Shanaya is an effervescent, easygoing, generous, charming, affectionate lady. Gratified with her life, she is engrossed practicing daily mundane routines. She possesses everything that could attract envy from anyone – an endearing family, a pleasant home, and a decent job as well which keeps her professional passion alive.
She mostly prefers to commute to her work through local trains. On one fine day, she acknowledges a monkey in her compartment looking for a vacant seat. The monkey appears bubbly, playful, and carries a mischievous smile on his face. As conspired by destiny, the passenger beside Shanaya gets off at the immediate station making room for the monkey. Monkey instantly grabs the seat.
Shanaya who is already enchanted with his childlike friskiness introduces herself, “Hello there!”
“Hello Shanaya! See, I found you finally.” He replies cheerfully.
“What? I beg your pardon. You know my name? How do you? I mean have we met before?”
“No, but I know everything about you. Well, forget these. So tell me, how are you doing and how is your life?”
“I’m doing good and life has been amazing!”
“What was that for?”
“Well, to me, you look in a miserable condition my dear. I mean look at you. You are 32 now but I am certain that nobody here would be able to estimate your age because you look awful as 45.”
“Wait, what?” Shanaya finds his audacity disdainful.
“Ok, don’t be angry. By the way, do the names Tony, Riya, Tina, and Esha ring any bell to you?”
“Yes they do. My memory is not so transient to wipe away my school friends’ name.”
“Tony is the director of a big IT firm. Didn’t he graduate with you only dear? Now, he may join as your boss’s boss in your company getting triple salary than yours.” There comes the boisterous laugh by monkey.
“Well, I don’t compare myself with anyone. They are in different situation than mine.”
“Ha…that’s the most legendary dialog iterated by the unsuccessful and ineffective constitutes.”
Shanaya raises her left brow in a reflex of revulsion. Despite her apparent discomfort and disinterest in enduring the conversation, monkey continues “Did you get a chance to read the novel of Esha?”
“Esha wrote a novel?”
“Yes, and it’s making in the list of best-sellers now a days.”
“I am so glad to hear that. I’ll call her.”
“Do that if you wish. But wasn’t this your dream ever? Didn’t you aspire to be a prolific writer one day?”
“Yes, but my personal schedule is so hectic – a full time job, growing kid,….”
Monkey interrupted her in middle, “Esha has family too. And she is living better life than yours.”
Monkey lingers but Shanaya becomes disoriented and gets immersed in deep thoughts.
Monkey has done its job – to make an entry in Shanaya’s mind, stir her calmness and infuse certain disturbances.
“Hey, how was your presentation yesterday?” he attempts to bring her back into conversation.
“It was fine but I think I could have done better.”
“Affirmative. And that’s what I wanted to point out that may be you could improve upon your speaking and presentation skills. So…what is the plan after the office?”
“Nothing great. As usual, cooking, helping kid with his homework, and then….”
“What’s the plan for weekend?”
“Haven’t thought anything yet…”
“Where are you visiting for long holiday?”
“I don’t know. May be I’ll go to…”
Shanaya becomes a victim of incessant exposure of monkey’s interrogations. He doesn’t even pay a heed to let her finish her answers. She comes out of that hypnotized zone when her station arrives. Shanaya acts differently in office today. She overwhelms herself by committing to multiple tasks at a time in a desire to achieve more results which eventually leaves her with inefficient multitasking and ineffectual yielding. She meanders in unorganized trail of thoughts that why she couldn’t reach as high as desired in career, why she could not write a book yet, why did she even stop writing at first place, why her life is so chaotic, what wrongs she did in past, what she could have done better in past, what the future holds for her, what should she cook for dinner, what should she plan for the weekend, where she should head for the coming holidays, and on and on and on…her chain of thoughts does not find a period. After reaching home, although she visibly seems available with her family but her mind refutes to be there. Her mind prefers to chase another trail of thoughts including past and future but present. In her quiet time today, she tries to get a glimpse of herself before the mirror, and to her surprise, she discerns that she indeed resembles a much older appearance.
Her next day starts with the same conventional routine. As soon as she embarks the train, she finds the monkey waiting for her.
“Hello dear, how are you doing today?” monkey greets her with his impish smile. Shanaya
responds with a grin and takes her seat.
Monkey attempts to break the ice, “Guess whom did I meet today?”
“Who?” Shanaya quizzes.
“Meera, your old friend from high school.”
“What? Where is she? How is she doing? I completely lost touch with her.” Her eyes sparkle hearing Meera’s name.
“Don’t worry. She is doing fantastic. She drives a Jaguar and lives in a snobbish bungalow of Bandra. So, seems like she is on top of the world.”
Shanaya feels happy for her friend but feels pathetic about herself thinking that living a frugal life abstained her from such indulgences. She again dwells into unproductive and depressing thoughts.
This way monkeys keeps injecting some or the other patronizing bits into her mind perpetually. Shanaya gets impacted by these acts tremendously in past few days. She has changed now. Yes, now her life seemed an absolute pathetic mess to her.
Her mind has got a monkey now – always restless, indecisive, and nomadic.
In the contemplations of past and future, she completely forgets her present; she forgets to live. Seeing her preoccupied and anxious, her husband recommends her to join him in meditation. She has always bewildered how her husband has been managing to devote in meditation on regular basis. She resists at first, but then agrees to meditate reluctantly.
On the first day of her meditation journey, she is able to envisage nothing but her monkey friend. She finds him sitting right in front of her.
“What, you can’t be here.” She coughs repugnance.
“I can be anywhere. Don’t worry about me. You carry on with your meditation.” Monkey sounds sarcastic.
He then invites her heart and mind also to join him. Despite Shanaya’s disavowal, the heart and the mind leaves Shanaya’s body and accompany monkey. Next moment, she finds them talking and mocking Shanaya.
Monkey: Guys, look how imprudent Shanaya is looking while meditating. What is she even trying to do? Did she talk to you guys anything yet?
Mind: Yes, she was trying to tell me to calm down, be happy and all those lectures. Thank God, you saved me from horror.
Heart: She tried to talk to me too. And I think she is really wretched. We should help her.
Monkey: Oh no. If we let her be happy, then she can never be rich, famous, and glamorous. Do you understand? So, let her be RESTLESS. Now go back to her.
Shanaya does not continue the meditation that day. Next day again, she agrees to give another attempt but only to give up after a while as monkey demolishes all her endeavors again. It continues for next few days. Shanaya is now becoming more and more adamant to take the monkey out of her life. She is extremely obstinate not to let monkey gain control of her mind and heart. Gradually after several deliberate efforts, one fine day, she commands her heart to return back to her and leave monkey’s company. Heart straightaway follows her command. This is Shanaya’s first conquest of her self-control. Monkey trembles now in a fear that Shanaya is learning the art of conquering evil thought. But Shanaya has a smile on her face now.
Days become months; months become years; Shanaya succeeds in claiming ownership of her mind too. She is able to visualize monkey sitting in front of her alone helpless and abandoned. Shanaya keeps practicing her meditation.
Meanwhile, she is back to her life. She is once again content with her life. But this revitalized self of Shanaya is a manifestation of focused, attentive, ambitious, caring, loving, nurturing being. Shanaya’s ambitions are still the same – she wants to grow in career and aspire to be a writer. However, she wants to do all these with a peaceful mind. Her mind is now concentrated and dedicated not wandering from one branch to another. This Shanaya is bestowed with abundant opportunities, concord, and love in life. She starts leaning in, and put an absolute stop for non-value adding multitasking, and putting herself into stress. She glances over her life and finds that there is nothing to complain about.
One day while returning back home by train, she gets engulfed in her favorite book. Suddenly she turned left and squeals in surprise, “Lord Budhha.”
Lord Budhha comes closer to Shanaya and sits beside her.
“Do you really exist? I mean are you real? Am I hallucinated?” she tried to touch his feet in respect.
“My dear, I do exist. I have always been here watching you all over the time.”
“Really? How is it possible that I never saw you before?”
“Because you were lost my child. But now you found me. If you get lost ever again, you know how to find me.” Lord Budhha smiles and disappears.
Shanaya looks left and right and then leans back to her seat in peacefully. Her destination arrives and she gets ready to disembark the train. That’s when she notices the monkey approaching her. Shanaya greeted him respectfully and points her index finder shaking in disapproval. Monkey instantaneously disappears for good.
Shanaya could tame her monkey mind. She could control her heart and mind. Have you also got a monkey sitting in your mind? Then put all your effort in taming him before he controls you.
Shweta Kumari Sharma
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