May 13, 2011: Day of my life that made me Believe in The Potential and Power in Conversations and Connections with friends
When is the last time you had that unique conversation with a friend (old or new-found) in which one topic weaved into another seamlessly and suddenly, one inspiring thought stayed with you? The thought touched the core of your heart to the extent that you had to re-connect with that friend and others to fulfill a dream you otherwise might not have thought of on your own?
Little did I imagine that I would forego the tempting famous Hungarian baths and hot mineral pools for a trek that I had never heard of before.
Over a steaming hot dinner of incredibly tasty Hungarian food and a live conversation about the country’s history and beauty, understanding of ‘Buda’s’ and ‘Pest’s’ best places with new found friends and mates in Art of Hosting, Budapest, five words stayed with me, ‘Heart Chakra of the World’! It was the first time that I even considered the world to have a heart chakra!
Sweeter than dessert, I heard that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, had visited and affirmed Dobogókő, a mountainous region, outside Budapest as thus. A voice jumped in, asking more about when did His Holiness visit Hungary, while another one rang an urgent question to know more about Dobogókő and a third one tugged and asked for some paparika (hot Hungarian red chilli spice) across the table!
Dobogókő, as I learnt later, meant ‘beating stone’, ‘pulsating stone’ or ‘the stone of the beating heart’ in Hungarian and refers to the mythological heart of Mother Earth. Dobogókő, as both Google and fragments of conversations with different Hungarian friends taught me, is the oldest ski resort since 1923, the highest point in the Pilis – Visegrád Hills (700 meter) and a place rich in legend and esoteric thinking.
On reflection and introspection, and painfully being self aware to a large extent, I must say I surprised myself. So did my partner, who instantly chimed that she would join me. She is Lamu, a great friend whom I got to know, born in Tibet! A co-incidence!!!
What makes an idea compelling?
Secondly, the seed needs the ideal conditions to grow: Our friends, Judith and Andre, whom I dearly address as Groovy, ideally provided that over chilled lemonade in a quaint Hungarian cafe, amidst their busy schedules of submission of papers and proposals. I still recollect Judit’s words, ‘Natasha, if you do not find the Heart Stone in the first time, do not get disappointed as it just means that you have to return to find it.’ I often remembered these words later.
Did I believe them, despite acknowledging them? ..
Thirdly every seed has its own moments of spurting growth, plateaus of nothing happening and obstacles that it has to deal with; In the case of human species though, how many times the obstacles are in the head alone?
- Come May 13, I am waiting for Lamu at the venue of Art of Hosting, where we had spent the past four days in learning and unlearning and finding ourselves; atleast to begin with. She meets me after a while, sharing that the trams had stopped working and there was chaos on the roads. Luckily, we had to go underground to the historical Metro lines.
- Navigating three – four lines for the first time that included an Inter – State line, where not a word of English was heard except for the two of us, we reached Pomaz. A small town, where we tucked into a quick, hot breakfast and boarded the bus. I breathed in deeply – hills, greenery, blue sky!
- We remembered the man in red sports shirt, who spoke English (the first person we met that day) and helped us get a map in the lodge.
- We set off to the skiing stretch and little did I anticipate this view ~ Green lolling grass with pretty yellow smiling flowers like a carpet infront of us.
- Both William Wordsworth and William Henry Davies sprung to my mind as I admired the yellow flowers (not daffodils:) and stood and stared.
- A little voice reminded me that we should be on time for the evening bus back and should get going. How does one stop that annoying voice in your head when you feel the ‘Power of Now’, are at peace much like the Hobbits were in their comfortable holes and environment? I shared my thoughts with Lamu, who assured me that there was no rush and with that little encouragement, we cemented our friendship with nature.
- ‘What is this life if, full of care,
- We have no time to stand and stare.’
- Lamu discovered a side path that meandered in the distance to and fro from the ski fields and we went onto that. For the next 20 minutes, the sign on a tree that were mirroring spirals, centered with a red dot and topped with a yellow arrow directed us. How often do we need to meander in order to reach our goal that is straight ahead in life?
- We reached the bottom and suddenly viewed the Danube river in the far distance. How often do we see things that we cannot see when we are at the top?
- We walked
- and walked some more
- and followed brown faint paths on the green grass.
- We walked past the greenery.
- We reached a concrete path much akin to hill sides with a sloping dancing into the unknown – there were felled logs on that road as we walked along. We walked for straight 45 minutes. The sun played peak-a-boo on us. At one moment, we had bright sunshine. The next, it disappeared. Little creatures seemed to also play hide-and-seek with us. We did not see any, Just heard them. That sign was no where to be seen. We did not know if we were on the right path. The map was vague. We began to have doubts. The phone network did not work. We were pretty much alone. Yet, we prodded on. Lamu assuaged my fears. We shared stories from Tibet and India. We walked on.
- We came across a hut!
- We knocked.
- No answer.
- It was almost two hours since we had started.
- It should not have taken so long.
- ‘Natasha, if you do not find the Heart Stone in the first time, do not get disappointed as it just means that you have to return to find it’
- I did not pay heed to my inner voice.
- We walked on.
- Not a soul to be seen.
- Not a sign to be seen.
- We should turn back so that we can catch the last bus to Budapest.
- We came across a soft path that led into the sides and it was pretty dark in there. I urged Lamu, looking at the map, to go in there as I remembered Judith sharing that we need to follow a path and reach the Rama Hill (Seriously, Rama, the mythological God in Hinduism!)
- NEVER QUIT on the Path!!!
- Lamu shared her fears for the first time that we should not stray into the woods. Out of no where, I heard myself quoting Paulo Coelho from some story I had read that the people who quit never knew that the answer lay in the next bend! I cannot say I recollect even now the book or the story behind it but it convinced her.
- We went inside the woods for about 5 minutes and lo and behold! We found the wooden entrance that had a heart shape, welcoming us!
- Not only that, ‘the night is darkest just before the dawn’ !!! We did not have to worry about returning the same long winded path that had taken hours as we met a group of family and friends from Slovakia, picnicking there. One of them knew the region well and had got them there through a short cut. Though they did not speak English, they were, co-incidently accompanied with their one friend from US! Our second English speaking gentleman for the day!
After a short rest, we started the trek uphill, led by none other than the youngest in the group, a beautiful girl named Boglarka (Again, no coincidence that the Hungarian friend, with whom I stayed in Singapore was also Boglarka!)
- She and her brother led and we adults followed. With Gratitude. With Peace.