Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Talisman

It had been a particularly hectic week in office. Work was piling up and there were deadlines to be met, mails to be sent and documents to be re-read. On top of that, I was getting a terrible headache. Even after downing a tablet of dispirin, there was no respite. At about 5pm when it became unbearable, I decided to call it quits and go home early for a change. My boss, being a very understanding fellow, acquiesced and I left for home.

The walk to station was filled with visions of work and thoughts of intricacies of the corporate culture. Once again, I thought “I was not born to do this!” I was plagued with self-doubt over my career plan, over my current position, my long term goals, my financial condition, in short everything and anything negative. The 10 minute walk elevated my pessimism and reduced my morale. Even the normally chirpy songs on my Ipod were of no effect. I soon switched them to Hemant Kumar & co.
The transformation was complete.

The train thankfully was empty (at least according to Bombay standards). The emptiness in the compartment seemed to reflect my inner emptiness. There were a lot of thoughts floating around in my fuzzy mind. The lack of ambition, some social faux pas, the emotional barrenness, the purposelessness of my existence were some of the threads in the mind. It wouldn’t need a psychologist to diagnose a bout of mild depression.

The non-depressed portion of my brain was sending out SOS by the dozen. Some mood alleviator hormone must have been triggered temporarily which suggested me to go and stand near the door. The rush of wind against your face is always a feel-good factor, I reasoned. Instead of the usual ‘Born to be wild’ (by Mars Bonfire) song which comes to my head when the wind rushes past your head, I could only hear the thoughts floating and hovering. They were pulling me back into the abyss of melancholy and misery. My eyes had a far away glazed look in them and nothing was in focus.

Suddenly a foul smell emanated and shook me from my stupor. What I saw or to be more precise, what I perceived was a whole populace living in between the train tracks. Though I had been passing through this area for the last 6 months, the scene had never registered with me. I could see children lying on the tracks, men ambling on, teenagers puffing on their beedis, women sitting and tying their daughter’s hair. Despite the sully environment, they looked at peace, if not content. What is their secret, I wondered?

Suddenly in a flash, I remembered the Gandhiji’s talisman. Some random synapse must have triggered the memory retrieval. The same talisman which used to be printed on the front page of our NCERT text books. The same talisman which we once read and never understood. The same talisman which was forgotten in the rush for marks, money and power. I remembered the talisman and a feeling of peace came over me. It was an awe-inspiring moment in the most unlikely of places. I felt at one with myself. The dragon of reservations and fears within myself were slain by the shining knight with his weapon of the talisman. I took a deep breath and mumbled a word of gratitude to Gandhiji. Though I may not subscribe to his political views, I had been turned into an instant fan of his spiritual outlook of life. I understood then that no matter what we do or what we become, there will always be some time when the self is in need of a crutch. That time, your spirit and your mind will come to the rescue.

Gandhiji’s talisman
"I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.


Anil said...

Nice Articulate of your expressions and verbalisms. And the Overabundance of words was really Prissy.
Now the spirits of all this is ( what I got ) the generation of your feelings toward what you saw. But why always these Talisman stories and Feelings comes when you yourself are not at you best. Where are all these feeling and thoughts gone when you are feeling good or when you get you salary on 1st, did you ever thought about those people on railway station ??? Did that NCRT's first page lines comes in your mind when you don't have any vexes ??
There is a need for an answer for it..

puneet said...

Very well written....i can very well relate myself with it...but as Anil said it all comes 2 us only ven v r down nd out...thr r times ven u get so pissed off that u start thinking of the gud old days @ home gone by and wonder y cant i go bak thr and live a peaceful life...y 2 take tis route of corporate life..bla bla bla...but all des feelings r gone ven u have ur corporate dinners or outings or ur salary day... tats Human nature nd i like ur articulation of the same...

Neha said...

I agree with guys. Do something for the people then!

Abhineet Kapil said...

Mr. Dhruv...
Nice to see your spiritual side..

Its a good feeling to recall Gandhi ji's talisman.. It definitely is serene..

But man !! its equally difficult to implement it in life.. Once selfishness, social pretense (big flats, big cars) etc etc comes in the way..

But I hope this feeling persists in you !! And I wish we do something great for some one..

If you really want to do something
My Suggestion :

#Support children for education financially.

If you have any plans, do share..

Anonymous said...

....Impressive!! are showing signs of maturity...however, i feel that this blog is tad incomplete...something else was there which meant to reveal itself through words here..but wasn't allowed...the whole thing had that undertone...

Dhruv said...

The test/talisman is supposed to be applied when you are in doubt or the self becomes too much for you. It is not for charity or making mankind a better place. It is for the individual, not for the society.
And SIGNS of maturity? OMG!!!

Anonymous said...

Did it really help you ?
I mean sometimes(although more frequent),self doubt just manages to get you in...for most likely the same reasons as mentioned in the blog ...but thinking of talisman helping me is apparently abstract at the moment or if I would say a receeding effective measure. MAy be the innocence and the soul to register this periapt
is lost somewhere....

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