How to Get Lost?

Once While I Was Standing The Banks Of River Narmada, I Came Across This Young Lady Who Was Stunned By The Ferocious Flow Of The River And Was Running Away From It Screaming, No, No, Like A Child. Her Fresh Thali Smeared With Turmeric And Her Blushing Cheeks Were Clearly Revealing That She Was A Newly Wed Bride. With Folded Hands, She Gaped At The Flowing River, As Though It Were A Ferocious Animal Running Behind Its Prey. Her Young Husband Was Trying To Drag Her Into The Water. She Kept Repeating, I Am Scared, I Am Scared.

Fear This Word Was Hidden Within Me Since Long. It Stuck To Me Like A Mole On My Body. Each One Of Us Carries Different Kinds Of Fear, As Per Our Choice. Fear Never Ages.

As We Are Fed Food, We Are Fed Fear Too! Fear Has Bloomed All Over Like A Magical Flower. Fears Of Many Kinds, Big And Small, Keep Growing Along With Us. People Who Have Vowed To Overcome Fear Have Just Seen Its Foot Prints And Never Faced It And Won Over It.

The Only Way To Win Over Fear Is To Accept It And Walk Past. Some Fears Do Vanish Just As Dry Leaves Wither Away, As The Days Pass By. However, There Is No Man On This Earth Who Has Never Had Any Kind Of Fear.

Childhood Is The Fertile Period Where Fears Germinate. Friendships Are Required To Share Fears. Most Of The Children Exchange Stories Based On Fears.

It Is Strange That The Same Cat That We See During The Day Can Create Fear In Us During The Night! I Am Also Full Of Fears. One Of Them Is That I May Get Lost. There Were Many Reasons At Home, For This Fear. My Uncle, Who Was An Art Teacher, Once Visited Us, Drew A Peacock For My Sister And Returned, But Never Reached Home. We Have Been Looking For Him Till Today.

Another Uncle Of Mine Was Struck With Amnesia After A Road Accident. After Coming Back From The Hospital, One Day We Went Out To Buy Vegetables But Never Returned Home. In A Family Where People Got Lost Like This, There Is No Wonder That Everybody Had The Fear Of Getting Lost.

I Was Lost Once When I Was Just Four Years Old. I Had Been To A Fair When I Visited My Aunt And In The Crowded Fair, I Kept Gaping At The Apple Shaped Balloon Which Was Floating Away From Its String And Never Realized

When I Lost Touch With The Hand Which Held Me. Just As Water Gradually Gets Suck By Sand, My Aunt Had Been Separated From Me. The Balloon Kept Going Around Above All The Heads. Only When I Banged Myself Against Some People Who Were Digging The Sand On The River Bank For Drinking Water And Fell On The Sand Did I Realize That I Was Alone.

I Got Up Frightened And Started Looking For My Aunt In The Crowd. In The Noise That The River Was Making, My Voice Was Never Heard. My Legs Were Covered With Sand, As I Ran In The Wet Sand. How Can I Reach Home? Where Were All The People Who Came With Me?

Fear Started Raising In An Antâs Space And Gradually Engulfed My Entire Self, Leading To Pain. Looked Like I Had Forgotten Everybody And Everything. I Could Only Cry And Hence Started Wailing Loudly.

I Realized No Weapon Was As Strong As Crying To Save Us In This World. One Person Observed Me Crying Loudly And He Asked Me, Why Are You Crying?. I Could Not Reply. I Held His Hands And Cried Incessantly. He Bought Me A Water Balloon. I Reduced My Volume.

He Held My Chin And Gently Asked Me, Why Are You Crying? I Heaved As I Could Not Talk And Kept Sobbing. I Had No Other Language Then. He Started Looking For My Aunt, With Me, All Along The Bank. My Aunt Was Not To Be Seen. He Asked Me To Sit On A Sand Mound Below A Palm And Went To Drink Water From The River. One Of My Aunt’s Neighbors Just Then Was Walking Past Me After Filling The River Water In A Bucket.

The Moment I Saw Her, I Ran To Her, Calling Out And Held Her Legs. She Carried Me And Asked, Arre! Where Is Your Aunt? I Had Forgotten All Words. I Could Not Remember Even A Single Word. She Caressed Me And Gave Some Water To Drink. I Forcefully Drank The Water Making Noise. I Felt The River Made No Noise Now. She Held My Hand And Led Me Into The Crowded Fair.

My Aunt Stood Tired On A Sand Pit, With Disheveled Hair And Tense Eyes, After Searching For Me All Over. The Moment She Saw Me, She Hugged Me And Started Crying Out Aloud. She Cried Till She Felt Comfortable. As I Was Returning Home, I Took Out The Water Balloon From My Pocket And Started Playing.

Everybody Looked At Me With Wonder That Night. They Kept Advising Me As To How I Should Learn To Tell My Address, If I Get Lost And Also Started Exchanging Stories About How Children Were Kidnapped For Jewels Or For Beggary And Sold In Strange Cities. Nobody Bothered To Ask Me As To Who Got Me That Water Balloon!

I Kept Wondering In The Night, Wont That Man Who Had Made Me Sit On The Sand Mound And Gone To Drink Water Look For Me When He Did Not Find Me On Coming Back? Why Did I Return Without Telling Him? Why Did He Buy Me A Water Balloon? Would He Have Ever Lost Anybody? Whom Should I Approach For Answers To These Questions?

In My Eighteenth Year Of Age, I Desired To Get Lost From My House. Then My House Was Scary To Me. The Rules Of Discipline, The Control Mechanisms And The Limits Of Decency That Were Imposed At Home Had Created A Sort Of Fear In Me. To Escape From All This, I Had Devised A Plan Of Fleeing Away From Home. One Book Inspired Me For This Peculiar Desire. In His Autobiographical Book A Vagabond’s Journey Rahulji Had Said, ˜The First Step That A Vagabond Has To Undertake Is To Get Lost From His House.

Fleeing Implies Going Away To An Unknown Place. I Did Not Know Where That Meant! Finally I Decided To Leave A Four Worded Chit Reading, I Am Leaving Home And Go Away To Kanyakumari, Where I Could Decide About My Further Steps. It Was Late Night When I Reached Kanyakumari. I Could Not Envisage The Vastness Of The Ocean, Even When I Went Close To It. I Slept On The Sands.

I Kept Thinking About My Home Town. People At Home Might Start Looking For Me Only In The Morning. Where Would They First Go And Search For Me? I Shaved My Head Just To Ensure That Nobody Could Place Me Immediately. I Myself Felt I Looked Like Some Stranger. Just To Stay From The Scorching Heat Of The Sun, I Rented A Room At A Lodge In A Fake Name And Address And Felt Proud That I Was A Lost Person.

Lying On The Wooden Cot Of The Lodge, I Thought Of Buddha, Who Had Shunned His Home. I Had Taken A Book The Essence Of Buddha To Pass Time During My Journey. The Buddha Smiled At Me From The Yellow Cover Page Of That Book.

I Lay In That Room, From Where I Could Hear The Roar Of The Waves And Started Reading The Book. Buddha Leaves His Home After Kissing His Sleeping Child. As I Read, The Scene Of That Night Unfolded Before Me. My Mind Keeps Wandering. Buddha Never Kissed Anybody After That. He Had Given The Last Kiss From His Lips To His Child. All The Kisses On Gowthamaâs Lips Froze Into Smiles.

I Went Off To Sleep With Gowthamas Book Lying On My Chest. All Over The World, There Are Crowds Of Lost People Roaming Around Without Any Direction. Now I Am Also One Among Them. I Will Roam This Way And Return Home One Day As A Sailor Or A Saint Or An Adventurer. I May Become A Philosopher Or A Gambler. Due To Unexpected Fortune, I Become Stinking Rich. Thus Went On My Imagination Till Night. I Could Not Sleep That Night. I Started Getting Nightmares.

The Next My Purse Was Getting Thinner As I Loafed Around Kanyakumari. I Vacated The Room And Roamed Around Hungry In The Hot Sun. As I Sat To Meditate In The Cool Environ Of The Vivekananda Meditation

Hall, I Kept Getting Memories Of My Home And My Sisters. I Could Imagine The Happenings Of My Home, As Though I Was Witnessing Them In Person. I Could Get The Smell Of Brinjal Fry! For Now Reason, The Very Idea Of Getting Lost Started Raising Fear And Confusion In My Mind. Slowly That Fear Engulfed Me And I Felt I Had To Get Back Home Soon, Lest I May Never Be Able To Return. I Had Spent All The Money. I Had No Money Even To Get Back Home. I Did Not Know Whom To Approach.

I Kept Waiting At The Place Where Tourists Coming To Kanyakumari Alight For One Whole Day And Night. I Felt The Ocean And The Sound Of The Waves Were Mocking At Me. I Yearned That I Could Just Hop Into My Home In Second. After A Long Time, I Felt Like Crying My Heart Out. I Controlled Myself With Great Difficulty And Kept Throwing Up Handful Of Sand In The Air. Early In The Morning,

I Found The Brown Bus Belonging To The English School Of My Home Town, Parked There. I Was Eagerly Looking For Some Known Face Around. I Spotted A Teacher, Whom I Had Seen A Long Time Ago.

I Folded My Hands And Told Him That I Had No Money To Go Back Home. He Permitted Me To Get Into The Bus. The Students Were Enjoying Their Trip Making Noise All The Way. I Spoke Nothing.

When I Reached Home, My Mom Was Cooking. As I Silently Entered The Kitchen And Stood Near Her, She Continued Her Cooking, As Though Nothing Had Happened. I Felt Sad That Nobody At Home Asked Me Anything.

My Mom Just Served Me A Hot Meal Of Rice And Vegetables And Went Inside.

After Nearly 4-5 Days I Had A Sumptuous Home Meal. As I Ate, Tears Came Pouring Out Of My Eyes And I Could Not Eat Even Half Of It. Getting Lost Is Not An Individuals Issue Alone. It Is Worse Than An Accident. Even Now When I See Urchins Roaming Around On Streets All Alone, My Heart Aches.

People Who Are Living In Strange Places, Strange Countries, With Different Identities, Without Returning To Their Homes, Are Sorrowful Souls.

If You Meet Any One Of The Above People, Try Staring At Their Eyes. The Day They Left Their Home, Their Town, Their Family Will Be Sticking On Their Eyelids. Try Talking To Them. They Will Sound Wordless. Move With Them. They Will Reject Your Love. They Can Accept Hatred But Cannot Bear Love.

Reason Getting Lost Is Worse Than Death!

Translated From Tamil – Sudha.Narasimachari