I first wrote this story on Beliefnet from November 2002 till August 2003 with long breaks in between. This time those breaks won't be there until I get to the point where I ended it last time. I may continue after that depending on the inspiration I get. Here is the beliefnet post that started my story: 11/21/02 11:26 PM Well, you guys sure seem to be getting upset with me. I really do not know what has made you guys so bitter. I could count many reasons to be bitter too, but knowledge has always grabbed my attention leaving little attention for bitterness. I would not hesitate to say that I have probably suffered more hardships than many of you combined. Probably the Hindu ascetic streak within me helped me pull through some very tough times. The inner assurance throughout has been some vague perceptions of truth since my early Hindu upbringing, which suddenly blossomed into my awareness when I ran into Scientology in the United States. It was February 1969 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I was a poor student just arrived from India with only $10 in my pocket. Fortunately, I had a full scholarship provided by M.I.T. for its Master’s program in Nuclear Engineering. It was enough to meet my needs. I still remember those days quite vividly. I was from a very conservative background suddenly thrown into the middle of a full-blown Hippie movement. I was wide-eyed and innocent. I remember being perplexed when somebody exclaimed “far out,” and I looked around and far into the distance to see what he was referring to. Those were not really very happy days for me because all my hopes for a cure were dashed. I had expected to find a cure in America for the extreme pain I used to suffer from. Soon after I arrived I went to the Mass General Hospital to get examined completely. Only I was told after a few days that I was suffering from Ankylosing Spondilitis and the sedimentation rate was quite high. All I could do was to take ten aspirins a day to keep the pain down. I could look forward to two more years before I was completely bed ridden. This condition usually led to the doubling of the spine with a collapse of the rib cage and the lungs. Chances of survival were minimal. I continued for a few days with aspirins to suppress the attack of pain, but depression overtook me. Life didn’t seem to be much fun at all. I contemplated the worst when I had the best of the opportunities in this material world. I felt very alone. My family was in India. I couldn’t communicate any of this to them. They could do nothing about it anyway. Why give them worry! I sought help from the student counselor. The counselor directed me to see a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist gave me some pills. I took the aspirins and those pills for a few days. I felt spaced out. It was simply horrible. Then something strange happened. I was walking down with a friend of mine toward the Central Square. I was trying to amuse myself looking at all the hippies with long hair and colorful, ragged clothes. Suddenly, a frizzy haired girl appeared in front of me and thrust something into my hands. It was about 1” by 4” sized ticket of a yellow color. It said DIANETICS on the top with a fatherly looking smiling face in the center. It said something about PSYCHOSOMATIC ILLNESSES and how Dianetics could handle such illneses easily and swiftly. It invited one to a lecture. The address given on that ticket was close by. My friend had gotten a ticket too. We looked at those tickets with amusement. It seemed like somebody was out to con people by selling something like snake oil. We decided to amuse ourselves by going to the lecture. We simply expected to see some long haired, drug-happy hippies there. [To be continued…] P.S. I hope you guys don’t mind me telling this story and if it takes some time to unfold fully. You may continue with your other discussions in the meantime. I will refer to the number of this post in the next installment to keep some continuity. Here I just wanted to paint the picture of my condition which prompted me to look into Dianetics and Scientology. If I were not so desperate I wouldn’t have given another thought to Dianetics.