MEMORIES OF A JOURNEY
By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 15-09-2016
This was a memorable journey. I got into Kochi airport at Nedumbassery early. Going through emigration quickly, I came near the boarding gate. As the boarding lounge was not opened, and having realized I had a couple of hours to board for Doha and onwards to Dallas (USA), I spread a sheet on the cold tile floor in a secluded corner near the boarding lounge around 2 a.m., and lied down to rest. I fell into a deep sleep. Fortunately the search party of the Qatar Airways found me and rushed me to the plane after all had been boarded. At Doha all destined to the USA had to go through 3 security check-ups, the last one being extremely thorough. In the plane I had a burly young man with great girth close to my seat. He literally overflowed into my seat. As my dream of a comfortable sleep over the 15-hour flight to Dallas dashed, and as I was resigned to accepting my plight and settling down for the long haul, a merciful air hostess accommodated him in a seat that had more space for him to maneuver. As each seat had its own entertainment system with screen in front of them, most passengers were busy selecting and watching the movies they wanted. As I had to catch up with sleep I decided to sleep most of the time. Outside of sleep I meditated or observed the behaviors of others. My sleep was interrupted for meals from time to time. The vegetarian meals I had were nothing much to write home about. But the upuma was exceptional and delicious. After the meals I watched on the map for a few minutes the flight path of the plane over various countries. Interestingly the plane flew over near St. Louis, my final destination, before reaching Dallas. The Dallas International airport was very user-friendly. The immigration process for me was very simple. It took only a few minutes. After putting the right passport page on a monitor, a few simple questions were asked, and at the end a small piece of paper with my picture was printed out. The security man at the immigration exit briefly examined the paper to make sure it was my true picture. He was kind of curious to know why I was in India for about 10 months. I told him I was helping and serving people there as part of my mission. A nephew was waiting for me at the airport exit, and I accompanied him.Reaching his house after a 15-minute drive, my niece was waiting for me with all kinds of my favorite fruits and vegetarian foods. She thought I had lost weight and wanted me to put on 10 pounds in two days. I wished her good luck. Their daughter, Tina, wheelchair-bound with a neurological problem was very fond of me as I paid her a lot of attention. She wrote on her i-pad a touching story about me entitled Pappan’s Story. I plan to keep the printed story with her picture as a precious memento. I would like to say that unlike many disabled kids she was extremely well taken care of. During the time I was there, I also watched three movies with a social message in the comfort of a home theater. With these three movies, I got the quota of movies for the entire year. In the one movie (Spirit) Mohanlal, a chronic alcoholic, quits alcohol for his deaf and dumb son. This movie is very timely as alcohol is destroying Kerala. In the second movie (Apothecary-Hospital), Suresh Gopi ordering unnecessary expensive tests, and unethically experimenting with new drugs on his patients in collaboration with some American pharmaceutical company for big money, gets subjected after a serious brain injury in an accident to the same treatments he was providing his patients. When he comes out of the coma, he realizes what he was doing, and picks up the courage to confront the administration that includes his own colleagues. It is also my thinking that the medical field is gradually losing its credibility and integrity. In the third movie, (Ayalum njanum Thammil), Prithviraj, playing the role of a compassionate physician at Redemption Hospital is saved by Dr. Samuel, his mentor, from a medical censure. As a doctor, Prithviraj, lets his animosity, legitimate though it is, toward a corrupt police officer come in the way of treating his daughter’s serious illness. Dr. Samuel in the nick of time treats his daughter and saves her life. This picture gives a mixed message to an already confused world. Both doctors are good in their profession. They work among the poor unconcerned about their financial reward. But both are flawed in that one goes against his Hippocratic oath in treating a patient in order to take revenge on her father, and the other uses bad means, even though only once, to attain a good end.From Dallas I reached St. Louis. At the airport I had a little comedy of error. There were women waiting for their loved ones. Among them was my wife. I had a slightly delayed response in recognizing my wife as she had a very short haircut, and as her clothing was typically American. Of course I was cautious in that I did not want to be thought of staring at women. I think my wife recognized my predicament and called my name. I was also consoled by the fact that she also wondered about my quickly recognizing her. She had preceded me to the USA two months before.
About The Author
Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.