It is second week of May. It is very early in the morning. The sky is pleasantly anticipating arrival of golden Sunrays. The breeze is cool. My lungs are full of sea-smell. Coconut trees are whistling and mildly dancing. They are engrossed in hushed conversations. I close my eyes for a moment. Life is such a pleasure.
I am surrounded by 30 youngsters. They are bubbling with energy and are excited with the just completed ‘Maitree’ (Friendship) camp. The train is waiting on the platform like a long sleeping snake. We occupy the bogie, arrange luggage. The train slowly leaves the station… I silently go to the door of the compartment. When the train takes the curve, you can have a glance of the beautiful station. But I cannot see anything … my eyes are full of tears, my heart is almost broken. Because, I am leaving Kanyakumari forever…
The incidence happened only once … long back… to be exact, 19 years ago. But even today, on so many early mornings I wake up with the same dream… the young me standing in the train compartment door with so much of pain and sorrow, shattered by emotions and rationality, caught between living and leaving. It is appallingly ‘real’ every time…
Like the Dark Wizard Voldemort (if you have read Harry Potter …) I have divided my soul into so many parts and kept it at many places (I wont call it Horcrux though) … Leaving Kanyakumari was the beginning of that ‘soul departure’ kind of living.
But why speak only of pain? There is happiness associated with every pain… one just needs to have paradigm shift.
Because of my ‘sense of responsibility’ I had informed (about leaving) to the concerned colleagues six months in advance. Everybody argued with me, tried to convince me, promised me certain changes, challenged me… I was too young (and too attached) to resist all that and agreed to stay for one more year. Everybody was relieved … a year is a good time to make people forget their plans. Everyone was assured that they have me continuing to live with them.
At that time we had a set of yearly activities. A youth camp in this month, a women’s training in that month, a meeting at Kanyakumari in August, Vivekananda jayanti (birthday) celebration in January … and so on.
Because of my decision to leave after a year, I started enjoying every activity very intensely. Every moment became a unique moment… I was sure that it will never come again, and so I lived it fully, without any distraction. Even a simple walk in Shivaji Park, running to catch a train at crowded Dombivali station, the books in the library, the phone calls, the visits to various homes, the yoga class, the coffee at someone’s home, travel to Kanyakumari, walking in Kanyakumari campus at 3.00 in the morning, writing cash books, conducting EC (Executive Committee) meetings, writing an article for publication, arranging visit of boys and girls from Arunachal, eating at ‘Aswad’, playing carom with friends, the cool breeze in Dadar station, patting a cow at the garbage dump, talking to a shopkeeper, … I lived every moment as if it would never come back. And certainly it never came back…
That was the best period of my life. I was not fragmented but whole. I was not anxious but was eager. I had lost the outward battle, but I had won it within. 'Leaving' taught me the 'art of living'. Living fully, completely, intensely, happily, objectively, and so much more.
Life is funny. Many times things you love most are bound to destroy you. You need to leave people, places, and ideas to save yourself from that possible destruction. You have to carry it all alone, with a smile....because others never understand. They can question, they can sympathize, they can support… but they cannot live it for you.
Because of that ‘leaving’ experience I never faced the dilemma of leaving afterwards. For me, living and leaving are the two sides of the same coin. Apparently you can have only one of those, but in reality you have both. When one door shuts, another opens …with many more probabilities. One should not be scared of leaving. The scar remains but the pain disappears… because learning to deal with pain is an aspect of inner growth.
Why not leave to live?