We have all turned into blind rats, lured by the flute of pushy Pied Pipers of the commercial and corporate world. Our needs, our ambitions, aspirations, dreams, even our spirituality, are all informed by this obtrusive army of dictators. Life is for living, not for beating the clock or winning a hysterical meaningless race that puts us on the escalator of hypertension, diabetes and vulnerability to many more health problems, while still in the prime of youth. Let us learn to slow down, step away from this frenetic tempo every now and then, and tune in to our inner selves, cautions Shernaz, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
A few days back someone shared Vikas Khanna’s post on our Whatsapp group. The celebrity chef had posted it on Facebook on 16th March 2017, two years after his father’s demise. It is a tragic reminder of how we enmesh ourselves in the web of daily existence and inadvertently put relationships on the back burner. In his words:
“On Jan 31, 2015, as a morning ritual I called home and to speak to my Mom and Dad. Dad was super excited for 2 reasons, Serena Williams was playing Finals for Australian Open and Mercedes had signed me up for their association. He told me that it was his dream to drive his son’s Merc. I laughingly said that why didn’t you tell me before, he joked and said “you had never asked.”
We laughed as usual and disconnected.
At noon on the same day, he passed away. No child can ever be ready for this loss; it leaves a hole in your heart. Makes you feel empty, betrayed by Gods and unprotected to the World.
So many times since that unfortunate day, I wish I could have done more for him, made him proud, and fulfill all his wishes.
Life lesson: Don’t wait for a single more moment. Our parents might never ask for anything and just give all their lives for us.
Surprise them, spoil them, hug them, ask them about their dreams, and love them. Because one day you might be able to buy a fleet of cars, but you can’t buy time.”
Those words ring true for every relationship. We don’t know when we may be torn apart forever from a loved one, so we should not wait for life to teach us lessons the hard way. We seem to have forgotten our priorities in this technology driven day. It has shortened the distance between any two points in the world but often creates a rift between hearts. It brings strangers together on social networking sites, has become match-maker, can save one from face-off embarrassments…. You name it and it can be done, with alacrity, anonymity, zeal. The question is: Has it brought people genuinely closer? Does it cement relationships or does it mostly lead to superficial, work and business-oriented contacts? Preoccupation with technology has impaled people on the stake of aloofness; there are no authentic interactions or they are far in between. Everywhere one looks, in restaurants, colleges, family sitting rooms, dinner tables, parks, trains, buses, bus-stops, clinics, cars, roads – everyone is glued to the mobile phone screening out others around.
Communications are being bled of genuineness. Every time I go online there is a friend or a casual acquaintance available to chat… provided I initiate the dialogue. Even then, default responses like, “I have been very busy”, “I am worked to the bones”, “I have no time to breathe” crop up and I have to say, “Okay, I’ll let you go. Catch up with you some other time.” That other time rarely comes because I do not like to intrude upon people who don’t have a few minutes to spare for personal relationships. The rare exceptions, who still make time to converse between sending mails, updating a web page or organising an important presentation, are the feel-good factor in this fast dwindling art of maintaining relationships. I offer deep gratitude to such uncommon friends. Thank you for being who you are.
We have all turned into blind rats, lured by the flute of pushy Pied Pipers of the commercial and corporate world. Our needs, our ambitions, aspirations, dreams, even our spirituality, are all informed by this obtrusive army of dictators. Bubbly youngsters of some years back, with world-transforming dreams, are today undifferentiated from the rat-pack. From wake up time till they drop exhausted into bed their day is one blurry dash of assignments, appointments, projects; eyes glued to monitors/watches and phones stuck to their ears. They are denied the luxury of time to enjoy the drive to and from work, their meals, their friends or relationships. The only time they are forced to relax is after power-pushing burns them out. How much better if only they would slow down when they should and not allow life to stagnate? Sydney Harris cautions that the time to relax is when we don’t have time for it. Childhood, youth, values, ethics, relationship with one’s own self, fun, recreation, health, the very joy of living – are the pounds of flesh the modern day Shylock – our achievement-smitten lifestyle – claims.
Even our children are not spared this mindless charge of the ceaseless activity brigade. School, classes, extra-curricular activities, private tuitions, regulated like clockwork. When do they have the time to play? On special play-dates with other kids, squeezed occasionally into their hectic schedules! How much sadder can it get? We smother our kids in an environment where the biggest accomplishments come with the priciest tags. Let us teach them as well to focus their energy on things of significance; to help them blossom as well-rounded adults. They need some unsupervised ‘me time’ in which they should be left free to be themselves, else they will also evolve into quirky, obsessed, restless and illogically busy adults trying to bolster their public images, assuring themselves that they are not trivial and unimportant, trying to fill the emptiness of life with emptier pursuits.
We need to reinforce the value of slowing down; of taking time to breathe and enjoy the free but precious gifts life and nature have bestowed on us. Let us not take any moment for granted; it can never be retrieved. We do not know what span has been allotted to us from the cradle to the grave. Let us not hurtle through life in a mad rush, without really relishing its measures of joy in simple things; let us not always put career opportunities ahead of our loved ones…we may be left alone to weep over their coffins. Noteworthy choices, not haste and speed, should govern the directions of our lives. We do not need busyness to establish our worth. Imagine the chaos if the earth suddenly decided that it simply had to surge ahead from season to season to season, not at its measured velocity, but, at breakneck speed in silly competition with some other celestial orbs!
Life is for living, not for beating the clock or winning a hysterical meaningless race that puts us on the escalator of hypertension, diabetes and vulnerability to many more health problems, while still in the prime of youth. Let us learn to slow down, step away from this frenetic tempo every now and then, and tune in to our inner selves. Let us open up to nature’s words of wisdom; let us lend our ears to its transporting music; let us reserve unstinting time for our near and dear ones before it is too late. Before we die or are left at someone’s grave, ruing the words we did not say and wishing we could turn back the clock. For ourselves, our children and those friends and loved ones who ache for a caring moment with us. So put on the brakes, go for that long walk, have a beer with a friend, spend silly moments having fun with the family, go hiking, biking, or simply laze away luxuriating in the benefits that idleness can bring. Our time on this planet is limited. Let us decide to invest more of it in people we love rather than in the unprofitable venture of constant busyness. Life is too short for that.
“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Photos from the internet.
#hypertention #ratrace #PiedPiper #corporateworld #DifferentTruths
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