Her name is Pahuja, Sushila Pahuja. She heals.
She was the only girl amongst five children in a strongly patriarchal family. Consequently, although she had a passion for learning, she was discouraged from going to school after she completed her matriculation. It was decided that she would be married off as soon as possible. At the age of nineteen, when considered sufficiently trained in household responsibilities, she was married off.
There was no question of taking her opinion or letting her have a say in the matters of her own life. Her family decided what was best for her and that was that. She had been raised to be a wife and mother and not have an opinion; or to quash it down when she did. She was launched into this career summarily.
She did not rebel or protest. It would have been inconceivable for her to even think of doing so. That, however, wasn’t the only reason. She was too kind- hearted to bear hurting anyone by thwarting their wishes- implicit or explicit. She knew the pain of dashed expectations so well that she had no heart to give the same pain to another. This tender gentleness remains intact to this day.
Her love of learning, kept in abeyance for a while, gained strength again. A year after her marriage, after a great deal of pleading and entreaty, she was allowed to appear privately for her high school certification. She was now a high school graduate!
Her circumstances altered overnight compelling her to return to Jabalpur with her husband and two year old daughter. While her husband struggled to establish himself, she decided to contribute to the family income. With limited avenues and resources, she enrolled in a beautician’s course. She began practicing as a beautician by year’s end. Her gentle manner and soothing hands augmented her efficacy.The birth of her son obliged her to curtail her efforts at establishing herself in this field. This proved to be a blessing in disguise, as all apparent setbacks ultimately prove themselves to be.
In the next two years, while she took care of her children and catered to loyal clients, she heard about acupressure. Her passion for learning fuelling her research, she dug deeper. It is a miracle that she found out as much as she did, for she had many difficulties to contend with, each more potent than the last.
It wasn’t a Internet/ Google empowered time. Jabalpur is a VERY small town; fifteen years ago it was smaller still. Innovation and new ideas are abhorred by the populace as an abomination. To top it all, the mind set of those who are blessed with a bit of knowledge is to keep it as close to their chest as they possibly can. This last hasn’t changed enough to be discernible. But that’s another story.
Despite such roadblocks, she managed to get enough information about acupressure to be hooked. The wings beneath her wings was her mother, who encouraged, cajoled and scolded her to venture out of her cage. She resisted for all she was worth but women who survive in strong patriarchal families are tough women. None more so than her mother, who is still the guiding- and driving- force behind Sushila.
Then began a journey from which there was no looking back. For the past nearly fifteen years, Sushila has been practicing as an acupressurist (and acupuncturist). I have myself been under the needle off and on for the past three years. When she began treating me, I was on the verge of renal failure. I am hale and hearty now AND have lost weight!
Her challenges- both disheartening and debilitating- would have wiped out anyone with less tenacity. She was severely hampered by her scant familiarity with human physiology. To get a hold on it, she worked free for an allopathic doctor. All she asked for was that he give her half an hour in the afternoon to explain the intricacies of the human body to her. Quick on the uptake and highly observant, she soaked up knowledge like a veritable sponge.
She worked for free with another doctor known for his sound diagnoses. She also learned how to make sense of investigative reports. Meanwhile, she struggled not only to raised two little children but also to supplement her income. There were times she says, when she would be exhausted beyond endurance but could not turn down a client who urgently wanted a hair- cut or get her eyebrows done.
She continued working as a beautician while struggling to educate people about acupressure, making scant headway. Inspite of the bleak potential, she continued her education and skill- development by doing more and more honorary work. This is particularly creditable considering that she was in dire circumstances. To take time away from her young children was bad enough; to take it away without so much as a rupee to see for it, is nothing short of heroic. Especially when one considers that her upbringing had conditioned her strongly- and exclusively- to be a homemaker.
Once she had begun to understand the human body, she turned her attention to homeopathy. She was fully and deeply convinced that a combination of homeopathy and acupressure would give the fastest relief to her patients. Having no money to invest in her training, she again approached one of the best homeopaths in the city. Though he had never taken interns, he allowed her to work with him for over a year. He was so taken by her dedication and sincerity that he called her his daughter- and treated her like one by sharing his wisdom freely with her.
One of her patients had a host of ailments. She is diabetic with a heart condition and severe asthma. Her quality of life had deteriorated to such an extent that she became depressed. She was hospitalized at least once a month, mostly twice. Sushila treated this lady for nearly six months a year ago. The patient has not visited the hospital even once in this one year- nor had an asthma attack. She still has a heart condition though her cholesterol is normal and her blood sugar levels controlled.
Another patient was an old lady who had suffered a paralytic attack and had been completely bed ridden for over three years. Her family had tried everything under the sun. They had even engaged a physiotherapist to work with her twice a day. After one and a half years, the physiotherapist gave up. The doctors also advised the patient’s family that she was too old for her body to respond. The family were frantic.
This patient’s treatment began six months ago. Her limbs have filled out. She can now hear properly and her speech is absolutely clear. She can sit up and dress herself. She can also drag herself to the bathroom and bathe herself. Her appetite has come back. Sushila is confident that she would start walking within a month or two.
There are hundreds of other case histories to relate. There are uncountable lives she has touched. There is unquantifiable hope she has given to people. And yet, she remains intensely humble and sensitive. I have seen tears come to her eyes when she sees people suffering.
She charges her patients for each sitting but she doesn’t do this for money. If money were her objective, she would have gone into partnership with the beauty parlor she trained with. Healing people is a calling for her, one she is devoted to with sincerity and a deep sense of devoted reverence.
I have known her to sit studying her acupressure books late into the night- for many nights sometimes- trying to find a faster line of treatment so that her patient is healed as soon as possible. Considering that her financial troubles are far from over, one would think she would be tempted to drag on a patient’s treatment. But this she would never stoop to.
Her goodness of heart is as exemplary as her integrity is impeccable. She is single minded in her focus. Her vision ranges much farther than people around her can understand. Her patience and good will frequently leave me moved to tears. Her selflessness is not a facade; I know it to be as true as the purest gold. She inspires me in more ways than I can say. She blesses my life. Most humbly, I salute her spirit of entrepreneurship.
Over the years, Sushila has constantly upgraded herself. When she can, she invests funds she can barely spare, to attend courses. Her dream is to go to China and learn acupressure under a master. Her dream will come true, I am sure of that. God’s best efforts are reserved for good people like her.
Her name is Pahuja, Sushila Pahuja. She heals.