Sunday, December 30, 2012

Break From The Past : In A State Of Contemplation (part 8)

I got into my car and just drove off with no specific destination in my mind. I kept on driving at a steady pace and tried to control myself. I decided to go to my dance teacher’s house. Paula was the right person, for she was not only my teacher but also my best friend and business partner. We owned the "Dance Studio" together. At this moment in my life I really needed her companionship and her counsel.  She was shocked to see me, looking teary eyed and shattered. She thought something had happened to Chandran. When I told her what had happened, she was as stunned as I was. She quickly went and got some ice cubes from the fridge, wrapped them in a napkin and gently pressed it to my cheek.  Then she told me not to think about anything, and just rest.
 However,  thoughts have a way of coming unbidden, with torturing regularity, and I was neither physically or mentally fit to think coherently. I was in a stupor for a long time before  sleep finally overtook me. Next day Paula called up one of our students who was also a  doctor to come and examine me.  He prescribed some anti depressants, and advised complete rest. I felt I could do with a complete rest from life itself. A week went by with no word from Chandran.  Weeks turned into months and by and by, Chandran receded to the background.  My business was flourishing, and both Paula and I,  we were very much in demand.  We were invited to give talks on Dance and dancing, and even bagged a contract for a short serial on TV, teaching dance steps and techniques. It was so much fun, things were going very well in life, I really stopped missing Chandran altogether.
 My children came to visit me often, which brought great joy and solace to me.  Everything seemed just fine. In the mean time, I heard from a friend of Chandran that he had resigned from his post at the company, and had bought the Gym he was working out at,  after becoming a certified fitness guru. His friend added  that now Chandran was fitter looking, more leaner and muscular, having all the time to devote to his favorite hobby-  body building. I wondered why my children didn’t care to share this news with me.  Well, how could they since it was I who had forbidden them from talking about their father in front of me. If now I were to enquire about their father, they might think I was interested in getting back to him, which I most certainly was not.
 The shrill ringing of the phone brought me out of my reverie with a jolt.  I got up to pick up the ringing phone. It was from Juliet, one of my students.  She was a Reiki master and asked me whether I would now consider taking up Reiki seriously : we had earlier discussed quite a lot about Reiki, which was said to be a simple and effective alternative healing technique.  I felt she was truly perceptive when she used to point out during our chats that although I seemed happy with my life on the surface, there was a wound hidden deep inside of me, which kept me from being fully at peace with myself.  She had also vouched,  that with Reiki, I would be able to heal whatever had to be healed to attain complete peace and harmony in life.  She had a group of people who had signed up for a course she was conducting in two days time.  In the state I was in presently, I jumped at the opportunity and signed up for the course.
I successfully completed the first level of competence in Reiki, and started to practice it very regularly.  The results were truly incredible.  I started seeing things and people in a very different way.  I could feel a new sense of  forbearance and patience envelope me.  I was no longer short of temper,  and never in a hurry : it was a beautiful feeling.  Before the mandatory 21 days of practicing Reiki was over I was engulfed by a strange sense of peace and happiness, but I was also occasionally sick with mild cold, runny nose, and occasional stomach upset and headaches. But instead of getting worried and running to the doctor,  I was happily intensifying my Reiki self- treatments, for as Juliet had forewarned me,  this was just the detoxification stage that one had to go through, while practicing Reiki. There was nothing to worry. Everything was just going fine. You see I had to release all the pent up emotions, my expectations from my husband, my anger, my disappointments, etc. It was a kind of therapy for me to go to the root of the matter that was troubling me, confront them face to face and find ways to resolve them. Just as I was beginning to see issues that were thus far daunting, with a greater sense of confidence and clarity,  so too some of the symptoms of my illness due to practicing of Reiki began to disappear, leaving me feeling more and more energetic and confident :  at peace with myself and the rest of this world.
I was now ready to do my second level of the Reiki course .It was an absolute stunner, for I realized I could literally reach across the barriers of time and space, anytime I wanted to.  Wow! it was really amazing to learn all the unlimited and mind- blowing possibilities Reiki offered: it was awesome.  One really ought to do the course to feel and experience the full power of Reiki.  First and foremost it made me understand my relationship with Chandran with more clarity.  I could now understand why such unpleasant things kept on happening to us. I could now see that each one of us was wrong in some ways,  and my only mission in life from that time was to try and heal our relationship - nothing else seemed more important to me.  I no longer looked at the issues in my life as problems that could not be solved.  Instead I looked at them as challenges that had to be overcomed.  I started practicing my second degree level of Reiki not only on myself  but I also sent healing energies to Chandran, for now I had learnt the technique of  sending healing energies to others, which was known as distant healing.
  I knew things were not going to change overnight. The damage that had happened, had taken a long time to come to breaking point, and so too, the repairing of our relationship would take time.  I must give Reiki the time to slowly yet subtly show me the way to resolve it .  It was almost one year  since we had separated, and with the new found confidence in Reiki, I was sure the time for reunion was not far away. But Reiki also teaches that being obsessed with achieving results would be counter productive. I had to just do my bit and let things take their own course. I was also not bothered about why Chandran never tried to contact me even once, after that fateful day, it was immaterial, I felt this break could be blessing in disguise for both of us to reflect on ourselves individually without any pressure.
 On several occasions, while driving out, I caught myself unconsciously taking the turn that took me past his Gold Gym, hoping all the time to catch a glimpse of him through those wide  clear glassed panel of windows of the gym.  I would then deliberately cruise slowly  through the narrow lane,  utterly unmindful of the furious honking  But alas,  I had no luck.  But one day,  while in a shopping mall, I spied him in the grocery department, and My God, he was really looking  wonderful, and young as if age had totally left him free from its ravages.  Just then he turned around, and caught me staring at him like a zombie. I quickly turned to look away, when he called out to me and I had to face him again, and look into his mesmerizing eyes. He walked up close to me and looking into my eyes, he smiled, took my hand and said “come Sudha, we need to talk, but not here, lets go to the coffee shop, please”.  Before I could think of anything to say, he was leading me with my hand in his, to the café,  just like old times – it was déjà vu all over again.
 But although he looked really dashing,  there was something missing in him - the spark of happiness had gone out of his eyes. He looked at me so deeply, that I was almost afraid he would catch me blushing.  Oh God ! how could he still have that effect on me: was I so vulnerable, and so transparent?
“Every time I think of that awful night, I hit you and shouted all kinds of obscenities at you, I have been  wanting to come to you and apologize to you, but did not have the guts  to do so.  How could I have behaved like that, what had come over me ?
I never could understand.  The irritation, the taunting behavior, the habit of degrading you in front of everyone - that man was not me, yet it was me. Where did I let all that love disappear? 
Your lovely face kept haunting me, questioning my very existence. I knew I was at fault, and I had to get out of this gutter which was killing me with its stink. I struggled with my work, with my ever pricking conscience, and my love for you. I could take it no longer, I had to do something and I did: I resigned from the company as it was really stressful.  Then, I took off ….revisited some of our favorite haunts in this world, trying to recapture the beauty of the places we enjoyed in our journeys together. I found the powerful fragrance of the love shared by us still lingering in each and every little corner and nook, every flower, every little gurgling stream, every glade, every tree under which we romanced :  taunting me, as if, questioning me, “Yeah, where have you let all the love fly away, you fool, do something before it is too late, you moron “ : all singing in a chorus, : It was a stinging pain in my ears and, resounding like an echo in an empty room.."
Chandran continued, “I came back with the intention of talking to you and begging for your forgiveness, but till now I could not do it. But seeing you here all of a sudden, and seeing your beautiful and calm face, I felt I had to talk to you now, come what may. What do you say Sudha, please tell me.. can you forgive this monster, who still loves you and cannot think of a life without you”?
 All this was so overwhelming and so sudden, that, for a minute I could not believe such a thing could be happening to me. But it was happening to us. I reached out for his hand - but wait a second, what was happening to me I could not reach him, my hand----- it was not able to touch his hand, he was drifting away from me, going away from me,  farther and farther, very far……so far away.  Why ?……Chandran, Chandran,  I was trying to shout out loud but no sound came from my lips, !  what was it ? a nightmare ?  and then with the sound of  crashing of cups and plates, I found myself too, crashing to oblivion………………..

Sorry for such a lengthy post.
 (to be continued)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Break From The Past: the break ( Part 7)

There he was!  
I had to catch my breath for he was looking so handsome: nobody would believe he was 60, he looked like a 40 or 45 year old man, very successful and confident in  life--- I could almost feel myself melting, like a burning candle, just watching him. He was there right  in front of me, I felt like running to him and hugging him, showering him with kisses and wishing him, but I why was I hesitant, what was stopping me,  why and from where had this awkward distance  come between us?
I had slogged the whole day  in the kitchen, all the while, thinking tender and loving thoughts about him, reliving in my mind the wonderful life we had led, the unflinching love that we thought would never go sour. Where had all that love gone... why can't he be the one to come and hug me and be the one to break the ice, oh God, why not him?
Okay, I told to myself, I could be the  one to break the ice, for in love there can be no competition, there was no place for 'ego" to stand as a wall between us, and I was determined to make this a very happy occasion for both of us. Although, he looked good there was something bothering him always, and I knew it was his work, it was taking a toll on him and on our relationship. I was confident that a little TLC was what he needed: I must somehow make him loosen up and kiss away all his worries, provided if he would only let me..
 He seemed to be in a good mood, but only for a second, for as soon as he saw me watching that awful serial, (The B & B) I could see his expression change, a little too soon,  into disgust. Then his eyes fell on the Champagne bottle chilling in the ice- tub, the elegantly set table, the expensive crockery, and then he turned to look at me, sitting all decked up, as if for a party….then he  just went  rushing towards  the TV and punched the buttons in a fit of anger, and  before I could even open my mouth, he slapped me!
 I could hardly believe what had just happened …… he had the audacity to slap me….. me -- for no apparent reason. In all these years he had never done  such a thing, what had come over him all of a sudden?
 Then he started his usual taunts and verbal abuses, and before I could even comprehend the meaningless  nonsense, he went to the dining table, picked up the Champagne bottle and smashed it on the floor. “This is my house",  he shouted, “knowing very well how I detest such idiotic serials, you never stop watching them day after day”,  he growled at me. “What is this nonsense going on in this house --- a party for your dancing students, behind my back is it?”
 I didn't bother to answer him….leaving him yelling there,  I quietly walked up the stairs to our room. I was not afraid of him, I could have stood and fought with him, I could have also taken some glasses and thrown at him, but : I did not want to stoop to his level. I felt there was no point in arguing about our miserable situation, the dreaded " Break" was staring right on my face, I had to accept it, with whatever dignity that was still left in me.  I felt so humiliated, I had such positive thoughts about us, and,  how confident I had felt just a few seconds ago: only to get slapped and insulted by him for no reason at all..
I quickly threw some clothes and a few other things that came to hand into a suitcase, and came down.  I said, “I am leaving you Chandran, I can no longer take this kind of behavior from you. Something is wrong with you, and it is time you did something about it, I am never going to come back”.  
I could still feel the sting on my cheek where he had hit me : tears welled up in my eyes, ready to burst out.  I looked at Chandran, and turned round to take one last look at our house which held so many good memories, and stepped out of the door..... forever....
(To be continued)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Break From The Past: Party Time (part 6)

The  venue chosen for  the party was absolutely amazing, with glittering lights, a specially erected stage for the music band, and below the stage we could see some couples dancing. It felt so good to be there, and everybody was coming and congratulating Chandran for relentlessly working so hard for the company's growth.
For me it was an honor to be by his side. Both of us had a really good time. The drinks, the snacks, and the food were great and so was the music, and the band had us dancing to their catchy numbers. We lost ourselves in the scintillating music,  and danced to the music changing  our steps and our tempo to the beat of the music : sometimes jive, then mambo, and then again….I don’t know what,  I didn't even care, there was a spontaneity in our steps, making us forget all our unsolved problems for the time being. There was only one thought dancing through my mind -  “may this night never end.”
One among several things I learnt after moving to America was dancing.  I loved dancing so much that it didn’t take me long to became a certified Dance Instructor.  It had been ages since, Chandran and I danced together. The fights between us had grown to such gigantic proportions that we never felt like dancing with each other ever again. But not today, for today we had left everything behind us . We danced and danced, literally setting the floor on fire. I recalled my dance teacher saying, “while dancing, forget everything, and only look into the eyes of the partner, make love to him through your eyes.”  
She was so passionate about dancing, that it was contagious : whoever learnt dancing from her  became as passionate as she was, about this sensuous art, and wanted to be as perfect as her.  If the partner happened to be your own husband, then, there was nothing to stop you from showering your passion on him through your eyes, your body movements.
 Oh! if there was bliss in this Universe it was here, it was here, on this dance floor. For once in our lives we were truly happy. 
 Soon, Chandran’s new responsibilities took him more and more away from me. But I did not mind it so much, for my dance classes  kept me occupied, and I was happy  doing the thing I really enjoyed doing.  Since Chandran's business tours kept him away for long periods of time, I decided to take some evening classes, for there were lot of people who wanted to take the class in the evenings.

When he was home, sometimes I used to reschedule my classes, thinking we could spend some quality time together.  But that was not to be, as Chandran always had some presentation to work on, or something else to keep him engaged and away from me. This kept on happening till I got fed up for neither was I  able to spend time with him nor was I able to take my evening dance classes . So I decided not to waste any more time, and started taking my classes as usual.
As fate would have it, I got busy when he got free, and then he started noticing my absence. He could have just told me he needed me,  and I would have rescheduled my classes, but no, he said nothing . Slowly the taunts started, then the accusation, then slowly it led to many unpleasant things, and  living with him became impossible. I tried very hard, but soon I realized there was no point in continuing to live with him like that: it was time to move on.
The real breaking point came when he started, spying on me, always asking me questions as to where I had been, who I was talking to over the phone, who came to the house while he was not there, and even controlling what I should be watching on  TV, and what I should not. Those days the daily soap opera Bold and The Beautiful had just started, and everybody was watching it .  I too was hooked into it.  Though on certain days it would be quite boring, still,  I would be watching it. He used to get very irritated whenever I saw that serial, and then he would go on and on cribbing about the serial. He felt that such serials were responsible for giving crazy ideas to people like me to flirt around with men in the name of teaching dancing.  He even accused that people like me had lost all sense of morality and dignity.  I ignored all these signals, thinking this too would pass.
Then, it was the day when he was to turn 60. In India especially in the South where we come from the, 60th birthday of a man is celebrated with lot of fanfare. Man and Wife renewed their marriage wows in front of their children and grand children : it is a very happy occasion.  Since we were not going to have that kind of a celebration in the US,  I thought I would just do something special for him, and make that day memorable.
 I prepared all his favorite dishes, spent hours in the kitchen forgetting all our animosity and anger. I had even bought a lovely birthday gift for him. I set the table with the finest crockery in the house, lovingly collected by us on our various trips abroad.  The Champagne was in the ice tub getting nicely chilled.  My heart was on fire, I was excited, and was eagerly awaiting his arrival.  Somehow I felt that everything would be fine between us, for I still could not forget that time when we danced the whole night away, and we were so happy. I was expecting the same miracle to happen.  I kept picturing the same old Chandran, who dragged me from the crowded bus years ago: the Chandran with whom I fell in love the minute I set my eyes on him. I felt a flutter in my heart: Chandran had not really disappeared, I had not lost him, for he was there, he was very much there, and very much part of me as I was of him.
But why was it taking him so long, was it the traffic?
I switched on the TV, just in time, to watch the ever boring repeats of "The Bold & The Beautiful" when, Chandran walked in………
To be continued...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Break From The Past: When things fall apart... (Part 5)

We settled in sunny California. Life was good, we made lots of friends, went travelling around America as much as we could, whenever we could, we were happy in the real sense. Time, had moved very fast. Our children were now young adults,  the twins and the 3rd one were doing great. They were doing well in their respective fields, they were  grown up boys,  independent,  living in  apartments near their University. I found myself with lot of time in my hands, and embarked into learning the things that I always wanted to learn,  but could not because of being busy with home and children. Everything has its own time, and my time to learn had come knocking at my door.
I was pleased with myself, and I was truly happy. Unlike Australia, life was not so laid back, and I enjoyed every bit of it. I thought Chandran too,  would be pleased to see me learning to do so many things all by myself. But something was not right between us ---- something was seriously wrong ----- When did things go wrong, I cannot put my finger to it . Everyday little things were enough to spark a fight between us for no apparent reason, when previously one of us would always make up (and I used to love our making up so much that sometimes I would deliberately find reasons to fight with him). But alas, now none of us  bothered about making up, we were too proud to be the first one to say sorry....... the ego that was absent between us so far had somehow, crept into our lives.
Could things really become so bad between two people who were supposed to be so much in love with each other?
What went wrong, why????
I racked my brain to find answers to so many questions, that was plaguing me non- stop.
 Each time I did something interesting and praise-worthy he would only try and find fault with me. He even started to degrade me in front of friends though in a humorous manner .. it didn't hurt so much in the beginning, but when it became a standard pattern with him, taunting and always poking fun at me, it really hurt. I could not believe that this was the same Chandran whom I fell in love,  got married and had three kids with him. At first I let it go, thinking it was pressure from his job that was making him behave like that...... for it was true he was really working very hard, and was also doing very well in his company. He had to travel quite a lot, and when he came back he was always too tired for anything. I tried to be understanding, made his favorite dishes whenever he was home, did not depend on him for each and everything, and did not give him the chance to complain. But the more I tried, the more crankier and disgusting he became.
After having been married to him for more than 20 years, I suddenly started to wonder if something was wrong with me ------- why do I blame him only, maybe I need to change myself. I  was literally killing myself mentally,  trying to figure out what was it that was not right about me.
Then one day,  Chandran came with the good news that, he was made the Director of the company, for the board was very pleased with his work. He was so excited and happy. He said, that the company was happy with way their business had increased, and to celebrate that, they had organised a party, and we were to attend that. That day, I saw my old Chandran who I had thought, I had lost forever.
He lifted me, and held me high and said he was able reach this position because of me. I was shocked to hear such nice words from him.....I was moved to tears,  hearing him say such lovely things, which were music to my ears.......... I loved him so much that words were inadequate to describe the joy I felt in his strong arms.......I thanked the Almighty for all that was happening at that particular moment.. I was not going to let this God sent happy moments to pass by. No point in brooding about the bitter past, for in the present everything was fine, and  we must be fully happy and enjoy the moment, without any resentment.
He immediately took me shopping, saying I deserved a new dress, and that he would love to help me in my selection of dress.  We had always shopped together till things started to go wrong  between us. Now he acted as if nothing was wrong between us, as if we had never fought. I was ready to let go, and I felt that maybe I was right to think that all the bitterness between us was caused by the tensions in his job.
Well, he took me to the best boutique in town, and helped me try various outfits, all of them so beautiful that, I didn't have the heart to leave any of them. Then when I wore the black shimmering dress, and came out to show him, he just kept staring at me, as if he was seeing me for the first time. It was indeed a beautiful dress, with a wide deep neck,  that highlighted my broad shoulders beautifully. It  had a gold lace wrap,  that had to be worn as a shawl/ stole, and gold sandals to match it. It was too good!
 The look in his eyes told me what I wanted to know, and  we asked the sales person to pack it. That indeed was one of my best days in a long long time. I decided to enjoy every bit of it. 
The change that came upon us was magical, and unbelievable, as if the bad period was just a pause in our relationship. What brought about this kind of drastic change, all of a sudden, why was I ready to accept this change without any thought?
I had no answers. I pushed all these silly questions from my mind,  wiped the slate clean, and looked forward to happy times ahead.

The day of the party arrived. Chandran was looking so handsome in  black suit, with the white shirt, and the beautiful tie I had bought for him as a birthday gift many years ago. We were all set to go ......

(To be continued)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Break From the past . To America, the land of opportunities! (P4)

My life now revolved round the new- born and the twins who took all of my time and energy.  Chandran being more and more busy with various assignments,  he found less and less time to be around us.
  Around this time my parents came to visit us for they were yet to see all my children. It was such an happy occasion, even Chandran took some time off and we went around various places in Australia. Those days bungee jumping was the craze, some brave people undertook this to prove to themselves that they could overcome their fear of heights. I was really fascinated by the thrill of this sport. I too wanted to experience it .
  What better occasion then now, I thought, with my parents here to look after my kids while I took  the plunge. Well although, on an impulse,  I had decided to jump, but as the time got closer and closer to the jumping part,  I was very nervous, I got paranoid with all kinds of crazy feelings going round my mind, like : what would happen if I went and hit something and got badly hurt, or what if I had an heart attack and died, who will look after my three little kids, what if I had a stroke,  have I really gone crazy signing up for this kind of sport when I have so many responsibilities, I should just turn back. but the words of Chandran kept coming to my mind :" do it Sudha you will love it, there is no danger, once you have gone through it you will come back for more. If anything bad were to happen  it could happen even inside the house,  or for that matter anywhere, one should not let negative thoughts put a stop on all the things that we want to experience." Well he can say:  for he had already jumped many times and in so many different ways.  How was I to overcome this fear, that was gnawing inside me?

I had to overcome fear of fear, and just do it ! I just have to take a deep breath and just let go of the fear.... I had to somehow break through this fear, for as someone once said: on the other side of fear lies everything we ever wanted.

Was it as simple as that : yes it had to be for there  was no time to debate, and it was my turn now: the instructor had already started to count 10, 9,8,7,6, God, the time has come for me to  jump !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and.........with my heart almost in my mouth I.... jumped ....... initially I felt as though, I was almost dying, the fear of reaching  nowhere was really very terrifying, but soon, my mind became totally fear magically transformed itself into a sense of great joy, a sense of freedom,  a feeling so great that words can never describe them.
 Soon I was back, and like all others who had shouted that they have done the most incredible thing in their lives, I too shouted out in joy in the same manner, for believe me it was indeed the most  incredible and wonderful experience, and I had done it!
    I was really glad to be back in one piece and  also happy to have overcome the fear. Soon it was time for my parents to leave, and I was a little upset, for I had got used to their presence so much. But they have their own lives, and they can't be with me forever. 
Once again, it was time for us to move to the US, because Chandran's company wanted him to handle some major projects there.
  The idea of going to the US did not appeal to me so much. Moving to a new place,  trying to settle to a new way of life was too daunting. Having tasted life in Australia, it was very difficult to move away from it so easily. Somehow, the thought of leaving this country bothered me,  I had loved this place, our house, our life,  despite the frequent travels of Chandran,  Oh, we were so happy, it was not easy for me to leave all this....
Chandran, as usual said I should not be so negative about every thing.  He was quite happy to  move. I too brainwashed myself to thinking happy thoughts about that country and happily prepared myself, to move along with him.
America, here we come!!!
(to be continued soon)