I attended the TA 101 with Saru in 2000 and was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. She was also very drawn to me, and referred to it as “love at first sight.” I remember her trainees presenting at the TA 101. I was very impressed with them too. I thought to myself, “What is this thing called ‘training with Saru’?” It felt incredibly attractive. I imagined a world of self-aware, loving, grounded people. I wanted to belong to that world. I hoped I would grow to develop the same qualities as her. I joined her training without a full understanding of what I was getting into. I just wanted to “train with Saru”. Later of course, I grew to find the field meaningful. My wide-eyed, lapping in of the magical world offered by Saru continued for a few years. I was amazed that the existence of a group where personal work of such a sacred nature could be witnessed. The intense self-exploration, the intimacy, the safety, the stimulation, the laughter, the celebrations and the focus on good food, offered me an unbelievable high!
I remember one particular class where I spoke to the group about my sadness of not being able to conceive. I received loving hugs from the group. Miraculously, the next month, I was pregnant. The happiest person in the world was Saru. She took full credit for the “TA baby”. “What other proof does the world need that TA works?” she said joyfully.
As the years went by, I was not sure if I wanted to be a psychotherapist. So I discontinued my training. But Saru was sure I would come back. I did come back, again because of her. However, my struggle with whether I should write my CTA continued. She however held on to the hope and kept nudging me. One day in class, I told her that I was not motivated to do the CTA for myself, and if she continued to ask me then I would really be doing it for her. “Then do it for me,” she said instantly. That is Saru for you - relentless in her conviction. There was no further confusion for me after that. I responded to her faith by blossoming into the person and professional she envisaged me as. She was incredibly proud of how once I decided, I acted with focus and determination. She would refer to me as “kuru milagu” – small but potent.
She was standing outside the room, when I stepped out of the CTA exam. “I passed,” I said excitedly. After that I could hear her loud voice, announcing to everyone, “Aruna passed. I am going home to cook.” She had planned an elaborate celebration that evening for Chitra’s TSTA and Hasina’s and my CTA passing. She had no doubt at all that we were going to pass!
"A tree is known by the fruit it bears," she would say proudly every time we achieved a major milestone, "Pass it on."
Today, I have followed her footsteps and have given up all else and have chosen TA training as my full time work. How grateful I am to the moment where she said, “Do it for me.” Much of who I am as a trainer is modelled after her. I have inherited from her generosity and courage to offer myself and my presence as the context in which the other grows. My dedicated, personal investment in my trainees is what I learnt from her.