I was bloated from all the delicious ghee-filled masala Dosas and coconut chutney I ate that day. Maybe it was because I had fasted the day before and the food was heavy on my stomach. I knew this already, but I couldn't stop myself. After all, I had spent hours preparing the batter, chopping onions, and preparing Kerala style Dosas for my friends in Himachal Pradesh. Of course, they had banded together to assist, and I had thoroughly enjoyed the process; it was like a community cooking event. I've been living in Bir, Himachal Pradesh, for the past month and have made some close friends during that time. We were all foodies who held feasts like this on a regular basis. It could be a Himachali Dham or a Maharastrian style Paav bhaji, the list goes on.

That evening, when I returned to my room, all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and watch a movie. I was about to do that when I remembered I needed something from the local store. Every day, the country's government imposes new laws and imposes lockdowns, and shops are only open until 5 p.m. So I should hurry, I reasoned, because the movie could wait a little longer.

On my way to the shop, there was an SUV car in front of me, and the vehicle's name, written in large letters, struck me as odd. It said "Harrier," but in my mind it said "Warrior." Maybe the cosmos didn't want me to curl up in bed that evening, but rather to do something different, I reasoned. I'd gotten better at reading these signs over time, and they always said something essential. "How am I supposed to channel this warrior energy?" For me, the answer came quickly in the shape of writing on a t-shirt. "Work out and stand out." The only person I wanted to stand out was my own lazy self, who preferred comfort over obstacles. I abandoned my plans to curl up and instead went for a lengthy walk through the woods that evening. I used to enjoy walking along that road, which was flanked by an oak tree forest on both sides and was accompanied by the soft soothing sound of the stream and the birds in the trees. I knew exactly where I was going: to a popular campground a few kilometres away and then back before it got too dark.

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I was drawn to a side trail through the trees just before my destination. I was perplexed as to why I had never noticed this path. I was becoming more intrigued with each step. What is the destination of this path? Is it going to take me to a village or a lovely valley I've never seen before? What might I discover as a result of this turn? I didn't wind myself in any magical mystery land, but I did see a gorgeous house and a man with long hair tending to his garden a few yards down the route. He was dressed simply, as I've seen sadhus do, and it gave him the appearance of being spiritually inclined. The man and his surroundings exuded a mysterious and calm aura. Away from the hustle and bustle of the road, the environment was profoundly silent.

I wanted to meet this man in the middle of nowhere because I sensed a connection between us even before we met. Is he the owner of this lovely home? The man smiled as he greeted me. He identified himself as Aadya.

"I normally keep to myself and don't mix with strangers," he explained, "but today seems to be an exception." Maybe he was curious to meet this guy who would travel this remote road through the woods alone at this time. Aadya offered me some lemon tea and biscuits. We both shared a passion for music and singing. I enjoyed the few bhajans that Aadya sung for me. Soon, the topic went to his spiritual journey, and when he mentioned desirelessness and flowing as one with the universe, I knew exactly why I was there that evening. It's to hear his message and feel the energy that he exudes. Perhaps I, too, had something to offer - a mutual connection simply by being. I'd been feeling restless for a few days, but it was gradually dissipating as the chat progressed, leaving me with a sense of deep stillness and peace. What else does one want besides this realm of nothingness when every desire is fulfilled from within? What on earth could ever replace its grace?

I felt like I had reconnected with a long-lost friend when I left him late at night. Perhaps I reunited with a long-forgotten and buried part of myself? I was astounded by the universe's skilled hands, which connect you with the right people, with the right energy, at the right time. What could possibly be better than this? It's priceless, and it's pure magic! That day, I made the commitment to myself to follow the heartfelt pull whenever it presented itself to me, even if it pushed me out of my comfort zone.

End