Friday, October 24, 2014

Gift Day

First of all, let me wish all my readers a wonderful new year, full of health, prosperity, love and joy. Today marks the first day of Vikram Samvat 2071, the Hindu new year. I feel compelled to write something today for a variety of reasons, the main one being that contrary to expectations, it has been a good day.

I am in stage five of my kidney disease, a gradually deteriorating condition I have been living with for over two decades, so much so that it feels a part of my self-image. It is almost as though my failing kidneys have created an unconsciousness in part of my thinking process and without really thinking about it, I wonder how an action, food, or weather pattern might affect them. Today, I was to visit a dialysis center, to mentally prepare for the process when the time comes.

I confess, I was apprehensive. I tried not to notice that it was New Year's day; I told myself to snap out of it and not to expect extra luck. After all, I was not in a melodramatic Hindi serial!

As it turned out, the Script Writer of my day must have begun the day with sweet, saffron infused milk, which must have resulted in an extraordinarily good mood. I imagine the nib dipped in a rich, purple ink pot, and a beatific smile on the Writer's face as the first words are sketched.

I walked out in the cloudy, soft day feeling relieved and clear headed. The dialysis nurse explained the process and as she talked, I could visualize including this procedure as part of my day. The nurse also assured me that I would "feel better" once dialysis started; I was surprised since I do not feel unwell. However, her reassurance, explanations, and calm demeanor of the people around her reassured me. There was no sense of alarm, no condolences offered, no guarantees promised.

The only glitch seemed to be the availability of a half hour during my work day to finish this process; I needn't have worried since my schedule for next quarter presents an entire hour between classes! How propitious! It seemed all was falling into place. I was told that even traveling should not be a problem.

After visiting the dialysis center, I rushed to the temple for a small puja a group of my friends were participating in. I had expected to reach too late, but good fortune again smiled and I did not miss a single shloka. The temple is a place of unspeakable, unimaginable peace and well-being; there is that swishing of peepul leaves as the wind sighs through it and the sound is like nowhere else on the planet I have been. An anxiousness in the center of my being settles down and sways with that sound, as the ageless, timeless shlokas wash over my head like a benediction.

I decided to push my luck farther and went down to the library, seeking the perfect book on tape for my car ride to work next week. I cannot express my joy at the treasure I have found: an entire collection of the Bard's plays, arranged in a row on a back shelf. My knees gave way and I almost wept in sheer relief and gratitude at this.

It is almost the end of the day, and I just finished talking with some of my childhood friends, a rare thing indeed, as all of us are scattered over various continents, across oceans.

What a gift of a day! I am grateful for having lived it. I wish my readers the same kind of year before us, a year infused with warmth of friends and family, propitious chances, clear mindedness, and all of it punctuated with islands of enriching solitude for quiet contemplation and reflection. May King Vikaramaditya's wisdom light the year, help make friends with the demon perched on our shoulder as we make our way through the grey fog of tomorrows, and may we emerge victorious like the king, whose, name keeps log of our passing years.


  1. If 2 hours between classes would help, let me know; a 2-5 afternoon class or a 3-6 afternoon class would not be out of the realm of possibility. I'm glad you had such a good day, and if I played a small part in the happiness surprises, I'm even happier.

    1. The schedule is perfect! I couldn't wish for anything more. Thank you ever so much!


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