There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”
― George Gordon Byron
Bhumi sat at the window sill, she could see the expanse of the mountain and quiet flowing stream below. In the cottage beside she could hear the song eklo chalo being sung in that comforting, off key humming, without the loud lyric drowning music.
She remembered the story of the man who lived in solitary confinement for 20yrs as a bet. He had devoured books over the twenty years, at the end of twenty years his captor had to pay him a huge amount to escape that his captor had entered the room to kill him. He finds a goodbye note saying that he left an hour ago, because he realized that he had valued his solicitude more than the money.
Dogs did that too, when they fell sick they did not go begging for sympathy. All that they did was hide till they got better. Bhumi, was still hiding, from the pressures of her family. She wanted to be alone, to ponder her shame, and her despair in seclusion. She needed the sunshine and paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversations, she wanted to be face to face with herself with only the music of her heart for company.
It was as life failed her all around. For a moment it looked like she was on top of the world, all set to take on her father’s nursing home, to marry her childhood sweetheart and the world was her oyster. Then disaster stuck, she had “Failed” her MD exams, it was something Bhumi could not face,
“Planning for the wedding has already distracted her enough, let us postpone the wedding by a year” her mother was telling her father, he nodded in agreement.
They must have spoken to Atul’s parents, Bhumi was too caught up with preparing for her exams, she noticed that Atul did not call as often as before and nor did he visit her. She assumed that it was because he did not want to disturb her studies, suddenly it occurred to her it was three months since they either spoke or met!!
“9922667767” she dialled,”services to this number have been temporarily disconnected” was the message she received. She tried the landline, and there was no answer either. Next week end when she returned from hospital she decided to drop in on Atul, the house was locked. Something did not seem right.
“Hi sister, where papa” she asked the head nurse Sosamma as she entered the hospital
“He is on rounds doctor”
“okay I shall wait for him in his office,” said Bhumi, she loved sitting in her father’s chair, and picked up the latest book he had bought ,”Unreal Elections” she began flipping through the bookmark was beautiful, she picked up the bookmark, it was a wedding card, of a wedding that had taken place two months ago, the same date as she should have married Atul, the grooms name, ”Dr.Atul Athenakar” well Atul her Atul had married someone else and no one had told her.
Suddenly Bhumi’s pulse dropped and she went into a shock. Her father found her sitting on the floor of his minor OT weeping like a silent banshees.
The diagnosis was nervous breakdown. It was difficult putting life back together. It was difficult to accept that she had lived her life with such focus that she nothing else. She now needed to fly. It took her fifteen days to come out intensive care, Archana her friend visited her, with Louise Hay, then came Eat, Pray and Love; it was as if the universe gave Bhumi a message.
She wanted to be alone, so alone, so utterly alone that she could withdraw into her innermost self. When she set out, she did it with a whim; she took earnings, closed her bank account, left her car behind, left her mobile behind and took a bus to SriV’s ashram. She had come across it some time back.
An abrupt message to her parents asking them not to worry but she did not disclose where she went. It was a path of bitter suffering, but once she overcame her solitude, she was no longer alone, for she found that her inner most self was the spirit and that was nurturing mother, the indivisible, step by step she healed, working in the ashram being a part of it. She now managed the clinic run by the ashram for the poor women who came by.
A year after she left home, SriV had asked her to visit them. Neither their bribes nor threats seemed to affect her; she was in a space that was fulfilling. Her brother taking charge of the nursing home, or Atul’s half hearted apology nothing mattered at all.
SriV had told her in one of their conversations,”let me tell you this, if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you. It’s not because they enjoy solitude, it’s because they have tried to blend into the world before and people continue to disappoint them.”
It was two years now, she was in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for her inner most soul knew that she was one with all beings.