The Expired Thongs


I embarked on a spiritual journey last spring and headed towards an ashram in search of self enquiry. My destination was India, a country known for its vast spiritual heritage. I carried in my luggage the minimal personal effects including a pair of old thongs. This search for the Truth of Oneself will, in my mind, be restrictive on personal wants and needs.


Two days after I had rambled around in my old thongs, I noticed that part of the right sole was coming off; I brought it closer to my eyes to have a microscopic view of the damage; I then perceived that there was another problem; the strap which run from between the big toe and the second toe to the right side of the sandal was threading off and thinning. I sadly told myself that the thongs had expired due to old age, wear and tear. It was essential for me to look for new thongs before the expired ones left me half-way. Opportunity knocked when the next morning I walked into a store to buy fruit juice. An array of attractive and colorful thongs was displayed on a self. I tried a few pairs until I fell on one which fitted perfectly.


I settled my bill, removed the new thongs from the box, glided my feet into them and placed the expired ones into the carton to throw away. Strangely, I could not find a dustbin and the expired thongs slept in the box under my bed almost forgotten.
Time passed by. For the festival of Mahashivratri, innumerable pilgrims arrived in the ashram from all over the world. One night, I misplaced my new thongs. I immediately run for the rescue of the expired ones. I had been advised by a physician to walk barefoot which was supposedly a good exercise for different types of inflammation and beneficial for my sore knees, but accustomed to the western way of life, I found it hard to hop around like a grasshopper without footwear.


Eventually, the expired thongs silently resumed their job of transporting me. Every time I came out of a hall or canteen where footwear was not allowed, my eyes fell on them waiting for me, tattered yet so warm. They were serving submissively and devotedly like old wives. I left them here and there, under the nose of everyone but nobody touched them. They were too old to draw attention or to be stolen. Expired they were, in the eyes of all except in mine. What a startling spiritual lesson to learn! Respect and hold on to the old; in times of need, they are the most helpful.


Further, nothing ever happens accidently or mysteriously, spiritual life shows us. For every happening, there is a proper reason. Moreover we are taught that inanimate objects too have feelings and emotions. For instance, it is told in the sacred Hindu book ‘The Ramayana’ that when Lord Rama went to rescue his wife Sita from the demon King Ravana, an army of monkeys came to his help. They built a bridge by plucking mountains from the Himalayas and throwing them into the seas to allow Rama to walk from his land to the realm of Ravana. When the bridge was done, one mountain cried because it was plucked from its original place but not used. Lord Rama then promised the mountain that in his next Avatara, it will receive his blessings.

This very mountain was the Govardhana Peak which Rama as the Avatar Krishna lifted on his finger and held aloft for seven days in order to save the inhabitants of Gokul from the devastation of torrential rain.
To cut a long story short, I returned home with the expired thongs, having learnt that self enquiry leads one to detach from people, mundane life and affairs by opening one’s eyes to the deficiencies in them.

Anita Bacha

Photo credit: Anita Bacha

Author: Anita Bacha

Creative and inspirational writer and poet, I lam also an addictive reader of novels, poetry and children story books. I am the author of Soul Poetry a book of inspirational poems, verses and quotes (2015) The Maker of Miracles (2006) and My Journey with God (2008) are narrations about my journey with my spiritual guru. My new poetry book INK Echo of life and love published by Éditions de L’Ocean Indien earlier this year (2019) in Mauritius, my birth country is a collection of love poems extolling the feelings and desires of women. The Princess and the Crow is my first story book for children ,released by Austin Macauley Publishers London in March 2019. I love to write. I guess my writing has a special cliché of island 🌴 life, natural,unpretentious and full of beauty.

8 thoughts on “The Expired Thongs”

  1. I knew of some people too who went to some sacred places for their spiritual, i love listening or reading to their stories as they arrive back. I love how you emphasized the importance of an old forgotten thong

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have read your very interesting article. Love it. Now I am on my iPhone and not able to write a comment…a technical problem. Later I will do so from my laptop.
    Thank you once more for sharing.

    Like

    1. Glad you like it ! I believe that the more we read, the more we learn about others, their thoughts and their ways of life.
      I have noticed that many just tick ‘like’ on a post without reading. This is a sad state of affairs. Writing means sharing. Reading means knowledge.
      Anyways, I love to read your posts too. Keep writing. At this time of confinement here in Mauritius where we have 2 deaths and 26 positive cases of coronavirus, reading brings the world together.

      Like

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