Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Home is Where the Heart is......and Vice Versa As it Goes...

For five years I have struggled. Struggled to make my peace with being away from the land that I love beyond measure. Struggled with the invisible yet ever strengthening umbilical cord that binds me to my country and the city of my birth. And every year of those five I spent struggling, I have been unhappy.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Singapore. There are somethings here which I would like to change with all my heart and soul. But unfortunately I can’t. Even so, Singapore has been wonderful. The peace and quiet, the inimitable adherence to the sanctity of the law, the affluence and the desire to maintain beauty at every corner.....I would never deny that I have been taken by these aspects of Singapore. And I respect the government and the people for making and maintaining the country in the way they have.

Then why have I been so distressed? Why the longing for something which I have left behind (that too for a seemingly better place)? I have been living and surviving in Singapore, but to my utter dismay, I haven’t been thriving...at least not emotionally. The longing still fills me as it always has ever since I set foot in the glamorously beautiful Changi airport.

When I first left Mumbai for Singapore, I was welcomed with open arms by the garden city. I had friends, I was the impeccable hostess, my marriage had begun here and it was all so lovely. I remember leaving with a lingering heartache, but the excitement that often accompanies hopes and dreams of a new life, overshadowed the pain.
However the lingering ache still lingered. I thought it would pass (as Zen promised me), but it didn’t. Infact the aching only got worse as the years passed. Had Zen philosophy failed me hopelessly? I couldn’t bring myself to believe it. “Zen teachings cannot go this wrong,” I told myself. “Maybe its just the hormones.”

As time passed, my marriage, my husband, my home and my family here have become central to my existence. Nothing else matters now to me as much as they do. Over the years, I have found solace in my husband’s mirthful laughter, his companionship, his warmth and his love. I have found joy in the abundance of selfless love that my dog showers on me every single day. My boys and my home have kept me sane in this alien country. I am anchored in my trust for my Guru....that has kept me going.

But the underlying ache lingers on. I cannot deny it. That would mean escaping from the inevitable. And I cannot accept it. That would be heartbreaking. I am stuck in limbo....in some kind of freakish twilight zone, where I can only stay in suspended animation and mechanically watch the goings on. Feeling the pain in its totality, in the knowledge that time away from the people I love the most, is like gold trickling away through my open fingers-that would be unbearable. But ignoring it, keeping it tucked away in some weird reservoir in the depths of my heart...that will surely do me no good in the long run.

This cannot continue. There has to be an end to this abomination of what people would call a life. My mother tells me, “find your happiness wherever you are, don’t wait for it to come to you.” Mum’s right I guess. But what do I do if my single largest source of happiness and relief is being close to her? How do I explain to my feeble mind that spending lazy Sunday afternoons with my father has been one of the most poignant moments of my life?

I contemplate. I analyze. I introspect. And I keep going around in circles...always coming back to that one point...Mumbai. I want to be in Mumbai. I will be HAPPIEST in Mumbai.

And then it hits me. Its never going to be the same again. Life has moved ahead and people in my life have moved on with theirs. Guruji’s words keep ringing in my ears... “Be so unruffled inside that no external changes affect you.” That is what I must unfalteringly work towards. I have to find my happiness here. In Singapore. Maybe I have been giving it more morbidity than it really warrants...maybe its time to shake of the despondency that envelops me. My parents will ALWAYS be with me. Wherever I go or wherever life takes them, my love for them only grows every day. Then how does physical distance matter? Maybe I have to train my mind to understand the underlying logic behind all of God’s cosmic drama. There is no you and me and him and her. There is only Self. If that is the case I am one with everything. That would make "distance"as we know it-an unreal shadow. That would make "here" "there" an "everywhere".

I know it will not be easy. Being steeped in maya never is for the soul. But I will begin to try to find my happiness where I am. My heart is in Mumbai and my mind had begun to make my heart believe that my happiness also lay there. Of course it does and there will never be any denying it. But I happiness is one commodity that appears to be boundless if I let it. Then so be it - happy in Mumbai and happy in Singapore. That is what I shall strive towards. No more despairing. A little longing maybe but I will not permit it to affect my inner peace. No more denying myself that which is due to me- Long overdue.

My heart is in Mumbai. With my parents, in the land of my birth, in the country most beloved to me. And they say home is where the heart is. Therefore pearls of logic demand that my home is Mumbai. But situation demands a second home from me. Singapore. My home is here too...with my husband and my dog and my friends and my beloved Guru...my life. I have made it a home and I intend to keep it that way. My heart is where my home is. I choose to be happy. Here and now. Right here.

-------------------------Shreyasi M.

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