- Where would you go?
- Why does this place tug at your heart?
- Does it seem to hold a special meaning for you?
- And what do you hope to find there?
For one heady moment, imagine traveling anywhere in the world you have always wanted to visit. Imagine having unlimited resources and the time to stay for as long as you want. Imagine, just imagine.
For me, it was India. The moment I arrived I knew this strange and compelling country was my cup of tea. Despite blaring noise, pungent odors carrying a heady mix of incense, car fumes and sewage, I instantly fell in love. It was as if the promise of some magical potion had drawn me there and I hungrily drank it all in.
I had arrived with a thirst not so easily quenched. Although a long-time meditator and ardent student of kundalini yoga, I was desperate to find others like me who had been graced with a life shaped by the miraculous.
Since childhood I had been blessed with lucid dream initiations from Master Yogi’s and life-changing, astral plane healing ceremonies with Native American and Tibetan Shamans. In the west I had learned to protect the profundity of these encounters and now here in India, the magic and mystery of the unseen worlds was openly inter-woven into everyday life.
Here, I was in heaven and my heart and soul knew it. From deep inside, everything seemed to relax and at the same time, there was a grateful embracing of the oddly familiar. However, my body wasn’t so happy.
My husband and I had first arrived in Mumbai on a bright, full moon night in early January. By mid March, with heat and humidity flooding the air, I was embarking on a second round of antibiotics in another attempt to purge pesky intestinal amoebas, which had set up camp in my digestive tract. In response, my appetite had upped sticks and left.
I decided something more effective had to be done. Weighing under a hundred pounds, I knew I needed to find another, more holistic healing alternative.
Seconds after making that silent determination, a gentle, old Indian Swami came and took a seat beside me under the shade of a mango tree, where I had positioned myself to slowly sip chai. Without pre-amble, Swamiji sweetly advised, “You should go to Malad and see Dr. Pankaj. He is an Ayurvedic doctor. He will help you with your digestive problems.”
Two days later, I found myself standing on Bhadran Nagar Cross Road, outside a brick building with a pretty green and white awning. It read, “Ayushakti, Ayurved Health Center.”
At eight thirty a.m. the heat of the day had begun to settle in and I was happy to enter a dark, cavernous room on the second floor. People were already holding numbered cards and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on hard benches. Cheered by a photograph of the Dalai Lama, seen smiling and shaking hands with the renowned Doctor, I took my seat.
Two long, slow hours ticked by. The cloying heat intensifying minute-by-minute, causing my cotton Punjabi to seal itself to my skin. Lack of food and water had also produced a cracking headache and my stomach was cramping in complaint. Just at the moment I thought I was going to either vomit or pass out, I was ushered into an office.
Behind an antique looking wooden table, sat Dr Pankaj. With dark, vibrant eyes peering from under a mop of mahogany hair, a handle bar moustache and a sideways wobble of the head, he instructed, “Your wrist please!” and dutifully told, I laid my arm across the table with the palm turned upward.
With that, Dr Pankaj lightly touched my wrist with four of his fingers, closed his eyes and slightly cocked his head, listening to something indefinable. Seconds later he sat up abruptly, confidently proclaiming, “1. You have bad headache. 2. You have stomach problem. 3. You have problem in two lower discs in back. 4. You travel very much outside your body.”
Astonished, I replied, “Yes, yes, yes and yes! You know all that from my pulse?”
Dr Pankaj smiled patiently and replied, “Naturally! I read messages of pulse and can say what is happening in body, mind and spirit. I have allopathic medical degree and training, but more I learned from a Master Yogi in the Himalayas. He taught me ancient secrets of how to read pulse.”
Continuing on in this manner, the highly accurate Doctor then went on to describe the food I did enjoy. He also advised on the kinds of foods I should adopt while in India, before ending with, “I prescribe mixture of herbal tablets. They must be taken before eating. Amoebas do not like and they will leave. Then you get healthy and strong!”
With a flourish of his pen Dr Pankaj wrote out a prescription and I left his office in search of the in-house pharmacy, intent on retrieving my magic potion pills. Feeling buoyed and renewed, my headache was gone, my stomach had stopped cramping and I happily realized, that right here in India I had been gifted with finding my kind of land and my kind of Doctor.