“Runanubandha” with Simla and all my newfound friends in the Group
We all, the Simlaities, living at present at the diverse parts of state, country or the world, still have a very strong affinity for Simla. We would, if we could, fly to Simla, touch the very stones on the side-walls of the long Mall, searching for warmth emanating from the cold stones of the stairs of the Townhall, as mere touching the stones, walking the roads, eyeing the beautiful Mall and lively Lower Bazaar would act as a renewal and reboosting of our waning energy! For us, it has been and would always be a place where we can turn to whenever we need to, anytime!! Perhaps God also is conversant with this fact. Being a staunch believer in the law of Karma, I believe in the theory of “runanubandha” which means that we have to fulfill the contract and pay the debt that we may have with a person, place or an event and only then we can be free. That was the way all these notions were instilled in us while growing up in Simla!
When my friends would be eating Imlee and ask me to bring a little of salt, I would get a pinch of it from Amma’s wooden masaledaani and try to smuggle it out avoiding Amma’s hawk like eyes. Amma would scold us if I would put salt in someone’s hand, The question was not about a pinch of salt but of the strong belief, right or wrong, which she had. “Put this salt in a piece of paper…taking it in hand would entangle you in a bandhan!” I could never understand it but later on I got to realize that not only salt, which symbolized, for my Amma a very trivial give-and-take activity, all that we do binds us in some “runan” or debt. We wer, likewise, taught not to do anything wrong to anyone as it may incur the wrath of the gods! During the month of Sawan, Bauji would go early in the morning to Shiva temple in the Middle Bazaar, a few flights of stairs away from our home. Amma would send us to bring flowers and kusha (doob grass), if she would forget it and had to send us when the Sun would be setting or set, she would add one more direction, “First take permission from the plant to pluck kusha or a flower from it” and would add, “they sleep with the Sunset.” We learnt to respect plants. Even today, I follow it…old habits die hard! She would say that we get to repay if we, as much as, harm a plant and to harm a person was beyond our imagination…for that we have had those angrez log ruling over us!
Looking back I feel that perhaps Amma was trying to teach us, in her own simple way, that wherever there is a certain amount of meeting and mingling, good or bad, some runanubandha is created. Wee meet people for a reason. All of us meeting here, in this group, is a part of a relationship that we might have had with one another though we were not even aware of it, then. And now, because of the interactions and certain amount of virtual meeting and mingling, some new runanubandha is being created.There, sure, is a reason for it, nothing happens without a bigger plan of the universe, we all are a part of.
When I left Simla in 1977, I thought that now my relation with the place is over as my parents were not living there and there was no reason for me to visit Simla, ever, again. But I had to. I am not counting the small visits for the purpose of official work or exams etc. but only the one which endeared Simla to me like it never had! And this happened in the year 2009 when I came back to Simla and stayed there for a year and half as, in the words of my Amma, I still had some debt to pay! This time I felt that it was Simla which had some debt to pay to me as it embraced me, with open arms, giving me, unconditionally, istrength, support, succor and shelter to me when I needed it the MOST!!
More about that in my next post…as it is a very emotionally challenging journey back for me…