Category Archives: life
Its almost everyday in life that we find ourselves not being able to muster the courage to bridge the chasm between our desires and reality. It is tough to make a decision and you know what’s tougher than that, its resisting the temptation to look at the other alternative and not feel a sense of despair at what we chose.
Here, through these I tell my friend who is going through a similar decision making phase. Most of the defeats happen just before the last hurdle is crossed, so sit tight and carry on, the shore is just round the corner.
After 3 months I finally finished “Tuesday with Morrie” yesterday. I deliberately left the book mid-way because after one third of the book I realised that this book is too good to be finished at one go. After all haven’t you always wanted to be with that one guiding light be it a friends, a parent or a teacher who does not preach but simply converses with you and somehow that figure leaves you too soon.
The writer Mitch Albom was Morrie’s student during his sophomore years in Massachusetts and the book is a description of a last few conversations between Mitch and his teacher Morrie. Mitch lost touch with his professor after his graduation day where he supposedly had promised to be in touch with his teacher. He gets busy with his life, trying to chase big dreams “working at a pace that knew no hours, no limits” when one day he sees Morrie on ABC TVs show “Nightline” hosted by the famed Ted Koppel. He decides to visit his old professor and thus begins his conversations with Morrie which are very suitably titled “Tuesdays with Morrie”.
I guess there is something in that name itself that made me pick up this book, the very first time that I read about it at the back of another one of Mitch Albom’s classic “Five people you meet in heaven”. “Morrie” makes me imagine an old and soft figure one talking to me in a husky soft voice which symbolizes words dripping out of a century of soft served ice cream of a life. Sometimes though you begin to imagine him as someone straight out of your 5th grade Moral Science text book who is propagating love and empathy in this world of hardships surfeit with climate problems related to data and what not How would Morrie know this lying on his deathbed in a developed nation watching Maple trees shed its leaves all through the day and ruminating about life. But the beauty of the book is such that it tries to address many problems without even addressing them in any particular form . When Mitch asks him which side wins during a dilemma Morrie quips “Love” and after a short pause completes “Love, always wins”.
The book although devoid of twists and turns keeps the user hooked though the authors ability to capture the rawest of human emotions into minimal words. Read it slow and don’t mind keeping this masterpiece half read, as Morrie says ‘Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hang on too long.” You wont need a context when you pick up this half read book again as your own life will provide you all the context you need.
Long back during one of my night walks when the mind is too tired to fascinate about a bright future or reminisce about the long gone past I wondered what if someone switched of all the street lights or just for a few seconds there be no artificial lights around us. What if just for a few minutes the moonlight is all that we have to guide us forward. Imagining darkness all around seems fascinating to me and I pleaded to God “please, if you can”.
I was brought up in a small town surrounded by villages. Days started with school at 7 and the nights ended with the 9 pm news hour. To imagine the world without the lights seemed so much strange to that small town kid. Now imagine that kid all grown up and in one of the busiest metros of India, Gurgaon. It seems that this city never sleeps and it never actually does. It is said that evening here starts after 10 pm and end at 5 am.
In midst of all this I wondered why is it that people who work relentlessly all through the week found it so pleasing to go out on a Friday night. When the entire week people complain about tiredness, exhaustion and sleep deprivation suddenly become all charged up to let their hair down at the nearest night club for the whole night. This must be more tiring than 9 hours spent at work every day, isn’t it.
People have become less interactive and less patient. The days have gone when we used to go out with a friend for an after dinner walk or a light chat after office which used to be refreshing and did away with the day’s stress. Man has got to be social but with less and less chances of meeting new people the weekend nights offer a great way to meet people and chill out for a while even if it comes at a cost of loss of sleep and thus more stress.
We have got to revert back to that original lifestyle. Who would deny that Monday mornings, just after weekends, are arguably the most tiresome and lazy. Parties and night outs are good if done once in a while. Mind’s natural state is relaxed which can be achieved by just shutting the light off or listening to some music it’s the stress that you actually go looking out for during weekends.
Shortly after you get down from the train of everyday life at the station of dreams you take a cab and drive straight through the bustling town of dreams you would see a valley of flowers that is as mesmerizing and beautiful as the face of the first love. After a 20 kms drive not far from the forests of everyday life is a town called “tomorrowland”.
No readers this is no alien town, it is a town similar to Delhi, New York or Paris but without a sense of reality. In this town after you get inside the gates of “sleep “you see the people living here. They talk just like us and go to their offices everyday just like us. Here they live inside houses that are called “goals“, which are made not of bricks or woods but by their hard-work, the hard work that they do each and every single day in their big offices that lie just outside the realms of this city.
Like us mortals these people also have vehicles but here they don’t drive any Hondas, Hyundais or Marutis. They drive in their aspirations. Well actually the size of the vehicle defines its kind here vehicle of small size are called “ambitions”, the medium ones are called “dreams” and the abysmally larger ones are called “fantasies” and if you dare to think of a bigger vehicle than the fantasy you have the ultimate beauty called “greed” . The intriguing thing about greed is that although everyone big or small in status thinks or wants to own it actually nobody does or can. So to satisfy themselves they try to go in for multiple vehicles and take pride in themselves and for that they work night and day to earn more, after all greed is costly even in a fictional world. So ultimately they slog at work so much that they forget the way to the town which goes through the gates of “sleep”.
But hey I forgot to mention about the people with no cars, actually they are an endangered breed not worth mentioning about. They talk of something called “contentment” and “higher self”, idiots somebody tell them that the status and position in the society is ultimately defined by the number of cars driven and plots purchased. So let’s not talk about these laughing stocks of the town the contented ones. Let’s content them with just one word that defines them best “losers”.
Coming back to our dreamy and fantasy world once again, I see a solid structure here where everyone sits in silence and bows their head. Some bow in front of a cloth covered coffin, some sit fanning a book and some stand with folded hands in front of the idols. I notice that these idols are crafted with perfection these are so perfect that you barely can tell the difference a male idol and a female idol. So whether a book, idol, a coffin or in some cases just a mathematical sign of addition these are all housed inside a structure called “hope”. Everyone whether big or small, irritated or contented comes here to satiate their hope. A hope to have a better tomorrow, this is the only thing that is shared by everyone. It gives them reasons to wake up and get on with the day.
Here the town has three seasons in a year. The difference is that these seasons are personal to each citizen. The first is the season of loss, and then comes hard work and ultimately success. These seasons repeat every year for each and every person and the longevity of each season also varies from person to person. Everyone can’t be successful always after all.
In midst of all this these, people miss out on small things that result in happiness. No matter how much they try to make it big or try to reach the place between the stars as they call it, the happiness is elusive to them as it was yesterday. Some are happy in chunks and some in pieces. So there is this new trader who has his shop set up just outside the city of dreams on the outskirts of the city of reality. This trader swaps the dreams, aspirations and fantasies of the citizens for smiles. So everyone who comes to this trader leaves with a smile. The trader, yes you guessed it right is the man whom everyone respects he is called the “money- man”. People trade their bad memories from the past and leave with a smile. If you thought everyone leaves behind their bad memories and goes with a smile you are wrong because it is tough to leave our past behind, isn’t it. Everyone likes dwelling and remembering there past particularly the bad memories. We feel a bitter pain that accompanies this reminiscence followed by the self pity and ultimately that half hearted smile accompanied by shaking the head from side to side that acts as the ultimate pill and brings us a flood of tears that swell in the eyes. But some people like to be happy and tend to leave their bad memories with the trader, after all past is past and whether bitter or sweet it is gone.
The next time you happen to go to this part of the world just remember to pay a visit to this town that lies just outside the kingdom of realty and the road to which passes through the gates of sleep.