I played most of them and was good at many, thanks to the fantastic sports facilities in my colony. I was fine at studies too. My favorite subjects were math, science and drawing. Math because the numbers were fun and it was amazing how in the end LHS was always equal to RHS. A happy ending just like a Disney movie or cartoons. For me math was just like watching cartoons, fun, exciting and happy. Science blew my mind. I had a lot of questions and it seemed to have all the answers about everything from the planets to the rainbows. Science was the most natural subject for me. Drawing was the best, it helped me to put my thoughts on a canvas and also color them.
As time passed all of a sudden I was made to realize that I am not great at studies. I used to think long and hard about why one has to be great at things. I was told that I need to work hard in math because my grades were not up to the mark and I was not good at science either because I didn’t write an essay for an answer just to explain “chlorophyll” for 5 marks. The class topper scored well because he wrote a page and a half explaining chlorophyll! Huh! What! I was declared an average student by my teachers and they started treating me accordingly. I tried to alter their perception by writing longer answers in exams and mugging sums and formulas. I started discussing marks and comparing notes. Soon everyone was talking about ‘tuitions’ and the criterion for judging the best tutor was only one “who could help you to score 95% and above”.
The love for the subject was lost and forgotten and the wonder vanished from the eyes. My favorite “math” was now a pain in my butt and “science” gave me shivers.
Soon I realized that I was a part of this huge rat race with people bustling to catch a fleeting ship. I have to be fast enough coz if that ship sails, I’ll be doomed!
There’s a big bad competitive world out there telling you that happiness awaits you on the other side but you have to sweat your guts out to get there. I was no exception to this thumb rule and admit to having spent the best years of my life running to catch these ships and I did manage to get on board most times, but it was always a tough grind. The truth however is that once you’re aboard, the race doesn’t end! There is yet another race inviting you to catch another ship, and another one, and the one after that!
I remember my ex-boss telling me “It’s a dog eat dog world out there my boy, run fast or you will be eaten”. Another senior once told me “you have great potential my friend, all you need is to be more disciplined and work harder and then nothing can stop you”. For as long as I can remember people have been telling me that I have to do “more” to be happy, achieve “more” to be successful and work “harder” because if I work my fingers to the bone I will be able to relish the rewards.
The cold fact is that everyone and everything around us is operating on the sneaking presumption that their current situation is “not ok”. One has to achieve more, earn more, spend more, eat more, exercise more, enjoy more, want more, and many other mores to be happy.
A car company tells you to get a bigger and better car to keep your family happy. The home loan company tells you that your dream house is a loan away. Never do they mention that once you have taken that loan, you not only pay the EMI but also your freedom as interest for the rest of your life. A network provider boasts of enabling us to stay in touch with our loved ones, when in reality our phones have replaced the ones we love altogether. All hail smart phones!
What we don’t realize is that these wants are viciously unending and that they push our lives to run in an everlasting loop.For instance, you will be happy that you brought a new car but the moment your friend buys a bigger car, your face drops and your desire to want more starts to surface. We are living our lives trapped in this loop
At 40, I have realized that we need to believe that life “is” good and if we focus on our present the future will be taken care of. We will be able to buy a house we can “afford”, in a balanced way which doesn’t make us toil for the next 15 years to pay off a loan and which doesn’t rob us of life’s simple pleasures. Let’s look at a car as a mere mode of transport and not a status symbol. One would rather save a few millions and enjoy it with loved ones than become a billionaire with no time to appreciate life’s bounty at all.
I have finally understood that life is not about catching fleeting ships or reaching your so called destinations. This is because the day you get to your destination it wouldn’t mean a thing, as another “destination” will be waiting to mock you from a distance, saying “catch me if you can”.
I remember as a kid the favorite part of my school picnics were the bus journeys. The songs, racing other buses, shouting and the liberty of chewing gum, 6 kids sharing a seat, the evergreen antakshari. (I still remember the first five songs). C’mon lets go back to that amazing school picnic and remember what we enjoyed the most about them. I can take a bet most of you will agree that it was the bus journey and not the destination. A train journey to Goa or biking all the way to Ladakh is much better than the destination itself. The adventure lies in the odyssey. It’s the journey that matters at end of the day.
So guys focus on your journey! Stick to a job only if you love doing it or else do yourself a favor and move on. Run a marathon if you love running. If not, there are a million other ways to stay fit. Take up a hobby; learn how to play a musical instrument. You don’t have to become a maestro, just learn something new. There’s a reason why we “play” music and not “do” music. Playing is always fun. We enjoy reading books and not finishing them. The book finishes but the reading continues.
Milestones are achieved but the journey continues.
The journey is the real destination.
All images are sourced from google