‘Gulmohar had plans
For the summer; I thought and
Made a few for me. ‘
It would have been a regular summer like every year. But I pondered on the Gulmohar outside my balcony and saw it everyday, preparing itself for the summer. It seemed to have plans. Everyday it spent its time in living up to and building on that plan.
It definitely made me think.
That’s how it took form – my plan for this summer.
By February my decision for Vipassana took hold of me and luckily I got entry into the Igatpuri center.
Since ages life had been hinting that I should do this. Back in the early 1990s the news that our senior, Dr. Raman Khosla (a resident or lecturer in psychiatry in Sassoon Hospital then) had been to Igatpuri and was impressed by what he experienced, had floated into the whispered discussions in the library. Then some of our batch mates went there. Specifically I remember Nadya, who liked it so much that I heard he went there often. During our rural internship at Velha, there was a medical officer who was an anaesthetist who would visit the a rural Hospital twice a week. He would insist that we should do the course of Vipassana. He had even given me a book, written by Goenkaji to read. Then a close friend of mine, Asmita, did the meditation course in 2007/8 and reported her experiences to me subsequently. A few years later, another friend, Arundhati, came back from her ten day retreat of Vipassana and expressed how beautiful it was. When I interviewed my colleagues for the ebook for our 25th year reunion, I had a list of questions for everyone, one of the questions being , ‘Has there been an event that changed the course of your life?’ Dr. Sushil Bharati, a batch mate responded to the question with ‘Vipassana’ and enthusiastically elaborated how it had changed him as a person. Very recently another friend, Prachi, attended the course in the Nagpur center. She gave me a few good tips to follow, especially urging me to go with no plans and to go with the flow. As I discussed my plans with a few friends, another friend, Meeta, now in New Jersey, expressed that she had done her course in a center in US. She said that the experience was like a reset button on the brain. Each of these people had their own reasons to attend this ten day meditation retreat. I am aware of only some of the reasons as only and did not find it relevant to probe into their pasts in detail. It is such a personal experience. Each one has one’s own story. I can narrate my own.
However, all this narration and description had been enough to raise the curiosity quotient. But some things don’t get done until the time is right for oneself.
In the recent past, a cousin, D, went through a personal tragic loss. Based in U.K., he has been doing the regular rounds of counselling, psychological evaluation, medicines if required etc, for getting over his personal grief. Someone recommended Vipassana to him. He went to the Jaipur center in January. We met in Nagpur after he came back from there. And after the discussions we had, I finally decided to go for it. I must admit he pushed a bit harder than the others for the cause, stressing how my doing the course would ultimately benefit the lives of all the people I touch through my profession and my passion projects.
And of course the Gulmohar hinted at making plans.
My summer plans- 11 days of Vipassana (alone) were followed by a trip to Kashmir (with family) which was followed by the music convention of SPICMACAY in IIT DELHI in the company of my sister.
I promised myself I would write about Vipassana (and the rest of the journey) only after I went back to routine life and really started practicing it. A few blogs have leaked out – the Ravens, the Lucky Red seeds and the Squirrels have made themselves heard. But the journey sits silently within, waiting to be shared.
Exactly a month ago we were in the secondday of the meditation. At the end of ten days I was definitely under the spell. Later I travelled further to Mumbai and then to Delhi, and then with my family to Kashmir. I must admit that during our Kashmir trip I tried the twice a day schedule as recommended by our Guru, but the effort was weak and unfocused. During the music convention I did not give time to myself for the meditation at all. We were tied up by our schedule.
Since yesterday I have restarted my practice and I keep my promise to myself.