The Antidote to Fear is Love
Sometimes one steps back from a challenging situation and sees that a person who is acting harshly is really crying out to you for help because they are either frightened at their core. Before we react, we should choose a higher alternative. Each time we make a wiser choice and do so consciously, the energy that the old behavior had over us is transformed into a more positive power. All shadows of violence and blame die in the light of love and understanding. This awareness creates a space for all people to become their best selves and to choose the most loving response in every situation. A far wiser way to live is to let go of judgment and accept experiences simply without resistance – sometimes it simply just IS.
My journey… I have many nicknames, the latest of which is a representative of love. I have earned this beautiful title, but I am also known as Queen of Carlton fire, which is close to my heart for I am a survivor of the tragedy in Bangalore in 2010. https://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-02-23/bangalore/28129469_1_fire-tenders-major-fire-sixth-floor. I lost my original voice to the fire, but life has kept me more than alive, to the extent that I have realized that I have found my “true voice” now. On February 23, 2010, while I was in the office on the seventh floor working, my telephone line crashed. I heard shrieks and ran to the door to see a whirlwind of smoke coming towards me. I quickly shut the glass door and informed my colleagues. We had a fire extinguisher, but none of us knew how to operate it. Soon the smoke filled in our space. I quickly took the extinguisher and started breaking windows and realized my voice wasn’t there. People were vomiting-some of them spreading a cloth and asking us to jump. I contemplated jumping twice as the smoke was unbearable. I finally surrendered, stopped crying, looked around and became familiar with death. I started praying for my children and spoke to God. A fireman spotted me and took me to safety. After this incident, I was in and out of the hospital for 8 months total.
In that time, I faced death in many forms, several times. I faced physical, emotional and spiritual death. I flashbacked to my childhood. I loved my parents. My father was a powerhouse of hard work with a never give-up attitude and my mother inspired me by her relentless dedication despite all odds. I have indeed found my way to my true self through her. From my mother, I realized that I wanted to be a mother myself. I realized that I am endowed with the ability to love, with a persevering steadiness.
I married a neighbor and I found such humble love with his family. They loved me beautifully and I felt like a princess. I was the luckiest daughter-in-law! Then I became a mom when I was 20 and my life’s mission – Akarsh – was born. Unfortunately, my marriage wasn’t what I had visualized for myself – so I walked out. My husband did not want the divorce so he threatened to kill himself and eventually fractured his foot by putting it under a lorry (truck). I was concerned about my child spending time with him, but I made the decision that my son was going to have both his parents. I knew I would not have a happy marriage, but I wanted my son to have a normal childhood. Though we were divorced, we stayed living together.
Soon I conceived my younger child Dhruv. In fact, I saw him in my dream even before I knew I was pregnant. All my friends warned me against having another child, but I followed my heart. When I was three months pregnant, my ex-husband was stabbed 16 times and was in critical condition. He survived and told me that he fought to live for us. I shifted my attitude completely and nurtured him back to good health while neglecting my own health.
My little son was born with many medical complications. His brain hadn’t developed, he had seizures and was in the ICU for 15 days. My baby was on very high doses of medication that was very expensive. The pediatric neurologist said that they could not guarantee a recovery, but instructed me to make sure I gave him plenty of love. I did and still continue to do so. Things were not good and my brothers took the three of us back to my parental home. I earned small pocket money to buy things for my children: their undergarments, a ball, and biscuits. With the support of my best friend, I got a part-time job.
During that time I followed an advice named “Agony’s Uncle” column and led my life from his answers to people’s queries. I soon started going for counseling sessions with him. I was taken by surprise-each time he praised me on my character and he convinced me to be the loving being that I am. He gave me a beautiful sense of me. He was very handsome, charming, with a voice to match his looks, and great sense of humor. He was also a Malayalam psychologist. One day, he proposed to me and I accepted.
I left my parental home, with my children, and moved in with him. Since we weren’t married, my children and I stayed at a hotel at night. The kids had a tough time adjusting to an authoritative figure that was 20 years senior to me. I was so grateful to this man who protected us and provided for us, but the magic was that I grew in leaps and bounds in the belief that I am loved. We had a beautiful wedding. I was dressed as a Christian bride in white, fulfilling a fairy-tale childhood desire completely. My growth and confidence started making him feel insecure and with a lot of shadows I discovered in the marriage and things started falling apart. He said we needed to part ways, but he said – “Thank you for the best years of life that you have given me.”
I was devastated, but fortunately had a good job then. I moved to a little home with my children and we were very happy. We lived a” beautiful freedom”. I soon realized that my job, which made me come home late in the night, was affecting my boys adversely. I was called to school and was humiliated by the staff for not tending to their education. In a spur of a moment, I quit my corporate job to work in their school. I was determined to succeed and moved in again to my parental home. That decision was “my crowning glory”. My children and I blossomed with all the blessings from the parents of the children whom I taught. In one year I received a great offer from a UK based company, moved out of my parental home, and designed a 3 bedroom home, as per the boy’s wishes. We had challenges then too, but the home was all mine and I had the freedom to deal with it and to feel the way I wanted. Five years went by and I was working hard with people who accepted and trusted me completely, who identified my potential and enjoyed my presence. For me it was my first home away from home. I believe that is why my office saved my life.
Flash forward now…two days before the fire that changed my life. On the 21st of February, my sister-in law shared with me that my father saw me in dream all burned and had come to him as a little girl asking for help. As I am regaining my consciousness in the hospital after the fire, I was thrilled that I was going to get my family back. My parents weren’t able to accept and see through, and yes I do understand the paradox, the sad state of our weird world, the callousness of the word ‘love’- an aimless and purposeless pursuit, that’s the way it is perceived rather believed. More so, my absence from the lives of my family, probably didn’t give them a chance to register that their daughter had moved from the mind, body and soul to a higher level of consciousness. Yet I chose to be anchored to love, aware that I have always nurtured the desire of having the love and acceptance of my parents.
Life was telling me you have to learn a lot walking through dark paths. My body said “Don’t BETRAY your SOUL ANYMORE, Accept Yourself. You have gotten up yet again, after the nights of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and doing what needs to be done to feed the children, and the world that surrounds you. You are rare; you have obeyed even while facing death for “LOVE”.” From then on, my nickname “REPRESENTATIVE OF LOVE” was born. I have been celebrating my survival and myself ever since.
My experiences have taught me that the most relentless demons – self or other, same difference – are only an enormous cry for the most love I can create. Always, I find these encounters are my greatest & most treasured teachers. Remember; however, until they transform into relentless lovers, – they all do with time & attention- they are still relentless demons.
With kindest regards,