So, look within, child. There is an invisible thread that binds us. Binds us to who we are, and who we once were. If there weren’t…. how would we walk to where we need to be?

 

Look it in the eye and lay it bare, so that it may heal. So that you may heal. For you are at best surviving….. and at worst…. Wreaking havoc on yourself. So, stop hiding behind the layered curtains… beautiful as they are. They shield you. Sugarcoat you. Smother you… You and the intensity of you. For once…. Have the courage to stand naked and feel the rain, the sleet, the snow. But also, the wind… My god, the wind… And the sun kissed sky upon your face. 

Knowing broadly what I was in for this Manthan was pure agony (moronic assumption- How different can it be from Treatment Week? I’ve borne the brunt of it now. I’m ready.) Yes, a false sense of preparation. But more, the agony of breaking yourself down before you can build yourself up again… Or bravely attempt to. How foolish…. It wasn’t at all what I had imagined. Had I really dared imagine at all? The nerve…. Excruciating.  

Day 1 unfolded… and then Days 2 and 3… and I couldn’t help but marvel at the set of 12… 16, really. I saw different parts of me mirrored in these special, absolutely amazing people, with their own struggles and yet so entirely full of love. Love which they gave to one another, and to me. And I was so humbled by what I received. I couldn’t believe that people who have literally just met each other could harbor such intimacy. The team of coaches, so wondrously giving and always, always urging us to walk. And Naveen…. Resplendent as ever in his infinite wisdom. Brutal as all hell……. but to what end? To burn the curtains, such that they are never replaced.  

Prem. Prem ko sirf mehsoos karte hain. Prem karte nahin. Aur dard…. If you feel love, then pain can’t be far behind. And if I felt it was… even fleetingly… it was me hiding behind those curtains that so beautifully shut me out. I had stitched them myself, after all. So lovingly. Adorned them, so that perhaps, just perhaps…. You won’t even be able to tell that they are drawn. But strength….. Summon thy strength. Where are thee? Where? I searched for my inner strength, desperately, but found only vulnerability. As the tears flowed freely and viciously, I realized the magnitude of what I had suppressed. It was limitless…. Aseemit (hindi). 

That week…. I witnessed my deepest fears, my complete vulnerability, my vast, ringing pain. But guess what? It wasn’t ugly. I wasn’t ugly. In fact…. It was beautiful… I almost found myself seeking pain… He, who I had only brushed past at the surface… but who resided deep within me. Was me. But where did it come from? Apart from coming from a broken home (which I dealt with as a champ, right? No tears for Little me, Teenage me, only bravado), I had the perfect life… Didn’t I? Don’t I..? You fool…. I pity you your ignorance… Your ego stands tall (albeit veiled)… Indulge it any further and you continue living in the fortress you’ve created for yourself. “Be safe. Love. But with a safety net. For what other way is there to love?” That’s not love, you fool. That’s narcissism.  

So, is that what you are? A fucking narcissist?  

No. 

Then who are you? 

I… am me. I hurt, I feel, I bleed. I love, I laugh, I’m outrageous, I’m entirely intense, I sing. But why I am hiding… is beyond me. I am steeped in self-doubt, nursing the rejection I feel from my early years and tapping into some obscure pain I felt from my childhood.  

So where does it come from? For the first time, in meditation, I went to the day I was born. And then… I went to my parents. Their love, their trials and their pain. It was the same as mine… only greater. Larger than I could ever imagine, and I could barely contain it. But how can this be? It makes no sense. My pain is my own, right? 

Wrong. So, so wrong. 

So, look within, child. There is an invisible thread that binds us. Binds us to who we are, and who we once were. If there weren’t…. how would we walk to where we need to be? 

 Vedika Burman

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