As the curtains close to Arusha’s 18th birthday at McLeod Ganj, I reflect upon the day with a longing desire, a desire to capture it in a magic bottle. A magic memory bottle of sorts that I could re-visit and reclaim as only mine.
It’s been a whirlwind few months – changes, severed ties, revelations, mostly bitter moments; peppered with some really sweet ones, which made it easier to bear the debacles. Days of feeling helpless, but pulling through it with a tenacious spirit. And on the lop side being one with the change and embracing it with unsure but courageous thoughts. These moments would not have been possible without the support of some very dear, messiah like people who just stepped in and enveloped me with their motivating words and warm hugs.
Do you believe in magic? Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe in the power of your thoughts? Do you believe what you put out there, the universe manifests into your reality?
If not then read on and if yes, you could still go right ahead and read my little story.
A trip to Dharamshala one might assume is a short one especially when taking a flight. But believe it or not, we were caught in a massive traffic jam on our way to Mcleod Ganj and that too between Dharamshala and the latter, which in normal circumstances would take half an hour. It seemed as though the entire Punjab had descended upon this serene Tibetan settlement, also because it was the weekend.
And we thought we had left the chaotic city life and traffic jams to savour some mountain quietness.
Well, we weren’t entirely wrong!
I have long wanted to visit this Buddhist belt of India especially after I took to the Soka Gakkai practise of Buddhism. So it was a dream come true. And Arusha was also eager to be in a similar place for her eighteenth birthday, away from the maddening party scene; and we wanted to make it meaningful for her.
But little did we know that we were to be stranded in a 4 hour traffic jam. After being stuck for little more than 2 hours and whiling time watching the garrulous Punjabi uncles and youth sporting t-shirt vests and blare bhangra rap, fat aunties dawdling their way through the narrow road in a bid to walk the 5 km stretch; it struck me that chanting would probably help.
In the past Aarshia and I have chanted our way through traffic jams, seamlessly. I have chanted through massive traffic jams to reach my meetings on time in the past too. The pessimist in me began with little hope, as we could see the cars dotted back to back on the meandering hills. 15 minutes and nothing was moving still. I almost gave up when I put a goal of 4 pm for us to reach our destination.
I chanted with utter faith and determination as I didn’t want my baby girl (she would say, “not anymore!”) to spend her birthday like this. Though honestly I was enjoying this adventure. I never get impatient around jams, and I have realised acceptance is the key to staying calm at that moment. In fact jams give me time to reflect and enjoy my music!
It was over 3:30 pm and I put a goal of 4:30 pm, to reach our destination and suddenly the traffic started moving. I chanted vigorously and could feel the strong presence of Ikeda Sensie guiding me through this as he raised his fan to the “I will Sensie” song. I could hear the chorus in my head and see Sensie’s motivating smile and twinkling eyes. I have tried to establish that connect with my mentor, and its taking me longer than usual as I have had mentors like Ramkrishna Paramhans, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev who have been my beacon of light in the past.
But I believe it is fine to have many mentors, some at various points of time in your life and one who you will connect to always. I hope it will be Sensie!
At 4:05 pm the traffic came to a jolting halt again and we could see this 1-1/2 km stretch might take us hours to get through. Aarshia suggested we walk, so all of us clamoured out of the car and started walking. It was a nice, fun walk despite the one way traffic. I continued to chant and I felt Sensie encourage me through this. The peanut and corn vendors had set up shop and were selling their stuff like hot cakes. People were even playing board games in their cars.
Our hotel, Serkong House a Buddhist abode was right at the central market. By 4:30 we were sitting in the restaurant sipping on watermelon juice and satiating our growling stomachs with some piping hot Thukpas and momos.
Such is the power of this practise of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism and your faith. If you believe, you will always be lead to the desired outcome. The day you stop believing and challenging every obstacle, you will run out of that will to live life. Hope is what keeps us going, even when it’s just a traffic jam. When we get stuck in life’s emotional jam, all we need to do is believe in magic and hold on to it. And lo behold! Everyday will become a magic!
25th June 2016, Mcleod Ganj