In the rat-race!
‘Life my dear friend is a race’ - remember the famous dialogue from `3 Idiots`? Life is a Race… Agar Tez Nahi Bhagoge Koi Tumhe Kuchalkar Aage Nikal Jayega (Life is a Race… And if you don’t run fast enough people will crush you and move forward).
Dialogues like these still echo in my mind and haunt me (now don’t think I am a big Bollywood fan!). As a child it was hard for me to understand as to why grown-ups are running in a mad rat race. For me, finishing up my milk and reaching school in time was like winning a battle. Answering a question posed by my teacher or standing even at the 3rd position was a big deal.
I still remember my childhood days when I took for granted the happy mornings and peaceful nights. It was not difficult for me to find time to meet friends and my relatives. Sharing hot jalebis with friends in the campus during winters and ice creams in summers was heaven for me. Of course, small challenges did exist, but in general life moved at a slower and more relaxed pace.
But when I grew up and stepped out of my protective shell, I realized that it was not just I who was running but actually a marathon was going on. Believe me the transition was horrible and at times comical too. I came across a swarm of faces - tensed, pale and lost in the fight for survival of the fittest. I just could not fit myself in such a surrounding, not because I couldn’t work hard but for the reason that I never wanted to run in this mad race. But unwillingly, I joined the race and now I am too busy to call up friends or let me put it the other way round, attending calls of my friends as and when I like.
Now, when I come back home after a day’s work and lay down on the bed almost half dead with all my energies drained out, just one question strikes my mind - even after accumulating material possessions and wealth, good job, good salary (not that decent actually), why can’t I find PEACE?
Yes, I am talking about this five-letter word, which is easy to spell but hard to find. Each one of us wants a life free from tension, without thoughts of salary hike, EMIs, love, future etc bothering us. I still smile when I see the sunshine, cry when my friend is in trouble, and pray to the Almighty to fulfill my list of endless wishes but PEACE still eludes me.
I look for it on the busy streets, bazaars and in my house. I travel miles, far across the horizon under this blue sky, but still could not find it.
I remember, once while returning home from work in the office cab, we halted at a traffic signal near my place. At that time, I was busy creating my perfect dream world. But when I turned I saw this family on the road with a father, mother and four kids. My first expression on seeing them was, ‘OMG! What struggling life they have!’ But to my amazement, what I saw was an experience that changed my perspective a bit. The poor family, fed on meagre meals and clothed in tatters, was actually smiling of contentment. Perhaps that day, I am still not sure, I had seen PEACE on their faces.
Now that I think of it, I too have encountered something like PEACE but failed to identify it. I remember helping out an old woman to cross the road and the smile she offered me was PEACE. I offered a chocolate to a street kid and his broad grin in return was PEACE. Yes, that was PEACE!
Finally, I realise that inner peace is a state of unspeakable joy and insightful expansion that occurs when one is in conscious connection with one’s true self.
It is a phenomenon that is impervious to agitation or turmoil and is not dependent on anything external. It is a sense of stability and contentment, which carries us through all the trials, and difficulties of life.
So, dear friends it is up to us to understand and identify our respective PEACE. And now, I am sure that it is important to run in the rat race for survival but winning the race doesn’t necessarily ensure PEACE, for which you need to be in touch with yourself too.