Isabella Arpita

After my father’s kidney failure, things escalated quickly at my house. My mother, just like any other Indian woman had “mannat” – if he gets well she would go to Vellankani and pray in the shrine of Our Goddess of Good Health. He had surgery and was doing well for a year but suddenly one day he was gone. It was a very difficult time for us, emotionally. She never visited Vellankani and as her health wasn’t very good, she forgot about it completely. One day my aunt called my mother all worried, she was very anxious and told her that she saw me and my brother in her dreams. My mother became extremely restless and asked her what exactly she saw. But my aunt couldn’t recollect. My mother became tense and out of nowhere, she thought that it could be because of her not visiting Vellankani and completing her mannat. As she narrated the whole thing to me over the call, I reasoned that, since my aunt was very close to me and my brother, maybe that’s why she saw us in her dream. I was not able to connect the dots of how this can be linked to some mannat taken years ago. But seeing my mother all worried I didn’t feel quite good about it. After a few days, my mother gave me a call and said, “Between you and your brother, I can only ask you to visit Vellankani”, as she can’t travel due to her health reasons and my brother was quite young. I couldn’t refuse. I had no idea where this place was exactly. I knew I would be facing a language barrier in South India, so I put a WhatsApp status asking if anyone had travelled or had any idea about the place. I googled the route and found there was no flight directly to this place. Thus, to reach there, first of all, I had to land in Chennai or Madurai and then take a bus, train, or minivan to reach there. I didn’t want to take the van or train considering it would be very difficult to communicate, so I chose to travel by bus. When I reached Vellankani, I already had my OYO booked. But the moment I landed at that place a guy approached me and asked if I wanted to stay in a lodge? It was very close to the Church. I was okay with it. He was great at hospitality and even arranged free food for me for the time I stayed there. Before my trip was about to end, I decided to visit the beach, located near the Church. It was valentine’s day that day and I could see happy couples everywhere. I was going through a bad marriage at that time, and that day, the beach, the solitude – all included, got me thinking. Why did my marriage go through a rough spot? Why is everyone so happy except me? One elderly guy came toward me and asked me not to walk in that area alone. He started to enquire if I was there alone or with family, hinting at the fact that I had any wrong intentions of harming myself. It made me feel bad about myself, I thought that maybe this guy felt pity for me. I started walking back to my lodge when I saw a guy standing on the beach all alone with his arms wide open, trying to breathe the air and sense the ocean at his feet. I started asking myself, “Why is no one feeling pity for him… even though he is all alone on this beach?!” It then suddenly struck me; this guy didn’t care about anyone. He was just enjoying nature and people must be watching him being so happy within himself that no one bothered to be interested in him. I realized maybe it’s not others who are feeling sorry for me. It is me. I need to stop sympathizing with myself and be as carefree and unbothered as that guy. This sudden realization on this trip was a life-changing moment for me. Since my marriage, I always used to feel bad about myself. I thought maybe all of this trip happened for a reason so that I can start looking at the world the other way and genuinely enjoy life. I spotted a tattoo shack nearby and got a tattoo for myself as a mark of celebration as well as a reminder. An ‘anchor’ on my ankle, which read “I refuse to sink”- my affirmation to stay strong and happy no matter how hard the waves of sadness hit me.

Total Work Experience : 10 Years (Infosys)

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