Reshma Thakkar’s soul-searching trip is part of Oprah Winfrey’s docuseries, Belief
The year 2012 was a turning point in Reshma Thakkar’s life. She was doing wonderfully well for herself as a healthcare IT professional in Chicago. On the personal front though, she was unhappy, restless, and felt an overwhelming sense of disconnect from herself. Questions such as “What’s the purpose of my career, or existence?”, or “What’s the philosophy behind Hinduism?” kept bothering her. One day, she applied for a three-month sabbatical, and flew down to India, her home, to find these answers. Her trip coincided with the Kumbh Mela, considered as the largest spiritual gathering in the world. She was soon joined by a student who was looking to film someone’s experiences at the Kumbh.
Thakkar’s “spiritual journey” to India is now part of Oprah Winfrey’s show Belief. The seven-part docuseries depicts how people with a wide range of beliefs search for deeper meaning and connection with the world around them. It also highlights rituals, and relationships that bind us all together as human beings.
The Indian-American entrepreneur tells us the story. “I grew up in a Hindu household. We prayed every day; I knew all the prayers and ceremonies. But I didn’t have a solid understanding of the philosophy behind Hinduism. Even though it was told to me, I never took the time to understand it further. And when I had questions, I felt afraid to ask them because it could mean I didn’t actually believe in the philosophy.”
That’s the underlying message of her film. “Many people are often afraid to ask these questions. And I wanted to open up these conversations,” tells us Thakkar.
Has she found the answers, we ask? “I asked an elderly man sitting on the banks of Ganga: ‘How do you have so much faith to come all the way here and pray every day and do the things you do?’ He told me that ‘when the time is right, the goddess, Mother Ganga, will show you what you need to know’. He helped take that pressure off myself as far as my urge to find immediate answers was concerned. I am at peace with myself now,” she says.
After the show, she started Made With A Purpose, a business venture to help young women in India find education and economic stability.
Premieres on February 1. 9 pm on Discovery Channel
— Barkha Kumari