The viciousness of childhood is forgotten in retrospect. This is a paraphrased from the celebrated George Elliot. Quite true; if you think about it. Who remembers the class-work heaped upon our poor little heads, all the facts that we had to cram therein, all the bullies, all the easily turned friends. But then there are things that seemed pleasanter back then. Or perhaps it is our memories, those that befuddle and entangle us in obscurity and confusion: childhood does seem sweet only to adults! One did not have to worry about choosing a career, of having to find a place in this dog-eat-dog world. In college, that is perhaps all one thinks about. One, most importantly did not have to try hard at being happy. It was just a state, an is-ness, a being. Happiness now needs to be striven for. Now we look for it everywhere – how to reap maximum benefit from something. And consequently, benefit becomes synonymous with happiness. We are prudent when choosing partners, when finding our calling, reckless with it when we indulge in recreational drugs or when leaving it harmless on a night out with friends. It is like being in a time-warped bubble, everything slows down, so that though you eagerly pursue it, happiness always evades you. After all, it is a desire not to be had.
They say, whomever ‘they’ are that in the Vedas, it is proclaimed that the ultimate goal of any human being is to find happiness. Some famous somebody, whose name one need not mention, said that happiness is in serving others. But you know what the most foolproof way of finding and keeping happiness is? It is to be found in sharing. Sharing food, sitting huddled together, maybe sharing in even a story or too. It is in exploring the world and its many facets and realizing the reality beyond one’s solipsistic vision of life. If all one can know is existence, one must strive to know fully, completely, utterly!
Travel the world; see it more closely, more intimately than before, transcending one’s computer screen, to observe really close the miracles in life. For my part, want to hear stories of lost civilizations, from lost wandering rovers, in lost languages, as I embrace the heat of the bonfire and the stardusted night. The gurgle of water, the chirping of birds and the warmth of pure sunshine on one’s face; it is after all a matter of the little things. For a writer then, it is to capture emotions and expressions through words and even photographs – a veritable verisimilitude to strive for.
It is to ask oneself the Big questions of life – and the little ones too. Of spending time with your parents, grandparents, siblings and old friends; of smelling the acid-yellow pages of old books, ones that possessed your heart a long time ago.
Life is not a test. Repeat after me: Life is not a test. No one is evaluating your life choices, no pearly gates await a judgment upon your life, nothing you or give you your just deserts. One can’t help but abhor the idea that someone somewhere is playing dice with our most valuable possession – our lives. So here we are declaring some faith in our own dignity, affirming a faith in this short thing called life. Life is more like a lesson then, sort of like a game, Life Run; some pebbles hit you here and there, some boulders shock you out of your path, if you are conscientious enough, you can move on to the next level, maybe even transcend the game.
Know more, learn more, ask more, question the status quo, desire, laugh uncontrollably, cry like a baby, jump into the air with excitement, indulge in a good book or a movie to give the ride a perspective and make it more tolerable, eat with an ardor for food, do something worthwhile with your time here. Make someone else laugh, make someone else cry tears of joy, make someone else jump up with joy on receiving a gift, give someone a chance at education, share an ice-cream with someone, hug a stranger, and most of all, just love. And your time in this small place called The World and in this short thing called Life will become after all, worth your time.