THE TURNED LEAF

Having had lived a quarter of my life, I was driven back into the memories of my bygone days. A question arose- how can a man manage to live despite the numerous difficulties to be encountered on the way of life? My mind was filled with many answers to this question. At this instance of life, perhaps a man would have had developed his own perspective on life and might even be living it on his own terms- so they call is the presence of maturity. I do not here avow that I am a man mature enough but I would though like to share that at least I’m on my road to maturity.

Life indeed would be dull and useless if there were no such difficulties”. What is life in the absence of difficulties- such a life would be rather dull and monotonous. From the early days of my teenage, I was always bound with a sense of compulsion of fulfilling my duty towards my parents, my school, and my society. To be honest, I never felt comfortable with the load of the ambitions and dreams of others that was thrown down upon me. My schooldays were more or less a struggle — for I had to keep up to the expectations of my parents and make myself able enough to fetch them their dream that they had so intricately weaved for me. Then with the entry into the college, the monster of responsibility got even bigger- and it frightened me even more, the dread of not being able to live up to all the pressures made by life was getting onto me. “You have got to study well”; “you’ve got to secure good marks”;”you must compete with the ever changing times”; “you must be able to uphold your responsibility”… and much more-these were perhaps the only lyrics that I could remember most of the times and they rang aloud in my head almost always. No one cared enough to ask me what I actually needed- my desires, my aspirations, my satisfaction…- all this as if didn’t make sense to the people around me, people who meant in my existence. It felt as if the worst of times was strangling my neck and I could do nothing but see life escape out of me with each passing moment. I always had a desire of being able to work with a complete sense of freedom, being able to do things for myself independently- alas! such a time didn’t come along that easily. Contentment- to me was just a mirage; the desert I wandered in had no oasis. My dreams froze in front of me and I couldn’t make it transform into reality. My frustrations kept mounting up. My life as if meant nothing, living it came across as an offense to my ideology about life. Nothing seemed good enough to bring a smile into my face; my self esteem went down into an abyss. Happiness and hope, as they say, are just myths, invented to make us buy things. Sorrow and grief, layer after layer overpowered my existence, I was unable to establish a connection between my head and heart- there was a state of vacuum (just imagine how all this might have felt!). The impact of all this showed clearly on my face and with it came more questions from my friends- “What has happened?”; “What is wrong with you?”; “Why are you behaving this way?” I had nothing to answer back. How could I explain it to others when I wasn’t sure of it myself? Every word I spoke, everything I did, every moment I lived- it all denied my existence. I was to stand alone in a dreary desert, seeking without hope, my very own self. To cut it short, there it was- a living that I tried to drag through. But things did change, the world did feel beautiful and my life did come to make sense to me finally. 

I finally found what I had been looking for- my true identity. My distorted life gained its original architecture, the obstacles that made me kneel down, that made me feel broken, that made me beg for mercy, now got me excited- excited enough to take the new challenge, to play the new game with a zeal that was sure to bring any opponent down. And all this sudden transformation was brought about by a small incident, which could have gone by unnoticed quite easily. But, as you might yourself have assumed- it didn’t…

The incident unfolded thus-I was as usual, with a frown in the face and an unsatisfied mind, travelling in a bus. The monotonous journey had so much become a part of life that nothing in it bothered me, I was left to myself- unaffected. I couldn’t though help noticing a cute, little child about five sitting in her mother’s in the seat beside mine. What actually happened was- her mother had fallen asleep and the child taking an opportunity of it found time to employ her gaze all over the bus. A couple busy in their romantic chats came by and so engrossed were they that they didn’t notice a tomato that had been misplaced in the seat and the fair lady sat on it. Instead of laughing at the incident the curious child asked her mother what had happened. The mother who was awakened by the probing of fingers of the child, without much knowledge of what had actually happened just answered-“a design”. I had no clue to why she said that, she could have still been in her dreams for that matter. But when the couple got up to leave, there was indeed a design on the seat and on the lady’s sari too…initially I thought that the incident would mean a bad omen (those days all I could think was negative) but to my surprise- after a very long time my lips actually stretched and as you might have assumed, I found myself smiling- and I have found myself smiling ever since..

From that day on I understood that whatever happens in life, the numerous hardships that are tossed up are what hold the true quintessence of a life worthy enough to live. Many a times the difficulty lies not in the situations but in the way we end up perceiving the situations to be. Our judgments rule our life and most of the time it’s the judgment that comes across as faulty in making life a dreadful experience. It’s just the matter of either looking at the glass as being half empty or half filled- it’s a choice that only we can make and it’s this very choice that decides either we live a happy life or we curse every moment of being alive. Life is not about “the absolute”, it’s not about only happiness or only sorrows- it’s only the presence of one that can define and give meaning to the other.

The stones by the river banks are rough and have sharp edges whereas the stones over which the river flows are far more smooth and beautiful, why? The answer to it is quite simple. They are smooth because they have undergone a lot of troubles- the falling from the mountains, being flown from place to place by the harsh water currents in the river. The almighty lord has given every creation of his a reason for survival and every moment has in it a lesson to be learnt. Every man sent on earth has a potential to deal with the hurdles spread all about in the path of life, it just depends on how early or how late one takes to discover it and how effectively ones stretches oneself into the world of possibilities, willing to reach out to newer horizons with a heart filled with hope. All of us encounter problems; the fact that separates a successful man from an unsuccessful man lies in the way both of them perceive the problem. Every lock has a key and every problem has its solution- no matter how peculiar they sound. However, in the journey through life many of us tend to overlook this fact and that is why we find ourselves being thrown into a chasm of frustration and depression, we lose our patience and thereafter nothing as if seems to work right for us. We then tend to lose the battle even before it begins; a single failure seems strong enough to demolish us forever. This is not what should happen. Only when failure is taken as a stepping stone towards success, can true success be achieved.

I somehow learnt that mantra in life. The leaf turned for me and I got transformed into a new man- the depressed me turned into an energetic, strenuous, optimistic and smiling man. Now I know what my life is worth. Life is beautiful and I don’t have even a second to waste feeling sad and agonized. I know a fact in life- I am what I am and I am the master of my own life. I’m entitled to enjoy each and every moment of my life by the virtue of being alive. After all, who is to know what will happen next…so what’s your story?