The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
And so do I.
Let this be the admission to give voice to it
In the wait for discovering the meaning of it all let the moments not be lost / For the loss is what fuels the despair
In the pursuit of bettering selves may the others be not lost / For they give strength to your voice
What it is to live if not to live by a code; to have and be true to that you believe
Not live one day at a time but to seize the moment; Carpe diem
Be strong for the pieces will fall..
Live deep so you may one day find the meaning in it all
Today I came across an essay-turned-book: The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna. As the title suggests the book elaborates on the Should’s we all conform to, part influenced by the society and part owing to our cowardice, and the Must we ought to choose. I don’t claim to have read the book but will try to force my two-penny opinion onto you.
There is no dearth of advisers in our life. You are surrounded by them every moment of your active life, especially if you are in India. Hell, you even get advised on the direction you should face while shitting. Growing up in such a scenario we cant be blamed for choosing the Should’s most of our life. And to be fair to the conformists that’s a cozy and charming life. And most of all it makes people happy. It gives your near and dear ones a right to brag, of being-one-of-the-million corporate-sucking-arrogant-self-righteous-thumb-twiddling-douche-bag with moolah to buy the latest stuff. Who will leave such a life for a shit-load of must!
Many a conversations I had with friends who hate the Should’s they have been made to take, mind you most from some of the best schools in India, end up in wishful thinking and self-bashing. Its a should they were forced to choose now forcing their actions. Oblivious to it they still think in their self-righteousness I am the master of my decisions. You may ask whats wrong in it, till you are happy. For most it doesn’t matter. But for some, Life in retrospect is as worthy as life in the present. For those it matters you chose your musts in between the shoulds.
And to use the metaphor of a cross-road will be to give the Must more than its due than is given everyday. Its more of a gully – side lane most often shunned as its windy and narrow and slimy. Luna equates must to an inner calling which defines you and pursuit of which will keep you truly happy. As in all true quests its an uncertain, perilous, arduously long one laden with self-doubt, monsters and the like. And the beauty of it is not at the destination, but in the course of it. That makes the journey of Must so special.
Nobody will force you to take that path. Unless you have a guardian angel, they seem to be in short supply these days anyway. But if there is a voice strong enough in your head and a bursting self-confidence then take that gully for a distance. Even if you get lost, the people shouting Should’s are always around the next corner.
‘Why don’t you do anything about that scar?’ not the first time a passing acquaintance having made that comment, I let it pass with a perfunctory smile. In a society obsessed with perfection blemishes are seldom viewed with kindness and scorned at with a vengeance. Society has become incapable of viewing scars as anything else but ‘something which should be removed/hidden’. An explanation to why a scar is of significance in some one’s life will mostly meet deaf ears and at the most elicit sympathy. This is a humble effort at putting it in a different perspective. For those with an open mind.
Cycling to school was a luxury in those times and circumstances I was brought up. On an uneventful day cycling back home from a tiring session, giddy in the headwind, the slope was inviting. Cruising down,halfway I realized the brakes have failed. Frantically holding onto the brakes with all my might and too terrified to try any manoeuvres I froze. Rest of it is all but a blur. The rocks, banged up cycle, rush in a rickshaw…. Waking up two days later in an emergency ward I was lucky to escape with only 15 stitches, on my head. No, it was not a life changing incident. Neither I had any revelations coming to me.
I have carried the scar of that incident, literally, for 14 years now. For me it’s a reminder, a check. Reminder of the compassion shown by total strangers to rush me to the hospital after giving me the right first aid. Reminder of the love and affection of my family who waited with anxious prayers outside that ICU. Its also a check when I get too heady with success to the uncertainty ahead. A check for the occasional narcissistic tendencies.
I am sure each of the scars you carry screams out a story. Many a times the physical scars don’t bother us; but the emotional ones do. The mistakes we made, failures we encountered, the breakups, the rejections; some of our own making and some of others. The reactions to these scars are three types. Hanging on to them tragically: Ignoring or hiding them under patches: Accepting them for what they are. Most fall in the first two categories. Is it wrong to do so? Certainly not. Its your choice. The hell, it might even keep you happy. But the question to be asked is which of these actions is of highest quality, which can better yourself. That should be the wise choice.
I cant help but quote Rumi here ‘The wound is the place where the Light enters you’. It’s our duty to let the light enter. To accept a scar for what it is.