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Life inside an Ashram

August 03, 2010 2 min read

An ashram in Gujarat, India.

A section that houses solo elderly lives. Little life remains within them, both in terms of years and spirit. The former – is an uncontrollable factor – the latter is the sad result of circumstance or fate or probability.

A short but incisively deep interaction with the occupants of that ashram. In that hour, they connected with me, and talked about their deep things, revealing their bare souls.

All must have been productive members of families and society until half a dozen years ago. All physically capable and keen in most faculties. They must have used their entire being hustling and bustling in service of their families and their bosses. And one fine day, they are rendered not so useful, and have found their way to the ashram. Their mental energy, their mental capabilities, still as strong as before, while their bodies stand weathered and weakend.What is to be done with this mental energy?

In the ashram they live managed lives. Infrastructure that is necessary for physical comfort but difficult to create in solo living is available to the group. Their bodies have found a haven and are in comfort. But their minds?

They live saddened by their uselessness to society. The lack of purpose, the fact that no one needs them, that there is no one who cannot do without their presence, hurts their spirit. Every breath they take, subconsciously raises the question about the purpose of that breath – a question whose answer is lost somewhere in the past. Now, there is no meaning left in going forward. There is depression, whether it is acknowledged or not.

Yes, they do manage to put on a brave face and yes they do engage in activities that fill up time. But there is no fulfilment, there is no enthusiasm, there is no anchor.

In that little hour, they opened up and showed me the vast expanse of emptiness inside them. No one seeks them out, no one looks forward to being with them. They just huddle together, as a group of unfortunates, seeking comfort in the fact that there are others like them.

In the ashram, the body has found its comfort, but the mind is still smouldering. With possibility. With reminiscence. With hopeless hopes. Unlived dreams. And undying longings for love. And with every breath they take, they attempt to consciously try to blow out those smoulders….

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