The Journey Within

What do you mean by a ‘hobby’? I had asked my teacher when I was in the primary school. “That’s something you like doing”, she replied. I like watching cartoon, my innocence thought, is that my hobby? But a more sensible mind replied, ‘I don’t think so’.
Since then, I did stick to the meaning of hobby that my teacher had told me but I wasn’t convinced….it didn’t seem logical at all. Because I liked lakhs of things.

Having many hobbies at the same time somehow did not project loyalty to me. But when asked by anyone what my hobbies were, I named a few things like watching TV, playing, drawing and so on. While answering however, I somewhere felt like I was cheating on something. But what is that something? My 6 year old brain had no idea whatsoever. Naturally, I stopped thinking on that issue as finding answers to very difficult questions was not my hobby at all!

It all came back to me at VEDH a few years ago. I smiled when I saw the stage. There was the backdrop and on it was ‘Chhandananda’. The picture portrayed a fragile boy sitting alone at the point of a cliff and playing the flute. The picture was so soothing and motivating at the same time. The boy seemed to have no fear of falling down from the cliff. His fragile frame indicated to me that he would have neglected the calls of his stomach just to be with his flute. His body gave an impression of a slight swing to it, a clear sign that he enjoyed what he was doing. I could see from his hands, so lightly placed on his flute, that the job was effortlessly being done by him. The background of blue created an aura of peace and self- fulfillment. I loved that picture instantly. That actually, was enough for me to know what a hobby really means.

It is not mere liking but a source of immense happiness. Isn’t that what ‘Chhandananda’, the combination of the words ‘Chhanda’ and ‘Ananda’, mean? Even the order of these words is significant! Chhanda is followed by Ananda.

A hobby is your very source of motivation. It is not possible to just sit on your beloved bicycle and cover 25 states without being highly motivated; as did Sachin Gaonkar. A hobby is something that you can go on doing for a lifetime, however complicated the task might be. A hobby is what makes your life better. A hobby is something you like talking about. Madhur Padwal’s excitement while talking about his instruments is unforgettable.

All these things were clear to me in two days. I was marveled at how satisfied these people were with themselves. How well they knew themselves. What they liked, what they wanted from life. It seemed that every time they indulged in their hobbies, they were a step closer to finding themselves. They were at peace with themselves and the world. And all this just because they had a hobby? What else is a hobby if not a form of spirituality?

I left the program with an answer. I now knew the real meaning of the word ‘hobby’. But that answer gave rise to a new question-what is my hobby? When I attended the program, this was an important question that was sowed in my brain, and to which, I didn’t have an answer. Today, after a lot of introspection, contemplation and maybe as a product of trying out different things, I can say my hobby is to learn foreign languages. This answer came to me after I started learning German.

VEDH is has always been very special to me. It has always forced me to find answers to existential questions. Every year, I leave the auditorium with questions and in the process of attending the next few VEDH programs, I find answers to those previous questions, too! Such is the magic of VEDH.

– Ketaki Joshi,
Budding Volunteer,
Pune VEDH

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