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.
Staring out of the serendipitous window sill;
beyond the roads and towards the formidable hills;
remembering the hazy times filled with laughter and coated with smiles.
Of those rambling days and sauntered miles, I wish;
to catch the dew drops of those lost times, I miss.
So Lets be strong and go;
far form the beguiling web of right and wrong;
to the hills of wish, surfeit with the cuckoo songs.
There my friend right from those hills, I will wave you;
and send my kisses like the flakes of snow;
when you gaze out from your window sill,
with a lucid mind on a starry night.
“Back up along the edge, even the smallest of them have to, the curve is too shallow, to manoeuvre”
This line sums up my recent trek to Triund, in India. Coming at a time when I am at the cusp of a change in my career, preferences and likes. It showed how even the mightiest and the smallest have their powers and limitations.
Triund is located at a height of 3000 meters above the sea level. The place is a ridge with a vast expanse of green cover during the summer months. The trek to Triund starts from Mcleaodganj and takes about 3 hrs for a new trekker to scale the stretch. The path to the top is quite rocky and becomes steeper as and when one approaches the top. The last two kilometers are particularly enervating and a pain in the ankles, literally.
Apart from the anticipation of a mesmerizing end the trekkers are enthused all along the way by the artistically molded shapes of tall Oak and Deodar trees which makes you smile at their audacious attempt to scale the mountains and reach the top. On the way you can take rest at various snack points which sell water bottles, biscuits, chips and tea that will keep you energized all the way.
However, as the saying goes “don’t lose heart and let the whole story unfold”. On reaching the top you are greeted by a mighty looking snow clad Dhauladhar range which looks mesmerizing and humbling at the same time. The ridge offers a 360 degree view of the mountains in the front and the city of McLeodganj down on the back side. The obscured view of the white mountains rising among the clouds fills you with awe and admiration. You see, even the high mountains can be shrouded by periods of haze which can often render them unrecognizable and unseen.
Thoughtfully, it is not just the Dhauladhar peak but the air of the ridge that reeks of silence, giving you a chance to experience the goodness and creativity of nature that manifests into the beautiful things around but is seldom noticed. At night, the place goes pitch dark after 1930 hours with only a few mobile phones and night lamps being the only source of light. The sky dotted with numerous stars is one of the best aspects of the nights on hills. It makes you come face to face with the eternity and you wonder if raising one hand will let you to touch and pluck a few stars to take home to the plains only to be riveted by the scenery.
After spending the night when you rise early the next day, the sky is light red with a tinge of blue on the outside, the cool air fills you with devotion for the loving nature of the creator. It happens that when we become one with the surroundings and the veil of self subsides we are able to admire the beauty surrounding us which is eternal and rejoicing.
After the sunrise we started our downward trek with a hope to respect, love and care for each and every thing on the planet. After all the though we admired the skies dotted with stars we tend to forget about the little houses with lights that look same from the hill top, these are the projections of stars on the earth.
Looking up at the stars is longing, looking around and embracing life is love. Perception matters.
The kiss of a wind,
The whiff of the oncoming storm,
Let me breathe and tell you a story in a whisper;
So as not to wake the sleeping bird.
A story about the temptation to get carried away.
Slowly and steadily in your arms.
To be flung to the far off place;
Devoid of the pain, suffering and the familiar faces
To the fallow lands strewn with the stubble.
Let me till the parched land;
For the fruit of life will sprout once again;
From the womb of the mother earth
But not to be burnt away in the summer of life.
During those weekends when you feel there is nothing to do when actually you have much on your platter. However slow you want the weekends to be, how so ever early you rise or how much longer you run from your routine extra, you find that at the end of the day the
time flies past. It is like those rows of trees, those small brick houses outside the window of a train that seem to run behind at a constant pace, no matter how you crane you neck out they just go behind you and dissolve into an infinite oblivion. To do away with this feeling of running ahead of my weekends I try to slow down but in vain.
While taking a bus journey, I looked around and found an old man sitting at the front seat ahead of me. He had a mobile phone in his hand that was as old as he probably. The man was in his white shirt and black pant looked about 55-60 years of age. He had a tuft of white hair on his head with a few of them protruding out of his ear. After fidgeting with his phone for a few minutes he opened his messages and began reading them one by one. After reading each message he deleted it. This went on for quite a few messages. So out of curiosity I craned my neck to read what the messages were. The first one read “Happy retired life sir”, the second one said “We will miss you sir” and so on.
The old man had retired after 30-35 years at service. By deleting the messages he was trying to cut the chords that tied him to his past, to those years of service. We feel not looking back or doing away the memories will make us forget the past. We search for all the memories and try to weed them out one by one in a hope that this would save us from the nostalgia. But why do we want to break away or forget the past which was so good. Do we not like to remember good stuff, do we not want to be surrounded by the happy feeling of good times that make us look at the future in a hope of reliving the past. Then why was he deleting the memories.
We humans are the most dissatisfied out of all the creations of God. In childhood, we crave for good marks. Once we have marks we crave for the top position in class, once teens, we crave for a good college and then a good job. And then after all those years at service, in the twilight of our lives we crave for reliving the past. This is why the man was cutting all the chords from the past. He wanted to forget about something that he will no longer have “the daily 9-5 job.” Getting up in the morning and leaving for the job in a haste only to return late in the evening. Cursing the Mondays and looking forward to the weekends. Cursing our daily routine and waiting for the end of each month for our salary. No matter how sad or depressing this predictable life looks on paper all of us live it and most of us crave for it at the end of our careers.
Those 25 years at the job we are all runners who are running at a great speed. We run to see what is at the end of the race and once we reach the final post we long for the race. We long for someone that boss to manage us. We long for the feeling of completing our monthly targets or for that yearly bonus that gives us a free pass to “dine out”. Suddenly we find ourselves so heavily addicted to our daily routine that even the thought of slowing down fills us with gloom. We forget that this emptiness is not a curse it’s what that has been bestowed on us as a reward of all those years at work. Why do we not see it?
Are we so lost that we don’t see the light the end of the tunnel. Do we love the darkness so
much that even the thought of light scares us. Out of all the living beings, only humans walk on two legs and have the ability to choose. Then why do we choose to ignore the voice within is. Why do we fail to see the beauty of “now”?
Here it is once again. Is it because of the air or if it is something about the month that makes boys and girls go head over heels during the month of Feb. And as always being single adds to the despondency. When you go to the market and you see little red heart shaped the “heart” hung around the shops and people buying it, what you do yes you just smirk and your mind says “yes, God saved me some bucks” and in my case God has been saving my bucks since what like college, that’s when you know the month love is here with open arms.
So what makes the month of Feb that entire special after all don’t lovers go around hand in hand the whole year. It’s not like they will only bother you with their public display of affection and that’s the full form of PDA if , if you are wondering the first time I heard that term I thought of it as some kind of mobile device that you can take with and roam around with, only during a designated time of the year. This is a month when you already know that for these 28 days or 29(god forbid if it’s a leap year) you will have to tell yourself and say “Deal with it its Feb after all” and the other months you still can’t run away from it.
Mind you loving is not everyone’s cup of tea. Arreee it requires a lot of hard work. Waking up the so called “baby” from bed that is 10 bucks wasted because a well-loved baby does not get up so easily mind you that baby requires a lot of “love yous ” and “there for yous”. After dressing up for the office it’s now baby’s turn to call you to say “love yous and love you toos”, that’s another 10 minutes wasted. Once you reach the office and begin the tasks you get so much engrossed that you forget that its lunch hour and your baby does not eat lunch without you and you rush towards the canteen just so late that it’s time for the baby to go and apparently she always has a busy day and yet she finds time for you. On enquiring and much pursuing it is revealed the baby was waiting for you for so long when instead what she could have done was go out with her friends, not a bad idea is what you think but what you actually say is “oooo baby sorry let me make you eat with my own hands”. What is a lunch without a walk because lunch is not just lunch idiot it is a way to spend time with loved ones as they say. So after spending a whole 1 hour at lunch you come back to your desk only to find a message on your phone from the baby informing that you forgot to say the parting words that you always used to say and you actually wonder what is the thing you have been doing since long is “wiping your ass”. Anyhow you continue your work till the next time you look at the clock and its evening and you need to go. You have to surprise the loved one after all you know the monster “Feb” is coming. To make things worse they have these designated days teddy, chocolate, hug, propose, and kiss and Valentine’s Day and the poor guy after all the hard work thinks why did they stop at Valentine ’s Day. They should have topped it up with a make-out day.
So you see if you are a lover feel good because you have been doing a job no not just a job but two full-time jobs. And if you are not a lover cheer up and feel good because you saved yourself your hard earned bucks. And to that I wake up from this wild dream and say fuck that “I am a whole lot richer, i am gonna drink to that”. Now that I must say is a “Happy Valentine’s day” boys.
In the realms of my hands cuddling as if its world is comprised of just the area within the cup of my hand. I came to me on a one fine morning when I was a kid, starting an unknown journey that I don’t know what would have been if not without it. After all I can’t find one instance when it was not there with me if not physically then in my thoughts. It was not long before the days passed when we were always together no matter what the weather or the place, it always came to me. The window sill where she sat while I crammed for my History exams or the treetop in the prayer grounds where it sat smiling while I collected awards and used to see it from the stage wondering would I have the same smile if it won’t be there clapping or those times when I just used to smile just at the sight of it in the morning while I waited for my school bus
I stroke its weathers gently trying to count them as the time passes softly before she flies away to a strange little bird world. After all life is transient and no matter how much we try we have to let go of the best of things and on the other hand no matter how much we try their memories continue to make us smile halfheartedly, longingly wishing how would it have been if only it had stayed.
The rays of the sun are piercing the body now as if trying to melt the outer core and exposing the innards, the innards that have been covered by multiple layers of happiness sorrow and the toughest of them all resolution. She looks towards me with gleaming eyes, bubbling with energy and raring to go. After all new place, life and people await her. I thought only humans feel elated at the prospects of new but here it was feeling excited about leaving the past and embracing something new. I look back at my past and see that I too have run away from people and situations but the fact was in the hindsight I knew she would be there overlooking me from somewhere behind the clouds above.
It flew spanning its small wings high in the sky circling above me getting ready for a long flight that will take it towards mountains that will be hard to scale, that will offer various hurdles and test its limits. I am skeptical about the future but my concerns wither away when I see its determination and enthusiasm.
So I smile one more time before saying adios to the bird who had been second to none and who I don’t want it to turn back to say final wishes because breaking the chains of past and unleashing the ropes of future is what helps in the journey of life.
This independence I let it fly to somewhere………far.