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I’m sure you’ve read enough blogs about solo trips by now, but give The Alternative Way a chance to show you another perspective. In August 2019, I decided to visit Zuluk, in Sikkim and do it solo. First, because I’d never done it before and second, because I needed a break from my life, including the people in it. Elaborated in the form of experiences, this is a collection of the epiphanies I had while on the trip.
Day 1: Landed in Bagdodra, taxied my way to Siliguri and on to Gangtok.
Day 2: Just another day…
Let’s start with a confession, shall we?
It was raining cats and dogs that day and I wasn’t prepared, even though it was monsoon, not sure why I didn’t bring an umbrella. I reached Mahatma Gandhi (M.G.) Marg, bought an umbrella, get two passport size photocopies done (for the permit needed to reach Zuluk), had Pani Puri (obviously!) and make my way to Baker’s cafe.
That was the time when I finally broke away from the monotonous and routine city life, was done with all the early errands of travel, and had some time to read, write or think, so that’s what I did the next few hours.
The first thing that came to my mind was this: the reason why my 5-year long relationship finally didn’t work was that I was dishonest, and not intentionally dishonest, it was the dishonesty you either don’t know about or learn to excuse it as ‘honest enough‘. To exemplify, I would sometimes make a mistake (a big one) and try to bring her Carnations, or Bournville to cheer her up and make it up to her, saying I’m sorry without properly realizing the true gravity or the scale of the mistake. So everything went back to normal for a few weeks, but life has a way of putting you in a situation again, and again, and again until you learn the lesson truly.
That moment, I decided to be completely honest to everyone in my life but most importantly, to myself. Even if it gets uncomfortable or has the risk of me losing that friendship completely and see how people respond to it (True honesty is uncomfortable by nature). Do my friendships get stronger or weaker? Do they start respecting me more? While following this to the word is difficult in real life, it’s definitely worth trying. I also wrote a letter in my journal because she was not ready for a confession like this (or perhaps I wasn’t).
I think the most important reason why it did not work out was that I was dishonest throughout our relationship. However, I would still not change anything about that experience because it taught me about this and so much more about myself.
Also, I wrote this while eating pancakes in a cafe in Gangtok.
(I never liked pancakes until I tasted the ones she made)
True honesty is uncomfortable by nature, follow it anyway
What is going to save you?
I was reading a self-development (or self-help) book at that time and this question from the book just rang some (loud) bells: What is going to save you?
I have no idea what the context was or what it means but the resounding answer that came to me was: You.
I am going to save myself. From what? No idea, probably everything that comes in the way.
Something about true honesty: we know drinking, smoking, not bathing every day, etc are bad habits right? We know them for a fact, we know their consequences as well. Yet, we are dishonest with ourselves about it, and we keep making excuses (celebrations, breakups, reunions, networking, etc). So I decided if I am going to be my saviour, I need to change my lifestyle. I decided to quit drinking, smoking and a list of other bad habits and bring some discipline into my life. I decided to prepare myself for wars to come.
Flash forward 10 months, and I’m living a very happy and fulfilling life, I wake up early, freshen up, meditate, have breakfast, and start work well before everyone arrives at the office. My life now has discipline, routine, and productivity. It sounds boring, I know, that’s because we’ve grown up in a world of instant gratification, we get happy when we get a like on our posts and sad when we don’t. We have forgotten the meaning of true long-term success and happiness. Beneath my surface expressions of happiness caused by appreciation of a post or of sadness due to my car breaking down, there’s a foundation of peace, satisfaction, and fulfilment that ensures that I am happy around 90% of my time.
Do I give all the credit to that one realization and that one decision? No, it’s a series of events and experiences spanning across my lifetime through which I’ve learnt a lot. Sometimes the bike stops and needs a kick-start though, and that was it.
I am my own saviour
Are you listening?
There is a constant voice in our ears, we’ve all heard it or ignored it, but it’s there. It’s constantly ringing about things we care about (even though we sometimes fool ourselves by thinking we don’t).
There is another voice, this one does not express through words though, it’s rather too complex to be expressed in words.
Do you believe in coincidences? Two things which are less likely to happen at the same time, happening anyway? It sure happens a lot, right?
What about intuition? Do you believe in that? Do you follow it? How has it affected you? Was it right? Was it wrong? Did your gut crunch or relax?
Throughout this journey I was exposed to coincidences, intuition, feelings or thoughts guiding me or giving me direction. I believe it is the voice of the universe (some people might read: God). I feel like it is constantly trying to talk to us, not just through these tools but through much more complex phenomenon like a change in weather, natural disasters, just the right song playing at the right time (from a shuffled playlist), finding just the right person to guide you when you were struggling to find your way. I’m sure you can relate by now.
Think about your most profound and vivid memories or epiphanies. Do you think a coincidence was involved, or maybe your intuition told you to do something and you did it and felt great, or maybe you decided to go against it only to find out it was right? Our most vivid memories or realizations might just be a cross-connection of the voice in our head and the voice of the universe when everything aligns like a jigsaw puzzle coming together to give you the perfect picture of what you were trying to find out.
There’s no specific example from the trip for me to give you in this one, but I think there were plenty throughout, but more importantly, I think there are enough examples in your own life if you dig in your memories and moments of profound realizations. It’s becoming kind of a long article anyway, so go on, take a break and think about it.
Listen to your Self and the Universe
It’s all about sex, isn’t it?
Humans are intellectual beings, we have the ability to think and solve complex analytical problems, just observe your surroundings and you’ll see either a piece of technology or maybe a tall building, and think about how complex it would be to build something like that, but we’ve done it, and we keep innovating every day.
With that comes the ability to develop biases, likes, dislikes, opinions, pride, ego, and there’s a constant need to satisfy, develop or validate these mental attributes continuously, right? When someone gives us an award for one of our achievements, we feel good. Not just that, we feel proud, it satisfies our ego, earns us respect, and as humans, we tend to care about these things. Compare that with a wild animal (say: lion). Try offering an award and they’ll just ignore it and …well, let your imagination run wild. Yes, rewards and punishment work well in developing desired behaviours in pets but it does not go beyond that, they do not feel pride, they do not have an ego to be satisfied.
While it is only about reproduction in animals, our sex life involves aspects of these mental attributes as well. Just think about Oral sex, humans do it to pleasure each other, while for animals it is found to be mostly about lubrication and prolonging the intercourse.
I have a lot of fantasies, some of which are very basic (threesome, teasing, blindfold, role play), and some of them not so basic (Femdom, BDSM, Control & Domination), and I’m interested in them not just because they are exciting and pleasurable, but also because of the involvement of all these mental attributes. For example, fellatio or cunnilingus induces a sense of pride or ego in the one receiving it because they are making the other person go down on them, kind of like serving them.
Your fantasies can tell you a lot about yourself if you dig and find out why you have those fantasies. Having a threesome is great, but are you sure you’re not just trying to fill a mental void in your life? Is it because of a lack of intimacy in your relationship? My intention is to urge you to go beyond just having these fantasies and finding out why you have them and get to know yourself better.
Sexual fantasies are worth exploring, and not just for pleasure
The day got wrapped with some much awaited alcohol (C’mon, I was on vacation!), and playing carrom with some very competitive locals at the Bagpacker’s Den. The owner turned out to be a University of Liverpool Alumni (I did my MBA there), and had an amazing story to how he started the hostel.
I hoped to keep it short but it turns out there was much more to talk about than I expected so I’ll be doing this in the form of a series. This was just day 2, where I sat in the cafe and pondered on these ideas. I hope you enjoyed reading and if you are wondering how the title of the article is relevant to the content and the story, continue reading Day 3, where I try to reach heaven on Earth.