It was 11th April; 2015 a day before my birthday; Saturday; my break off to routine office life. It’s the day when I get chance to explore corners of Europe, do photography, invest time in my hobbies, watch movies, throw out my inner thoughts on paper and what not. I am a food fanatic person, so I make use of this time to fulfill my “pappi pet” (hungry stomach). I love to express & singing allows me to chuck out my feelings, emotions, encourages my thoughts and positive energy. I feel, one should be beautiful not from outside, but from inside. People easily get attracted to visual beauty, but fail to figure-out the inner hidden person.
Anyway, moving back to my topic..
This fine morning on 11th, me, my friends Richard & Helena decided to deviate ourselves to a different place nearby Belgium. Its place on Belgium-Netherland border. This place isn’t the hottest tourist destinations like Eiffel or Leaning Tower of Pisa; this isn’t the place which will attract every single traveller. This isn’t a place where you will find flock of people, full of crowds; neither was this place where you’ll find markets, people sailing and shouting all around.
It was a forest. I didn’t planned before to go in forest; but yes friends like Helena and Richard motivated me.
This unusual place which we explored was named Kalmthout. Honestly I just Googled the location where it was before leaving from my place. I didn’t invest much time in knowing about this place.
Kalmthout is 40-50 km by train from Antwerp Central station, and takes around half hour to reach.
So what is this place Kalmthout?
De Zoom-Kalmthoutse heide is the bordered national park across Belgium-Netherlands (Dutch) border. It’s basically fusion of 2 national parks De Zoom in Netherlands and Kalmthout in Belgium.
It was 2.00 pm when I left my home in Antwerp heading to meet my friends. I kept my Digicam ready with its battery charged and empty memory card inside. I Was super exited for this safari, more than that for photography. It was start of spring in Europe; so days were bigger than in winters. Spring brought good shinny weather- which allowed to pull-out my jackets, sweaters, scarf, hand-glows and winter wear accessories after 8 months; Spring also imported colors all around my surrounding which winters swallowed-up. Trees are now covered with leaves; it wasn’t green; it was pink, purple, white colored leaves. These trees are known as Japanese cheery trees; planted in both sides of roads; while walking on such road, it seemed as it’s our welcome-ceremony celebrated.
We pointed ourselves towards the central station and booked our seats for Kalmthout; train from Antwerp to Roosendaal,Netherlands.
By boarding train from Antwerp central, in 30minutes of time interval we got down at the station Kalmthout and started walking. Richard warned us, that we have to walk 3 km approximately before we start our journey for forest.
I started clicks from Cheery trees. Exactly before starting our 3 km walk, I took glance to see the things around. This 3 km was a straight road, where I was able to see its end. It was a very narrow road; very calm and quiet. Absolute silence; long trees (hopefully Beech trees) on left and right, having little leaves at the top. I was attracted to beauty of this road and trees. This was exactly same as I see on the wallpapers. My camera flashes weren’t stopping at all, as if its celebrity guest arrived on the red carpet.
We moved further, keenly watching the beauty of this nature.
There was so much to scrutinize around, that we barely communicate throughout the journey.
Soon did we reached half way, we noticed black clouds, about to pour the water on the planet, approached us. Speedy winds followed the clouds and it was the state when winds could easily drift us along. Richard instructed to stand underneath a tree. But the rains and winds were so heavy, that we were wet in few minutes. I recall it was shiny, around 10-12 degree when we entered Netherland; but now it turned to less than 4 degree & I got freezed; my palms turned red and I was shivering so badly, as if I will undergo frost-bite. But this time I asked myself, “Why I am feeling cold? Just because I am thinking its low temperature? Just because I know it’s windy? Why am I scared of this wind and rains? Why I am afraid to enjoy this?”. List of questions passed from head to toe. And I decided to throw myself, push myself to enjoy the current moment. I’ve often heard this comment from so many speeches, “Forget the past, don’t stress more on the future; but enjoy what you have today in your hand; Enjoy this present moment”. What is really being in current moment or to be in present? I somewhere know this phrase but never tried to inculcate in myself. But this was the time, when all such great thoughts circled around my head without allowing me to escape from it. I literally quit! I decided to remove this inner thinking “that I am getting cold”. It’s just a word! It’s an expression. Our body reacts to what we think. My body received the signal’s from my thoughts, that it is cold so I was feeling cold. Believe me. The moment I decided to Quit from my thoughts, the energy shattered my body and there was heat passing by making me warm. And soon this happened, my mind was distracted from this coldness feeling and I started taking pleasure of this rains. I started taking pleasure of the wind blowing me all over! No thought came in my mind; but I was just focused on having more and more water & winds on myself. Absolutely No second thought. Just me, myself and the natural occurrence. This is called “being in the current moment”.
We are well-known to the five elements that exists in nature, without which our life has no existence. They are: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Sky. I was experiencing 4 natural elements truly purely in my own ways. I was with all of them. I was standing on Earth, on road side in mud, under the Beech trees; I was talking showers of extremely pure and natural resource of water – Rains; I was sensing the speed of the Wind and while being with these, I was looking at the dark sky with thank-giving note to god for allowing me to push myself on this fantastic mode. What missing was the Fire. But I felt, the fire was inside my body giving me immense heat to survive in low temperatures.
I was just myself. I was with me and the elements. This event never ever took place before in my life.
And this is how I started my conversation with GOD.
What is GOD? Is that an Idol like Ganesha, Saraswati? which needs to be kept in Devara (small temple for god placed inside home) poured with flowers cut down from plants and taking away its beauty and fragrance? Or does GOD means something for which in unnamed religion Animal is killed infront of him? Or does GOD means fasting all the day long without sip of water even? Or does GOD means something infront on whom people only speak the truth; demand whatever one wants and expects him to fulfill? Think again! I am sure the answer for all the questions is NO for most amongst reading this article.
If you ask me “Who is GOD according to me?”, I would say my definition is simple, straight and short. Its Positive Power! It’s the power which gives you hope for betterment, confidence to stick to the inner decisions, faith to make sure whatever you do is correct, belief not only in yourself but also others, trust if not on yourself or others but on that idol atleast, motivation to keep trying till you get (for eg: you keep telling the same sad story to god and demanding the same thing each night before its fulfilled), guidance to go on right track or to follow the good. I find god in silence, peace, in meditation. I find him when I focus. I see him, when I motivate myself to be a good human being. God exists in every single living creature; take time to find him out; For me there is no specific definition, no specific feature, characteristic to define him. Each religion teaches to follow GOD, Dev, Allaah. Its just a different definition of same power. Every religion has distinct prayers to convey this message towards this power.
Taking myself and the natural elements, we continued further half of journey. In few minutes, this road came to end; and we were standing at entrance of this forest. The board indicating names of animals showing their presence in forest was displayed.
It was yellow holy land; bare till long; it was half naked land covered with 1 feet of grown dry grass; Un-cut big trees fell down due to some natural calamities; Gigantic water reservoirs in between, though not deep; changed its colors like a chameleon each time the cloud changed its own. The clean, clear water, highlighting the reflection of adjoining grass was so photogenic! Marvelous! Naked earth was looking gorgeous in her own way.
My photography left uninterrupted. We kept walking, marking our footsteps in mud. When I continued with my phase, Richard asked me “Did u ever closed your eyes and tried to walk?”. I said, “Ahh. I guess no, except that I used to play game in my childhood named “Andhali koshimbir” (Blind fold). He said, “you have never done these days? Then come’on you should do this now.” Just for a moment, my inner conversation, “Ohh God. What’s this stupidity? Does this going to impact me?”. I was ok to play this act now. Richard put some conditions infront of me before I start & said, “Do not open your eyes in any circumstances. I will guide you left-right if it is danger. You have to do this for 10 min”. I closed my eyes and started walking with fake confidence. Trust me, for first 3 minutes, I lost my hopes. I felt I am falling, I was losing by balance; I was unable to judge myself for left and right. For the first time I sensed the Gravitational force acted on me, has tremendous magnitude. It was pulling me down. To keep myself steady and stable, I instructed myself to step further with faith; and now my focus was shifted to the thought process of brain. Everysingle incidence- good or bad, every single person- good or bad, my success-failure, my hardships, fights, laughs, everything burst out like a trailer. It was exactly 1 year from back, when I celebrated my last birthday with kids from Blind-school. And this was punch back moment for me. I was blind for 10 min which crush me for the moment. How do these blind, dumb, deaf humans survive? During my visit to school, I interacted with these kids. There were kids from 4 years to 20 years of age. I understand how they learn school and successful just like you and me!! They play cricket, they sing, they paint, they play instrument and what not? Isn’t that splendid? I see half a youth of this generation (including me) sleeping; acting like blind; ignoring things they see; we have so much to do? We blame GOD for not pouring us with good white skin, enough tallness, good hair, beauty, handsomeness, money blah blah.. I think we are lucky enough to bless with all the required body parts, which are in usable form. But do we really use them? NO!! we make little use of what we have, blaming the “time” for rest of the day; saying “vel naiye”. Judgment is not done based on “what we have” but “how we make use of right resources to get maximum benefit out of it”. If we watch keenly, we are in better position than lot many. We are always in superior than someone; so feel blessed with what you have and make use of it. I read this beautiful quote so many times, “the life you are living now is dream of millions”. Yes indeed. Read again and you will have the surety of this quote.
While I was in this phase, Richard was calling me to stop my Blind-fold act. But his voice didn’t reached my ears. I was so engrossed in that phase with myself. But this time I felt I was not myself. Richard thought I was kidding with both of them and not attending their responses. So they hold me and stopped me. The moment, they stopped me, I opened my eye slowly and looked to the naked mother earth. This time, the fallen trees, land, water, dry grass, clouds,.. everything looked much more scenic and beautiful than before. I knew I entered a different phase from that moment. The minute, I stopped my Blind-fold act, I sensed some strong energy passing throughout my body and escaped out. I could not stopped smiling. I knew what was that. Now I knew, why I could not hear the voice of my friends calling me to stop being blind. I knew why the attention of body towards the gravitational force was replaced by conversations. Wow. Those 10 minutes were divine, holy, blissful, spiritual. People might call me Stupid & idiot. But yes. This conversation was not with myself, it was with GOD. I realized the moment, I said Quit to my feeling of coldness, I was with myself, the 5 natural elements and with me was GOD. Yes. He was talking to me. He was listening to my feelings. He listened to what are my thoughts, my pasts, my anger, my laughs, goodness.
I don’t know how to describe this moment; how should I tell what I was feeling, rather what I am feeling even right now when I am recalling that day and writing this article. Heavenly! When I remember that day, I just see towards the sky, smile and hope (that he will meet me soon) and then I know he is smiling at me too. I wish a day like this knocks your door soon, making you more lively.
I am in Love with myself. I love to be in the moment. I love to live; though I haven’t found out the exact cause of my birth; but I do the things that make me crazy and indifferent. The first and foremost thing I do is, I try more and more each day to make others feel happy. If not that, atleast I make sure I am not the reason for someone’s sadness. Others- I write, I sing, I dance, I exercise, I sweat, I work, I eat, I talk, I shout, I sleep and what not. I cannot stop myself to execute the things which comes my mind. I cannot hate any person. I am women, but I don’t like gossips. I don’t like to pull someone in the conversation and start talking about that person in the negative aspects. My mother whenever she listens to me, says one thing “you are different since childhood. Different than other girls/women of your age. Continue being different like this.” There is so much to live for, so much to learn, so much to observe. Life is too short. Everyone has 24 hours a day. Real test starts from how we make use of this time and take maximum out of it.
We were back to our city. I had brought so much with me within 4 hours. They both came to drop me near my apartment. While we were departing, Richard gave me a birthday gift. Any guesses what can it be? Its mere coincidence. I could stop smiling. Its rightly said, “you get what you deserve”. This gift was a book named “Conversations with GOD”.
I thank him and went back to my room. I was wet. I changed, and made a hot coffee for myself and get down on bed. I called my family and few friends. But I could not share anything. Rather, I was hardly in the zone of talking with them. The spirituality was still with me. I was totally silent. For the first time I felt to be obsolete silent. For the first time, I felt, ‘please do not disturb me’. This is because, I was with me. I did not want any disturbance. Taking cup of hot coffee in hand, pulling the blanket to cover my legs, and resting pillow close to my chest tightly. I felt safe. I was looking out from my big windows I have in my room and thinking nothing. Half hour past this way. 2 hours from now ( as per India time) and 5.5 hours from now (CET) was my birthday. But first time I was not so excited. May be this is because of being grown-up. I decided to watch a movie, and picked up one from my friends suggestion. I was so engrossed in watching the movie, enjoying being alone, that I could not remember my birthday began. I started getting calls from friends wishing me but ended soon.
Now; I was holding phone in my hand, sitting on bed, I looked at clock. It was almost 9. Again the same silence all around me. Pale yellow lights in room and black dark outside. Temperature was around 5-6 deg with cool breeze. Suddenly, thoughts attacked my brain like virus- “come’ on darling, its your birthday today. Just imagine what you have right now? Just imagine you will never be 24 again. It’s the transition period from now where I will turn from 24 to 25 now. I will probably never be alone on my birthday. I will/will not (unsure state) be celebrating my birthday in Europe. This is so amazing. I want to cheer myself, I want to thank myself. I want to celebrate this moment to make it lifetime memory for me. Lets do something today.” Ending this chat with myself, I decided to bring my favorite brand of “Red Wine” from the shop nearby my apartment. I decided to bring a small cake as well to cut. I pull a jacket, took some Euro’s and went down in the shop. I took the wine bottle and went at the cash counter. I was so much happy to shop this beverage, I knew I cannot stand near the “daru dukan” wine shop with so much of freedom when I go back to my own country. I pay the cash and came back home.
I took the wine glass, open the bottle and kept on table. I poured the wine in glass. Magenta red drink smells so pleasing, tastes so well.
It was exactly 12 O clock and just before entering in my 25’s, I closed my eyes, locked hand fingers, and thanked the supernatural power around me, for letting me enjoy this moment, listed as one of the best days in my life.
After this thank-giving note, the thoughts started approaching my mind, my cries, the unuttered conversation with GOD, the shivering inside my body. I felt that I had the shortest gap between me and GOD. I sensed his presence all around me. I was in so much difficulty, that I could not utter the word further with him. This compelled me to write the letter to him. On the table, I kept the wine glass and bottle, next to it was lying the gifted, “conversation with GOD”; I took the paper from my diary & started pouring my inner words I wanted to convey him. I was writing and writing, and could not blocked myself from crying. I took the first sip of wine and was soothed. Conversation and wine was running parallel.I know I might sound stupid to lot of people, but whatever I experienced today was true. It was pure.
These conversations are so pure, so from the heart. I know he came just to listen to me and see me. I wish this event appears in all the lives who truly need it.