Enjoying the sunshine

April 2014

By Gopa Roy

When Gopa Roy asserted her right to be treated with respect, she recovered from a longstanding allergy to the sun

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It began one summer morning, about two decades ago, while I was sitting at the window seat of a bus on my way to college. I felt the sun warming me and suddenly there was a prickling sensation at a spot on my neck. Later in the evening, the spot began to itch and tiny rashes appeared, but they subsided in a couple of days. At the time, I did not connect the rashes to the prickling I had felt in the morning. When the rashes began appearing now and then in the neck region, I realised that it was due to the extremely hot sun, and I began to protect my neck. The rashes remained confined to some spots on the neck, and did not appear in any other part of my body. My father advised me to avoid eating junk food, and bought me liver tonics since allergies, he said, are caused by liver dysfunction. But the roadside pani puris were just too tempting!

After a few years, I got married. Soon after the ceremony, similar rashes began to appear all over my hands whenever they were exposed to strong sunshine. My entire neck region was now affected. The sensitivity gradually moved up to my arms as well. I had no option but to keep my arms and neck covered while going out during the day, especially in summer. This state of affairs continued for many years.

Gradually I moved on to the spiritual path and became interested in holistic healing. My understanding of health and healing magnified, and I started using self-healing techniques. I explored metaphysical causes for allergies, but the rashes just wouldn’t budge. It looked like I would have to live with sun allergy for the rest of my life! The only saving grace was that it had not spread to any new area of my body.

Then about two years ago, one evening I had an argument with my husband regarding a situation involving my in-laws. In the past, I had usually given in to social norms and not asserted myself enough. Even though I did not really like doing something, I’d do it to please others. However, on this occasion, I found the strength to make my wishes clear, and my unwillingness to be taken for granted, to be disrespected as a person. The fight left me emotionally drained, but inwardly strong. Then from somewhere within me there was a sudden burst of happy awareness that “tomorrow when I go out in the sun
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