The Monk Who Ran For Solitude
The Monk Who Ran For Solitude23 mins 23.7K 23 mins 23.7K
“I was born for a storm;
And a calm does not suit me.”
STOP. Stop, please. Stop it already. The whole office was exploding like the American Civil war. When I started this company, I had no idea it’d be this big. I had no idea that I’d be a billionaire. But things happen.
“Sir, you’ve got Ragini Sharma calling,” said my assistant, Sam.
“I’ll call later,” I said in a distressed tone.
“But sir she said..”
“I don’t give a shit even if she wants to give me a blowjob. I will call later. Is that fucking clear to you?” I asked.
“Yes, sir,” Sam said.
“Okay, wait,” I said.
“Yes, sir?” Sam asked.
“If Ragini does want to give a blowjob, tell her I’ll be down in 5,” I said.
“Really should I say that?” Sam asked.
“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! GO, GET YOUR THICK BRAIN BACK TO WORK, DUMBASS!” I shouted.
Damn. What a bunch of idiotic losers I have to deal with every day. Press conferences, seminars, business dates, real dates, traveling. This all made me rich and I was happy at first. But now it was just a burden I had to carry and I was sick of all this nonsense. Of course, as a CEO, I can just sit and order. But I have never in my life been dependent on anyone. I never even let anyone take care of my cat in the fear it would get killed. Leaving the company in the hands of a bunch of noobs was an extra-sickening thought. I picked up today’s magazine. India Today. I was on the cover:
“From writing to business; meet the new hot-shot in the business town, Aryan “Ari” Ray”.
“New” hot-shot, my ass.
Technically, I was new. And successful. I’m just 28 and I’ve done what others don’t have guts to do. Data says that I’m the youngest billionaire in the country, but I don’t really give a shit about data. I give a shit about the status. My status. And I’ve reached my goal. Which is enough. In college, I started out as a writer. Writing short stories, getting published in small publications and magazines. I even started writing a book based on my life. All this because writing was my talent and people loved to read my stories. But the thing was, I was not really happy with it. I wasn’t making a dime with the writing and I had only one ultimate goal-get rich. Like some lucky bastards, I was a bastard too. But I wasn’t lucky. No one in my family had one dime of knowledge about business. Even dad couldn’t sell shares properly. Dad was a professor. Mom was a professor. Grandfather was a professor. Uncle was a professor. Dad’s older brother was a scientist, my brother was a lawyer. And then there I was, the black sheep of the family. The odd one out, whatever you call.
Since the bitch life knocked me down in the last couple of high schooling years, I became a changed person. Not only in the family, everywhere I was the odd one out. I was a rebel. Anything I didn’t like, poof! It’s rebellious. I always stand out, no matter what. Fitting in with the public was never my forte. That was the reason I had few friends those years. No, I still stand out. But in this profession, business, you meet hundreds of people like you. That’s why I love business. After entering into engineering in a shitty college, I declared my goal: to be rich, no matter what the cost. Graduating with an awesome score wasn’t going to help even a bit. A Toyota cannot give the comfort of a Rolls-Royce. Similarly, my shitty college cannot give me a job with an awesome salary. So from the first year itself, I started buying and selling shares. I had some 87,000 rs in my personal bank account, from savings. From there, I used to buy and sell shares on my own. In the meantime, I worked on learning something new every day related to my field of study. I took civil engineering. And while others were cramming shit for the physics exam, here I was, seeing youtube videos on structures, foundations, transportation engineering etc. for starters. While others were eating their head in calculus, I was studying other civil engineering material from coursera, an educational website which provides free lectures on almost any topic. And while others were partying, I was visiting offices of civil engineers, contractors, builders. The last part of the plan was to make my own firm. Of course, I was just a student then with no resources, contacts. But my dad knew hell lot of people and one day I discussed my firm plan with some of his retired friends who once were civil engineers.
“That’s not going to work, son,” Vatsal said. Vatsal, who was my dad’s student, just landed a Ph.D. He helped me a lot in college and this conversation I had been in the second year. He was more of a friend than an advisor. He helped me in almost any life problem I had. He called me for lunch and dinner at his grand bungalow. I hated going there, actually. But, well, I usually went there just to see his hot daughter, who was a good friend of mine. Nevermind.
“Why not? It’s a damn good plan. Retired guys would love to get back to the field!” I argued.
“Ari, there’s a reason they’re retired. They DO NOT want to get back.” Vatsal said.
“But, not directly then. They can just give me advice while I handle everything up-front.”
“Vatsal. Listen. I HAVE to do it, ok? I HAVE to make this company. My writings will lead me nowhere-a dead end. I won’t get any money from that. Silver-fucking-oak college won’t give me even a 30k salary. No money there either. So making this company is the only option I have to be rich. Plus, I’m good in business. I just need contacts and tips for the build up work!” I said.
“Money is not everything Ari. What you really wanna do in life is to get happy and get loved. Money won’t buy you happiness, or love.”
“Okay. Have you ever seen a sad person in a Lamborghini?” I asked.
“You got my point.” I said.
“But that’s differe…”
“That IS happiness for me. I don’t want a job. I can’t work under anyone. I won’t take help of my dad because he thinks I’m a stupid piece of shit because I got admission in damn silver oak. I want to prove him wrong. I want to do shit by myself, with a little help, and I want to reach my goal.” I said.
“Your goal is to be rich?” Vatsal asked.
“Fine. I’ll give you the necessary contacts. But remember one thing.”
“What?” I asked.
“When you have a lot of money, trust me, you would wish you hadn’t.”
And he was right. But I didn’t realize it then. I got in contacts with many people. Though I didn’t want my dad’s involvement, a lot of people agreed with my plan just because I was Kishan Ray’s son. After all the planning done, after I formed my A-team of mostly old people, we bought an office building and while, in third year, we started the business. Like any business, it was a slow start. Actually, it was a frustrating start. In 3 months, the only building contract we got was to make a new warehouse for a small company. But it turned out that the company was bought by someone else. The owner liked the warehouse so much that he agreed to become my partner and invested in my firm. Because of that we grew bigger and slowly, we got big. The oldies left after a year or so and we hired young guys. People in my college slowly knew what I was doing and I became the star-studded attraction of the place. Still, I didn’t recruit any guy from my college for the company. Why the fuck should I? Meanwhile, I started studying for IIM, i.e., business management while Vatsal ran the company. Then fortune struck and after a lot of hustles I went to IIM-A, learnt new things, lost my virginity, learnt how to be a successful entrepreneur, and returned to my company. Vatsal had already done wonders and it was a matter of time before Ray enterprises floated in SENSEX. Offers from abroad came, and thus. Here I am. Vatsal died of a heart attack 5 years ago. He acted as the Chairman and gave me the CEO post even though he managed the company while I was attending classes. And my greatest regret was not listening to the one sentence he told, “When you have a lot of money, you wish you hadn’t.”
He was right. I wish I lived a simple life. Like my old friends, a simple job, a convincing salary, a good home, a family. I had lots of fights with mom on getting settled, but I never gave it a thought. I had lots of rejections by women in the past, but now, women propose to me, and it has become a habit to reject them.
A. You can call it payback.
B. Just like I’m afraid of dogs and puppies, I’m afraid of getting into a serious relationship.
C. Don’t you ever tell anyone puppies scare me.
Back to today. I just finished reading a book, “The monk who sold his Ferrari” by, Robin Sharma. And the protagonist of the book was so much similar to me. Stress, stress and more stress. In the end, he runs to get penance in the countryside. I suddenly had an idea. I usually don’t get inspired by inspirational books because I think those books are gobshit. But this book actually moved me. And I had finally decided.
“Time to pack up your bags, Ray,” I said to myself.
I went down to my best friend, Abhi.
“Listen, we gotta talk,” I said.
“Yo. Shoot,” Abhi said
“Can’t you be serious for one moment? You’re the damn chairman of a reputed company man!”
“Okay, boss. Sorry. Now speak.”
“Yeah. I need you to be the interim CEO. I’m going out for some months,” I said.
“What?” He asked.
“Yeah, I read this book, The monk who sold..”
“Wait, wait, wait. Please don’t tell you’re heading north of Himalayas to find some damn peace.”
“That’s what I was planning, actually. But I’m going to Sikkim, actually,” I said.
“Are you mad?! So, you’ll be out for months or maybe a year, and leave this all behind?”
“Okay. A. I’m leaving this all to you, my best friend and the most responsible guy after me in this company. B. I’ll return back. C. Yes, I need some peace.”
“There’s no if or but, Abhi. I’ve had enough of this crap and I need some peace. But don’t you dare bring the company down,” I said.
“I won’t, Ari. But we’ll be in touch, right?” He asked.
“No,” I said as I told goodbye. Peace, here I come.
I reached Sikkim by bus from a town called Siliguri. Sikkim was a small state in India, just above West Bengal. I flew to Kolkata, took a train to Siliguri, and now I was en route to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. I have to say, Sikkim was beautiful. It had an aura like no other state in India had. I visited Sikkim when I was younger but I had forgotten most of the place. And now, the scenery was just not to be forgotten. Endless, tall and green trees. Pine fruits lying on the road, tea gardens, the cool atmosphere, clear, blue rivers flowing, frequent waterfalls. This was just before Gangtok. When we were near Gangtok, I saw the town. It was probably the largest hill station, even larger than Darjeeling. I’ve gone to hills in the north, I’ve been to Kashmir. But the grandeur of Gangtok just can’t be explained in words. My personal taxi dropped me in the Plaza hotel. I bought a map, although I had one in my Rs. 5,000 phone. Yes, I was slowly going to leave all the pleasures behind, at least for some months. The following day, I did some shopping and sightseeing in Gangtok and then I took off again. My main target was for the Nathula Pass.
After seeing Pelling and Pedong, both ideal tourist destinations, I set off to Nathula Pass-where I’d live my following months. Nathula pass was actually an Indo-China border. It connected the Tibetan autonomous region of china and formed a border with India. You need a permission to get there, and living there was probably not easy. But thankfully, I once helped a businessman who belonged to the Nathula village so he made all the arrangements for my stay.
The journey to Nathula was breathtaking. First, I traveled by bus. The roads were so narrow that all I could think of was that the bus was going to surely roll over. But the driver was experienced enough. Nathula was located 14,200 feet above sea level. The views were just fascinating. Long tunnels, snow-capped mountains, huge waterfalls. The face of nature I saw here, was never the same. The best part was that nobody knew who I was. There were no more phone calls as I bought a new sim card and a cheap phone. No internet, no chatting and I actually felt good. Plus, I was away from the whole stress of my company. The only thing that bothered me was that people started at me because tourists probably weren’t common in Nathula Village. Anyways, I stayed at the hotel my friend provided me, for 3 days. After that, I planned to set camp and stay in the jungles in Nathula Valley.
“We can send a guide with you, sir. In fact, we don’t recommend you go alone and also as a person who has spent the whole life in a city, I don’t think living in the Valley for months is a good idea,” The hotel manager said.
“Hey, look. I don’t know what perspective you guys have for city people. But I can make it, ok. I didn’t come without preparations. Just do one favor, drop me up to the start of the Nathula Valley, and then I’ll head on my own,” I said.
“Very well, sir. But this is Sikkim, you get to face fierce animals and there is such utter silence in the Valley that you can even hear the flies eating.”
“I have lived all my life surrounded by fierce animals, the human beings. And I’ve survived. This will be just a piece of cake. Now transfer me to the valley fast!” I said to the manager.
The next day, I reached the valley. It was a gorgeous place. The more important fact was that there was no connection from the road for around 90 km. as the forest was itself 100 kilometers long. The things I carried with me were a backpack which contained food, water, some maps, my cheap mobile phone, and of course, the camping equipment.
According to the map, 20 km deep and then trekking on a small hill, I would reach an opening which is sort of an open field and is probably the top spot in Nathula Valley. I carefully marked every tree with my knife, in case I got lost and went forward. After around an hour, I reached the hill which I had to climb. As it was going to get dark, I set up my camp, lit my campfire, had dinner and slept. Next day, early morning, I climbed up the hill. It wasn’t too hard actually because I had already learned mountain climbing on small hills in the Alps of Switzerland. This was a piece of cake. After climbing, I reached an opening which less dense than the forest below. Walking further, I reached a stream where I had stopped to fetch some water. After getting refreshed, I was en route to the course I initially took when suddenly something awful happened: I forgot to mark my route! I had marked earlier, but I was so exhausted after climbing the hill that I totally forgot to mark here. Panicked, I ran in all possible directions to remember at least something. But I couldn’t. Great. I was lost. Yes, it was true that I had come to find peace, but getting lost in a deadly forest wasn’t exactly what I had planned.
But something nice happened. My lady luck, who has been evil with me all my life, finally decided to help me. While walking, in a distance, I saw a kind of a hut. When I went near, it was, in fact, a kind of a tent made up of natural leaves. And near that tent I saw a man. Who was meditating. I went near, he was a Hindu monk. He was old, lots of hair on his head, a big beard, wore an orange cloth, the traditional Hindu “tika” on his forehead, and he wore rudraksha bracelets on his hand. I knew that we should never disturb someone who’s meditating, but I was so fucking tired, stressed and afraid of losing the route, that I was desperate to get out of this place.
“Excuse me,” I said to the monk. He didn’t answer. I asked again.
“Um…excuse me, Mr. Monk. Can you please tell a way out?” I asked. Still no answer.
“Hello? Can you hear me!?” This time I shouted. And it worked. The monk opened his eyes slowly.
“Didn’t your mother teach you not to disturb those who meditate?” He asked.
“Well, my mother also taught me to answer the questions when the opposite party is in trouble,” I said.
“What trouble do you have?” The monk asked.
“Well, for starters, I have lost my way.” I said.
“Everybody loses their way in life. You just have to……”
“No, no. Not that way, Mr. Monk. Why do you religious guys hear everything as a metaphor? I meant I’ve lost the damn way. The way I came. I’ve lost it and now I can’t return. Can you tell me which way is out?” I said.
“I can’t,” He said.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because I do not know,” He said. Alrighty, this fucker was absolutely lying.
“Hey, listen Mr. Orange cloth, I have lost my base camp where I was to spend some months here. Now I can’t go back there and it’s not a fucking joke. So stop lying and tell me where the route is!” I shouted.
“I don’t lie, my son. I honestly do not know. This is my home and I stay here for the past 20 years. Troubled people come to me to seek help, but not the kind you are asking. Because I honestly don’t know the way out,” He said.
“Fucking damn it!” I shouted, kicked a rock and broke a finger, I guess.
“Fuck. What else is left? Break my leg!” I shouted in agony. Then I saw the monk get up and bring some water like liquid and weird looking leaves.
“Stay still,” He said.
“Whoa, whoa. These leaves aren’t gonna do shit, man. Bring some medicine otherwise leave it. It’ll heal on its own.” I said.
“Shut up and stay still,” The monk said as he held the broken fingers and rubbed the leaf paste on it. It was actually effective. I started to feel much, much better.
“What are those?” I asked.
“Eucalyptus leaves mixed with white honey. It helps cure broken bones and cuts,” He said.
“Oh. Hey, thanks. And sorry…for behaving rather rash,” I said.
“You are always forgiven, brother. Tell me, What brings you to Nathula?” He asked. Then I told him my whole story.
“And so, I was thinking about setting a camp down there in the forest. But climbed up so I could find some food supplies. In the end, what I got was losing my route, my camp, and breaking my finger,” I said.
“So, you seek peace. You don’t seem to be familiar with a wild, are you? Have you ever lived in the forest?” He asked.
“No. Not until last night. And now I have nowhere to go. My whole camp is down there and probably it might as well be stolen by now.”
“Very few people come here. But you can live here if you want.” He said.
“In your tent? Thanks. So which side should I take, the left or right?” I asked.
“None,” He said.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“You’re going to build one on your own,” He said.
“What?! But I don’t know how to build with leaves and figs,” I said.
“You’re a civil engineer and a builder. You should know how to build houses.”
“Yes, but I build real, concrete buildings. Not these little leaves!”
“Gather lots of leaves, break branches, get threads from hilfo grass and build it here,” He said.
“You said you’d let me stay with you.”
“I am. I’m giving you space. I’ve told you the materials. Rest is on you.”
“Fine. You have a name or anything?” I asked.
“Just call me Sadhu,” He said.
Then I went and fetched what he asked. Damn, he didn’t even help me build it. It took me 5 straight hours to build it. But at least he shared the food. Anyways, the thing I liked was the view. The mountains starring back at me, the wild animals and their noises, birds chirping. Everything was so magnificent. The place was calm, airy, without any outward noise or sound. The night time was the best. I used to stare at the stars the whole night. There were so many stars. In the city, I could rarely glance at 5.
“Wow. Never saw so many stars,” I said.
“Such is the beauty of nature. Unfortunately, people nowadays just don’t get it. So, you are liking here?” Sadhu asked.
“I’m loving here. But still…something’s missing,” I said.
“What?” I asked.
“You are missing your inner soul,” Sadhu said.
“What do you mean? Please tell directly. I’m sick of your twisted words.”
“You are a victim of the deadly sins. In your case, it was money. You so much wanted it that without knowing you lost the pursuit of your inner self. You didn’t care about happiness, love, caring for others. Just because of your hunger for money,” He said.
“But, it wasn’t greed. I liked money and—oh wait. It was greed. Right?” I asked.
“Yes. But one thing was good that you became successful. But you didn’t really wanted that, did you?”
“Of course I did. Getting rich was my top priority,” I said.
“What did you say before…oh yes. You wanted to become a writer. What happened of it?” He asked.
“Nothing, actually. I liked writing. But I was surely wasn’t going to get money from writing. So I stopped it.” I said.
“Why do you people consider money so important? There is nothing attractive in wealth. Just a couple of notes and the world goes mad. Have you thought about being happy? I can read people’s faces. I saw you. Even though you love it here, even though you are praising this place, I have never seen you smile once. Then, your patience. You just don’t want to wait for things. You always rush and end up speaking slang words. What is it exactly? What else did you gain from money? Did you gain these two? Do you agree with me?” He asked.
He was spot on. I was so blindfolded by the sight of having money that I had left everything significant in my life.
“I came here to find peace from the world. Because it was making me sick. Will you help me?” I asked Sadhu.
“Showing people their true destiny is my work. I will happily help. Let’s start tomorrow. You see the stars if you want. You won’t see them once you get back,” He said.
“Yes?” I asked.
“I see a special person inside of you. You were just lead to the wrong path. You are destined to something better.”
“But I was successful,” I said.
“You weren’t. You weren’t successful in what you actually wanted to do. Good night!” He said as he went to sleep.
I also slept once I got tired of seeing stars. I woke up early in the morning. The first thing was to go hunting. Sadhu taught me how to set up traps to catch small animals, and how to make baits for catching fishes in the nearby stream. I also learned to climb trees. I broke my ribs and hands twice, but they soon got cured by the natural ailments Sadhu provided. But the most important was meditation. I meditated with Sadhu three times a day. Early morning, after lunch and before dinner. It was hard for me first, but soon I got a hang of it. Sadhu didn’t tell much about himself and I didn’t want to force him to say either. But still, we became pretty good friends. And he was perfectly fine with the fact that I was an atheist. So there were no problems with us.
SIX MONTHS LATER
Six months had gone by this way and I was already enjoying life here. Everything was so simple and calm, and I had become a better person. I no longer cursed, I wasn’t restless anymore. Plus, I grew a pretty fancy beard as I hadn’t shaved. One day, during meditation, I had a vision. I suddenly remembered all the times I had when I used to be a writer. I remembered the first time I made my own blog, sharing it with my friends, the first time my short story got published. Then suddenly I saw all of my writings getting burned. I saw myself with a fire torch in one hand and in other, loads of money. Then I saw myself getting near all my writings and torching them to fire and laughing while waving the money. Frightened, I opened my eyes and shouted. Sadhu came back.
“What happened?” He asked.
“I-I had a strange vision.” I said.
“What vision?” He asked. Then I told him what I saw.
“Aryan, it’s your time to get back,” He said.
“What? Why?” I asked, confused.
“You now know what is your destiny and what you have to do to get success.” He said.
“You mean, should I continue writing?” I asked.
“You came here troubled, I promised you that I’d help you find your destiny. You have found it. But how to yield it, that only you know.” He said.
“So…this is it then? I should go back?”
“You had a vision. You MUST go back. Before your destiny slips again. And remember, this time, make no mistakes,” He said. I gathered my backpack and things and had one last view at the mountains and the jungle. But suddenly I remembered one thing, I FORGOT MY ROUTE!
“I don’t even remember the route. How am I supposed to go back home?” I asked Sadhu.
“Go straight, take a sharp left, go right then straight and then you’ll find the hill you climbed before coming here,” He said.
“Wait. You knew the route all along?” I asked.
“Then why didn’t you tell me six months ago?”
“Because if I had, you would’ve never known your boundaries. You would’ve never known what to achieve, how to achieve. You would’ve just stayed for some days and returned to your hell again. I wanted to show you because I knew and I told you before that I saw someone special in you. You are a man of capabilities that only a few have had or will ever have. You just needed to know it. And now you do,” He said.
“Thank you for everything, Sadhu,” I said.
“No. Thank you. It has been a Privilege, Mr. Ray. Now go fast before your destiny flies away again.
I told goodbye to Sadhu and followed his route. Astonishingly, I found my base camp and nothing had been taken. Then I returned to Delhi and I resigned the post as a CEO and left the company. I made a new bank account and took only some amount of money and moved back to my hometown, Ahmedabad.
I was in Ahmedabad, in my home and writing a story in my laptop. Someone rang the doorbell.
“Albert, open it, please.” I said to my butler. After some time, Albert came.
“Sir, a woman has come to meet you,” He said.
“Tell her I’m busy and to come some days later.” I said.
“She said her name is Kahini,” I stopped writing. And I ran straight towards the door. There she stood, the woman I once loved.
“You can easily forget people, can’t you?” She asked. I started to weep.
“I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to…I had been blind all the time Kahini, now I know who I am and what I have to do. Please forgive me…and come back,” I said.
“I will, if you promise one thing.” She said.
“If you resume writing the book which you started in the college,” She said.
“But I’m writing other stuff. Besides, I destroyed everything related to the book,” I said.
“Well, you did. I didn’t,” She said.
“What do you mean?”
“You no longer need to find your destiny. You just need to work on it now.”
“A MAN OFTEN FINDS HIS DESTINY ON THE ROAD HE TAKES TO AVOID IT.”