BENGALURU: Many moons ago I remember taking a course which was an offshoot of the very controversial EST programme, which was essentially a four-day intensive ‘Large Group Awareness Training’ that had an almost cult-like following. Being in my early thirties, I primarily joined the programme to cause a nuisance and ‘teach’ them a lesson. What happened was that (without becoming a rabid convert) I took away a lot from it, becoming more self-aware and realising my hidden potential.
I would often re-arrange the interpretations in my mind and pick the most powerful one. A process I liked to call, separating the ‘riff’ from the ‘raff’. One very powerful epiphany which I managed to take away from this was: However different we like to believe we are, we (human-beings) aren’t very different from amoeba. We are stimulated and we respond.
Our stimuli may be different and our responses may be too but we are a stimulus and response multi-celled organism. No different from single celled amoeba! You may wonder why I launched forth into the workings of single and multi-celled organisms. But the death of one of my dearest friends, Mubina Vazirali, brought all this into focus. She fought the brave fight, a warrior queen, but in the end she asked for release and peace. She came home to Bangalore to slip quietly away into oblivion as gracefully as she
her life. Let me tell you a story of how great a love can be.
I met Mubina as a frightened 12-year-old entering a new school in a new city. I was bereft as I had left all my friends behind. It was terrible, as by then pre-pubescent girls have already established their cliques and groups. I had to re-establish myself all over again and the thought of eating lunch alone was terrifying. I remember looking across at a sniggering group of girls while the class-teacher innocently asked if anyone would ‘allow’ me to sit next to them. Only one hand went up. It was Mubina! Ever since then she’s been my go-to person, secret keeper, trouble shooter, best friend, sister, confidant and holiday companion.
As teenagers, we double-dated, giggled over boy-friends, cried over family problems... her extended family was mine as much as mine was hers. She was tough, resilient inspirational and had a heart of gold. She was perfect! Now she’s gone after promising me she wouldn’t. Rubiiiiii... that long emphasis on my name still rings in my ears. “Leave my hand, mother swear I’ll come back,” she used to tell me as I held onto to her for dear life on the playing field... terrified she would leave me there alone. She always came back, and re-assured me. That became a life-long habit.
Wherever she travelled and whichever corner of the world she was in she always gave me her itinerary. Her message was the same for over 40 years. ‘Wait here. I will be back’. Well Mubina has checked out from the building. All the lives she impacted with her generosity, wisdom and strength are writing eulogies for her, sharing pictures and snippets about their relationship with her. Funnily I don’t want to share. I don’t want to talk. I don’t know how to encapsulate my whole life in 30 seconds. We were together before our husbands, children and other relationships.
I never wanted to share her, now I don’t want to share her memories. She begged me to let her go in peace and I respected her wishes. But as they were burying her I wanted to crawl into that space... to be with her forever. Like a comet, blazing ‘cross the evening sky. Gone too soon, Like a rainbow fading in the twinkling of an eye Gone too soon. RIP. My everything...