Go with the flow of Life – resisting it is pointless!

The most evident truth about Life is that it simply goes on! And you and I are like the ‘musafir’ (voyager) in the opening song of Parichay (1972, Gulzar)…we have to just keep walking…‘bas chalte jaana’…!
This is the big message I picked up watching Masaan(2015, Neeraj Ghaywan) the other day. It is the most thought-provoking, poignant film I have seen in a long, long time. It deals with a young lady coming to terms with the death of her boyfriend when the police raids their room in which they are making love. A parallel story deals with a young boy, from a lower caste (his family burns corpses at the riverside crematorium), aspiring to woo, court and marry an upper caste girl. The girl is willing but soon dies in a bus tragedy along with her entire family. The boy struggles initially to reconcile with his loss – he ends up having to cremate her body! But eventually he manages to move on. Both story arcs converge as the film ends, with the young lady meeting the young boy on a boat and together they ride onward…
Set in Benares, Masaan has been winning acclaim on the international film festival circuit. And has earned praise from critics and viewers alike.
Vicky Kaushal as Deepak in ‘Masaan’
Picture Courtesy: Internet
To me, however, Masaan portrays the ever-flowing nature of Life. The young lady has to handle her guilt, her grief, over a choice she and her boyfriend made. Her father has to live with the ignominy of her choice. Together they have to face a corrupt cop and raise a ransom amount for the charges against the lady to be dropped. She tries to seek closure by going over to apologize to her boyfriend’s family, but they don’t want her apology; they ask her to get out! In the parallel story, the young boy has his father’s support to quit the corpse-burner tradition and profession. He has his girlfriend’s assurance that she is willing to even run away – should the families disapprove – with him provided he gets himself a job. He’s almost certain of getting that job when she dies. He has to deal with his demons. His depression almost ruins his career prospects and he’s on the verge of being a corpse-burner all his Life. But he realizes that unless he moves on, he will only be trapped ‘where he is’ and remain depressed. A state that will serve no purpose, he reasons. So, with great difficulty, he picks up the threads of his Life and lands himself a job. As both the young lady and the boy move on, they meet each other…
Indeed, there are no pauses in Life. It simply goes on. As long as you are alive, you have to keep walking, you have to keep going with the flow. You may not like whatever is happening to you. But you have to face it, you have to live through it. When you hate whatever is, you will suffer. Here’s the nub: you can’t prevent Life from happening to you. But you have the choice not to resist Life. And nothing, nothing really, is the end of the road, until you are alive, until you die. Period.
I talk from experience. On December 31st 2007, when I sat with Vaani in our bedroom and surveyed our Life, it seemed impossible to go on. We had just Rs.2000/- left with us in Life. And we had over a million dollars in debt. And no work. Yet, almost 8 years on, we have survived and lasted to tell our story. We still don’t have enough work – not even enough to cover our living expenses – and our debt remains unpaid. But we move on…living each day, working hard, facing our realities – court cases, police complaints, cashlessness at some times and very frustrating material scarcity at others – and believing that all this too shall pass.

There is no other way to live Life. It is what it is. You have to accept what is, keep working on what you want it to be and, in the process, exercise your choice to simply be, well, happy with whatever is. It is when you don’t live Life with this clarity and understanding that Life is miserable. Go on, go with the flow of Life. After all, there’s isn’t any point in refusing to flow it! 

Choose joy over earning-a-living

Between making money and following your bliss, choose the latter. Because even if you struggle with that choice you will struggle joyfully!
To drop the pursuit of earning-a-living and following your bliss instead is always a dilemma for you, for me, for all of humanity! It is only through trial and error, through endless experimentation, that you will find both joy and money coming from the same pursuit or profession. Very few people actually get it right or know it well and therefore benefit from both the joy and the money. Now, if you belong to the majority that doesn’t know yet or knows it but does not know how to choose, then first know that you are perfectly normal. If you are making good money in whatever you are doing and are happy (not comfortable, please note the critical difference here!) then there is no issue. But if you are part of the rat race, rushing off this morning for another stress-filled, meaningless, day ahead, and you grieve every minute of your Life thinking, “why am I doing this?” or “there’s no more joy in what I do”, then you seriously need to review your Life. You need to ask yourself: 1. Can I live with lesser income than what I am getting just now? 2. Can I confer with my family and make them share my vision for me and them? 3. Can I find a good platform to launch myself and work to a plan to restore my earning to match my joy factor in doing what gives me joy? The answers you get will determine how you proceed. Anything in Life requires planning, thinking through and excellent execution. Grieving, pining and cursing your fate is not a solution.
Photo Courtesy: Ganesh/www.purpleganesh.com
A couple of years ago, I heard the maestro of Indian art and culture, and Bharatanatyam exponent, Prof.C.V.Chandraskehar, a Padma Bhushan awardee, reminisce about his years in Benares. He said although he had an MSc degree while starting off his career in the 1950s, he was not getting a job or salary that matched his qualifications. His heart, he said, was in the arts, particularly in dance. So, he made a decision: “If I must suffer, let me suffer in joy and bliss, doing what I love doing.” He dumped his Msc-based options and plunged into the world of art. That choice, he reminisced, led to a lifetime of joy and bliss, in the pursuit of learning and living his art, his dance, though money did not arrive in as much proportion as he would have wanted. “Money is incidental. In later years, it did come, and it did go. But that is the way money is. Joy, however, can be permanent if you embrace it,” he told us in his soulful, evocative, candid style.
There is a lesson here for all of us strugglers, climbers and rat race runners. If you choose making money, and therefore comfort yourself with a false sense of security, then please don’t complain about Life or pine for joy! If you choose joy, over money, remember that money will take its own time coming into your Life. If you find both in one pursuit, brilliant, just be content with it! In any case, be happy! Because it is only one Life that you will live. Live that Life well and happily!