A Journey With Maya: Shruti Bakshi’s Search For Dharma

Indic Chat With Shruti Bakshi

Indic Book Club

July 16, 7 pm

Indic Book Club invites you to Facebook live for a chat with Shruti Bakshi, on her book, From Dior to Dharma, on July 16, 7 pm.

Shruti’s chat will touch on some of the spiritual truths woven through From Dior to Dharma, her debut novel, like being aware of the present moment, not being the doer or enjoyer of actions (as the Gita says) and realising existential reality by setting aside the overactive psychological mind that for most of us, rules our lives.

It is the season of the grey clouds, the monsoon clouds, when Maya sets about quietly, “to rewire” herself. Shruti says, “The book’s protagonist Maya comes to the realisation that there is a greater law, Dharma, that she has been out of sync with.”

It is that season again, the season of sprouting life. Maya speaks, “This was probably what the Indian saints called being ‘twice born’, the first time unconsciously, the second time consciously.” The season is special. So is Maya, the globe trotter who is on a journey, from her 19th century Parisian apartment, a New York museum, the Californian redwood forest, a yoga retreat in the French country, an ashram in south India, to the Himalayas, in search of Dharma and self.

Maya is the protagonist, the ‘I’, who travels, pausing, taking steps ahead, back, sprinting backwards in fleeting thoughts, at different destinations, cities, towns and self. Maya’s observations move rapidly and restlessly, between Nature, life, people, and herself, like the eyes of a child left in a room full of activity and stillness. Her observations are rich. There is a calming duality in these observations that come to her, naturally; the duality of solitude and the presence of otherness. Maya, the tireless narrator, coils and recoils to questions and answers, to meaning and purpose. She addresses the Himalayas in dimensional notes to self. In the course of time, realisations, changes, and self, the Himalayas are replaced, by “my gurus who don’t know me”, because “that felt too impersonal.”

Here, Maya pops the universal question, “Who am I?” to the new set of listeners, her shrotas. Feel the dryness in her tone in this moist lump of words she rolls over to “my gurus who don’t know me”: “The personality and psychometric tests haven’t given satisfying answers and so I’m asking you. What is my Dharma? And I hope you’ll believe me when I say that I am not in the habit of asking such questions but here goes – who am I?”

These notes are milestones in her long path into spirituality, its raw manifestations and the package-driven, manicured avatars. Maya speaks: “Everything from ‘manifesting miracles’ to ‘finding your soul’ was being sold for a price.” Maya has known and seen it all. “The phenomenon had reached ridiculous proportions with shoes named after yoga poses, ‘kundalini’ night gowns and chakra-specific scented candles (which implied that if I quite sensibly wanted to light all seven chakra candles for a sense of balance, my house might smell like a swamp).” Maya, the protagonist, demands patience. She compels you to hear (not read), her seamless conversation. She compels you to follow the traveler. She keeps knocking on your mind, softly; tap-tap-tap; knowing that her Maya is, or could be, you.

Shruti Bakshi is the Founder and Director of the LivingWise Project (www.livingwiseproject.com), a platform which aims to create a more conscious society by sharing the wisdom of Indian spiritual traditions. She previously worked in banking and financial services at top corporations for several years across London and Paris. She holds an MBA from INSEAD business school (France/ Singapore) and an MPhil in Finance from Cambridge University (UK) where she was a Shell scholar (a full merit based scholarship). She grew up in Mumbai. Shruti enjoys writing about life at the intersection of modern society, the corporate world, and spirituality.

Join her, as she talks about the human condition in a modern society reeling with stress and anxiety, which is the theme of the book.

 

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Comments

  • sbakshi

    Thank you for this very perceptive review of my book! Always wonderful to see the book through readers’ eyes.