Musings for a responsible society

Amidst the dark and grey shades increasingly engulfing, invading and piercing deeper and deeper, let me try to enjoy the little smiles, genuine greens, and the gentle breeze. Oh! Creator! If you don't exist, my vain!
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Today is my birthday!

Sept 8, 2011
Today is my birthday

Not much has changed in the last one year. But I am happy that I have travelled considerable distance on the road that is narrow, long and bumpy. I still get thorns and sharp glass pieces stuck on my feet. But I continue to walk through that road less travelled. I try to enjoy the pain. But let me confess. Concrete, well-lit highways and colourful landscapes still tempt me. (It is written, ‘He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear’)

Let me reproduce below once gain the birthday post I wrote 366 days before!

Sept 7, 2010

‘Am I excited to have another special day in my life? Though I am slightly uncomfortable with the birthday wishes and any sort of celebration, it is indeed an exciting milestone in life.

Birthday is an occasion for me to take stock of my life and to evaluate the years I lived in this beautiful world. Unlike my daughter, who plans and waits for 364 days for her next birthday, I tend to get into the birthday mood about seven days prior to my birthday (thanks to the seven day lent prior to the birthday of Mother Mary with whom I share my birth day). 

Was my life worth? Did I spend the years fruitfully?  How is the balance sheet of my life as on today? Am I carrying too many liabilities? What are my assets?

Am I the person I wished to be, when I was in my teens or during my college days? 
Dreams, aspirations and Vision. Nothing can be achieved alone. One needs the right ‘spirit’ within oneself to get the power to live a ‘complete’ life. We also need people and favourable circumstances to carry on with our mission. Choice is not always ours. Here comes the need to prepare ourselves to accept the life as it is given to us. We can’t forget the fact that others too have their own unique dreams and aspirations!

My assets are the occasions I made others smile and the situations I experienced inner joy and peace in these years. My liabilities are nothing but the opportunities I lost for excellence to become a world class citizen. 

I found that the dreams would be just dreams, if they are not appropriately nurtured with concrete initiatives.

I remember the ‘lines’ I had pasted on the desk of my room during my university days.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

‘Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes,
  the swing in your gait, 
 The grip in your hand,
 the irresistible surge of will,
 and the energy to execute your ideas’ (Henry Ford). 

Could I achieve what I aspired for? Yes, to some extent.  I could develop the right attitude, right understanding, and the courage to distance myself from the undesirable, snobbish and materialistic part of the society. But I was equally worried and at times pained because of the difficulties and accusations when I tried to swim against the wave. Was I successful in putting forth my views openly wherever required? I am not quite sure.  I could have done better. Not in terms of career, status or authority. These are not material in the quest for ‘completeness’. 

I realize now, that there are lots of things one can possibly do in this interesting but complex world.  On the one side we are having diverse avenues for entertainment, comfort and enjoyment. On the other side we have abundant opportunities to put in our best to equip ourselves to create lasting changes in the society around us.

 One road is short, smooth, luxurious, comfortable, thrilling and gratifying to the senses. The other road is long, tough, lonely and has frequent trials and tribulations. Many times I thought the roads have intersections at some points so that I could jump over for convenience. But, lately, I find that these roads are parallel to each other and never ever destined to intersect. That revelation makes me more nervous. How can one be in the world and not behave worldly? 

I slowly realized that, the ‘worldly behaviour’ as understood and widely propagated by the majority of the people in the ‘modern’ world is quite different from what is expected of it. The idealistic definition would be the behavior that is empathetic, preserving, self-less, humble and truthful. I am certain that the second road, the road less travelled, can be unimaginably exciting, peaceful, joyous and rewarding in the long run. 

This conviction and the certainty scare me more. Because, I cannot anymore plead excuse that I was ignorant.  I strongly feel that every day is a day for improvement: To prepare ourselves to fulfill our goals and aspirations. I need to correct my imperfections. I need to garner enough strength to tread the right road with enthusiasm, optimism and perseverance. I should shed my inhibitions, fear, and reservations in embracing the truth courageously. For this I need, more power, love and self discipline.

What activity would result in making me feel ‘worthy’? I should engage in such activity that would make me emotionally and socially rich. Activities that are creative rather than re-creative; constructive rather than destructive; enduring rather than evanescent. But the time given to us – 24 hours in a day – cannot be stretched. This is like our high ways. Though number of vehicles produced has increased several times the road capacity, there is very limited scope for further widening of roads. We need to prioritize our time. 

Thus, the most important decision to be taken now is the prioritization of tasks ahead. I need to give importance to tasks that can create more assets in the balance sheet of my life. I need to take care to avoid any further liabilities. 

That means, my thoughts and actions should be oriented towards achieving lasting happiness for me and for the society around. And less of regrets about the lost opportunities. Let me try to be a world class citizen. By not being at the center stage of the world. But by being an ‘ordinary’ person with extraordinary convictions about the completeness of life.

 Let me understand that real success in life comes out of being a humble servant who is empathetic to the needy. I pray for the strength to tread on the road less travelled, the road that is long, tough, and narrow.

 May I have many enlightened friends, who can guide me and correct me in my journey. Let me be not lonely there. Let me not fear any more.

I am sure, I will be secure under the shadow of those powerful wings as I progress on the narrow road with hope and supplication.’

(When this post was published last year, my friend Sindhu asked me: 'I don't think you need to have any regrets. You lead a meaningful life. And tell me, what do you mean by "World Class Citizen" ?'

   Let me take the help of inspirational 'Words' to give an answer. 

  "O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
   Who may dwell on your holy hill?
   Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
   and speak the truth from their heart;
   who do not slander with their tongue,
   and do no evil to their friends,
   nor take up a reproach against their neighbours;
   in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
   but who honor those who fear the Lord;
   who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
   who  lends money to the poor without interest,
   and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
   Those who do these things shall never be shaken"
                                  (Psalm 15, by King David)

  'As a man thinks in his heart, so is he' (Bible, James Allen, Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, Quran)

Therefore what to think?

  ' Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things' (Phil 4:8)

Indeed, the road ahead is really tough! Don't you agree?


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