An Unforgettable Experience

Hello Dear Friends,

How is life going? I hope it is going great.  With a little bit of upsides and downsides here and there but nevertheless fun. Today, would like to share with you all a very personal experience I had 16 days ago. The narrative might sound regular but was powerful enough to change a part of me, so sharing with you all was my imperative.

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A little background first. I had been writing the 2nd stage of an important exam in December that spans across 6 days – 9 papers – 3 hours each . That also explains my less-frequent blogging recently. Well let us say the exam is very important since I took a career break for an year to write this exam.

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Interestingly the day I am talking about, 7th December was one of the foggiest days Delhi winter has witnessed. Add to that the exam centre being 45 km away at other extreme end of the city, one had to leave home before dawn at 6.30 to be on-time at 9 am . Anything beyond 9.15 am would mean you are denied entry and that would be a nightmare . While the centre itself was nice and cozy, its location was in an outskirt village setup , not much used to barrage of cars/autos invading this quiet place early in the morning and was connected by a single narrow passage to the main road.

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Sometimes things take their own course. I had returned home on 6th night after a taxing 3 hour ride with our famous traffic jams spreading their charm. Tired and exhausted, wasn’t much in the mood to do anything else but crash in bed for the next day. But my eyes caught onto Bhagwad Gita kept near my bed . I picked it up to read 1 chapter before sleeping off. Why do I read that book instead of revising, you may wonder? Well it is  for the amazing sense of calm and peace it provides. A balanced sense of mind I felt can yield much more strength in the examination hall than flipping notes alone.  I take Gita not pertinently as a religious scripture but more so as a powerful means to empower oneself with positive thoughts. That night,  one line from the book’s 18th discourse stayed with me  “Wherever there is Krishna, Yoga’s lord, where there is Arjuna the archer , there shall be happiness, victory in the end”.  To put it simply, when one ( archer : who has a single-minded devotion to realise her goal) has faith ( be it in the Lord or anyone and oneself) , there ought  to be victory finally, come what may in between. Summed up life well, or so I thought and slept .

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7th morning was all fog. Set off from home on time but the concerned and genial driver told me that he would drive slow as visibility was barely 50 m. Fair enough, still had more than 2 hours at hand and anyway I was reaching early by 8.20 on previous days. But after some 20-25 minutes or so, a thought flashed in my mind out of nowhere, ” Brace yourself, something is to go amiss”. Why that thought slipped in still can’t figure out exactly. Despite my usual cheery self in mornings. Bah just a thought and I shrugged it off. The course of events now began:

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Roughly 10 km later the car had a breakdown. Minor glitch? I inquired. But after 5 minutes of inspection the driver with a grave expression declared, “Bhaiya gaadi nahi chal payegi, puri leak kar gayi”. Leak, wow that did wake me up. No recharge station nearby. Told him fine, will book a cab for the remaining half journey and took to my phone. Wait, the phone had miraculously switched off and would NOT switch on. His phone was discharged too. What next? Find an auto which is not a problem generally in the capital except that foggy morning where all autos seemed to have vanished ! An inkling of uncertainty began to flow inside me during the long search for an auto. Finally, one auto emerged from the white mist and I almost leaped forward. The location of my centre sounded a little esoteric initially even to the auto-driver as the village is not well-known inside city for obvious reasons. I asked whether his phone has GPS to which I received a bemused expression. Ah, well. Nevertheless he recalled he had been there once before and agreed to take me after charging a royally exorbitant price. Demand-supply mismatch – check. Desperate times & desperate measures – check. It was already 8.10 and close to half the distance remained. Just sat inside and we set off.

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Intuition was something I did not believe in till these chain of events transpired. That initial internal warning mechanism of mine made me realize intuition is no myth. Was a little relieved anyway as the ordeal seemed to be over with a fairly smooth ride for sometime. But in the next 20 minutes there came a huge mass of moving fog , the stuff you see in Dracula movies. Trust me not a vehicle could be seen anywhere, let alone humans on side tracks. In all of this mayhem probably driver took a turn prior to our correct route. We kept moving, not realizing the road led to a dead-end spot that was at least 5 km from where I needed to go. Time check? It was 8.30. With not a human or vehicle nearby, visions of worst fears coming true flashed in quick succession. 1 year of hard work goes down the drain this way? Not scoring enough is one thing to meet one’s fate, but missing to write an examination ? Is it how it had to happen? Human frailties. Yes.

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Took a U-turn and with white ghosts to guide us we tread ahead. Those 10 minutes. Still can’t put them in words but you would have guessed by now. We were frantically looking for some passerby or vehicle for direction but yes, that day ought to be so different . When at 8.45  I had given up on the thought of taking the exam  ( I can recall these precise times accurately as my watch was a constant loyal companion), ironically that sentence about victory in Gita I had read the night before flashed in my mind  . Coincidentally in an instant or so,  there emerged from the fog one middle-aged man (akin to Krishna I still wonder..), in blue track suit. I literally jumped from the auto and asked him about the exam place. His face had a peculiar calm and he began to explain the directions , this left and that right, but my mind could barely take in the facts at that time. Funnily like a kid I requested ” Sir, I would pay for your journey and anything you want but can you please sit in the auto and take us there as my exam starts in 15 minutes”. Wow , did I just do something what I would have never thought of doing in my life ? Asking a stranger to sit along in an auto and more so expecting him to agree !! He smiled and said, ” Yes, don’t worry you would be there”.

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The next 10 minutes passed in haze. I remember him telling the driver to take short cuts here and there through narrow village lanes and I intermittently thanking him profusely. When at 9.05 we finally reached, took out my wallet immediately asking him the amount for his ride and whatever he wished for. Rather sternly he held my hand back but smilingly said , “It was my duty to get you here, go give your best now”. These lines. They echo each time. Duty of a person to set aside his own morning chores and drop a harried stranger to his exam hall on-time? Still a little dazed and coming to terms with reality after that mental ordeal, I asked his name and number so I could contact later. “Manoj Yadav, and you better rush for your paper as it has already started” was his response before he left in that same auto ahead.

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Thanking my stars and this gem of a person, I ran to the exam centre already packed with people writing the paper. It was a language paper and one of the sentences in a passage mentioned ” We never come to know how good a state we are in till the time we are thrown into a worse state”. I could not help but smile.

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The exams are now over and we await results. I do not know what lies ahead in future. But somethings that 7th December taught me would stay etched in my memory forever and can be life-learning bullet points for all :

1. Help others : anyone , anywhere, anytime. The materialism of today holds no relevance but one act of kindness would be revered by the persons you helped forever.

2. Strangers are no strangers : “Vasudeva Kutumbkum”, “Tauhid – e – Wajudi” are concepts mentioned in our scriptures, but seldom do we practise in real life. The day we start seeing everyone as our family like the man did, the world would be a different one.

3. Count your blessings for what you are, where you are and how you are. People are in a worse state, yet they survive, sometimes better than you do. So always stay optimistic for things will eventually fall in place, whatever the case might be this moment.

4. Do your karma well, whole-heartedly and with devotion. Be that focused archer. It is easier said than done I know. But at least a step in that direction would be a good beginning. We often make plans, targets and goals and begin to stray midway. Don’t let that happen. And you shall be rewarded in one way or the other.

5. Trust and faith : in oneself or God or others. Without these, we have no anchor when caught in a storm. Atheist or not, an unrelenting faith in one’s own self can also give that sense of hope to sail through.

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Phew, thanks to my patient friends for coming along this long post. I had been wanting to write this since that day and finally it is here amidst you all.  Would love to hear your views or any of those stories if you experienced something similar before πŸ™‚

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Finally, remember that life is full of surprises and changes, so shed off any pre-conceived notions about it. Embrace them and flow along but be rooted to your morals, and life would be as good as it can get πŸ™‚

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Regards,

Aishwarya

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52 thoughts on “An Unforgettable Experience

  1. Great experience son! A short event has given you learnings that one would collect in years, in normal course. Crises are true determinants of our persona! Manoj Yadav’s effort in steering you to your goal will bear sweet fruits! All the Best! With love and blessings, dad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So aish u have encoded ur experience which shall be the sweetest regard to the vasudeva,s help offerd to you when needed d most.so u have validated d sri bhagwad gita shlok,wherever there is arjuna d archer krishna d guide is there aroud.undoubtedly it will light d path of many a youth.πŸ‘πŸ‘ŒπŸ’

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You know, there is another lesson here, people who are patient enough to spare a few seconds of their precious time would understand what a gem of an article this is.
    The best part is the rollercoaster happy ending experience was a real one and not fiction!
    Oh how the excerpt plays in your mind and the man in blue track suit appears, my heart jumped at that! And he agreed to SIT with a stranger in the given surrounding that too in DELHI. Miracle.
    I learnt so much from this post! You write so well btw, if I might add.
    All the best for resultsπŸ˜ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a ton for patiently going through this long post 😊 And for liking it so much. Frankly, even today I still get goosebumps recalling the events. You are absolutely right in pointing out that all this happened in DELHI, which is usually known for being so unfriendly and full of crimes. But this incident made me realise there are always two sides to a coin , and we should try to bring out both in the limelight. Thanks again for your wishes, hope to keep you entertained with more in future too πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This was pretty well narrated, and I knew from the beginning you’d successfully give the exam ’cause of the quote initially, but when you were stuck at the dead, I wondered how. I could imagine how you’d have felt.

    What Manoj Sir did for you that day, those things in life are priceless! An excellent read. Would happily share this on Social Media. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Rahul, thanks a lot for your precious message. Now that I think of it, it sounds like a mini-thriller to me as well regarding the ‘how’ part😊Priceless learning for sure and I feel humbled when you guys appreciate that with as much fervor as I wrote πŸ™‚ Thanks again !

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Ash…nice to hear from you after a long hiatus!
    Wonderfully articulated experience! Often such moments get lost in the tide of time and get stuck in the web of words that elude us when we sit down to write. I am glad you have recored it so well and put it here for many to ponder upon the factual realities, which are so much connected with all of us.

    I have seen many students arriving late for their exam and having advised them to calm down, seen how challenging it is to concentrate and do well. Often my anxiety melts down in the form of such a dream…even now!!…not been able to reach the examination hall, with water all around me…rising, gushing water on whatever route I try!!

    I am glad you could reach and take your exam and also learnt some profound lessons of life. Stay blessed and have a wonderful beginning of 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ma’am, thanks a ton for this beautiful message πŸ™‚ So good to see you after so long. You know, because of the reason you mentioned, writing this was on my to-do list since that day for I feared forgetting the details. But when I began to write, had the adventure travel all over again, it was so strongly etched in memory :D.
      I can vouch for the fact you would have been a wonderful teacher, and students would be easily calmed in your presence and with your optimism πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for your wishes, and I wish you the same to have a fantastic 2017 ahead . Regards .

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A wonderful story of suspense and adventure…..and lessons learned along with valuable insight gained. And it happened for real! I enjoyed reading your lengthy description of that wondrous morning of December 7th, Aishwarya. I could feel your emotional rollercoaster, and I inwardly cheered for you and the gentleman in the blue track suit who proved to be such a wise teacher for you near the end. Your five points in summary serve to show how with our mindful perspectives, we can view our world in a more positive light: helping others reaps benefits for both the giver and the receiver in how we connect with one another; how improved our lives and world view would be if we looked at people as more like friends – in this I would like to add that I read a quote somewhere by the Dalai Lama, who said something similar ie. if we were to receive everyone as an old friend, we would treat all with far more compassion. And lastly, how important it is to be in a constant state of gratitude for our blessings and having faith, trust, and focus. Thank you so much for sharing your story. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am completely thrilled reading your detailed assessment of the blogpost, thanks a ton πŸ™‚ I still feel so much gratitude towards that man and hope to meet him someday in future as well! Thanks for sharing the quote by Dalai Lama, makes me realise if we actually listen to our world’s greats and their wise thoughts , life can become much happier. Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So glad to hear that, Aishwarya. And I think that stories told from the heart and filled with the sincere feelings connected with them not only flow from the writer, in this case you, with honesty, but also touch your readers’ hearts to the same depth. I feel enriched by your story via this written connection, and it feels much more meaningful. And yes, I am always open to hearing thoughts and words from our other teachers and leaders, because the wisdom and knowledge is always there for us to hear and see and incorporate into our lives to improve ourselves. Thank you for your good wishes, Aishwarya! I wish you all the very best. ❀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am truly very humbled by your very kind words Ma’am , never thought the post could have that level of impact and it motivates me to write more ! You are so right about the art of listening. Would love to learn more wisdom and positive thoughts from you and your blog πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s the surprise and beauty of it, Aishwarya, I find. One doesn’t know at the beginning what kind of an effect one’s words can have on others. You felt this strong need to write of your experience, and there was honesty and gratitude, wonder, and amazement all mixed in with your words. And so it touches others. ❀ I am glad to hear that it inspires you to write more! When you write from your heart, it will lead to more and more good things with your writing. Thank you. I tend to focus on positive thoughts in my posts. I will see how I can add in more wisdom…..haha! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Aish.
        Your thoughts and positive attitude appealed me to use it for re-blogging. I was in hurry, so could not even ask you for your permission to use your post. My sincere apologies for that.

        I had taken your simplicity, and down-to-earth attitude taken for granted and assumed it that you won’t mind my re-blogging your post.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good Lord, please don’t apologise mate ! It is a huge honor for a learner to have one’s post being reblogged, that too by someone like you who himself writes so well ! Cheers and thanks once again for going through my experience 😊Have a fab 2017 !

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Happy New Year to you and all your beloved ones too. I know that it is not the truth but I would not like to extend this thread. I know it very well that you don’t want to see someone praising you for your shining virtues and talent of writing so effectively.
        Stay blessed, and have a wonderful, joyous Year ahead.
        btw.. I am glad to find you as a friend, and a reader to my eDiary.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Haha, you put things so eloquently man, but trust me this blog is a constant learning experience for me ! I am equally glad to have found you on WordPress, and hope to stay connected throughout πŸ™‚ Cheers ☺

        Liked by 1 person

  6. A great post. Most people are intrinsically good I have always found. Whenever I have been in need anywhere in the world someone has always come along to help!
    Being kind is its own reward.
    I’m glad you got there on time. I had a similar experience with one of my exams! My motorbike wouldn’t start. In the end I had to run a mile in and arrived half an hour late – just in time to sit the paper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Being kind is its own reward, that is definitely true πŸ™‚ I agree most people are intrinsically good, just that the larger narrative these days tends to sound otherwise. Hopefully that too changes soon , as more people bring out the good that exists today😊

      Like

  7. What a message. I got goosebumps as I read; you managed to take my mind to that moment and feel your anxiety, the feeling of defeat; only to have a remarkable ending. Bless that man for his great generosity and you, for recognizing it…Praying your exam has a wonderful outcome (if you wrote the way you do here- I am confident you will do just fine.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jenn, thanks a ton for this really sweet and encourging message. It is really kind of you for having prayed and wished me well for the exams, and I will surely inform you about the result as soon as it comes out ( in a week or so) πŸ™‚ This experience , I felt was necessary to be told as we often take things casually when they are easily available to us. But only moments of crisis make us realise the real worth and blessing of life ! Thanks again for patiently reading the whole post. Have a great day , cheers !😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was my pleasure. I value the moments in life when the unexplained shows us just how small we truly are. I like to think there is divinity to those moments and we’d be so fortunate to notice.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. **Wow , did I just do something what I would have never thought of doing in my life ? Asking a stranger to sit along in an auto and more so expecting him to agree !! He smiled and said, ” Yes, don’t worry you would be there”.**

    In our brokenness we find the Strength to ask for Help

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Aishwarya, I was so busy in the humdrum of life that I couldnt get to your blog till now. And when I did and saw this post, just what did I see ! This is such a moving post – its a sign of things to come and rightfully so, given the modest, curious and fun person you are. I have no doubt that you will go so high in life πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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