What Else Did I Miss Out On?

So the other day, I decided to leave a bit early from office. Now usually, my office timings are 11 to 8. But sometimes, I leave a bit early. And for anyone from my office reading this blog, let me clarify – I’m not shirking my work; I completed the required hours of work after reaching home! 😉

So, anyways, as I was saying: Sometimes I leave early. I do this so that I can get to see the sun set (I have a thing for sunsets). And there’s a stretch on the way back home that offers a very nice view, weather permitting.

I’ve seen some really beautiful sights this way, but this time, the view was extraordinary. Golden-orange sunlight streamed through openings in the clouds. I could make out the edges of the beams of light, but just barely. It was more like a golden fog descending through the clouds, diffusing as it approached the ground, slowly disappearing mid-air, before ever touching down. It was spectacular! I wish I had a photograph or video, but I was driving and couldn’t stop to take one. (The above beautiful image is not mine!)

Watching this amazing sight triggered a thought, which has finally culminated in today’s blog. And that thought was: What other wonders have I been missing out on?

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What Begins, Must End

Apart from this blog, I sometimes also write in an actual journal, a diary. I find that sometimes, you just need that physicality to writing – the sound and touch of paper, holding and moving the pen, the rhythm of the hands, instead of the mechanical “clickity-clack” of typing and staring at a white screen. And well, some thoughts are too private even for a “personal blog”. 😉

I don’t do it often – just a couple of entries a year. Sometimes even fewer. So, I’d been using that same diary for the last many, many years. But as I was writing in it this time, I realized that I had reached the end of it.

As I neared the end, I wanted to write a “goodbye” message in the little space that I had left (yeah, I’m “weird” that way), which I did. But as I began writing, I had an amusing and pleasant thought, one that I think (more like “hope”), some of you might find some beauty in. So, here I am, reproducing that final, short diary entry below:

* * *

And just like that I’ve reached the end of this journal – a journey that began many, many years ago, with a thoughtful gift. Now, there aren’t many pages left in this diary, for another one of life’s journeys.

A little more space to continue writing would have been nice, but we don’t control how many pages we are given, and where our story ends. I guess I’d never really be ready for it to be over. So many stories left untold, incomplete. But not much that I can do about it.

Sometimes, you get a chance to wrap up your story in time, when you know the end is near, but even then, it’s not easy letting go. You wish you could continue in some way or another; just refusing to let go.

But, the end approaches, and it’s time to say, “Thank You! And Goodbye.” 🙂

* * *

Photo Credit: Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash

The Fire That Refuses To Die

Today I bring to you this gem:

What an amazing guy! Hats off to the guy’s spirit and will! What a fighter! Just imagine the determination, the practice, the skill it must take to do what this guy does, given his situation. Wow!

I wonder what drove him to decide to make these clay sculptures that require such deft touch, despite his disability. Did he always make these figurines, before he met with an accident apparently? Or did he choose to make them after, to take this up as a challenge, to prove to himself (and to others maybe) that he wouldn’t let his disability stand in the way, that he’ll overcome it?

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The Most Important Thing To Know

Recently, one thought has been popping up in my mind repeatedly. And it happens at all sorts of time – when driving, when walking, even when talking.

Not that I’m complaining though. In my somewhat routine life, I tend to forget a very important thing, maybe, even the most important thing. But I’m glad that these days, the thought has been staying fresh in my memory through repetition.

And that thought is:

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Living Without Masks

Consider this: You are chatting in a group, and discussion veers towards a certain person X. Specifically, towards his attitude towards money.

The group thinks that X is a miser, stingy with his money. He doesn’t buy things that he should, and that he can easily afford. But, in your heart, you think that X’s behavior is more cautionary than stingy, that he is careful with his money, which is a totally fine thing to do. And let’s assume that you think so because you have a similar attitude towards money as X; you would do the same in his place.

At this point, suppose the group asks for your opinion on the topic of X and his money; what you would do if you were in his place. What do you say now?

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E. E. Cummings: The Hardest Challenge…

I find this quote from E. E. Cummings to be very true.

We always have an opinion on everything. Even if a random person, whom we are meeting for the first time, were to appear in front of us, and ask for some advice, we would definitely have something for him (even though we may not give that advice to him out of politeness or political correctness, but our minds will definitely think of something for him).

This works the other way too. Everyone has some opinion about how we, ourselves, are, and how we ought to be. That includes how we talk, our body language, our sense of dressing, our lack of knowledge about something, etc. People always have something that they want to tell us.

And this is not always with of a sense of condescension or contempt. Sometimes, people genuinely want what’s best for us. Like your family or friends. They’ll share their knowledge or opinion in the hope that it will make us better, prevent us from making certain mistakes, etc.

But, irrespective of the intentions, the ultimate effect on a person is that everyone tries to make the person be somebody else, according to what they think is best. But as the person leading that life, one has their own idea about how to lead their own life.

The result is that one has to deal with too many opinions, some their own, and some from different people. These opinions are often in conflict with each other, and one may easily be confused as to which one to take into consideration, and which to ignore.

To whom do you listen? To yourself or to those around you? Who’s to say who will be right? When faced with a choice, say you are thinking of going for option #1, but everyone around you suggests you take option #2. And say, after a great deal of thinking over the options, considering the arguments that others made for option #2, you do end up going for option #2, who made that decision? Did you or did they?

And even if you do take option #1 (your own original choice), suppose that turns out wrong (everyone makes mistakes and wrong decisions sometime in life). When the next time you have to make a choice again, and when again, the others have certain opinions different from your own, whom do you listen to?

These are not easy questions to answer. To make decisions that are truly one’s “own”,  one needs a great level of self-awareness and courage.

Self-awareness, so that one can objectively decide what one’s own thoughts are, without getting them mixed up with the plethora of thoughts from others that one will, undoubtedly, be bombarded with.

And courage, because that’s what one needs to stick to one’s own convictions, even in the face of a 100 people telling them that they are wrong. And specially, when one has actually been wrong in the past. A mistake, in the past, in a totally different scenario, doesn’t mean that one will make another in the current scenario. But those other people won’t miss a beat in telling you that you were wrong before (when you hadn’t listened to them), and that you should listen to them now if you don’t want to be wrong again.

In such a complex mix, it is a real challenge, the hardest even, to maintain a clear vision of who you are. So, yes, I agree:

The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.

– E. E. Cummings

The Lives That We’ll Never Live

For me, winters are a time for reflection, more so than the usual. The long winter nights, lying in bed in a warm cocoon, sitting by the fireplace, sipping hot chocolate. With snow outside. It just makes you think and wonder about life.

Well, none of it actually happens where I live, but it’s how I picture winters. Maybe it’s because of all the books I’ve read from English authors, describing those cold winter nights in the English countryside. 🙂

Anyway, to get to the point: So, yesterday, I had a thought: What would it have been like to live the different lives that I never got a chance to live? What all lives have I missed out on? And it’s not the first time that I’ve had this thought.

Let me explain what I mean by it.Read More »