By Arun Gopal
The day was warmer than usual and I had to do something that I dreaded the most--Travel in an overcrowded bus. The universe had left me with no alternative. There was someplace that I had to go to. The train was running late and that overcrowded bus was my best bet. Reluctantly, I climbed on-board and a sea of irate faces invited me in. I decided the reaction was due to my oversized bag that kept bumping against passengers and not their thought of accommodating my bulky frame. I finally found solace in leaning against a support pillar by a seat. It was a matter of three hours and I made up my mind to survive this ordeal.
The seat that I was standing next to was occupied by a young couple. The husband carried a small baby in his arms. The baby was sound asleep, unaware of the chaos
around it. My thoughts turned to how useful it would have been if I had a baby with me. A good samaritan would offer me a seat and I could be in a much happier place. Well, if I was wishing, I wish I was a baby and that someone would carry me around shielding me
from my current problem. My only job would have been to sleep peacefully, as like the other baby. I wondered why a helpless being like a four month old baby could be so
“It's a delight to trust somebody so completely.”
- Jeff Goldblum, American Actor
The baby began squirming as the bus engine rattled to life. A crying baby was one of the last things I wanted on a crowded bus. The father rose to the occasion and like a trained professional, he began to mildly shake the baby up and down and eventually the baby drifted back to sleep.
The baby trusted his parents. He knew that he was unable to take care of himself or even exist without help. The fact that he could so blindly trust was one of the reasons he could go back to sleep. But it’s not the same every time. My nephew cries whenever I try to pick him up. I am not suggesting that the weird faces that I make to entertain him are responsible but what you could take away is that babies do not trust everybody. They only trust those
who they feel safe and comfortable with.
Adults have trust issues. Be it a patient who is scheduled for surgery, the boss who expects the job to be completed within the deadline or me; in the immediate scenario;
wondering about the driving skills of the bus driver as he executed a sharp turn. Had the patient trusted his doctor, the boss his employees and me the driver, all of us would have felt at ease. We are surrounded by people. Find that one person in your life that you can absolutely trust, that you are willing to share. It may not be easy and you could be hurt if you choose wrong. But everybody needs an anchor.
How serious are you?
“Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. The world would go
on even without you. Don't take yourself so seriously.”
! ! ! - Norman Vincent Peale, Author, The Power of Positive Thinking
Adults carry an enormous amount of emotional baggage. They worry about being judged.
They feel the need to design an alter ego so that the real person deep inside is protected.
Soon a point comes in their life where the alter ego takes over and makes life changing
decisions for them. They soon end up living somebody elseʼs life and not theirs.
Mr Peale suggests that things do not have to be that way. There is a lighter side to life for
which most of us do not have time for. Make time for your idiosyncrasies, your hobbies or
maybe a few of your select old habits.
Do you remember the time in your childhood when you put on a towel as a cape and you
were superman?. A time when you thought everything was possible. Maturity should not
come at a loss of oneʼs innocence. Learning to laugh at yourself is an important key to
Room for Mistakes:
“Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes”
- Confucius, Chinese Philosopher
A few years back I was waiting in the waiting area of a hospital for some test results. My attention was drawn to a baby, who evidently discovered the joy of walking recently, was prancing around the waiting area. One of her toys had rolled under a chair and the baby
was determined to get it back. As she bends down, her head banged against the chair and the baby started crying. The mother rushed in, took the baby in her arms and started consoling her. A few minutes later, the baby was back in business and was still focussed
on getting her beloved toy back. The routine followed and I was appalled at the indifference of the mother and bet my good money on the baby hitting her head again. As
expected, the baby did hit her head and the mother swooped in to console the crying baby.
Ten minutes later the baby was again on the floor aiming for the chair. I made up my mind to confront the mother and thought of a few good parenting tips to give her. I decided to wait till the baby hit her head again so that my speech would become relevant. I watched with baited breath as the baby reached near the chair. The whole waiting area was watching. The baby got to the point where she bend down and hit her head. But nothing happened!. The baby stopped near the chair. Put her little hand on the place where she hit her head twice and looked at her mother. The mother walked towards the
baby with a smile on her face and calmly retrieved the toy. I was stunned. The baby had learned a life lesson and I had new found respect for the mother.
Everybody makes mistakes. Curiosity is hard wired into every human being and it is this trait that more than often brings us to unfamiliar situations or interactions. When you do something that you do not know of, chances are that you end up making mistakes. The key here is not to get disheartened but accept the fact that its only human to err.
Expect to make mistakes every day and make it an opportunity to learn and understand.
Learn to Let Go:
“A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain”
- Samuel Johnson, English Author
As pointed out earlier, we are prone to making mistakes. It is beyond our control to ascertain the effects that these mistakes have on others. Our life should be a culmination
of our beliefs, principles and experiences. It is unfortunate that most of us have not mastered the art of forgiving and moving on. The influences could be the loss of someone
you deeply loved, memories , betrayal of trust or even the loss of a pet. These influences should make you stronger and not weaker. The past is carved on a piece of stone, the
present is on a piece of paper and your future, in your imagination. It’s up to you to decide whether an unfortunate incident that happened in the past should redefine your present and your future.
“A little perspective, like a little humour, goes a long way”
- Allen Klein, American Businessman
What would the world be without perspective? Well, All of us would have the same opinions and tastes. There would be no more war raging nations, No more hunger and
there would be world peace. On the other hand all would agree that blue is the best colour, “Citizen Kane” the best picture and monarchy the best form of government. There
would be one religion. All the literature would be about love. In short everything would be the same and consistent and we would be akin to robots.
The world is culture-rich and vibrant because people do not think alike. They have their own opinions and hold them dearly. Their experiences are different, what they perceive of the world is different.
Let me ask you a simple question. When you pray to god to make you rich, what exactly do you expect to happen? Do you expect god to appear before your eyes mysteriously and offer you a pot of gold or do you expect god to create opportunities for you so that you
can make your own pot of gold?. God might take you to the nadir of your fortunes to get
you motivated and then present you with opportunities to become what you wished for. God is not a provider, he is an enabler. You might be in a rough patch in life because god heard your prayers and is working with you.
The same logic can be applied to instances in daily life.
Every human being, animal or plant has an underlying reason for its actions. A murderer does not get up in the morning, sip coffee and think “It’s a lovely day, I should kill somebody.” Everybody has justifications for their actions. They may not seem significant to us because we have a pre-conceived notion that they would not be significant. Perspective gives you an alternate
plane of thought. It gives you infinite number of possibilities and more importantly it enables you to understand people more.
The bus had come to a grinding halt. I had reached my destination. I took one last look at the baby still peacefully asleep in his father’s arms. I felt grateful. The whole journey was consumed in my rumination of how to be in peace with the inner self. I saw the bus leaving
the bus stop and reflected upon how similar it felt to what I was thinking. The journey is still on. There is more that life has to offer me and I am prepared, prepared to take life on with a smile.
(Arun completed his MBA in Media and Entertainment from Manipal University- Whistling Woods. A passionate film maker, Arun along with a few friends runs his own advertising and wedding film-making agencies Therefore We Media and Wedding Memoirs respectively. Arun is currently working on his pet project- In Conversation with God -a short film.)