Saturday, January 16, 2016

THAT NEED IN US TO SHOUT FROM THE MOUNTAIN-TOP:"LOOK, I HAVE ARRIVED"















Pic.: Azriel D'Souza

In life, a great deal of our stress comes from our deep need - rather a misplaced desperation - in us to prove ourselves before others...

We have a need to please others… gain their approval, validation, appreciation, praise and love…

We desire to be in their good books…

We have a desperate need in us to ‘show’ them we ‘are’ good, efficient, successful, well-off, intelligent, respected, very religious, have great families, and all such things…

As someone said, “We want to stand on top of the mountain and shout: “Look, I have arrived!”


I am 57 now. But, the child in me?

Joe became my fast friend when I was in F.Y.B’Com. He is two years older than me… He is a successful businessman, now; his two daughters are married and they have children… Back home, in Mangalore, Joe has a massive mansion, cars… and he is blessed with a loving family…

But, when we were in college, our home-situation was identical – hand-to-mouth. Our parents were illiterate and cash-starved. But, nothing mattered to us except our simple and clean friendship. We spent so much time at each-other’s houses, ate and drank whatever was there, and slept on whatever was there… There was no shame or guilt… no comparison or competition… I did not have a need to decorate or arrange my house whenever Joe dropped in… He did not need a special mattress or dish… Nor did I. We were so comfortable with ourselves… so peaceful, so stress-free when it came to be each other’s friends…

Last night, Joe came over to my place with his daughter Namrata and her little son Ethan. They wanted to spend the night at our place… Namrata and her little son and my own wife and son may find it difficult to visit that ‘space’… but, Joe and I, certainly, know that it wasn’t necessary for us to put on any pretense as to who we were… and where we had arrived in life… I was constantly thinking about our simple-and-clean, good-old days of friendship… Honestly, when I visited that space, last night, I felt a lot peaceful…


There was nothing to show to Joe or his daughter… Nothing to prove… as to who I was, where I was and all that went in the name of ‘Social Status’…


Presence of Joe in my life is a constant reminder to me, that, life can be less burdensome if we are able to make peace with ourselves… if we are able to ‘see’ and ‘drop’ that desperate need to be on the mountain-top and shout, “Look, I have arrived!”


Frankly, there is nothing to prove to anyone, anything… I owe nothing to the world and world doesn’t owe me anything… 


Life isn’t a race… No matter how vehemently someone tries to tell you that!


Just an hour ago, Vanshika, a dear old-student of mine, who is married into a great family, blessed with a smart teenaged-son, messaged me saying that she had cracked the tough SET exam. I, immediately, expressed my joy and started teasing her about celebrating her success in Goa and all that small talk.

I added: “Next what, Ph.D?”

“Yes sir, I want to do,” replied Vanshika, “But, I don’t know how to go about it… Can’t work now as Dhruv (son), too, needs me for his studies. Confused.”


I wrote back… this time, seriously:

“I was just pulling your legs, Vanshika. Take more time to decide on such things… Go as per priorities and remember, You can do doctorate later, too. Go by the inner signals of your heart… You have nothing to prove to anyone. T.Cre.”


Just as Vanshika is not expected to stand on the mountain-top and shout: “Look, I have arrived,” after her PhD, I am not expected to tell whoever wants to come over to my place, standing at the door, “Look, I have arrived in life”…


And, trust me, you do not have to do it, either…


As the Wise have said, Life is what happens to us when we are busy making plans to arrive at the mountain-top… The true joy of life is hidden under our each climbing-step.



GERALD D’CUNHA

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