While browsing through some random videos, I came across a video on Durga Vahini, the wing of Vishva Hindu Parishad for girls (like Bajrang dal is for boys). and along with this name, came an interesting memory… I do not remember exactly the year when this happened, probably graduation or may be the first year of university. Doesn’t matter.

So, mamaji joined VHP and was a very active member in those days (he is even now though). He used to be visited by the people of repute in VHP and he would quite often invite us as well to meet them whenever someone important would come. At one such occassion, someone important (don’t remember the name) was in town and he took the opportunity to bring him over to our house for lunch. Those were the days when relatives would be keen to invite knowledgeable and experienced people over so the children and rest of the family members can also meet them and be benefited with their knowledge and experience. And, I remember very well being tested by all these elders. They will not leave a chance to test your knowledge or an opportunity to teach you something new.

Anyhow, this gentleman accompanied mamaji to our house and had lunch with us. Me and my brother were introduced and he was obviously quite impressed with both our names (unique names we have – Komal Smriti and Divyasom) Thanks to Papa! He asked us if we understand the meaning of our names and we did share with him the meaning. Then, came the twist in the story. He being the learned man, told us that in student life these are a few things that are important and one of them is ‘Swaadhyaya’. before he explained to us what it means, he asked us if we know what is the meaning of ‘Swaadhyaya’. I sensed something different in the way the question was asked and I replied “Yes”, Swaadhyaya has two meanings. He was intrigued, so after a little theatrical pause (must have picked up in college from drama practice) I explained that one meaning of Swaadhyaya is self-study i.e. studying with self motivation without anyone initiating or supervising you. And the second meaning would be study self i.e. introspection or studying oneself, learning who you are.

Of course, there was nothing much to say after that. The guest smiled a bit sheepishly, papa with a little smug and I, I was surprised at my own answer. To date, I don’t know from where it came. It was spontaneous but it taught me one more thing about myself. I realized that I do have a knack of knowing the question, in its entirety.

I do not know the name of this gentleman who asked that question, don’t even remember his face. But I thank him for asking the most pertinent question in the most pertinent way. Because that question ignited my senses and brought something important in me. The awareness, the consciousness. A question that well served its purpose, though it might have been meant to receive an answer only. It yielded much more than an answer, it yielded a Quest!