January 10,2020

‘Meet me soon, I got a gift for you’

Read a text from my friend. Receiving a gift without any occasion is always a pleasure and also a reminder that someone cares for you, what was not surprising was the gift itself given my friends bibliophile nature. So, I was prepared to receive a book even though she didn’t mention it.

Rewind to June 4,2018

This was the day when I had entered my MBA college and the same day when I had met my friend, Sudipa, for the first time. Within a month or two we started talking a lot and eventually became friends. Our discussions revolved around myriad topics like books, old movies, philosophy and much more. This was also the year when me and my family had started to read Swamiji’s books , blogs and watch his video discourses. His honest take on life had left us mesmerised.Naturally I started to share this with my friends as well for I had found his discussions to be very insightful. Of all the people I had talked to about him, it was Sudipa who had categorically stated that these kind of discourses don’t work for her. From then on I never shared any thing related to Swamiji directly with her but there were many instances when we would be talking about a certain topic and our discussion would remind me of his teachings and I would mention them and she was absolutely fine with it.

Back to January ,2020

I went to college and excitedly reached her room to check out my gift ( which I was sure would be a book). She was sitting at her study table and lifted a book from a pile of non-curriculum books and handed it over to me, it took me a little while to come to terms with what she had gifted me, I read the title of the book twice to be sure, it was none other than the newly published book of Swamiji:  THE BOOK OF KINDNESS. After all our disagreements on various topics, ideologies she gifted me his new release. Till that point in time we were aware of our polar opposite ideas on many issues yet we both had mutually agreed to one philosophy: we agree to disagree. Till she gifted me the book I might have held on the idea at a 9 /10 but that episode cemented it to a 100/100.

Her gift had come at the right moment as my family was considering to visit the Jaipur Literature Festival where Swamiji was to talk about his new release. As soon as she gifted the book to me a wish sparked in my mind :what if there would be a book signing session and I might get a chance to get a book signed for the first time ever.

All my excitement died down soon for our travel to the festival seemed bleak for many reasons , so much so that I was about to cancel my plan because I anyway was missing two of my classes. Eventually we all decided to take a chance and visit the festival , the feeling was not very pleasant and we were not even sure if we would get the tickets.  We reached Jaipur a day in advance, I don’t know if it was magic or nature heard my message everything after that happened so smoothly that I don’t remember ever in my life I had such a pleasant experience where each moment was blissful. Not only we got the tickets within minutes we also got to sit in the second row (considering lot of people were asked to shift) and got a clear view of the stage.

Throughout the event I kept the book in my hand and to my surprise it was announced that there will be book signing event. As soon as it was announced I ran to the area and saw that there were already around 20 people in line ( some negatives of being in the second row). People were trying their best to cut the line and get the books signed, I had noticed a lady who categorically said that it is a big line, I am not getting in. Maybe it was her determination to break the line that she realised the person standing right in front of me was her acquaintance and soon three ladies entered right before me, the organisers tried to stop them but it was futile for they ignored them. At that moment I told myself : if the book is to be signed it will and if not then also I will not get sad. Given the magical day it was, I got the book signed by Swamiji. Soon after me the book signing event was stopped and many couldn’t get their books signed.

What did these gifts teach me ?

1) We all can agree to disagree and coexist:

My friend who had gifted me the unexpected book had also visited the city and the fest during the same three day’s as I did yet we never crossed our paths. We both coexisted in our own universe and learnt many things.

2) Don’t think negative :

When I thought all was going wrong on our trip, a reminder of not thinking negative changed everything. All possible good things happened including an unplanned sojourn.

3) To each his/ her own :

I got the front seats and my book signed, the lady who cut the line had also managed to get the front row, my friend had her own good time. We all eventually got what we wished for.

Had it not been for Swamiji’s teachings, I don’t think I would have looked at these experiences as gifts.

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