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Musings of a Soul Searching Aunty

by Ashima

Dolly Koghar turns inward to discover her true self.

Knowing Myself

My much-needed escape from being cooped-up with the people I thought I loved to death, came from the one thing I’m great at, and that is sorting, organising, discarding, and separating anything and everything.  However, my first choice for this time-out from life would have been to discover myself; to know myself.

Aristotle said, “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” and I could definitely do with some, though Trump desperately and urgently needs a healthier dose of it. Regrettably, this khwahish (aspiration) can wait while I deal with the never-ending meals and snack breaks; the kids squabbling over their cluttered toys and the mummy hollering at them, above and beyond the din of the TV and the banter around it.

In my quest to find order in the chaos, I (re)discovered clothes with tags intact; shoes and handbags cosily nestled in their original butter-paper; enough teacups for a mehendi party and some pots and pans I had purchased, but forgot, and then double purchased! Also, heaps of assorted items begging to be remembered.

Being holed-up, with no Gurudwara, no office, no gym nor yoga, no destination weddings nor birthday bashes nor somebody’s umpteenth anniversary, provided time to (re)discover and (re)acquaint myself with the family. None of us have come out unscathed: hubby dear is gaunter and his furrows are deeper and more pronounced; son has more grey than before. The kids have grown super rambunctious and know way too much for their own good. While we, the womenfolk, can and did survive the beauty parlour lockout!

I also unearthed some serious questions I needed to ask myself. Do I genuinely miss the shor sharaba (hullabaloo) and the gupshup (chitter-chatter) of parties? Did I really enjoy the temporary high of shopping and the mayhem in malls? Were the phone calls and messages simply something to dilute the fear of solitude; of me being alone with myself (main aur meri tanhai)? Am I subconsciously blocking myself from meeting the genuine ME, one different from the one I think I am, or pretend to be?

I’m aware that complete harmony is not possible until and unless I confront the persona hiding behind the many masks I wear. However, I must also exercise tolerance and compassion for my human frailties, flaws, shortcomings, and countless blunders. Most importantly, it is only if and when I embrace and own the person I find, that I can be truly and fully liberated, as per Fanny Brice’s advice to, ‘let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be’.

Anyway, this face ravaged by time and age isn’t even me. Who I am is the books I’ve read; the songs I’ve bellowed into my shower-head mike; the people who raised me and those I birthed and every single person that crossed my path, even momentarily. Chunks and bits of the distinctive cultures, cuisines, languages, and subtle nuances of my beloved Thailand and the many more countries that served as home, have seeped into my chromosomes. The distinct feel of the houses I transformed into homes and left behind are in my bones. My religion, my faith, and my beliefs are my stability. The tears of joy and love; but also those of disappointment, rejection and loss, as well the scars I so carefully hide; are the person I have become. I am also thoughts and ideas; memories and longings; aspirations and dreams both fulfilled and unfulfilled; and much, much more.

Humankind has been brought to a grinding halt and the planet is quiet and restful. In this blessed stillness, I hope to tune in and receive answers from the Great Beyond. Who was I before the world told me who I should be? Who am I now? Most importantly, how much further is the junction where I’ll ‘know myself’ and recognise that I am not a mere human being,
but a transcendental BEING, undergoing a human experience?

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