And still, the first thoughts in the morning that rush into me to invade and occupy my conscious mind are those of Saagar. Like multiple grey moths stuck on the dark walls of my room, waiting. Then hurtling into my head the moment the light in there is turned on. Bringing in the darkness with them.
Everyday. Still. Sure as the morning, the sunrise. The thoughts. The moths. The darkness.
A mantra I created for myself, for distraction, salvation: “Thank you for this day. Thank you for Si, my family and friends. Thank you for Saagar.”
Often times it works.
Sometimes its impotent. Useless.
I need to find a way to get
out of bed without a dagger being struck in my throat even before I’ve opened
my eyes. I speak to some learned people and they tell me to make a slight
shift. They say that everyone comes into this world to experience X amount of
happiness and Y amount of sorrow. So, when I think of Saagar, I should think not
just of the suffering but also the love and joy in his life. I shall do this
tomorrow morning. The moment my sleep is over. I will.
Tonight I share this link with you. It is the link to the promotional pages for the short film I mentioned the last time. It will be called “1000 days”. It hopes to cause a tiny shift in those who might watch it. Collectively, they all might bring about multiple small shifts towards greater connectedness in our world. The aims of the film are to: 1. Educate people that many suicides are preventable. 2. Empower everyone to ask for and offer help, hope and understanding. 3. Enable all of us to feel less alone.
My generation is the last one to have grown up in a world without screens. Being an army family we were often stationed at faraway places in India where the TV signal was too faint to be picked up. It was an occasional luxury to see a snowy screen in black and white that showed a hazy picture after much manipulation of the rooftop aerial and imploring of the Gods. Our neighbours were kind about sharing their big black telephone with us in case of an important call.
One day a magic box called the ‘cassette player’ arrived. It was a source of great pleasure as we could listen to songs of our choice as and when we liked as opposed to waiting for them to be played on the radio.
A radio that was presented to my parents at their wedding travelled with me to medical school. All through my time there I planned my life around it. My favourite station, All India Radio Urdu Service finished broadcasting at half past 12 at night and hence bedtime was 1 am. By the end of my 5 and a half years there, I had to use sharpened matchsticks to enable the worn little bandwidth buttons to maintain electrical contact. I depended on it. It was my most prized possession, my window to the world.
I remember standing in queues to make phone calls from a manned telephone booth without a door or walls. At the time it wasn’t fun as my side of the conversation was easily audible to all present. There was no time or space for small talk as I was most aware of everyone around especially those awaiting their turn.
That was a beautiful world and so is this. Now it’s so wonderfully easy to stay connected with people all over the world, to share our thoughts and ideas. Our screens can be our windows to the world and allow us to connect across previously unfathomable distances. It has been a blessing for me to be able to share Saagar with you. Thank you for walking with me.
Psilocybin is the active hallucinogenic compound in ‘magic mushrooms’. It was banned in the 1960s but recent preliminary research has shown that it may have potentially beneficial effects in patients with anxiety and depression. The subjects for this research were cancer patients, 40-50% of whom will have a diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression.
A team at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore conducted studies where patients were randomly administered the drug or a placebo. They were then encouraged to focus on their internal experience. Those who received Psilocybin had a significant improvement in depression, anxiety and mood disturbances. They also showed a higher level of optimism, a better quality of life and acceptance of death.
The main feature of the experience was a feeling that everything is connected. People felt they’ve learnt something that is of deep meaning. It caused a change in their value systems, in how they approach life and interact with other people. Some patients described the experience as a spiritual awakening.
The single feeling of connectedness with everything is the key to well-being. Many spiritual practices aim to manifest this feeling of oneness with all creation. My beloved spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, ‘From somebody become nobody and from nobody become everybody.’