire as they ought to be. This time, I decide to carefully place all the desires with their own level of likes on the table of this life. I pick each one, one by one. I carefully lived each desire. I carefully caressed each of the adored desires. The desires did bring a fear of judgement, vulnerability, and exposure to me beyond my own eyes. But they were meant to be felt and released. Felt as it is,. Released as it is,. A sense of self-knowing arrived with each desire being fulfilled, it also wouldn’t have been possible if the other didn’t provide the space for the exposure to unfold. It was as comfortable as it could be imagined. I was engrossed in cherishing what living the desires left in me to carry ahead.
Transitioning from Day 02 to Day 03: I get to meet the admin team who setup the Restorative circles in Auroville.
More about this academic learning, in my next blog.
Day 03, 04 and 05: I face what I hid.
The night was best kept hidden. Hidden in the thoughts of my mind, hidden in the fear of my heart, hidden in the face of my skin, hidden in the clothes of my soul. The night now had to be let go of. To move ahead, the night had to be brought to a closure. What was that night about? It was around three years ago, I would write on it – once I feel the courage for it, as this sentence takes form, I still shiver. I will get through it, write, and promise myself to come back here to this post and hyperlink the lines “What was that night about?.” The steps I took to face what I hid were: inspired by the thought to sit & grieve. Unless we grieve it, I knew unless I grieved the night, it wouldn’t ever have the necessary closure.
I walked to the exact rocky place by the beach, where the night was spent. I tried to relive every moment of that night in the past. It was scary, I wanted to erase every bit of it. Tears flowed to the realisation that came with the flowing slow breeze, reminding me that there was absolutely no going back in the past to erase any bit of it. I needed a hand to hold, and a shoulder to lean on. But I knew, it was only for me to face it because what’s hidden was also that only by me. The other would have loaned a shoulder, but I would have to face what was inside of me, all by myself. I sit calmly, breathe in, breathe out, and feel each tear flow in response to the pain. The mental breakdown was now felt in physical pain. I knew it was the only pain reliever.
To be able to live through these 3 days, I woke up early, waiting for the sun to rise, admiring the colours of the clouds that prepared to welcome the sun. I ate my first meal by 07:30 am my second meal by 12:15 pm and the third by 06:00 pm. Would you ask at this stage, if this mattered to write about? The meals I ate, were simple, the ones my stomach & heart lives for – a typical Tamil South Indian cuisine. I ate them all at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram’s dining halls. A reason, that I was in Pondy to spend my silent time in and around Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s Ashram, is for my personal spiritual, emotional & mental preferences. It’s been a journey of more than a decade to be travelling to Pondy & Auroville for the silent times. In between the meals, I sat in deep meditation by the Samadhi – as called, but in the house of residence of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The afternoons from 01:00 pm to 03:30 pm in Pondy are meant to rest, with light awake sleep, for the sun is scorching at its best.
The 3 days went by, as I waited for my appointment with my dearest distant companion and oldest lover. I was engrossed in my longing to meet him.
Day 06: I meet him.
The smile at the entrance of our meeting: I sensed goosebumps. I was shy, excited, eager, and joyous. He was calm, steady, and curious. The last years of the pandemic kept us physically away, and we could only chat on the phone. We never missed exchanging about a day, so basically that left us with no new topic to talk about when we met. We had already shared each of our moments as we lived. But the meeting still felt new. We held our hands around each other, and … I wish I could find the words to express what was felt. The joy of our hearts smiling knew no bounds. We acknowledge each other’s wait. We had waited for long, very very long. we sat as closest possible. For the good time of our lighter conversations, we dreamily let our eyes catch the stares. The eye stared, with the lips, smiling, and there was hardly any sensible agenda talking. As if, we were living to live this day with each other. After a good time, that didn’t feel sufficient, we joked about meeting again. Joked, as he asked me if I would put the extra efforts again to travel to meet him, he puts across his age, the number 83, to bargain our efforts for our in-person meetings. I was engrossed in his physical presence, in the touch he held my hand with, in the wait for our feedback on our feelings from this meeting each other.
Day 07 and 08: I sensed what was I being led to.
The divine force of nature works in mysterious ways. The next day I meet him, he falls ill and had difficulty in breathing. As I receive the news, I near my panic, of being left alone, again. I didn’t fear for his life, once. I think I knew, where this was heading to. I panicked at my own self’s response to “What if..” In my response to the crisis, I walked back to the room from the Church I was sitting in while the news of him falling sick came. I walk back to the room, to only have a cold shower, and sleep.
I woke up tired, with tears flowing, and my voice at its best feeble. The impact of the cold shower hadn’t helped the nerves in the way I wished for. My body trembled, thinking about “What if..” I decided to live the rest of the day normally. I pulled up my courage, to walk into the hospital where he was being taken care of. As I walked, he struggled to recognise me in the face mask I wore. He asked if it was me. He gestured as if he was waiting for me to visit him. As soon as our eyes first caught our attention and he knew it was me, he smiled in JOY. The joy, flowed from his soul to his heart, to his eyes, through his lips, to me. He tried to speak, soon before he was stopped from attempting to speak, as he struggled to breathe. I had to leave, I was smiling holding my tears for a long now. I had to let them flow. I leave, as I leave, we held the hand, in the hope, that we are together, no matter what now. We have met each other. In a few hours, he takes his last breath.
On my last day, I had my booking to spend my quiet time in the Matrimandir in Auroville, We do not miss the booking slot. With the first news of him having taken his last breath, I still proceed to spend my time in Matrimandir, as that was the first initial link to our friendship and bonding. He promised to take me to the Matrimandir along with him, but we never could, of his delicate aged body. But he would always, brief, and then we would debrief about my visit to Matrimandir. This time, we only had the briefing and no debriefing.
Post my return from Auroville to Pondy, I gather myself, with the help of two wonderful women of my life, who have me around them with my wins & losses, as if none mattered. With them, I could just be, me.
With my gathered self, I walk into the house, we spent our time together a day before. He lays with a smiling face, on his bed with fresh flowers around. He was smiling as if he prepared this week and for my presence around him. His smile spoke of his successful plan of having me around as he prepared to journey out of his body. I kept whispering looking at him resting after he has left his body “You did it on purpose.” I kept echoing in my mind: “this is not fair! come back home, I didn’t travel to Pondy to bid adieu to you. I do not consent for you to leave.” With these words, in a few hours, we proceed to the final space for him to fly away from. I was witnessing my life’s first funeral, of my most beloved one. As I shivered, I knew, he did this, the divine force did this, so we could bring the best closure possible in the world of bodies, and say our last goodbye to each other with smiles and he to be able to fly away from this body as I absorbed his departure, to live by.
The words to console me were, “This time, I am taking him along with me. I don’t need to be the only one putting extra effort to travel to meet him. He will now travel with me.” But I know, his soul will remain in Pondy, as his life has. I will now visit Pondy, to engross in “the sense of his physical presence, as I do for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.” The entire day 08, I kept singing in my mind, abhi naa jao chhod kar, k dil abhi bhara nahi….
With this stay, of desires, facing what I hid, giving my final goodbye – the trip to Pondy was …… could there be one word to end this writing…?
You are welcome to write your thoughts, to me! You are welcome to take back your feelings, as you felt through your reading! You are welcome to imagine a warm hug, from me to you, as we end this writing, with a joyous tear flowing face.