This piece has been waiting far too long in my subconscious. I had the intention to write it since March of 2021. Well, better late than never. You, dear reader, would be the best judge of whether the post was worth the wait.
Linda Goodman, the author of some famous books on sun-signs describes Sagittarians (my sun-sign) as adventurous and out going people. While I mostly agree with some of the other things she describes about Sagittarians, I found the ‘adventurous’ part off the mark for me. The most adventure I seem to indulge in is watching Manchester United Football Club. I also remember having experimented with Haldiram’s atrocious ‘Ice Cream Soda’ during my college days. That pretty much sums up my share of adventure.
During my yoga teacher training, our curriculum included a couple of hikes. I looked forward to the hikes to test my fitness level more than anything else. In the third week of training, we hiked to the top of Kohos mountain surrounding the beautiful Govardhan eco-village, our yoga school.
I do not know whether it was high from three weeks of living in a pure Sattva environment, the great company, being led by a fantastic teacher, being on a mountain that has existed way before any of us and shall continue to do so long after we are gone, or simply my sun-sign analysis being right, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.
DO THE DEW
Our head yoga teacher (Anmol sir) is an amazingly inspiring personality. I would define him as wild and free. He loves nature, animals, mountains, fitness and authenticity. From day one, I was drawn to his teaching methodology and connected amazingly well. But as all inspiring personalities have eccentricities, Anmol sir too has his. At the top of the mountain, there was this cave-like opening filled with what seemed like sludge.
Sir called it water.
After the hike, sir wanted us all to enter that slu… water which he said would help in the hike down as that slu…water will help relax the muscles and so forth.
My South Delhi instincts were channelised to the hilt.
“bhaaayaa hum aise jagah nahi jaaataa bhaaayaa. Humein Khan Market ke lanes kee badbooo kee aadat hai…”
Of course, I did not have the heart to say that. Even if I did, who’d have understood my pain? No one else was from Delhi, after all.
While everyone else jumped in and started frolicking, another prudish friend and I stayed aloof. A few minutes later, the conscience did not allow me to keep standing like a disgruntled phoopha jee at a wedding. I decided to dip the feet in that sludgy water.
Sir gently said I could guarantee you that you will not die if you enter.
SAY HELLO TO PHOBIA
I started feeling as scared as I could ever remember in my life. Gone were the south Delhi instincts. They were replaced by anxiety and a feeling of intense fear.
Now I have to tell you this. The water in the cave was perhaps only 8-9 feet in depth. Technically, even if someone wanted, they would not drown in it. I mean, unless someone pushed your head down and held you there. Fortunately, no one in our group showed homicidal tendencies, so murder was also out of the question.
I have never had any scary experience with water as far as memory recalls. Though I never learned to swim, I have never been averse to being around a water body. The fear I started experiencing was incredibly stunning to me. Perhaps some past life memory of drowning was activated.
Here walked in one of the brightest brains I have had a chance to know, Apoorva.
As the fear surged through my body, no matter what my fellow batch mates said or even the words of encouragement from my teacher did not matter. I was experiencing phobia and fearing for my life.
I think I will never forget how Apoorva floated towards me, held my hands and said, “It is alright. You will not drown. I will hold on to you, and we can swim across this cave. Trust me, I will not let go.”
From being a person struggling with phobia and fear of dying, a surprising calmness seeped inside of me. Holding on to her hands, not only could I swim across the cave, but I also could notice how others were having a happy time, even if I could not reach that state. Heck, she even managed to convince me to take a full dip in the slu…water.
As we finally climbed out of the cave, I was relieved to be ‘alive’, but the impact of that Apoorva’s sincere energy and confidence-inducing words had certainly carved a special place in my bank of memories.
IMPACT OF INSPIRATION
Only a person who is conscious and fortunate enough to have been uplifted by another human could tell you how much of a difference that can make.
This little hike episode made me reflect on the often subtle and uplifting impact some humans’ words, presence, and energy can have.
From a literal failure in Mathematics, I turned into a consistently high-scoring student thanks to the confidence and right coaching given by Verma sir.
I recall my early days of theatre where despite being one of the most talented (humbly so) people, I could rarely express it for lack of confidence. My mentor’s faith in my abilities inspired me to rock it on stage.
In this blog, I wrote about how a friend’s mere gaze led me to win a debate competition in college.
More than anything or anyone else, Bhagavan Shri Krishna’s timeless and legendary words from the Bhagavad Gita completely overhauled the quality of my life and continue to give meaning, purpose and hope in the bleakest and most challenging of times.
Have you ever been inspired by a fellow being?
Share your story with me if you feel like it. I’d love to hear if a coach, a mentor or a teacher impacted your life positively.
Thank you for reading until the end of the blog. I hope the blog inspires some hope, inspiration and joy.
SUGGESTIONS FROM THE SMILING PANDA
- Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens has been turned into a movie (to be released in August in India). Intriguing mystery/fiction novel on a young woman’s journey of living in the Marsh by herself.
- The Comfort Book by Matt Haig. The book is a hug. Get yourself one. 🙂
- Before The Coffee Gets Cold (1&2) by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is a Japanese novel about a cafe that allows people to revisit the past. Delightful, emotional and impactful.
The Office (US). Period. You may find this suggestion in every blog, perhaps from now. Deal with it.
Anything that is not Bollywood. 😇
I recently watched and enjoyed Top Gun: Maverick a lot. But then you might be hearing A LOT about it anyway.