Happy New Year

Allen, Javagal and I form a famous triad, my wife, relatives and friends often remarked. There was a time when we bid adieu to the year gone by partying hard. Binge-drinking and maximal carousal were the parameters to measure the levels of our satisfaction and celebrati

Over the years my drinking became quotidian and I became an alcoholic. The lethal disease of alcoholism afflicted my mind, body and spirit, compelling me to undergo psychiatric treatment apart from needing continuous medication, surgery and even a stint in rehab. However, I could combat the pestilence of alcoholism by undertaking various Art of Living courses and surely receiving the divine grace of the Master, H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. This lead to my rejuvenation and resurrection.

Javagal was a dreamer, a moderate drinker. He was not considered to be worldly wise or practical by the family. He remained cannonaded by several Sisyphean and nugatory thoughts and sought refuge in running to tarot card readers, astrologers and palmists to chart out a bright future. Tragically he   could never pursue his passions of representing India in the cricket team or taking up playback singing in movies. He capitulated to parental pressure and followed the beaten path in college and was to lament joining a government job, which did offer security, but did nothing to challenge his febrile mind. His father was to succumb to Alzheimer’s and after several winters, abdominal cancer snuffed his mother’s life.

Javagal and his younger sibling were deeply attached to their mother and could never recover from this traumatic experience. By a strange twist of fate, he was to lay his hand on a book which dealt with souls and spirits and soon Javagal’s mind was engaged. He was in pursuit of his mother’s spirit and not living in the present moment.

It is indeed bizarre that aeons back, in the year 1998-99, Javagal fresh from learning the unique rhythmic breathing technique of Sudarshan Kriya as imparted to the humanity by H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had tried to explain the body, breath and mind connect and I had debunked it, under the influence of Bacchus.

Today, Javagal inspite of attending the Art of Living course twice has not followed the path and is shadowing a chimera. He finds succour in the eerie and unknown world of spirits and souls rather than following the path of spirituality. ‘Each one unto himself,’ says he. He prefers to live in the world of illusion and hallucination as he does not possess a robust mind.

Allen over the years greyed, continued to drink, smoke and philandered. He lost out on numerous opportunities in the corporate world and became Janus faced, seeking refuge in anonymity over a period. He separated from his wife and then suffered yet another failed marriage. Seldom did he attend the midnight or Sunday mass. He was the brightest of us all, but never harnessed the enormous potential of his mind or talent.

The Universe and the mind provide humans with several openings and opportunities which we are unable to grasp, allowing them to slip through our butter fingers.

The three of us drifted apart and seldom met, till we were curiously re-connected through WhatsApp. We decided to meet on New Year’s Day instead of New Year’s Eve at the very joint which we frequented earlier in our youth.

Javagal had quit drinking after the tragic demise of his mother and Allen, smashed by a severe hangover, preferred a soda. I ordered my now customary cola.

As soft music was playing in the background, the three of us recounted the halcyon days and the carefree times when the mind had been unburdened.

I held the hands of my friends and impressed on them that it was never too late to make a fresh beginning in life. Following a small meditation that I conducted, I enrolled them for the Happiness Programme of the Art of Living. ‘Let us attempt to rejig our lives and make a fresh beginning,’ I said.

We resolved to physically declutter our homes of all the accumulated garbage and then cleanse our minds. The three of us ambled across to a stationery shop, purchased three diaries and decided to write down our fears, phobias, botherations and then hunt for solutions. It was unanimously decided to jot down positive thoughts and affirmations daily and unflinchingly to energise our minds.

Allen came up with the suggestion that we ought to write down the Serenity Prayer every day.

‘God grant me, The Serenity to, Accept the things, I cannot change, Courage to Change, the things I can AND Wisdom to know The Difference’

‘This will provide us with enormous strength, courage and conviction,’ he added.

Physical activity was an anathema to Allen and Javagal. But on my insistence, they agreed to begin with morning and evening walks. And upon completion of the Happiness Programme continue with regular practice of yoga, pranayama, meditation and Sudarshan Kriya to make their lives more radiant, meaningful, bringing about a 360-degree turnaround.

The ‘secret’, I told my friends is that if anything is done sincerely and regularly for 41 days without a break, it becomes a good habit. And it is virtuous to add to the assets in the balance sheet of life. ‘Let us add life to our years than years to our life,’ I said.

Javagal decided to cast away his books on spirits and decided to pursue a passion and goaded his friends to do the same. To begin with, we decided to meet twice a week.

We unanimously decided to give up sweets, reduce the intake of salt and pay proper attention to our diet. Allen was once upon a time a voracious reader. On the way home, he purchased Robin Sharma’s ‘Life is What You Make It’. And gifted his friends a copy each.

‘Happy New Year bros,’ said Allen. Turning to Javagal he added, ‘Just get rid of all Mephistopheles from your mind.’

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