My husband and I are both adventurous but in different ways. For him, adventure is setting off into unknown territory, rucksack on his back, his notebook and camera tucked in, and not much concern for creature comfort.
As a journalist, he thrives in meeting hundreds of people and in discovering new stories and ideas in unlikely places. Messy bathrooms or stained bedsheets don’t bother him as much as they irk me.
Though I was also an avid traveller at one point, my adventurism has become more inward-looking over the past several years. I am now more likely to be found trying a new technique of meditation or pranayama than seeking a new city to visit.
I have tried all kinds of spiritual journeys, and I really mean all kinds. Though I am otherwise quite fastidious in my lifestyle, I have been willing to face even physical tests in my quest: lying face down on much-walked upon floors, hugging trees, walking barefoot on pebbles, dancing with my eyes closed in total abandon, whirling at great speed, sitting for hours on meditation mats in halls filled with a hundred people, not speaking to anyone for days on end, eating bland food, covering myself with a wet dupatta so that the heat doesn’t kill me while I sleep in an airless little cell, touching people I wouldn’t otherwise.
Naturally, my adventures have also come with stepping out of my mental comfort zone – trusting strangers with my darkest secrets, stretching my imagination, confronting the play of my own gunas (elements of nature), recognising my karmic tendencies, learning to pray for the wellbeing of my ‘enemies’, forgiving those who hurt me, letting go of the baggage of my past, cutting the cords to my own limiting beliefs.
For my mother-in-law, neither of these forms of adventure would appeal. I am fortunate to have her staying with us for a longer stretch due to the pandemic and we are constantly talking over meals, before meals and after meals, about subjects ranging from the farmers’ protests to the plots of the books we’re reading.
A retired zoology professor, she would definitely not want to wander in far-flung places in search of stories to write about, nor do my kind of spiritual adventures appeal to her scientific mind. She is suspicious of religious cults and the trances they promise; she can’t be tempted into any such thing, she says.
And yet, her eyes shine when she reads a good piece of literature – especially historical fiction – and I can see her mind heading off to new adventures with the characters. She speaks animatedly on the phone with her children, grandson, friends, siblings, nieces and nephews, former colleagues, and I can see her attraction to interacting with dozens of people every day.
She scours her favourite newspapers and watches her favourite TV channels with the hunger of those in a quest for knowledge. She adapts each time she shuffles between her three children’s cities and homes with all the flexibility and resourcefulness of a consummate traveller.
I have come to believe that we are all adventurous in our own ways. There is no better definition of adventure than life itself.
First published in eShe’s February 2021 issue