In this Vlog, I talk about why I do what I do, why I share learnings from Life daily through my Blogposts, Podcasts and Vlogs!
View time: 2:28 minutes
In today’s Vlog, I share from personal experience how Life has cut me down to size and has humbled me. Clinging on to things, opinions and even ego, I have realized, is a sure cause for misery.
View time: 3:19 minutes
This whole world is besotted with everything else except what it must truly obsess over!
Mutely witnessing the goings on in Tamil Nadu politics, I can’t but wonder how much materialism has caught people in its vice-like grip. Sasikala’s vow to “avenge” at Jayalalithaa’s Samadhi yesterday reeks of such a debilitating, unevolved point of view. Ego, the desire to control, the greed for money, power – all of these are evident in the manner in which she “slapped” her erstwhile friend and mentor’s tombstone. This, even as she was getting ready to go to jail to serve a jail sentence! This, after holding not just 100+ elected representatives hostage, but after holding a whole state’s constitutional machinery to ransom over wanting to grab power. And what about the elected members of the state assembly? What have they subjected themselves to – don’t they even realize they have a fundamental responsibility to serve their constituents? More important, don’t any of these people want to learn a lesson from their recently-departed leader that despite all her success, all her glory, she finally left empty-handed, not able to take any of what she achieved or gained or accumulated – including the infamous disproportionate assets that Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling talked about over 564 pages – with her?
All this is so unsettling at one level when I look at it as a citizen who is concerned at the state of the polity and democracy. And it is all so banal when I view it as human being who is on a limited-period, single-entry visa, on this planet! Why don’t people get it, I wonder? Why don’t people get it that they only have this one Life – to live fully, to be happy – and yet they squander away precious lifetime in chasing what they can never take away with them? And they do all this chasing, often at the cost of others, and while being intrinsically unhappy and suffering themselves!
Let us not fail to pick up a key lesson ourselves from all this apparent madness in Tamil Nadu. I am reminded of a song Mujhe Naulakha Mangaadere from Sharaabi (1984, Prakash Mehra, Amitabh Bachchan, Bappi Lahiri, Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle) in which the lyricist Anjaan, listing the different types of intoxicants that people are addicted to, says ‘bring me someone who is not “drunk”’… “…nashe mein kaun nahi hai, mujhe bataao zaraa, kise hai hosh mere saamne, to laao zaraa…”! Indeed, so drunk we are about earning a living, solving our problems, worrying, suffering, so steeped in stupor we are about wanting to control everyone and everything, that we are missing the magic and beauty of the Life we have. Unless we stop clinging on to material things and live happily with what we have, with what is, we will forever be living with insecurity, worry, grief and guilt. And that should explain why we suffer, why we are unhappy.
Therefore, to me, Sasikala and the AIADMK’s theatrics over the past 10 days have only been a metaphor. One that reminds me that this whole world is besotted with everything else except what it must truly obsess over! And that obsession must be over making each moment of your Life count. By living it fully, meaningfully, happily.
Happiness is the ability to sleep well each night, grateful that you have what you need – food on the table, a roof over your head and something to cover yourself. Everything else is a frill. The more you cling on to the frills, the more drunk you are, the less obsessed you are with living. And when you are too drunk and you don’t sleep, well, that’s when you have a hangover!
Every time death strikes around us it is serving us a wake-up call.
Somehow the images from Tuesday evening’s public funeral of Jayalalithaa refuse to go away from my mind. Not just yet.
Here was one of the greatest and most powerful leaders of our times, from this part of the world, yet she was so powerless in the face of her own mortality. As I type this, she lies buried some kilometres away. History will surely remember her. People will continue to tell their versions of her story – of her beauty, her fame, her struggles, her triumphs, her power, her wealth, her compassion, her wit and her brilliance – for generations to come. But, for now, her human form lies there alone, at the Marina, in abject surrender to Life’s will.
Death, we must all realize, is a great leveler.
The moment you are born, the only predictable aspect of your Life is your impending, inevitable, death. You cannot negotiate with death. In fact, all of us are speeding towards our death, albeit at different speeds. You have to go when your time is up and your number is called. So, the most intelligent way to live is to live fully, celebrating this lifetime being happy, doing what you love doing. Yet, thanks to your social conditioning, you go on getting attached to material stuff, wanting to accumulate more wealth and more things, than experiencing Life, its magic and beauty, in all its grandeur and majesty. Simply, you go on postponing living. When you invest your present in grieving over the dead past or in worrying about an unborn future you are not living, you are merely existing.
Think about it. You – and I – didn’t ask to be born. So, this lifetime is a gift. And this gift is perishable. Each of us comes with an expiry date, except we don’t know what date it is. Of this lifespan that we have, assuming we live to be 60 years old, it is only up to the age of 40~45 that you can be reasonably assured of good health. It is only when you are maintaining good health that you can experience Life fully. But think of how most of us are squandering this peak phase of good health, investing precious time and energy in materialism or living our lives trying to please others or brooding over what we don’t have. By the time we wake up, if at all we do, to realize the ephemeral nature of Life, it is often too late. Sadly, some people never quite wake up in realization at all!
Clearly, nobody who has inhabited this planet has ever been able to take anything of what they created or accumulated with them. You come empty-handed and you will go empty-handed. Death unfailingly serves us a wake-up call, reminding us of this unalterable law of Life, every time it strikes around us. But are we listening, are we waking up, are we willing to change the way we think and live?
After watching Jayalalithaa’s funeral on TV as we stepped out on the street for a walk, I found a bed of leaves under a tree in my neighborhood. Intuitively, as I shot a picture to post on Instagram, this line completed the imagery in my head: “If this is where we all have to end up finally, then why all this drama that we enact all through our lifetimes?”
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