The Beginning

The birth of a baby, the first day of school, the first day of college, the first job, the first kiss, the marriage – all beginnings, best cherished in their truest form. They are perfect in their caged moment, and with time, the excitement only ebbs away, leaving an imperfect world with you.

I wondered if I was defying the law of nature as I lifted by bags and left the house. I did not have to tiptoe; Pooja had decided not to come back home after a late night party. Yet again!

She had found another life without me. So must I.

It was still dark, just like my life. The winter sun would not be out for another hour or so, making the cab ride short and quick, leaving enough time for me to sit on the platform and reminisce my failures some more. I had made some extremely wrong beginnings in my life – a career I did not enjoy and a marriage failed to find love. Was it the beginnings that had failed me, or did I fail those beginnings. I could not decide. Either way, my life would never be the same again. Some wrong beginnings compromise the quality of life forever. I concluded.

The first rays of amber-coloured sun interrupted my thoughts. A beautiful dawn had rocked the world into motion. I envied the sun for its resilience; no matter how dark or long the night is, it comes back the next morning, without losing its value or vigour. It provides a meaningful beginning that moves the entire world, day after day. I guess it can for it is an unlimited source of energy. I wished I could have some of that energy to make a fresh new beginning, without the pain of my past failures. What stopped me, I wondered.

I wrote all the painful memories from the past down on a piece of paper. When the train arrived, I boarded it clutching the crumbled paper in my hand.

A new city was waiting for me, with a career option I had always dreamed of. Standing at the door, I waited for the train to pick up speed. Then, I looked at my hand that held two symbols of my miserable life – my past failures written down on paper, and the wedding ring. My past must not compromise the quality of my future; I reminded myself. I took out the diamond ring, put it inside the paper and squeezed the paper into a ball, as small as I could. With all the energy I had, I threw that miserable ball away from my life, burying the painful memories back into the city where they belonged.

I looked at the sun, and thanked it… for showing me the path to a new dawn!


All that matters is… a purpose that defines you

We are all wanderers in our own little worlds, embracing pleasure, avoiding pain, seeking happiness, and accumulating more assets – more than the person next door, or the person sitting in next cubicle. We crave for things that seem to matter the most, but soon they are replaced by new cravings. We fancy a new object of desire every other day, but irrespective of whether our cravings are satisfied or not, life generally moves on, more or less the same way. And then, we stumble upon an almost impossible purpose that stands right in front of us, blocking our way. It stares at us, rattling our core and questioning conventional wisdom. The odds may be stacked heavily against us, but the purpose cannot be ignored, avoided, or compromised – for going around it would mean a diminished self-worth, and regret that would last us a lifetime.

It is a purpose that defines the meaning of life for us; a purpose that defines our existence.

A farmer struggles under the weight of successive droughts. He toils his field relentlessly, year after year, while the government and the rain gods continue to make a mockery of his existence. He has a purpose that is much bigger than his own life – the life of his wife and children are at stake.

A young couple is madly in love. Their passion for each other extends beyond the harsh boundaries of their orthodox families and communities. Their love is too pure to understand the differences in their caste or religion. Their purpose to spend the rest of their lives in each other’s arms is far too precious to be compromised. They elope in search for a more humane world, while the death threat looms over their head.

A scientist tries to make the first light bulb. He has a vision to illuminate the world, beyond anyone’s comprehension. His purpose is far too important to be shadowed by repeated failures. He sees each failure merely as a life incident, a learning opportunity, a useful step that will improve the quality of his subsequent efforts.

Hoards of people follow the lead of a fearless saint, in search of freedom. Centuries of slavery has reduced human life to redundancy and humiliation – the status quo must be challenged with full vigor. Freedom becomes a purpose that cannot be denied, not anymore. The common man dons the courage of a fearless warrior, ready to lay their life without second thoughts.

The stories are endless, and they are all around us. People leave their stable careers and venture out behind their dreams – they fight for a cause, open a school, start a business, take up writing, join politics, move back to their village or country, among others. It could be your story or it could be mine – if not today, then tomorrow. At least once in our life, we are all challenged by circumstances to rise above the level of our mundane existence. We find a compelling purpose that we believe defines us better than our status quo. It takes us beyond our materialistic world and beyond our comforts. Of course, the path is extremely challenging – we must step over our insecurity and self-doubt. Then, we must find the courage and perseverance to go on and on, no matter how discouraging or testing the circumstances. What is right or wrong does not matter anymore, for the journey is more important than the destination.

All that matter is… we step forward and pursue the purpose that defines us.

This post is written as a part of ‘All that Matters‘ contest at in association with INK Live 2013.