It's a March evening and the cool spring breeze hits my face as I amble and indulge in the reminiscence of old days. Old school days, old Meerut days, old Kota days as I walk on the footpath parallel to the humdrum traffic.
I have come such a long way. Such a long way away from home and everyone, I think, as I quickly sneak to write an email on my BlackBerry while casually stealing a view of the tall dark trees disappearing into the night with the setting sun. What are we all running to? Where are we all heading?
As I try to answer these questions, I realize that in the past three years, I have become less materialistic and have instead yearned for newer and more profound experiences. With time people change and I am now, although slowly, yet on the path of understanding why we leave materialistic pursuits as we grow up. No, I am not saying I am moving towards the life of a hermit or the modern age sadhu but instead I am realizing that I need to make my life simpler. Simpler in every sense. Simple in the sense that I don't glare at screens of different sizes sporadically all the day (yes, I am referring to that Apple Watch you bought yesterday). Simple in the sense that the things which are supposed to simplify my life don't over-complicate it. Simple in the sense that I consume as much of everything as I need. Simple, because complexity takes you away from Life.
I used to wonder when I was in school as to why so many intelligent people become Professors and devote their entire life to learning. I used to wonder that why do they not chase money when they can. I, now think, am qualified to answer that question with alacrity because things that 'suit' me and make me happy doesn't necessarily 'suit' everyone. Because it is about 'what floats my boat' and not 'kya kahenge log'. Because it is all about what makes someone contented. If I hate iPhone and love BlackBerry, it is me. You might hate a BlackBerry in 2016 but I love it because it gets my work done with ease and grace. It suits me and I love it and I will always be fond of physical qwerty keyboards whatever the world moves to.
I also realized that all experiences are necessary to make us a richer human being. Winning, losing, failing, everything. Because they bring with them their own set of realizations and experiences. We get to know who we are and what we are. They lead to better understanding of ourselves because we get to know how we react and what our strengths and weaknesses are.
So, I want to embrace every experience. Experience of sleeping empty stomach on a night to some day gulping so much Pizza that I never want to see it again. Extremely frugal circumstances and the extreme economic freedom to the point where I can buy whatever I want to. The extremes of everything bring with them their exceptional realizations. These realizations are so powerful because they give you the ability to sympathize with a million people. The ability to live the life of a thousand men in one life. The ability to develop an exceptional understanding of your social milieu.
And I recall the beautiful words from Mary Oliver's poem, The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I just want that I keep learning new things, keep having interesting conversations, keep visiting exciting places, keep deriving inspiration from anyone and everyone, keep having richer experiences and keep doing my part to make this world a better place.
(Such is the glory of God that these realizations happen when you go out and find yourself walking to the tune of traffic in a sleepy college town in Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, the writer is thankful wherever these realizations may come from)