The irony of matter being multi-dimensional is not confined to physical entities alone.
Here metaphorically speaking, the reference is to people in general. If you ever tried doing anything good or a favour, rest assured that among the three people who have heard of it, at least one would have thought about whether the good part would have benefits. On the other hand, how many times have we refused innocuous favours as we feel they come with strings attached ? Honest answers though bitter would make us realize the multidimensional facet of human nature.
Having said this, we still love each other. Despite the tussles with our respective better half, altercations with family, disagreements with friends and hassles with colleagues and work authorities; nothing would make us change our world in our hearts. While we consider some unreasonable in our books, we might be the same for somebody else in their pages. As nobody is ever perfect, everyone has their unique mould with its own fair share of flaws and the cracks that makes every person a work of art.
Yes, people are unreasonable, inconsistent and selfish. And still love them. If you do good, people will accuse you of hidden self-interest and self-love. And still do good. If you are accompanied by success, you will find secret and obvious enemies. And yet strive for success. The good that you have done today will be forgotten tomorrow. And still do good. Sincerity and openness will make you vulnerable. And yet be sincere and open. What you have built over the years can collapse in an instant. And yet build. People will ask you for help, but they will blame you for it. And still help people. Give the world the best that you have and you will receive a cruel blow. And yet give the best that you have. – Mother Teresa
Everything that a person does when they are taken by surprise is the best proof of what he really is. That which breaks away from the tongue, before it is time to suppress its impulse, betrays the true essence. If there are rats in the basement, then you are most likely to see them if you enter unexpectedly. But no surprise breeds rats; it only prevents them from hiding in time. Nor does the surprise of the excuse or the excuse make me quick-tempered; she only discovers my hot temper.
On the occasion of today being World Savings Day or the World Thrift Day, my niece had received a piggy bank from her school. The concept of dedicating a day to promote the concept of saving or thrift was initiated in order to gain a higher standard of life and to secure the economy in the long run.
While this initiative was started off by the International Savings Bank Congress in 1924 globally, there is another savings account that we all have. Unfortunately many of us don’t hold ourselves liable to this particular account.
All of us are born with an account which is credited with 86,400 currency of either Rupees, U.S. dollars, Australian dollars, Dir-hams, Euros, Yen, Canadian Dollars, Ringgits, Rand or whichever may be the currency of the country we are residing in at present. Yet this account is credited each morning and carries no balance over to the next day, neither is there any overdraft. What we have is just the present account and there is no drawing against future accounts. This account goes by the name of “Time”.
Although you may have heard of this previously, what we fail to realize is that despite knowing all this, we still do end up wasting our time. However today there are three things I would like to stress on. First time is scarce, so although you may or may not work in the profession that you love, find time to do something that you really want to everyday like your hobbies or special interests. It can be anything like reading that novel put off for a long time or trying out new recipes, going for a drive to a place that you have earmarked for a long time. Whatever it may be, take some time to do something that makes you happy and is worthwhile too. It is never about getting the time to do things, it’s whether we want to do it or not. Secondly is the art of time management. While many say it is a skill to be perfected by methodical and concise planning, some days our plans derail completely. That is when we adapt our time as per the priority list, so that by nightfall we have invested at least some time to good purpose. Third and most important is that time wasted is gone. It will never come back but regretting time wasted is even more fruitless. For this endeavor of contrition of carried for long, will cause us to lose out on the time tomorrow. What is gone is over and done with, don’t shackle the guilt to the next day. For then we’ll put ourselves in the chains of regret for long-term.
Granted that all this is easier said than done, effort should be made not to lose what is in our hands. For as the adage goes, time and tide waits for no man.
During my initial days of college life, there used be to a particular poster always put next to the notice board outside the dean’s office. Over the years, variations of the same poster found its’ way outside our campus library as well as in the campus cafeteria. Along the years, towards the last few months of college, it was seen on the walls of a few of our local cafe’s and delis. The posters varied from being a wordle to the full fledged poem of “If”. Written by the Rudyard Kipling, it exemplifies the multitude characteristics essential to become the ideal man. In other words, this poem brings to light the stoicism and reserve seen in the classic British “stiff upper lip.”
Although I suspected that “If” found its’ predominance in my college campus so as to bring the class of students into line with the intent of bringing order and discipline into the campus. To this day, I still believe that “If” did play a prominent though subtle role during the intense situations in college life.
The core of “If” that helped us during our college days was to set parameters to reach the level of maturity in the modern world. It taught us not only to be responsible for the decisions we make in life, but to also stand up for our beliefs with due consideration to the social strictures and seek clarifications when in doubt. Although caution has to be used to see through the lies and know whom or when to give our trust. Even though education opens the doors, the skill lies in understanding which desires or ambitions to achieve and when to modulate our dreams to the current tide so as not to lose our grasp on reality. Above all not to forget our roots and neither to indulge in pompous display of knowledge or skill.
“If” made us realize that neither success stays nor does failure, but preparedness to start again if need be instead of dwelling on the losses or gains of the past. Instead we learn to deal with the disappointment and the grief. For the resilience of the human nature is like the phoenix, to rise from the ashes even if a kernel of hope exists. Above all, learn to make every hour count and then we will to find the world at our fingertips.
My Alma-mater was determined to teach us to not only ride the rough waters waves but also to secure a safe location and drop the Anchor within ourselves during the storm. For us immature youth, they taught us to wear the cloak of dignity with humility and fortitude to reach the maturity of adulthood.
With the autumn winds and rains in full swing, the outdoors offer a walk filled with an array of colours. For the children, non rainy days of autumn are spent outside for they beckon them like beacons of joy and fun. To experience days like these, living in the country is better than the cities. There’s nothing better than the fields, the green and the beauty of nature to revamp and rejuvenate ourselves after a long day. Although it is true that the cities afford to give us the modern living, but the daily existence gets mundane and boring after a while. In fact the growth of modern technology to the feasibility of internet or app based food and groceries delivery, online shopping deals, excessive indoor entertainment options and increased working hours with limited breaks have all contributed its’ fair share to the humdrum existence. Even worse is when the regular childhood hours of outside play is substituted with gadgets and indoor toys.
The aftermath was that the entire focus shifted to living within the walls of our homes, to the point of limiting our daylight exposure. The recent report released by VELUX has highlighted the statistics and data researched about the “indoor generation”. The consequences are alarming not only to our physical well being but emotional and mental health too of the present and future generations.
To break from the daily routine of work-home-work cycle isn’t easy, especially for the city dwellers. The options though limited are feasible. First is to get outdoors as frequently possible especially during office breaks. If that is limited, try walking through a public park before joining the regular commute. Second, bring nature and daylight into our homes. Although we live smack in the city, the bigger the windows, the greater amount of sunlight in our homes Third, bring nature into our house with indoor plants, rooftop or balcony wall gardens and increase the ventilation. Fourth give allotted time for outside play especially for the kids. It would be great if the entire family spends some quality time outdoors. Fifth and the best option is to get out of the town over the weekend at least fortnightly or monthly and rejuvenate with nature. With many bed and breakfast establishments open all over the countryside, the break would be worth it. And for those of us who have extended family living in the country, it pays to visit them once in a while.
Despite all the modern conveniences that man has invented, it is the soothing and peaceful presence of nature that offers peace and brings not just physical wellness but emotional and mental sanity.
Yesterday night, the bedtime story was Aesop’s Fable of the Fox and The Grapes. As I was explaining the story and it’s morals to my toddler, the first question he asked was why didn’t the fox try shaking the branches so that the big fat grapes fall down. To answer, I had tried one explanation that the vine was too strong and second the fox was too tired. Unfortunately he didn’t believe it.
Late night, the moral of the story was going around in my head like clockwork. It’s so easy to speak ill of the things we can’t attain. Why do we do it ? May be it helps to distance ourselves from our failures, of what we couldn’t or can’t have. May be it does help us to dissociate ourselves between our ideas, beliefs or thoughts against what has happened. Yet the reality is by calling the ripe “sour” doesn’t change anything.
Life is full of goals, desires, ambitions and temptations. Some of them are within grasp but the rest we have to let go, either by choice or by circumstances. Though at times we do regret that the may-haves would have been possible if we gave a little extra push from our side. Although by blinding our eyes and declaring the true, false may bring momentary gratification but it doesn’t change the situation. Instead we miss out on another attempt for something better. For unless we pluck up the courage to admit and determine what went wrong, we will continue on the path of disappointment and disillusionment, eluding the “ripe grapes” repeatedly.
The fox who longed for grapes, beholds with pain The tempting clusters were too high to gain; Grieved in his heart he forced a careless smile, And cried, ‘They’re sharp and hardly worth my while (a quatrain by Aphra Behn in Francis Barlow’s illustrated edition of the fables (1687))
In the hustle of the morning rush hour on the road, there was a crowd of people onthe sidewalk waiting to cross the road. Unfortunately there were not standing anywhere near the zebra crossing. Most of the vehicles sped up even on seeing them standing there to reach before the next traffic light turned red. Yet despite the rush, few of the vehicles did slow down to allow them to pass through. On watching the whole scene from the bus, I was wondering among them might be a few people who would be able to make it to time for work, while others would be able to head home after a long night. Yet come what may, they were able to cross the road because some vehicles had stopped to give a free path.
In the midst of the chaos of the modern life, we often wonder why do something kind and unselfish; as nobody really bothers and we don’t get anything in return. Yet the fact is that one small random kind act will influence somebody who will continue the change and eventually the chain will grow longer and bigger. Then the small difference becomes a momentous change which will affect and benefit a huge cause.
This reminded me of a story I had once read about the boy and the starfish. For those of us who haven’t heard about it, it as follows.
A man walked along the shore and suddenly saw a boy who raised something from the sand and threw it into the sea. The man came closer and saw that the boy was lifting the stars from the sand. They surrounded him from all sides. It seemed that on the sand – millions of sea stars, the shore was literally strewn with them for many kilometers. “Why are you throwing these starfish into the water?” Asked the man, coming closer. “If they stay on the shore until tomorrow morning, when the ebb tide begins, they’ll die,” the boy answered, continuing his occupation. “But that’s just stupid!” Cried the man. – Look around! There are millions of sea stars here, the shore is just strewn with them. Your attempts will not change anything! The boy picked up the next starfish, thought for a moment, threw it into the sea and said: – No, my attempts will change very much … for this star. Then the man also picked up the star and threw it into the sea. Then one more. By the night on the beach there were a lot of people, each of whom picked up and threw a star at sea. And when the sun rose, there was not a single soul left on the beach.
Likewise being a part of a bigger community, there is so much that we can do. Organizing small clean up drives in the public park, mowing lawns for the elderly, help in reading sessions in the town library, helping someone to load or carry groceries and so on. The list is endless.
A small act of kindness and goodwill doesn’t take much time or effort on our part. All it requires us is to keep our eyes wide open and be empathetic. While we may not be able to make a huge difference by a small act, it will make a change for one person. While one drop may not alone make an ocean, it contributes to the beginning of more drops and finally the ocean is there.