September 2017 By Asha Uberoy Asha Uberoy was enjoying a pretty successful life when a sudden, inexplicable illeness sent her in coma, from where she returned fully transformed after four days I had a fairly normal life, until one day when a major disaster nearly killed me. I remember the day my body broke down, just like that in one single moment, and I was declared 'brought dead' to the hospital. How did it happen and why, makes for an interesting story. It was November 3, 1992. After two years of hard work I had finally started to feel comfortable and settled in life. I thought I had everything a woman could need or hope for. A simple family. Two boys who were doing reasonably well in school. A good, caring husband. A job that I loved. All the simple needs of a good simple life. No worries to bog me down. My husband, an army officer was posted in Delhi. I was working in a scientific institute on an interesting job. My extended family, my mother and brothers were on hand, and life was normal and good. Or so I thought. The sudden jolt It was a beautiful winter day when I had got up one morning, in the month of November. I did feel a little out of sorts but there was nothing much to complain about, no fever or any kind of infection. I decided to take the day off and relax in bed with a good book. I could feel something was amiss but I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong with me. After breakfast, I reclined in my bed and tried to relax when suddenly my body began to rock and shake violently. So violently that it seemed to break my bones and tear apart my joints. I was jolted with severe unexplained vibrations and pain and I began to haemorrhage from my lower abdomen. It happened so suddenly that I could not even react or understand what was happening to me. I only remember that I screamed in extreme pain as I fell back on the bed, and saw my mother rush towards me as I closed my eyes. What happened next is a blur for me. I closed my eyes and was lost to the world. At first, I felt as if I was falling into a deep, dark well which didn’t have a bottom. I just kept falling and falling. I tried to think but only one thought flashed in my mind _at least the boys are grown enough to look after themselves. I sank into complete oblivion and a deep, comforting darkness enfolded me. I was rushed to the hospital unconscious, where the doctor didn’t find any pulse and wrote ‘brought dead’ on my chit. But on further prodding they did find life in me and pumped every life saving drug available before they started their investigations. I had slipped into a coma and I woke up only after four days. When I opened my eyes, I found myself lying in a hospital room on a vibrating bed and somebody was trying to jab a big needle in the lower part of my spine. I got up with a start and started to scream. "What are you doing to me? Where am I ? What is wrong with me?” The nurse looked up with startled eyes. She didn’t expect me to get up so suddenly. Back home and puzzled All these days the doctors had been working on me, but the investigations had drawn a blank. My family had hovered around me unable to comprehend what was happening as I hovered between life and death. Once I opened my eyes, I recovered fast enough and soon the doctors said I could go home. But the shock of the sudden illness and my inability to read the signs of it coming puzzled me a lot. Back home, we consulted a few more doctors but they were equally baffled. All the medical tests had shown normal results. Then what had happened to me? I pondered over it seriously. I discussed it with everyone and anyone who would listen _medically, spiritually, logically, illogically and then slowly, realisation dawned. My body had been actually sending me signals over the past few years but I had ignored them; I just didn’t listen. What had happened was a kind of breakdown but it was not just a physical one, it was as if my very soul had broken down. Actually, physical symptoms are just manifestations of our hidden emotions. As I began to put the jigzaw puzzle together, I saw the whole picture and in one instant I understood what had happened. The coma destroyed Asha's old self and she felt as though she had awakened from a bad dream My early life My early life had been very fractured. For years I had lived through a very unhappy childhood with lot of tensions and abuse in the family. There were serious marital conflicts between my parents. Finally, my father just got up, abandoned us and disappeared. We didn’t know where he had gone. It was a total shock. We knew he was unhappy but we never expected him to run away like this. My mother fell into depression and suffered a nervous breakdown. She started suffering from fits which left her unconscious for hours. As the eldest child in the family, at age 13, I had to suddenly grow up and take control of the situation. I couldn’t show any outward sign of the trauma. I had two younger brothers who had to be protected from the pain and insult. On top of that, my mother had become an invalid and needed a lot of attention. My maternal grandparents took us into their house and we tried to live a normal life. I suppressed the powerful feelings of pain, anger, frustration and sadness that engulfed me. Time passed swiftly enough after my father’s exit from our lives. There was no time for private tears and grieving. The pent up feelings had to be put on the back shelf as life caught up with me. School, college, a job and then finally marriage. All in the proper order. And then, just when life was becoming normal this sudden collapse happened. Life had turned 360 degrees and brought me back to the same point again. The pieces come together I would ponder over it for hours. I began to meet up people to discuss similar situations, and even alternative methods of medicine. I looked around and realised that everyone was working too hard, not getting enough sleep and burying/masking their feelings of frustrations, sadness and turmoil. These feelings were getting buried in their genes and cells, and hardening into serious diseases in later life. Gradually, the understanding of what had happened to me was dawning on me. It had all started when I had begun to have terrible mood swings a few months ahead of my sickness. Sometimes I wanted to cry for no reason. Sometimes I wanted to laugh and sing. It was as if my inner self was trying to throw out some buried emotions and getting cleansed out. I felt happy and sad at the same time. On one hand I was grateful for the life I was living with my family and on the other hand I felt a great heaviness in my heart for missing out on a father’s love. All my life I had suppressed upsetting emotions because I was afraid they would attract scorn, pity, or even rejection from people. I never felt safe, loved or accepted. However, in society I was a very different person. I was upbeat, effervescent and helpful, almost the court jester at gatherings. But it was only a false front. Inside, I was slowly crumbling. I felt I didn’t deserve anything. My family, my friends, not even fine clothes or good food. I was unable to even pray or meditate. In fact I was constantly criticising myself and putting myself down. Meeting the Divine I also wanted to know where had I gone when I was in the coma? I tried to recall the whole experience over and over again. I remember I felt as if I had entered a huge place without any beginning and end. There were no doors, windows, or walls even. There were no limitations, no dearth of love that is so palpable here. I seemed to be in a space of soothing energy, a light that made me feel very happy. I had no pains, no uneasiness, just an unexplained joy. It was as if the universe was a very vast space filled with peace and joy. I suddenly saw myself engulfed in a cloud of unconditional love. Where I didn’t have to be beautiful or talented or successful to be loved. I was a part of the Divine. A greater world opened to me as I realised there was a bigger purpose to my life. For instance, I had been brought up to accept that women were lesser human beings and deserved a second rate life. They should be submissive and not look for more opportunities in life. But here I felt like a queen, could walk like a queen, and behave like a queen. Secondly, I had been taught to believe that I was not spiritual enough to be worthy of God’s grace or blessings. I didn’t pray enough. I didn’t go to temples or keep fasts. And I was told I could never achieve money, or success or any position in life. The transformation After going into coma and coming back after touching the Divine, those feelings of inadequacy changed. I began to love myself for myself. I wanted to follow my heart, I wanted to live the life I enjoyed. I wanted to be free. The coma had destroyed the negative person I had been and I felt as if I had awakened from a bad dream. All the unpleasantness and fears of my childhood were erased. I began to feel worthy of love and care. I realised I deserved to wear good clothes and eat my favourite foods. I was a magnificent soul just like all others around me and I also deserved to be happy. I deduced some important realisations from this incident: Listen to your body. It is always trying to tell you something. Don’t ignore the warning signs. Forgive and forget your past. This means forgiving yourself first of all. Then your parents and siblings. And then other people who have hurt you. Holding on to hurts is a major cause of illness. Love yourself first. Your body is a sacred temple, a gift from the Divine and you must treat it with the utmost respect and wisdom. Do not abuse it with wrong food, wrong habits and wrong deeds. To keep the body healthy, we need simple healthy food, invigorating physical activities and happy positive thoug
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