The last I stepped out of my home city to study was in 2001. Just by writing that, I realise how many eons away that sounds!
Anyone who knows me well, will also know that I am a student for life and never shy away from unlearning and learning something new. Did you read the word unlearning twice? If you did, good job! We will come back to this word some time later in another post of mine.
So when I told my family that I was keen on getting myself certified in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), they all just raised their heads a tad bit and went back to their business. Hello! And then I announced.
‘I am thinking of going to Goa for this course.’ Four heads turned with their mouths wide open, but for different reasons.
‘You are just lying. I know you are going there to have fun with friends.’ That was my son.
‘You will go without me, is it? How bad!!’ That was my daughter.
‘Is this course not available in Bangalore?’ My mother. AND…
‘Let’s talk logistics.’ My self proclaimed better half.
No, I am not lying. I am going to study.
Six days will go like this, and I snapped my fingers.
No, I want to be trained only under Dr. David Lincoln. He does not train in Bangalore.
And yeah, come let’s talk logistics. And I went ahead booked my flight, and sent out mails for accommodation.
The next two months that followed, I kept hearing many things like,
I still think you are lying. Tell me, is Suhasini Aunty coming along?
What if I feel like seeing you? But what will you get for me?
Why can’t you just read about it or order some books on it, like the zillion things you keep reading about?
Na na…better half didn’t speak much, and I think it was because I kept talking about NLP day and night. Tch tch.
Then I started getting calls from my mom’s sis.
Goa is not safe. You shouldn’t go alone.
When that failed, it became
What kind of clothes are you packing? Will you have company? Will you have a room-mate? A guy or a girl..haaaa!
What was up with all these people? I mean. I have lived in a hostel for two years in another city. No one bothered. I wondered.
That is when a dear friend pointed out. You see, your value has increased. Then you were just a girl. Now you are a mother, a wife, a daughter-in-law and so on.
So basically what she meant was it was absolutely fine for a 21 year old to go alone anywhere, have any room-mate, wear the clothes she wanted, and it’s assumed that she will be safe even if she is alone. But, all this changes when you are 37. Someone please explain the logic, I say. But I think it made sense…or did it? Oh just leave it.
The day arrived and I packed my bags (All my bags are packed by Aerosmith played in the back of my mind, except I was going to Goa and not the space.)
I stepped out of the plane and kept my foot out in the soil of Goa waiting to feel LIBERATED, but what I felt was the humidity. Gosh! Can I please have my Bangalore back? I should have just read the books and got my bit of enlightenment.
I said a few inappropriate words in my head and got inside the cab.
‘Bhaiyya, AC on kar do.’ I rolled up the window of the car and instructed the driver.
‘Madam, the AC is on.’ I just rolled my eyes and huffed and puffed.
I reached my abode for the next six days. Thankfully this time, the AC was on and I realised it was on.
I sat on the bed. Too hard.
I laid on the bed. Too narrow. How will I throw my legs around and sleep?
I drank the water. Too soft, too hard. Tastes funny. Smells funnier.
I went into the washroom. What’s that smell? Is there a lizard somewhere lurking around?
And then it struck me. I felt lonely. There was no one around me. I missed everyone back at home. I called home and heard my daughter sniffing. F! This was a bad idea.
Then someone said, ‘Are you Subha?’ I turned around and saw a warm lady in her 40s with a bright smile. She was a practising theatre artist from Pune.
By evening, a nurse from Ratnagiri joined us. Then a corporate trainer from Mumbai, another from Bhopal. A 57 year young guy joined us soon and also a senior officer from the Army. An entrepreneur came along and also another budding trainer. The house slowly filled up, and my heart filled up even more listening to their stories. The wall of inhibition fell and I climbed down the Train of Judgement.
Days passed by. I was not just learning in the classroom, but also at the beach side restaurant where we spoke over drinks and starters, while watching the sunset as we poured our hearts, the Saturday market where we shopped, and during the long chats well into the night. Oh yeah, not to forget when we were chased by street dogs (which BTW are many in Goa) during our morning walk. We sincerely stopped the morning walks from the next day. We had after all left our families behind and come. Talking about family, the sniffing reduced from the other side of the phone. My son knew I was, after all, not lying because he asked me whether I was eating on time, slept well and was the course tough?
Like always, I clicked pictures of the setting sun against the vastness of the sea. I watched the horizon, as it split into the hues of orange, grey and blue. The sea reminded me how small I am, just a dot in this universe and that’s exactly why I should continue exploring my whole life.
The day I was returning, I hugged each one and knew I had made a few more soul connections. I sincerely wish that I collaborate with a few of them sometime in the future. As much as I loved every moment in Goa, I looked forward to reaching Namma Benguluru. I came to Bangalore a new person.
I felt this new-found love for my home, my family and guess what…I think I fell in love with myself all over again. Yeah, just like the movies.