It was Arun’s story that fascinated me and increased my curiosity to know more about him. I had never known Arun and maybe not even meet him ever, yet whatever I came to know about him and his adventurous life made me rethink about my own undisclosed dreams that are waiting to be realized for long.
One fine afternoon during the ongoing lockdown period, my husband received a call from his friend Sunni all over from Qatar. Unlike other days, Sunni sounded much more disturbed and impatient. Instead of asking about his whereabouts, he implored my husband to try contacting Arun. Apparently, Arun was somewhere in Varanasi and was suffering from high fever. On an usual day, none of these details would have given us a fright. Afterall, anyone with a spiritual bent of mind yearns to spend time at the banks of the river Ganges and get away from the hue and cry of the city city. Even I dream of spending a month or two among sadhus and lose track of time, forget now, then and after. But, alas, this has remained just a wish, calling me day after day. And, it was also okay to have fever while traveling. People usually suffer from fever during a long and tough journey. However, we had received this piece of news when fever had become a symptom of the incurable and life threatening covid and travelers were caught offguard due to the lockdown undertaken to control the unimaginable pandemic.
My husband promised Sunni to figure out a solution and way to get in touch with Arun. Upon being questioned, he told me that Arun is a close friend of Sunni and they have been inseparable since childhood. Raised in the lap of nature of Kerala, Arun started exhibiting proclivity toward spirituality and enlightenment at an early age. Meanwhile, he also fell in love with the English literature. He was a frequent traveller to Varanasi and did not mind the company of sadhus who had bequeathed wealth and left their families. Arun’s world was beyond the understanding of those around him. While he was during his one of these spiritual trips, the entire country was locked down to control the spread of this less understood disease. Like others, even Arun had never imagined that the country will remain locked up for so long. With everything, including transportation, coming to a standstill, Arun joined a troop of sadhus. Interestingly, he was living the real moments of his life.
When Sunni tried getting in touch with Arun, he was unable to get the right information about Arun from the sadhus due to his poor understanding of the language Hindi. He panicked and hence called my husband. As we reside in Delhi, which is closer to Varanasi, he expected us to be in a better position to assist Arun. My husband immediately called up people putting up in Varanasi.
After a number of phone calls, his friends got in touch with the sadhus and eventually Arun. They sounded surprised and shared cheerfully that Arun is with sadhus. And, they are taking good care of Arun. They are cooking food and giving him medicines on time. Upon hearing this wonderful and humane news, my dream to relinquish everything got strengthened. In the noise of social media and newsrooms, this incident rekindled my faith in humanity and kindness. Beyond all wars and pandemics, there’s something called humanness that we steadily and unconsciously losing from ourselves.