Is this a fable or a parable? Doesn’t matter, really. What matters is that the book takes you deep sea diving into life rejuvenating snippets that are actually giant-sized chunks of philosophy simplified for any reader. The inside blurb of the book does mention that the book is ‘about friendship, learning to trust, letting go, and discovering the power of surrender’ but it goes much beyond this. Well, for me it did go much beyond mere words on paper that seem impressive enough to memorise and spout when wise spouting is required… and it was because I actually met the author.
Rohini Singh is a charming grey-haired person who comes across as a person who can simplify any complexity that you present to her. So obviously, talking to a problem solver is always rather exhilarating and I’ll be talking about her concepts and her ideas in a separate article later. Let me just say that Rohini is a ‘spiritual mentor, life coach and corporate facilitator and leads retreats designed to empower, transform and connect with the true self.’ No wonder then that she has given us all a book where Shona, a parakeet, discovers the little nuggets of truth that life is all about… and shares them slowly as understands each of them. After all, understanding ‘Me-ness versus We-ness’ or ‘choosing connectedness over separation’ to get ‘get your happiness back’ cannot happen in a single moment!
Life happens slowly… and understanding the finer nuances also happens slowly. Life reveals its truths to all of us in layers and it is up to us to see them for what they are. The book takes us through incidents that Shona faces and looks for explanations… she is probably fortunate that she has Zorro as her friend who helps her decipher these seemingly complex issues of life and death.
‘The animal is dead,’ he explained when she had finished recounting what had unnerved her, ‘That is why he was lying so still.’
‘Dead?’ Shona echoed. ‘Dead?’
‘Yes,’ Zorro looked at her kindly. ‘Death is a part of life. It’s something that will happen to all of us at some time or other.’
‘Will it happen to me too?’ Shona looked stunned, ‘Will I too be like that animal, still and unmoving and pecked at by other birds?’
She couldn’t imagine not being part of this garden; she didn’t want to think that the perfect life she had right now could end. And then an even more frightening thought struck her.
‘Will it happen to you too?’ she looked horrified as she stared at Zorro.
‘Free fall – the journey home’ is a story that emphasises that ‘whatever happens, happens for you, not to you or against you even if it may seem that way sometimes’ and the author employs a conversational mode of writing to communicate her answers to seemingly obfuscating issues. The book has chapters that begin with a few lines from the pages that follow… lines that are the essence of the sort of question that the chapter would go on to explain. The illustrations by Parnita Purohit are all done with intuitive gentleness and never let you stray far from what the author is actually attempting to clarify.
‘Intuition is in-tuition. Wisdom is from within. It doesn’t depend on logic or thinking, but arises from a deep space of knowingness.’
‘Hmm, like a radar?’ here it was again, Shona thought to herself.
‘Yes, it’s like that. It’s a feeling of rightness about things that are or are going to be. It’s often direction about what to do. It’s a true gift, and we have it.’
Yes, the book is all about directions for the reader. Directions that we are all aware of but always want someone to come and tell us about. These directions aren’t something that Rohini has thought of for the first time in the history of mankind… they have existed earlier too. So many writers and speakers and mentors and gurus are saying somewhat similar things day in and day out… but only some communicate in a language that can be understood by the common man. Rohini tell it all in a language that even a school-going kid will understand and probably retain. This is quite important, really. We can all listen to or read complex philosophies and wake up the next morning without retaining any of it. This never happens with what Rohini’s book strive to tell us about. Look at the way she talks about ‘connectedness’ and how this is often confused with loneliness… all through a fallen leaf that hops in as a brilliant metaphor!
‘That’s a sad end, that’s for sure,’ Shona said kindly, ‘You must be lonely lying here all by yourself?’
‘Lonely?’ leaf said in her raspy voice. Shona thought she even heard her chuckle. ‘That’s not something I’ve ever felt. I am a part of everything and everything is a part of me…’
The leaf then goes on to say…
‘We are all connected. I am made of all the things that nurtured me; the sun, the earth, the rain, the moon, all the elements and you too, Bird. You too are a part of me. Did you ask if I was lonely?’
I’m sure the ‘perch-pectives’ of a parakeet did not come to me as a mere coincidence. I agree with Rohini what she strives to tell us through Shona and Zorro:
‘What a coincidence!’ she repeated, ‘I can’t believe it.’
‘There are no random occurrences, Shona,’ Zorro said, a trace of seriousness in his voice now, ‘no coincidences. It is all meant to be.’
This is one book that isn’t just another book that you buy, read, and add to your collection at home. The book is on my table and I just open any page on any day and read to find a solution when I need one. And, by the way, before I write the final words in this review, the cover is one of the best I have ever come across. The pages and the printing makes reading a pleasure and so much easier… the binding is fine too… and the book that I have is specially signed by Rohini which makes me treasure it all the more!
This isn’t just a parable. The book is all about what you already know but have forgotten that you know it all. The book helps you go within and retrieve the wonderful thoughts that lie dormant in some remote corner of your being.
Title: free Fall – The journey home
Author: Rohini Singh
Publisher: Hay House India
Price: Rs 299/- (in 2013)
22 July 2013
The review was also published in BLUZOG: