I was in a huge garden. At first I was surprised to see that I was alone in the vast expanse but strangely as soon as I felt this, I realized that I was meant to be alone. There were huge magnificent trees pulsating with vitality. I found them inspiring and went near them. They seemed to fill me with a sense of fullness and peace. I felt rooted and intensely aware and alive. I wanted to stay there longer when something urged me to move further in the garden. I went further and then I saw something very strange. Again the feeling of strangeness registered in my awareness very quickly. In front of me stood tiny plants who looked barren and lifeless. I felt that there were tiny not because they were young, but because they had not grown. I stood there wondering and felt an insatiable curiosity arising within me. I desperately wanted to know about the paradox that I was witnessing at the garden.
Just then I saw a young man approaching me. The garden, the trees, plants, everything was so queer that I found myself not questioning the man’s appearance, though later on when I reflected about this, he was as unusual as were the surroundings. As he came nearer I noticed his features. What stood out first were his deep black eyes. They were so beautiful and held an expression of softness. His complexion was very dark, like the pitch darkness of a moonless night. He was well built and extremely handsome. I immediately felt like I knew him but could not exactly place my finger where I had met him. He looked at me and smiled.
‘You want to know the secret of these plants?’ I nodded my head to say yes. He then held out a few seeds in his hand and said, ‘These are the seeds which I planted in the soil long back. Everything that is growing here is the product of these seeds.’
I took the seeds in my hand and examined them. Even more intrigued, I asked the handsome stranger, ‘All these trees and plants, they all have come from the same seed? How is that possible?’ They appear so different, how can they come from the same seed?’
The man smiled and replied, ‘Yes. They are millions of years old. I planted them at the same time. The seeds were the same type but each seed had a different nature. All the seeds had the same potential but a different desire. Some grew up and became magnificent trees and some just did not want to grow. But I am patient and keep playing my flute, waiting for them when they are ready.’
I was stunned to hear this answer. How could this be? These giant trees and these young tender plantlings, they were contemporaries? I wanted to know more. ‘You need to give them water and manure and protect them from harm, only then will they grow.’
‘Yes I do that without fail for all the plants entrusted in my care. I protect them and nurture them. But still they don’t grow’
I looked at him puzzled. The man continued, ‘You know why they don’t grow?’
‘Because they don’t want to be themselves. They don’t want to be what their seed set out to be. So all the water, manure and protection becomes only a way to sustain them but they are not alive. They have a lifeless life. Just leaves, roots and a stem. See those trees over there. They have become what they had set out to be. The reason why they were born in the first place.’
‘The reason why I felt so fulfilled in their presence, because they had fulfilled themselves,’ I said with a deep knowing, as if I had begun to understand why I was here in this mystical garden.I become silent and began to contemplate. The gardener seemed to know this and just kept smiling at me patiently. I felt like those tender saplings. Not being what I set out to be.
I wanted to know why he played the flute? He answered, ‘By hearing the harmony in my flute, they remember their inner harmony and their true nature.’
At that moment I wished deeply that a flute player be present in my life too. Catching my thought instantaneously, the mysterious stranger said, ‘I will play the flute for you today. You need to hear it more loudly.’
The stranger picked up his wooden flute and put it to his lips. What I heard was the sweetest sound that I had ever heard. It did not feel just a melody coming from an instrument. It felt alive and powerful, somewhat like a person whose body was just sound. The sound seemed to pour out infinite love and tenderness on me. I remember thinking that maybe I was in heaven. I let go and entered a deep state of relaxation. Every cell in my body was relaxing, as if each and every cell was telling me that it was alive and a part of me. I felt calm and joyous and wondered if I will be able to hear this celestial song again. I heard the flute player’s voice in my head in response, ‘I always play the flute for all my children. At all times.
I woke up with these words ringing in my head. For a moment I felt sad that the dream had ended. To me the dream seemed part of something to which I once belonged. I wondered whether it was even a dream? Or the life that I was leading here was a dream? I wanted to keep on hearing the flute player’s divine song. But I knew the powerful message that the dream had given me. I got up from my bed energized and I knew exactly what I had to do next.
I called up my gynecologist and asked her for the first available appointment. Luckily she gave me an early morning time. She added, ‘But you seem so happy. Any good news?’
I laughed and said, ‘Ya doctor there is good news but not of the kind you are thinking. See you at 10.’
Doctor Yalini greeted me with a warm smile. I had been consulting with her for the past few years and we shared a great rapport. Before she could ask me what my problem was I explained, ‘Yalini I have a strong feeling that there is some problem with my ovaries. I want to do an ultrasound. Please.’
‘Ok Nandika. As you wish. I respect a woman’s intuition.’
The scans gave her enough reason to increase that respect even more. The doctor was examining my scans with a perplexed face. ‘Nandika you were right. These does seem to be something wrong with your ovaries. There are many cysts in your ovaries’.
‘What does that mean doctor?’
She explained, ‘Cysts form when the egg fails to mature fully and remains in the ovary. Over a period of time such malfunctioning eggs accumulate giving the ovary a polycystic appearance. I will have to send you for more tests to confirm whether it is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).’
She began to write me out a prescription with all the tests. ‘Once it is confirmed, then we can start medication.’
I smiled and said, ‘That won’t be necessary doc. I will be fine very soon.’
‘That’s very good but you should not take it lightly. This can later cause you to have complications.’
I took another appointment for all those scary sounding tests and bid Doctor Yalini goodbye. At home everything finally made sense. The signs on that trip to the doctor, the strange dream, the cysts in my ovary. It all fell in place now. The reason why I was unwell and not improving. All those cysts in my ovaries were like the tiny plants which did not want to grow up. Because I was not being what I had set out to be. I had not listened to my soul. I had not not tuned in with the flute in my heart.
Over the years I had lost touch with my real self. I had become totally disconnected with my own creative energies. I had settled into a comfortable routine with safety and security as my tools for self delusion. My creative pursuits, my deep desire to express myself, to become a writer, how subtly I had fooled myself into believing that I was a happy woman. Afraid to act on the inner yearnings of my heart, I had started to exist but not live, believing that this is what is a happy successful life – to be settled, to have security and comfort, enough money to buy you things, food to eat, clothes to wear and a home to live in, to have a kid and a husband, my life had become all about this and nothing more. There were no new discoveries to be made about myself for discovering the latest fashion consumed my time. No journeys to explore the world within as I was busy exploring exotic locations outside. No adventure within myself because having adventure just meant thrills which you got in an amusement park. It was all about an external life.
The female reproductive system is a seat of great power, not just physically but spiritually as well. The vast potential of each human being is locked in there. Since I had closed myself to my inner self, my body manifested all these symptoms. My soul was shouting, begging me. The body aches and pains had nothing to do with my spine. The hormonal mess that my body was in, was making all my muscles stiff which gave me the tag of an ‘achy and shaky being.’ I decided to pick up the threads of my life and stop leading this lie of a life. I dusted the cobwebs around my dreams, looked at them closely and cried. I wept at the loss of myself and then I wept how I missed my real self. And then I wept with joy. That I had found a way to end all this pain. I had found a way to heal not just my body but also my soul. That I was always in charge.
I started doing the things which had once meant a great deal to me, but under the cloak of of domesticity I stopped doing them. I picked up my pen and started to write. It had been my dream for a very long time to be a writer. I decided that whether or not anybody liked what I write, I will write for my own joy, for my own self expression. I will write because nobody can write the way I do. I will write because I have something to say, even if nobody wants to read it.
I slowly started to get well. My stamina and energy returned. And I began to feel a real happiness, not the fake kind that comes externally. The kind of happiness that comes when you are yourself. My treatment continued alongside and all those constant companions of pain and frustration left me. Because I was no longer frustrated with myself. I was being what I had set out to be.