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I think I met Melchizedek right outside the Nagpur airport one morning, after a short trip home this July. He was dressed like one of the security guards- in khaki, hiding boredom just like the guards did behind a strict, no-nonsense expression and ample moustache.

I handed him my ticket printout and the driving licence. He peered at it, then at me. At it. At me. At it. At me.

‘I know. That’s more than five years old. I looked different. The pic’s mine.’

I always over-explain, yes, often before the need arises to.

‘You have a lovely name.’ His eyes didn’t leave the driving licence.

What a creep.

I gave a half-smile that hardly thanked him, and pretended to observe a bawling baby on a cart in the parallel queue.

‘Do you know what it means, Vaidehi?’

I provided the automatic answer. ‘It’s one of the names of Goddess Sita. Derived from Videha. Her father.’

He smiled, handing me back the licence. At this point I noticed his eyes- brown, shiny and deep. To my shock-surprise, he patted my head. ‘That it is. But what does it mean?’ His gaze was penetrating and held a hint of mischief.

I knew the meaning but thought he would not understand it even if I told him. Prejudice born from growing up in an environment where engineers are considered more brainy than designers.

He spoke. ‘It means one who has risen above and beyond the body and self. Vi-deha. Vi = beyond. Deha = body. Transcending beyond the body. Remember that.’ I must have looked really dumb with my mouth open, because my hair was promptly tousled and I was asked with a smile to move into the lobby beyond.

The past few weeks had been bad in a number of ways. I was cribbing a great deal about the unfairness dealt out to me by fate. Most importantly, I had not asked for help, to myself or others. The daily meditation was not being practiced when I needed it most.

I must have attracted this reminder. Unlike Santiago in The Alchemist, I wasn’t handed any decision-making stones, but the reminder was good enough. The first thing I did on boarding the flight was meditate. The rest would follow.

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