So, my boss headed to Vipassana last week and that got me thinking about breaks, not that I need a reason to think about a break. I quickly whipped up this article and iDiva , a Times of India supplement was more than happy to carry it. Read the story below or click here.
If you’re a corporate slave, and fit the bill of a typical burnout candidate, a detox is what you need. Read on as iDiva reader Aparna Shekhar Roy reveals some of the best places that offer a spiritual detox.
Vipassana Meditation Centre, Igatpuri
About 10 years ago, during the first week of B-School, I was transported to the Vipassana Meditation Centre for a 10-day course. Early in the morning, we enter a dimly-lit auditorium, where we are taught the art of focusing on the present, and breathing with complete self-awareness. It’s supposed to be a way of self-transformation through self-observation. As a carefree student, maintaining 10 days of noble silence and eating Satvik food was not my idea of university life. I was climbing trees on the fourth day, and tearing sheets of the laundry book to write letters to my mother on Day Six. Somewhere on the seventh day, everything snapped, and I felt as though I’d pressed Ctrl-Alt-Del on my life. I’d never felt more open to accepting anything that came my way.
Sikkim came at a time when I was already working, travelling around the country with excel sheets and meeting sales targets for the company. I had long forgotten Vipassana’s survival technique. With all my travel linked only to work, I remember waking up one morning and deciding to take a break and head to a place where no mobile signal could find me. That’s when I chose Sikkim. Instead of taking the touristy route to Gangtok or Changu Lake, I visited the small town of Peling in Western Sikkim, not too far from the sublime Pemayangtse Monastery. Whether you sit through the early morning prayers or take a walk through the beautiful gardens, the peace you find here stays with you for life. The smiling faces of the monks and the impressive sunrise facing the Kanchenjunga peak left behind a tranquil memory of a place I hope remains unexplored.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
About three years ago, I was wondering what I’m still doing in the corporate world. Having spent most of my savings on backpacking trips around Europe, I desperately needed to get away. The one thing people generally cannot say ‘no’ to is a pilgrimage, and so I got the chance to escape to Varanasi. After finding a room in a small guesthouse facing Meer Ghat, I spent four days walking through the cow-dung-paved tiny lanes. The sunrise at the Ghats, the Kullad Chai for Rs. 3, the 12-year-old boy who radiated with confidence as he offered to take me for a boat ride, the chillum Sadhus, the sound of temple bells with the Ganga aarti still remain fresh in my memory. One may think Varanasi is as religious as it gets, but I’d say, it’s a place steeped in history that will transport you to the way India was thousands of years ago. If a spiritual detox is what you want, then head to this mini time machine called Varanasi.