A Guru by Destiny by MCM student Nawaf Alhammadi


Following a very dark period of my life, and after I had to let go of habits that were destroying me, I decided to strap my backpack and head for Nepal for a self-healing hike on the steps of Mount Everest.

“How could I leave and let go?” I asked myself disappointedly. I witnessed him batter my best friend to premature death and get away with a petty fine! 

Blue, white, red, green, yellow, flags beautifully decorating the clouds

“It’s fine,” I attempted to comfort myself, “we’ll meet again.”

I could not have been less prepared for the hike. My mind was unwilling to budge off the constant nightmare that haunted me for long nights: a re-enactment of the deafening silence that stole a piece of my heart. My body so untrained, it could collapse after taking two flights of stairs. Yet deep down, I knew I had to go so far away from the sirens and cries of the most vivid day of my life. 

I woke up to the warm hands of the sun, completely disregarding my drapes, as though it longed to heal me. I scooted from the end of my bed, grabbed whatever nonsense I had stuffed into my backpack the night before and rushed to Nepal. 

Seconds passed like days as I fought my tears, waiting for the plane that will help me abandon my only best friend. He’ll be underground while I’ll be flying through the clouds, leaving him nothing but white tracks in the sky. 

“It’s alright,” I attempted to comfort myself, “we’ll meet again.”

As I walked through its streets, Kathmandu’s hustle and bustle felt like the inside of a haunted house.

“I want to go to Khopra please,” I said to one of the abundant tourist guides standing outside their crammed agencies. 

“$20, 7 days sir,” he blurted out so quickly as though he anticipated the question. 

I did not want to go with a guide; I just needed someone to do the research because my head was busy battling explosions. I wrote down the itinerary and told Kiran I will be back. I wasn’t. I had to do this on my own.

As I hopped on the bus there, I swallowed a sleeping pill I had picked up from the pharmacy at the airport. I knew I couldn’t handle the boisterous tourists for six long hours.

“Son! Go! Go!” the driver yelled as he tried to shake me to wake up. I stood up as my legs and back were aching from the cheap, rough-arched chair I was stuck in. Streaks, the shape of the window handle I leaned on, are all over my arm and my eyes are bloody red. I was still determined to go.

It was 2 p.m. and everyone was headed to their cabins to have lunch, but I had to get a head start.

To stay on track, I had to walk 20 kilometers, so I looked down at my hiking boots, praying they don’t give out on me. 

Two streaks of blood ran down my legs. 

“Where’s this coming from?!” I asked myself, looking for something to stop the bleeding.

“Leech!” a loud scream hit me from afar. 

That’s when I saw a black body on my leg. I cried, “help!”

“Don’t be a baby,” the same voice said, just a bit closer this time. “It’s only a leech. No pain. No virus.” 

She located its mouth and with the tip of her fingernail and flicked it away. 

“See?” She said, “easy.”

“What are you doing here alone? You Arabs always come in big groups,” she wondered. 

“I wanted to be alone,” I said. 

“Ok! I’ll leave” She replied angrily. 

“Wait! I think I need a friend to help me after what happened,” I said to convince her to stay. 

“Fine, but we do things my way,” she agreed, “I’m Shivani,” she introduced herself. 

“Thank you. Nawaf,” I responded with a happy note in my voice.

I followed her steps for an hour until we reached a wide site with what seemed like a beautiful temple. I couldn’t help but dwell on the carefully ordered flags hanging from the highest Shikara, a spire found at the top of a Hindu temple.

The magic of the chanted mantras swept my anger away and the sudden rain carefully took away its last lines of dust just like a brand-new dustpan.

“Come in,” Shivani called me in one of the temple’s rooms, where I saw a Pūjari (a Hindu Priest) sitting peacefully. 

“You carry so much pain, my friend,” he said as he placed his hand on my chest to help me sleep. 

He hummed as he cleansed my chakras and I quickly had a taste of longed-for peaceful sleep. I wasn’t falling in deep sleep though as I felt my soul getting lighter and lighter, slowly floating above me. 

I woke up to his finger sliding across my forehead as he placed a black bindi for me to heal.

“Whatever religion you follow, son, you need to know we are all made of energy. Let go of what’s hurting yours. Protect your energy to thrive,” he said.

I got up with the lightest heart, knowing I will meet Hamad again. Right now, I need to make him proud.