Please Note: This Blog will continue to feature my daily blogposts. In addition, on Sundays, public holidays and long weekends, I will feature The Happiness Road Series and my #HelpYourselfToHappiness Vlog Series!
Here’s today’s blogpost – not posting a Vlog today, though it is a Sunday!!
Life never lets you down. You always get what you need.
A major part of today was spent in clearing papers and documents that had got accumulated over the last 7~8 years – this is the time that we have been going through a bankruptcy, acute pennilessness at most times. Some of this documentation had to do with our medical records as a family. A substantial chunk also dealt with the under-grad education of our two children Aashirwad and Aanchal. Aash graduated with an Economics degree from the University of Chicago in 2012. And Aanch graduated last year from the University of Madras with a degree in Psychology – today, in fact, was her graduation day ceremony! As Vaani and I worked on the papers, separating them chronologically and subject-wise, we saw a beautiful pattern emerge. We realized that everything that we needed has always come to – perhaps not in the form we were expecting it to come, but it always came, often in the nick of time!
As we organized the papers, we revisited some of the most painful and stressful times we had gone through as a family. The fortnight prior to Aash’s graduation – I have elaborated this story in my Book “Fall Like A Rose Petal” (Westland, 2014); the week of Aanch’s admission to her under-grad program; the repeated times we had defaulted on fee payments; and the number of times our children have come close to being placed under suspension because of their tuition fee accounts being overdue….these scenarios played out vividly in front of our eyes. The replay left us humbled and overwhelmed. We realized that our children have made it through college – not because of us, but despite our grave financial circumstances; because Life willed it so, because of the kindness that people around us have showered on us as a family.
When Vaani and I came together in 1987 – we married in 1989 – we shared a common vision for our family. It was a beautiful dream, that brought alive in our minds the spirit of this song from Tapasya (1976, Anil Ganguly, Parikshit Sahni, Raakhee, Kishore Kumar, Aarti Mukherjee, Ravindra Jain, M.G.Hashmat).
But when the bankruptcy arrived in December 2007, our dream lay shattered in smithereens. Aash had just then secured admission to the prestigious University of Chicago. Aanch was getting into High School. How would we put them through college? How would we fulfil their aspirations? Where will the money for their fees come from? These and more nerve-wracking questions would consume me and Vaani on a daily basis. To be sure, we came up with no answers. But each question placed us on the horns of a painful dilemma every single time. Should we go the way Life is taking us – in the direction of letting go, and letting Life take over – or should we go our way, humanly trying to solve and control an unsolvable, uncontrollable, money problem? I have no logical, rational explanations to offer why we chose the way we went. But we certainly felt flowing with Life more meaningful. So, we let go, and went with where Life took us. At our dining table this morning, as we sorted those papers, we discovered how compassionately, how beautifully, Life had arranged for the education and graduation of our children. Each time, when we came to the edge of a precipice, with regard to their college dues, a messiah arrived in our Life, a helping hand showed up and we were hoisted up – and Aash and Aanch made it to their next academic terms.
Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has said: “Whatever it is you are seeking won’t come in the form you are expecting.” I totally agree with him. But there’s something I would like to add, from our experience, to this perspective. Which is, Life may often never give you what you want. Yet it gives you what you need, not the way you think you need it, but the way Life thinks you need it. So, while all our human plans, projections and methods to somehow get Aash and Aanch to graduate existed in theory, on paper, and in our fervent prayer to Life, the way they have got past their individual under-grad programs is purely the way Life has willed it.
Vaani and I believe the best way to live is to live in a let go! Make your plans, put in your efforts. But let go of expectations, let go of wants, and let the magic of Life happen. When you do this, and let Life take over, you too will discover that Life’s indeed compassionate – you always get what you need!