Within moments of your meeting with Neera Suri, she observes you verbalise an unconscious emotional block about your career. “Who does this thought belong to?” she asks you, leaving you somewhat tongue-tied. “Me?” you stammer. She repeats the question, until you realise the idea was recently triggered by a conversation with a well-meaning friend, and before that belonged to your father.
“Uncreate and destroy that thought, and send it back with consciousness attached to where it originated from,” she advises, and you conjure up an image of actor Maggie Smith as Professor Minerva McGonagall from Harry Potter swishing her wand about, sending your negative belief back out of your brain and away.
Such is Neera’s personal aura: magical, motherly, wise. And though she’s only 65 (and insists she feels like 16), one can’t shake off the feeling that she is many centuries old, holding the gift of the gods in her wizened, manicured hands.
When it comes to qualifications, the Mumbai-born, Delhi-based Neera has a BA in mathematics, B.Ed, and a Master’s in psychology. She has certificates in creative movement therapy, Reiki healing, hypnotherapy, Access Consciousness, and is a licensed Heal Your Life practitioner. She has studied Kathak since she was five, and has been a school teacher for several years.
She went the entire gamut of grihasti (‘householder stage’) that women often go through, from moving cities for marriage, to having three kids, adjusting to the wishes of in-laws, suppressing her own ambitions for the sake of family peace, raising healthy children, supporting her husband in his career, becoming a grandmother, and caring for her parents in their old age.
But who was Neera, really? And why was she here?
The question had been gently nudging her on her spiritual journey, until one day, it hit her in the face. One of her brothers, who was unwell and lived in her care, asked her, “How come I have this disorder and you don’t?” An ordinary question to others, perhaps, but a startling course corrector for Neera.
That’s when Neera went deep into the study of psycho-pathology and the complexities of the mind-body connection. That’s when she questioned her beliefs and the purpose of life. That’s when she opened up her mind and heart to life’s strange ways and infinite potentials, challenged herself, and became a healer.
“In my mind, I used to refer to my brother as ‘bechara’ (poor thing). I always thought he was lesser than me. When this awareness came to me, I realised no one is bigger or smaller. We choose our lives and our journeys, and he is where he is supposed to be. I stopped pitying him, and everything in my internal world changed. I owe him that,” she says.
“There are things that exist that we can’t see,” she goes on, sharing the mysterious way in which her brother passed on, and the circumstances of her father’s and her other brother’s death. “Everything that comes to me, I take it as a gift,” she explains, as if life’s tribulations – like its joys – come to us wrapped with a bow. We unfold them to discover a wealth of wisdom inside.
Neera’s 93-year-old mother still lives with her in Delhi. Though she had a close shave with a UTI infection last year and lost some of her mobility, she hasn’t lost any of her zest for life and joie de vivre. “Are you okay going to the temple in that wheelchair, mom?” Neera asked her the other day. “Do you have any problem?” the nonagenarian replied, heading off to sing her bhajans (devotional songs) on full throttle.
The woman Neera may have got her joviality from her mom, but the wizard Neera’s magic is all hers.
First published in eShe’s April issue