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For Baisakhi Saha, The World Is Her Stage

Baisakhi Saha’s world is on the move-well, almost always, as her home is where destiny takes her. The Kolkata girl who moved to Singapore to
Baisakhi Saha
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Baisakhi Saha’s world is on the move-well, almost always, as her home is where destiny takes her. The Kolkata girl who moved to Singapore to study on a scholarship when she was just 17 has since then lived in Africa, South America, USA and for the last couple of years in Costa Rica with occasional visits to her home town. She has recently published her book Abracadabra where she writes about her travels across the world and  experiences like being robbed on the street,  moving out of Nigeria on the last (cheap) flight available before her visa expired and with not enough money to buy a ticket to boot! But ‘coincidences’- she calls it ‘synchronicity’, has stood by her, she believes, to rescue her out of tight spots.

 

Excerpts of an interview:

The Kolkata girl who moved to Singapore to study on a scholarship when she was just 17 has since then lived in Africa, South America, USA and for the last couple of years in Costa Rica with occasional visits to her home town
The Kolkata girl who moved to Singapore to study on a scholarship when she was just 17 has since then lived in Africa, South America, USA and for the last couple of years in Costa Rica with occasional visits to her home town

‘Life Is Abracadabra’: why this title?

Baisakhi: As a child, I used to be fascinated with the word ‘abracadabra’ simply because of how it sounds -like some gibberish gobbledygook incantation casting a magical spell. It’s as if you utter a bunch of unintelligible nonsensical words and suddenly something magical happens. As I was experiencing seemingly random coincidences during my travels across the globe, they turned out to be neither senseless nor simple, but life-defining to me.

I found out it has a much deeper significance. It comes from the Aramaic phrase: avra kehdabra, meaning, “I shall create as I speak” or “I create like the word” and has its origin in three Hebrew words: ab (father), ben (son), ruach acadosch (holy spirit)—encompassing the holy trinity.

Trinity is the unity of father-son-holy ghost as three persons in one  Godhead. Each has a role and exists as three entities but, ultimately, comprise one main entity. Although we seem to live in a world of duality, it’s actually the trinity inherent in our life.

Every experience of life is defined somewhere in between where the extremes balance each other out. Abracadabra spells the magic that is life—hence, life is abracadabra!

Baisakhi at Roraima Tabletop mountain in South America
Baisakhi at Roraima Tabletop mountain in South America

The book is not the usual travelogue. It’s more like pieces of your experiences of travelling and working in different locales around the world coming together.

Baisakhi: It’s a travelogue, yet an evolutionary journey to destiny, like a spiritual memoir written to transcend cultural boundaries and prove that magic exists. The idea behind writing the book was to highlight the abracadabra moments, the signs and synchronicities that guided my path and made this voyage possible. It was inspired by a dream while battling a life-threatening situation. When I awoke, I felt this inner voice telling me, “You can’t die with these stories inside you; there’s a reason they happened to you and now you must share them with the rest of the world.” 

 

I’ve had many uncanny experiences – call them meaningful coincidences,  during my years of traversing the globe…

… unworkable problems got me out of inescapable situations, saved my life several times and I realized all I had to do was take the next step with faith and wonder. 

Through the sharing of these 21 stories from my travels, the book attempts to make one explore life from an altogether new dimension.

Why this belief in synchronicity? Is it different from ‘fate’ as we Indians in general believe in?

 

Baisakhi: Yes, there’s a huge difference. While fate seems to be predetermined with not much room for change, destiny is the path of our desires crafted by free will and aligns with our joy. We are the creator and the created.

Synchronicity is the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but without a causal connection. Some people think it’s a coincidence, as both coincidence and synchronicity are perceived as striking occurrences of two or more events at the same time. Yet they aren’t the same. You see, coincidence is something like chance, luck, happenstance where we have no control over, while synchronicity implies the presence of a deeper intelligence at work, as we open ourselves up to cosmic insights and inner guidance.

It isn’t exactly a belief but a lived experience for me.

 

Exactly when those seemingly abstract synchronicities started dotting my path, I can’t even tell, but eventually they got so intense and impelling that I knew I was being guided.

 

It was a strange language only my heart could decipher at that moment, and came to me as a ‘knowing’ that no amount of logic or reasoning could defy. It was several years later that I came across the actual word to describe what I was experiencing—‘synchronicity’, coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.

A sign or synchronicity never interferes with free will and recedes into the past without creating a ripple in your field of reality should you choose to ignore it. However, if you take heed, your perception of that moment deepens as passageways are created from one level of the mind to another leading to a fuller and more profound communication with the self. 

A sign or synchronicity never interferes with free will and recedes into the past without creating a ripple in your field of reality should you choose to ignore it
A sign or synchronicity never interferes with free will and recedes into the past without creating a ripple in your field of reality should you choose to ignore it

Despite living abroad mostly from your teenage years you have retained a lot of ‘Indian-ness’ in cultural elements, beliefs even. So you have two feet in two worlds?

 

Baisakhi: I have two feet in two worlds, yes, one in the visible and the other in the invisible world. Having literally grown up in different continents during my solo travels across the length and breadth of the planet, I wouldn’t say I’m an Indian at heart or connect with any nationality in particular. Countries are merely boundaries between pieces of land, and as you go farther from one to another, people’s beliefs, ideologies, theologies, philosophies, spiritual practices, even diseases and their treatments, vary widely and wildly.

 

Someone in Asia believes this, someone in America believes that, someone in Africa believes something else…

…what is right in one culture is wrong is another culture, what is polite in one country is rude in another country, what is respectful in one region is disrespectful in another region, what I thought was good another thought bad. I marvelled at life’s idiosyncrasies. As I got a bite size of each culture, race, religion, tradition, my worldview expanded. That’s what this book strives to do—paint a larger picture of humanity and explore life from a higher dimension of reality where real magic is a possibility.

 

 

Ultimately you seem to say, people have dreams but it’s also responding to them that makes things really happen in real life. It did in your case.

 

Baisakhi: Yes, if we can connect with the larger universe we become co-creators of our lives rather than being at the receiving end of life. Life happens to us and through us.

Whenever we have a dream or desire in our hearts, the universe starts responding to it by sending opportunities, showing the way through signs and synchronicities. Just as every human being is unique and their hopes, wants, wishes, dreams subjective to them, similarly a synchronous episode is a subjective thing that doesn’t occur to a great number of people at the same time. The more intense your desires the more groomed is the energy, but even the most indistinct ways of concentrating upon a wish can cause some kind of synchronicity to appear in your life, I believe.

All Images: The Author

Ranjita Biswas is an independent journalist, author and translator. She is an award winning translator of fiction and has seven published works to her credit so far. She won KATHA awards thrice. Among her translated works, “Written in Tears” (Harper Collins) won the Best Translation Prize in English from Sahitya Akademi in 2017. “The Loneliness of Hira Barua” (Pan Macmillan) won the PFC-Valley of Words award in 2021. “Dawn” (Kali for Women/Zubaan), the first book she translated of Arupa Patangia Kalita, the author of these books, was also translated into Hindi. “Areca Nut Tree and Other Stories” (Vitasta, 2022) is a selection of contemporary short stories by the new age Assamese women writers. Biswas is also an award winning writer of children’s fiction.

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