Riki

May 13th, 2020 by Jashodhara Purkayastha

Last year, we had been to Andaman. We were four families together who planned for the trip. It was July month. There wasn’t much crowd. It was not the season during June/July.
I request all the people to visit Andaman at least once in a lifetime to know the history of Indian freedom fighters how they sacrificed their lives for the country. If you don’t know the history of Cellular jail, your life would be incomplete. Havelock and Neil Island are some of the best islands in Andaman. I would request you to visit it.

The Andaman Islands are in the Bay of Bengal. From the flight only, one can see the scenic beauty of Andaman. Its blue water and greenery can be seen everywhere. I read in Geography that it’s a coral reef. There are almost 300 islands covered with palm and coconut trees, white-sand beaches, and tropical rainforests. After reaching the hotel in the month of July, we felt a humid atmosphere. Some of our co-passengers went for scuba diving as scuba diving is absolutely safe in Andaman. Experienced professional divers took them into the deep sea where they could see the interior of the sea. We all went to the beach. In the evening the owner of the hotel arranged a gathering party for us. There was the dance floor. We, old young danced a lot. They showed us many kinds of fish.

As my story is not about the Andaman but it is important to inform you all how I met Riki on the island. Neil Island is a beautiful island that is more peaceful and less crowded than Havelock. During the hotel stay, I met a man. That day, I did not go for coral island adventure sports. I was reading a magazine in my hotel room. Suddenly, I felt very tired and thought of having tea or coffee in the restaurant. So I locked the door and proceeded towards the restaurant. There was no one in the restaurant. I saw a young lad on the counter. As soon as he saw me he asked, I’m Riki, I’m the manager here. Can I help you Madam? Why didn’t you go for some rides?
“Give me one cup of coffee and some biscuits”, I asked him. He called the waiter and served the coffee. He started talking to me. He said, “I came here two months ago”.
I asked, “How much do you like the place?”
“Leaving a crowded place, I missed my place a lot in the beginning. But now, I’m accustomed to this situation.”
His one-sentence touched my heart and soul. He said “Neil Island is the best place to know one better and can go deep within.”
“Wow! Wow! Excellent!”, I exclaimed.
“You know Madam, after coming here, I‘ve changed a lot.”, he said.
“Changed? What happened?”, I curiously asked.
“You can say that I’ve got a big story of my life.”, he said

Whatever story of his life, he described to me was very emotional and a lesson learning.

Riki was a student. After passing his class twelfth, he went to Delhi to study hotel management. Riki’s father was a doctor and his mother was a lecturer in a college. Parents were interested in putting him to medical or engineering. But Riki’s interest was to do Hotel management as he had seen some programmes of Chef Vikas Khanna. Accordingly, he got a chance at a good college. He started living in a rented house with two other boys in his class. One of them was a senior student, Rakesh. He used to guide them properly. Every night while returning, Riki used to drink alcohol, and while entering he used to chew gum. So, for few days nobody came to know anything. One day, till 10 at night, when Riki did not reach home, Rakesh was a little worried. He went down and saw some crowd, a little far from his house. He hurriedly went there and saw Riki was fallen unconscious there. With the help of others, he brought Riki home. The next morning, Rakesh asked Riki, “Yesterday, your alcohol dose was more. Shall I call your parents?”
“No Rakesh Bhaiya (Big Brother)! My parents will be worried about me then. I’ll not disturb you again. I promise you, I’ll not do it again.”

The next day he did not go to college. When everyone left the house, Riki went to the shop and bought a bottle. In the evening, when he did not open the door, Rakesh got annoyed and called his parents. With a day or two, Riki’s parents took him to his place.
His Parents were quite decent people. Everyone in the neighborhood respected his parents a lot. Being a single child, he was pampered a lot. Most of the students are mesmerized with the arrival of the new thing in their new world. They get the taste of these new things in the hostel or when they are out of their house, they fall into the trap thinking that the world has so many things to enjoy.

Every day, Riki used to go out and people around him brought him home drunk. The year was lost in college. His father posted a letter with a medical certificate. His conditions worsened day by day. He was fully a drunkard. After some days, his drinking was to the brim and every day some strangers left him at home. He was submerged into alcohol. One day, when he was carried by some people, one of the persons knew his father. He told, “If you don’t mind, I would suggest you take him to Alcoholics Anonymous. His parents were really grateful to him who had shown him the path of spirituality. One day along with the man, I went to the centre. He told me, “You can buy the book from the centre. There are Twelve (12) steps originated by Alcoholics Anonymous that help world wide.
Riki told me, “I read those spiritual paths and liked very much.” The twelve steps are:
1. Honesty: After many years of denial, recovery begins when with simple admission of being powerless over alcohol—for alcoholics and their friends and family.
2. Faith: It seems to be spiritual truth that before a higher power, you must believe that it can.
3. Surrender: A lifetime of self will run riot come to a screeching halt and change forever by making a simple decision to turn it all over to higher power.
4. Soul searching: 12 step recovery programmes is a process not an event.
5. Integrity: The most difficult step to face. It is one that provides the greatest opportunity for growth.
6. Acceptance: Accepting character defects exactly as they are and becoming entirely willing to let them go.
7. Humility: Asking the higher power to do something that cannot be done by self-will or mere determination.
8. Willingness: Making a list of those that harmed before coming into recovery may sound simple. Becoming willing to actually make those amends is the difficult part.
9. Forgiveness: It may be a bitter pill but those serious about recovery; it can be great medicine for spirit and soul.
10. Maintenance: Nobody likes to admit to being wrong. But it is absolutely necessary to maintain spiritual progress in recovery.
11. Making contact: It is to discover the plan of God as you understand Him has for your life.
12. Service: For those who are in recovery programme practicing step 12 is simple—how it works.

After reading these 12 points, I came to know that without a spiritual path nothing is possible. Indian philosophy says that it is the principle of Karma, which means the action one performs. That is any activity that a person performs with body, mind, and senses. The principle says that every action has a reaction. It means that for every action performed by a person, there is always a reaction.
I asked him, “What about your college and course?”
He answered, “After completing this course with Alcoholics Anonymous, my parents took me to Delhi, stayed with me for few days and I completed my course. After my exam, I returned to Missouri. One year, I worked in a local hotel. As my parents are very famous in Missouri, everyone in the hotel used to love me a lot.”
“Naturally, your parents are respectful persons in that small place.” I sighed with a loving look.
Riki continued, “Andaman is a new place for me but it’s fabulous. If you sit near the sea for some time, you will feel that God resides in this place. If you walk alone on the sea beach, you will feel that God is behind you walking along with you. If you want to meditate, this is the best place in the world. I think that is why Lokmanya Tilak wrote Gita Rahasya here in Andaman.

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