Get drunk on Life: it gives you an unputdownable high!

Learn to postpone worry! Be in the moment!
Yesterday, I got some quiet time to myself at a café. I find it absolutely necessary to remain silent for some spells – at least one – daily. I use this time to pause, reflect – and importantly to postpone worry!
To be sure, I make a list of all the stuff that worries me – and I have enough and more to worry about, just like you have – and bucket them into two lists. Stuff that I can act on and resolve over time. And stuff that I can’t resolve. Those that I can work on and solve, I convince myself that I need not worry about them. And those that I can’t solve myself, I convince myself again, that I must not worry about them either. This is how, methodically, practically, logically, I postpone worrying on a daily basis.
The biggest benefit of postponing worry is that you are available to the now – and are present in the moment. No past. No future. Which means no grief, anger or guilt over what has happened – the past. And no fear, anxiety or worry over what may happen – the future. No past. No future. You are just present in the moment.
In the present moment there is just beauty. There is complete magic.
Last evening, while at the café, it rained like crazy for about 40 minutes. It was a very heavy downpour. It was also the day after Diwali here in the south of India. Most services were still not available as most people were on an extended festive vacation. I wanted to get back home. But no Uber cars were available. And it was impossible to step out because the rain came down pelting. I stepped out onto the balcony at the café to gauge the intensity of the rain.

A cat meowed incessantly in a corner of the balcony – perhaps feeling wet and cold in the rain. The café had festive, decorative lights running around the trees on their premises. In the rain, these lights came alive differently – they felt surreal. And the rain created a music which was at the same time intense and sublime.

I was reminded of the opening lines of a Kumar Sanu number from Sir (1993, Mahesh Bhatt, Naseeruddin Shah, Pooja Bhatt, Atul Agnihotri) which goes: “Sun, Sun, Sun Barsaat Ki Dhun Sun…”. It means, “Listen, listen to music of the rain…!”

I spent several minutes staying immersed in the music that the rain made. At another time in my Life, in such weather, I would have preferred to drink my favorite whiskey while watching Amar Akbar Anthony(1977, Manmohan Desai) – perhaps for the millionth time! But, over time, I have learned that you don’t need an induced, artificial intoxicant, to get a high. You can get an inexplicable, unputdownable high if you know how to get drunk on Life by being present in the moment. Perhaps that’s why Jalauddin Rumi, the 13thCentury Persian poet has said this of Life: “Be aware of the pure wine being poured. Don’t complain that you have been handed a dirty cup!”

A lesson in finding yourself from ‘Finding Fanny’!

There will be times in Life when you will find yourself lost. Don’t panic or feel frustrated at such times. Know that only when you are lost, can you find your way – and find yourself!
I recently watched this very cute Bollywood English film called Finding Fanny(2014, Homi Adajania, Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia, Pankaj Kapur, Deepika Padukone and Arjun Kapoor). The story revolves around how Ferdie, an old postmaster, goes in search of his lady love, Fanny, who he had lost contact with 46 years ago. Ferdie is supported in his search by Angie, a widow who lost her husband on the day of their wedding six years ago. Tagging along with Angie is her mother-in-law, Rosie, who claims her husband is dead but the truth is he ran away with someone else and Rosie makes up his “lost in the sea” story so that she doesn’t lose face in the village. Then there’s the man who has loaned his car for the search journey, an artist, who has a fixation for “big women” – and Rosie is his latest muse. Driving the car is young Savio, whose inability to profess his love for Angie to her in the first place, led to her wedding and subsequent widowhood! As the story unfolds you discover that while finding Fanny is indeed the context, each of these characters is really searching for something they are missing in their own lives. Each of them has lost something – most importantly, precious years of their Life – and are seeking love and belonging in their own ways. That’s where, subconsciously Finding Fanny, connects to our own real, everyday, lives.
Each of us, at different times in Life, in different, often unique, contexts, will find ourselves lost. Either a job might have become listless or a relationship may have lost its very meaning. Or, sometimes, just raising a family – bringing up kids, attending to parents and in-laws, providing for the spouse – can take its toll. There may also be times when some decisions you took about your Life have misfired and you are swamped with guilt and self-pity. Or someone you deeply love someone who was you anchor, your everything, is suddenly gone – is felled by Life and is dead. Each of these situations – and many more – can happen to anybody. It can happen to you. It can happen to me.
The normal reaction in such times is to feel depressed. You will be deluged with a lot of questions in your mind. Questions for which you will have no immediate answers. What is the meaning of Life? Why am I having to face this problem situation? Why me, now? Is there really a God out there? If there is God, then why do good people like me have go through pain – and suffer? Why should I live any longer? Why is the world full of cynical, scheming, uncaring people? Where can I find love? Where can I find home? Just the vast range of questions, and the lack of answers, can weigh you down even more. And you will end up being more depressed than you already are.
But know and remember this: allowing depression to take over is not the way to respond to Life. In fact, when depression strikes and you sense a ‘lack of meaning’ in your Life, get up, even if you don’t feel like it, and push yourself to keep walking, even if you lack the energy or intent to even take the next step. As much as you may think that Life has been cruel to you by placing you in a certain situation – joblessness, a critical health challenge, a divorce, widowhood, death of a child, a business failure or whatever – the truth really is whatever it is now that you have is really your new Life. Being depressed means continuing to mourn the Life you once had. But think about it. What was once is gone. It is not going to come back. No matter how hard you pine for it. Feeling lost and  feeling depressed are convenient ways of saying you want to delay, you want to postpone living. Fine. But Life will go on. Just as the characters in Finding Fanny discover, your years will simply pass you by. There’s no point waking up later in Life and wailing that you lost such a lot of time just feeling depressed. Instead, when dealt with Life’s twists and turns, learning to accept what is, the way it is, taking it all in your stride and moving on – you will discover, is intelligent living!

You don’t feel lost in Life because Life has been unkind to you. You feel lost because you don’t understand, or often you don’t want to understand, that the Life you have is the onlyLife you have. When you realize that you must live this Life that you have – no matter what circumstances exist – to the fullest, relishing every moment of the experience, you will have found yourself!