I did not open the blinds to let in the light; I opened the blinds to let out the dark.

The darkness pervaded and bounced off the four walls of my nanoscopic room again and again. I watched it. I consumed it. I devoured the dark in all its forms, and I swear to you – like I swore to Him – if you cut me, I’d bleed darkness.

I am lying uncomfortably on my bed – my safe space – staring at the excruciatingly bright ceiling light. “Am I at war with myself? Or is my soul at war with my body?” I repeat the question in my head.

I close my eyes to find composition and I suffer the after effects of having them opened in the first place. All I see now is white, but not the pleasant kind. Not the kind that sets you free or differentiates between danger and tranquillity. Definitely not the type that brings the music.

This white was different: it wouldn’t allow me to open my eyes.

I hear the fan next to me, blowing my hair across my face. Bullets of sweat creep towards my brows as they caress every curve that lines my stressed forehead. I need to open my eyes now, but this white light shepherds me to the abyss of my mind. Little did I know that this is where I’d lose myself, only to find myself again. Was this the beginning of my spiritual journey? I wasn’t so sure yet.

I finally opened my eyes, and it was as agonising as opening your eyes mid-dream to a world of realities. But this time, the agony was otherworldly; it didn’t unsettle my psyche – it ravaged it. My question was answered by the rogue hairs hugging my face. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew the path to my destination will become clearer.

This was the beginning of my journey, my very own Genesis, only this wasn’t the Garden of Eden – there was no God, and Satan was merely just prowling alongside the outskirts of what had now become my solace.

I was eternally burning to initiate the search for something greater than me, you and the depth of the oceans and magnitude of the solar system. I was born into a home where some choices were considered simple, but I found myself tugging at this sentiment and looking for answers. Going against the norm was almost as challenging as it would be dancing fearlessly in the middle of a hurricane.

I was influenced by the nature of a Hindu home, to worship a god with many faces. But even as an innocent child, I necessitated justifications and authentication before I wholeheartedly devoted myself to the act of doing.

Religion should be effortless if your soul is in it with you – to me, that is how you meet spirituality. It is almost like a friendship where you just ‘be’ and the rewards enter your life through an open door. I yearned for this feeling, this feeling of contentment, of security and tranquillity. I just needed a mental shift to push me in the right direction, a direction that called for all my soldiers to be ready and expect the worst sort of war. A war with myself, a war with the world, and – most significantly – a war of the soul.

The acceptance of an uncertainty that is seen as a conviction to everyone you have attached yourself to is a struggle which I never imagined being able to overcome. I kept waiting on a long process of acceptance, a step-by-step method with which I would then face my inner demons and explore the world of spirituality. I feared being characterized someone who gave up and abandoned a sacred entity of life.

But I was wrong. By waiting, I was abandoning myself and my sanity. The process wasn’t acceptance. Acceptance was something that purely came over me and obliterated all my doubts about having doubts.

It was like reading a book for the first time: wanting to understand it, but physically not having the capacity to wrap your mind around it. All you did was absorb a page full of alphabets and fictional characters. But unknowingly – finally – one day, you give the book another chance and this time everything is different. You engage with feeling, the emotion, the depth and maybe even fall in love with the characters after meeting them for the second time. This is what it felt like, all I wanted to do was scream at the top of my lungs, “FINALLY. FINALLY, KHINALI.”

I do not reject the world I was born into. I do not reject beliefs or God. I am in exploration. John Muir once said “The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” That is my journey in a quote, a journey in which I take one day at a time, and – when I reach my destination – I will be ready for the next one.