A red Lamy pen and the truth

In this Podcast, I share candidly about how disturbed I had been losing my favorite pen some years ago while, paradoxically, I am very calm dealing with our numbing bankruptcy now! Understanding that everything is transient has helped me stay anchored.

Listen time: 5:36 minutes


If it has gone, simply, let it go!

When something or someone goes out of your Life, simply let ‘em go! Understand that loss is an integral part of living!
Last evening, my phone fell down on the street, hit a kerbside stone, and the display screen cracked irreparably. I was shocked for a nano-second. Then I picked up the instrument to check if it was working.  It was. I dusted it and moved on – after double-checking all its functions. I smiled to myself. Some years ago, I would never have been this way. I would have grieved and sulked. Especially, in a situation when replacing the phone instantly is not an option – I don’t have the means to buy a new phone! In fact, even this one was gifted to me by a friend some months ago. As I looked at my battered phone later in the evening, I remembered an incident that happened eight years ago. I am a collector of LAMY pens. And at that time, I was using one daily. I simply loved the look and feel of these pens. I was naturally very possessive about my LAMY collection. On a flight from Chennai to Mumbai, I lost my blue LAMY. I remember how I grieved through all my meetings that day in Mumbai and how I needed more than a few drinks that evening to get the blue LAMY out of my mind. In contrast, I felt good with myself surveying my phone last evening – with my ability to have let go of what had already gone (broke)!
There’s a beautiful song from the 1961 Tamil classic Paalum Pazhamum(A.Bhimsingh, Sivaji Ganesan, Saroja Devi) which goes “Ponaal Pogattum Poda…” (Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy, Kannadasan, T.M. Soundarajan). The lyrics basically mean, “If it has gone, let it go…everything/everyone is impermanent…)! That song, to me, sums up what Life is all about! 

Indeed. Everything and everyone around us has to go one day. The very nature of Life is impermanent. If you pause for a moment to reflect, you will realize that you came with nothing and you will go with nothing. Your name, your wealth, your qualifications, your experiences, your memories, your relationships – nothing will make it with you. When it is your time, you will have to go. Period. This is one non-negotiable quality about Life. Then, if you care to reflect more, why do we cling on to almost everyone and everything? It is because we cling on, because we don’t let go, that we suffer. What happens to us is not in our control – whether it is a broken mobile phone or a broken relationship or the death of someone we love. But how we let things and people go, when it is time for them to go, out of our lives, can truly impact how we feel about and experience Life. If you resist what’s going or gone, you will find Life to be an endless struggle. But if you let go gracefully, you will be drenched in inner peace and happiness – no matter what the circumstances are! 

A red LAMY and THE Truth

In the end, you will have nothing.  You will depart alone, empty-handed. This is the truth of Life. As long as you don’t recognize this truth and understand it, you will continue fighting with Life. You will continue to desire and want. And you will continue to lament and grieve over anything that you lose. Or over everything that you don’t get!
I love LAMY (German-crafted) pens. I simply love the way they are designed and the way they write. Over years, I have collected most variants of a particular model in several colors. And I carry a Lamy most of the time while on business. One day, on a domestic flight, I lost my favorite red LAMY. When I discovered this loss, I was well out of the airport, driving towards downtown. I simply did not see a point in going back in search of my pen! But I could not get over the loss. For days on end I searched for the pen in every major Indian city. Those were times when LAMY products were not available in India and online shopping had not been invented! Whatever I did to get over the loss, my mind went back to grieving over the red LAMY. Several years after this incident, one day, I sat at a coffee shop with my wife to take stock of our lives. We had lost everything material in Life. And were hanging on to a thin ray of hope. We did not know what to do. Or whom to turn to for work, for help, for a solution, or for advice. We decided to make a list of options so that we could select from among them. I volunteered to take notes of our choices/options. I pulled out my pen – it turned out to be a red LAMY, which I had subsequently purchased from Kuala Lumpur International Airport while on a trip, subsequent to losing the one I originally had.
I saw that red LAMY in my hand and burst out laughing! Here I was, having lost everything material, and was contemplating calmly how to reinvent ourselves, how to keep our focus and how to find a solution to the unimaginable crisis that we found ourselves in. There was no grief. No sorrow. Just an indescribable resoluteness to deal with the challenge. Over and above that, I was laughing at the irony in my learning! I wondered what had changed in me between my losing a pen to losing everything material in Life. I am not sure I know even now what has changed in me – but I sure know how that change has come about. Over time, Life has taught me lessons through my experience of losing everything that I once dearly held on to – money, assets, the Firm we built, our unique business model and our reputation. I have learned through all this loss that everything is transient. That nothing is permanent. That we will all go the same way as we came – with nothing! Perhaps, this awareness has led to a great acceptance of Life as it is. And to an incomparable, matchless, inner peace.
Your story may be different. But you too may have lost in Life. Or are struggling with a loss just now. Whether you have lost something, or someone, reflect on this, the ONLY, truth. That is the only way not to lose your peace of mind and to remain anchored and blissful.