Posts Tagged ‘#Experiences’

What is the gravest loss a person can incur? Someone frivolous would say- Money, someone with greater depth and realisation about how life runs would say – passing away or passing on of loved ones is a loss that can never be repaired. True that!

But while we are living, we learn to survive with or without people. Even if they pass on, we can find solace in the fact that they loved and cherished us as we do them.

In my very humble opinion, the greatest loss a person can lay oneself open to is the loss of respect, whether it is in the eyes of our loved ones or in our own judgement.

It isn’t rocket science to understand that not all of us are destined for great things, not all of us would be remembered by a multitude, not all of us would earn the celebrity status, few amongst us will earn a handsome living but there runs a common thread between the greats and the ordinary ones, like us.

All of us have one Life and we need to prioritize it in such a way that we make the extraordinary come alive even in the mundane. We may not be a Ratan Tata, an Indra Nooyi, an Amitabh Bachchan, a Lata Mangeshkar, a Mark Zuckerberg or a Steve Jobs to inspire an entire generation but we are humans too and it is upto us to be exemplary atleast to our own children.

I have written time and again about how I look upto both my parents for everything in my life. The way they have led theirs, their experiences and conduct even in the face of adversity, their even temperaments, their integrity and honesty have far surpassed any flaws that are bound to seep into a human character. I am proud to be their daughter although sometimes theirs are huge shoes to fill in.

It’s not always that, parenting goes right. I may not be the most appropriate person to talk about it but I have observed, at close quarters, children losing respect for their fathers or mothers. It used to baffle me because it was a completely alien concept for me. How could one hate one’s parent? Way back in my school days, I had some classmates who rarely spoke about or to their mothers. Being an impressionable child myself, I had spoken to my mother about it and she had wisely advised me not to be judgemental or take sides, better still to mind my own business and not put my nose where it wasn’t required.

With years and age came maturity and a kind of experienced comprehension of human nature. During my teaching years, I came across a couple of girls who hated their mothers. For one it was easily explained – she had a step mom and the girl had never warmed up to her but there was another who just couldn’t tolerate her own natural mother. Try as I may, I couldn’t understand that kind of hatred.

Some years on, I moved back to my hometown to be with my parents and thus nearer to my extended family too. True, it is trying, living with people of a generation that doesn’t understand your reasons and don’t approve of your way of doing things and true, there are disagreements too but at the end of the day, they are our parents and we learn from their experiences. Wherever necessary, we also tell them a better way of handling things. Hate never enters this equation. Not with the parents atleast. But that’s me and my life. Not everyone has the same circumstances.

Today, more than anything, I understand the wisdom behind my mother’s words when she had told me not to be too inquisitive about the lives of my friends and more specifically – never to judge. ‘You don’t know their truths. Not the same applies to everyone’, was her constant reply to my curious wonderings.

I have seen grown men losing respect, losing face in front of their own kids. They can’t handle the ever increasing pressures of modern day living and give in to vices like drinking to drown their sorrows, gambling to earn an easy buck, borrowing to pay back previous debts. It is a vicious circle. Instead of facing life headlong with grit and determination, they succumb to weaknesses of the body and soul which eats away at their family lives.

Far from being heroes or inspiration to their kids, they become embarrassments for their families. The impact on the children is life altering. They either become copies of their fathers, taking up those vices as their own or end up hating their parent and going against anything and everything they suggest. Either ways, lives get ruined.

This is the problem, but is there any use writing about the problem without suggesting a solution? My solution is simple and has to come from within.

Marriage is not just a social obligation that we have to perform when the time is right, instead it is a responsibility which should be taken only when one is ready for it. Becoming a parent makes one accountable. We don’t have to lead extraordinary lives in order to earn the respect of our children, we just have to make our decisions on the basis of what will be right or wrong for our family as a whole.

Seemingly ordinary lives can also be remarkable if the children come out cultured, if they value their resources, are intellectually & morally sound and most importantly if they respect their elders, effortlessly.

We should give them reasons for that respect. Just because they are our offsprings is not enough cause for ‘demanding’ respect. How we conduct ourselves, goes a long way in shaping the lives and characters of our children. We cannot expect them to outshine us when all we are giving them is a lot of negative energy.

Having said that, we have one life too and at times we also can be reckless and experimental. We may enjoy our little indulgences but responsibility towards our children wins the round, hands down. We cannot drink ourselves to hell at the cost of our family just because we happen to enjoy our daily pint. We cannot smoke away to lala land without a thought about its impact on our family. We may take calculated risks to earn big time but cannot be reckless enough to go beyond our means and set up a debt for our children to repay. That’s not how exemplary lives are lead.

It’s never too late to make amends. If our intentions are right and if our hearts are in the right place then we know what is the most important thing for a person- it’s the love and respect of the ones closest to us. And make no mistake, we have to work hard to earn that. The first step is to acknowledge our mistakes and then try to mend our ways as best as possible. Even if we don’t succeed in bringing in more money or stability to our lives atleast we can be content that we tried our best and that too with integrity.

Wouldn’t it be endearing to be remembered as a good human being, once we are gone? Why just talk about being remembered once we are gone!! Wouldn’t it warm the cockles of our hearts if people look up to us even in life? Wouldn’t it be remarkable to leave a legacy of righteousness and morality for our kids to follow and pass on?

Start making amends today. We don’t know what is in store for us tomorrow.

What happens when we first learn to drive a car or ride a bike? After the initial apprehensions, a sort of over confidence sets in and combined with the zest of youth, we tend to forgo speed limits, we test our boundaries, we take chances, we know that we would be able to control the vehicle even at that insane speed. We feel a special kind of independence at being able to do things on our own, a self reliance, if you may.

Once the novelty wears off, it becomes routine. Driving or riding may still be synonymous with liberty but the thrill is gone. Gone is the urge to take unnecessary risk. It merely becomes a means of getting things done. At this stage we are more aware of the potholes, the traffic and the wisdom of slowing down and letting others pass. We are surer and more confident of our skills. We learn how to manoeuvre our ride around tight corners, we become adept at getting by without applying abrupt brakes..

Yes, life is a lot like driving.. Infact it is just like driving!

Years back when I had just joined the teaching profession and was brimming with fresh ideas and ideals, I remember feeling indignant when a cousin of mine spoke to me about the caste card he would play to, in the upcoming elections. My cousin had some years on me and had pretty clear ideas how democracy worked at the grassroot level. I was shocked and indignant because his ideas did not match the ones given in the text book.

Some years on, when I had gained some worldly experience and knew of rage, oppression and fate dealing a lame card, I was still shocked when an extremely mild- mannered colleague of mine belonging to a marginal community, spoke harshly with an almost wolfish snarl what he thought of being secular. His venomous hate for an entire community, though coming from personal experience, did not feel justified to me.

Quite recently, the brouhaha about the release of a movie on a long dead queen also felt unnecessary and roguish to me.

But isn’t this where we make mistakes? What may be clear as crystal to me, may not even ring a bell with someone else. It’s the perceptions that we form that make us the people we are. And even if it has taken me years to get this simple fact straight, I now realise that respecting other people’s way of looking at things makes life uncomplicated and hassle free. We cannot expect even our closest ones to feel exactly as we do on issues, both ideological and otherwise.

The more we read or expose ourselves to unfamiliar notions in any form, through any medium, the more we grow as a person.

While going through Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf, I got to know why he hated the Jews so much. I may not agree with his beliefs, ideas & deductions but he wasn’t wrong in his own eyes. His perception gave way to the Holocaust, the biggest genocide the world has ever experienced, and yet he was convinced that he was right all along.

Our beliefs are rooted in our own experiences. However bad a person may seem to the multitude, he is worth praising if he sticks to his beliefs. The ideas and notions of some may be repugnant to us or many others but they are there because they stand on the firm ground of experiences of that individual. That doesn’t make it wrong. They may not be justified but are true for them.

What I don’t get is being so impressionable that you can be swayed from what you truly believe, by dint of great oratory, fine language or the personality of a person.

Some of us have it easy. We haven’t had bitter experiences to shape up our thinking but for that very purpose we have been endowed with the faculty of brains, cognition, comprehension, logic, deductions and free will.. If only, we could use them instead of being blind followers to anyone that can wield and plant a thought in our minds, the world would be a more peaceful place and our relationships more transparent.

Just this morning, while surfing the internet in my customary fashion, I came across the definition of the word Nostalgia.

Having used the word to great effect over the years, it didn’t seem quite extraordinary, specially when I read it for the first time. But as they say, some things are better understood when felt, words just can’t do justice to them.

At 37, I have been lucky to experience various facets of life- its triumphs, its joys, the memories of togetherness, friendships, relations, and simultaneously and very obviously-the trials, the tough times, the breakups, the leaving behind of places and people.

Every ‘rich’ life has its ups and downs. The mind, invariably, misses and remembers moments of glee and grief alike. There are triggers that set off the flow of memories and emotional people, like me, love to delve into them, relive them, sometimes to my own chagrin.

I am not a methodical writer, never have been. If I deliberately try to pen down something, it comes through as an invested effort, which is fake, at worst and dishonest, at best. My words flow only when they are inspired by something or someone. I am a handicap that way. That’s the reason I am so irregular in my posts. The daily nitty-gritty of life, the mundane blandness of living, hardly give us reasons to invest into words. It’s only when a memory strikes and I long to go back into time to experience, once again, the joy of that moment or to freeze it so that it can be a physical part of me, that I write.

For days now, I had been lamenting the fact that I wasn’t able to create anything. Granted, I have been busy but isn’t writing or creation something that we do to feed our Souls not to fill our pockets? Time or lack of it should, then, not be an impediment.

My current move to the city fills me with so many new experiences every single day. Be it the presence of people around or the cacophony of traffic, the blaring loudspeakers belting out song after song celebrating weddings or religious ceremonies. The lights, the sounds, the sights – every little thing fills me with wonder. Try as I might, I can’t write about them. Or atleast I can’t start with writing about them. It’s only things that I long for, things that have come to pass for better or for worse, that stir up my imagination.

I saw a familiar face today. Someone I had had to leave behind, not on very good terms too. Miraculously, I couldn’t remember anything bad about our association even when I happened to glance at him. True, there was a longing to shout out for attention but good sense prevailed and there & then the realisation of moving on struck me. I have already accepted the turn of events. I am aware that self respect and happiness are the most important ingredients of a fulfilling life and that some people are meant to meet us only to give us this lesson, they are there merely to make us understand what we don’t need in our lives.

We are life long learners, the human race. Too much information, too many words, too large an exposure to recorded and written life- lessons make us immune to them. After a while we stop sorting & sifting through them, a perfunctory read is all we accord them. Doesn’t it happen with too many text messages or motivational quotes that we come across on social networking sites? We read them, if we have to, but reading is far from assimilation. It’s only when we endure a certain situation or come face to face with reality, that we learn. And as I said, we learn everyday, even without books, without quotes, without religious, inspirational or motivational communes. Life is a hard task master. It has its exclusive way of getting through to us.

All I have learnt in recent years is that Self – love is important. Self-respect is an integral part of it. Someone who cannot respect us, isn’t fit to be loved by us. If we don’t love ourselves, we cannot channel that love outside, towards someone else. It isn’t selfish to put ourselves first. It is a prerequisite for sound mental health and eventually, one’s physical, social & psychological well being too.

I am grateful today that I got this life and that I have lived it the way I have. There are so many things to be thankful for, so many people that form the crux of my being, myriad events that shaped me into the person I am today. There is no place for Regrets. What and whoever is present, is the best that has happened to me. Whatever existed fleetingly, enriched me with experiences.


So, while the event that sparked off this train of thoughts might be intense nostalgia or a very strong memory, it surely isn’t Regret and what it definitely is, is Grace.

And, Grace changes Everything..