LOL !!!13 mins 21.3K 13 mins 21.3K
At the learning phase of my life, my school subjects took me to a dream world almost daily. I was taught to be in this dream world for 6 hours a day for 6 days a week. The seventh day of the week for me was to prepare myself to explore more of this illusion. The western world call this day as Sunday and my education system termed this day as "Holiday" or "Homework day".
My weekdays then, programmed me like a robot that had to adjust itself every 30 minutes according to the contents fed to me via “subjects”. Through a subject named History, they were successful in convincing me that few people with whom I had no ancestral relations with, had courage to kill humans. At the same time, their intense love for someone forced them to construct monuments across the country. Coming to the subject that intended to teach me about my fundamental rights as a citizen, Civics. The thickness of a single bread slice in my lunch box often beat the thickness of my Civics text book. Next was Geography, this subject made me digest the names of food eaten by the tribes of Botswana and forced me to memorize the pronunciation of Czechoslovakia. Geography took me to places where Neil Armstrong partied and taught me about the underwater volcanic and overhead celestial explosions. My Economics text book often played hide and seek as it could easily slip into a gap less than half a centimetre within my bag.
Chemistry revealed me the true colours of “Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa”. What I assumed to be the swaras of Music actually turned out to be chemical names of elements found under the earth. Few elements that were non-understandable and non-explainable by my teachers were separately categorised as non-important elements called, Inert Gases. Physics made me imagine the speed of light and sound. Concepts like force, gravity, heat, and magnetism didn’t make any sense to me, yet I took them to be a part of my family and maintained good relationship with them. The irony was, I never found a single smiling photograph of inventors of these concepts, Albert Einstein or Sir Isaac Newton in my books. Biology expected me to draw the cross sectional diagram of organisms that were not visible to my naked eyes. Algebra often came up to me to solve the life problems of x's, y's and z's. I would approach Log-arithmetic tables to help me out and in return, they would give me an un-ending series of numbers as solutions. Geometry was the dearest of all; I always wondered the use of a divider, two set-squares and a small glue bottle inside every Geometry box. Theta and Pi ruined my sleep, Alpha and Delta made me weep. The regional languages decided my culture and English decided my status. Art was painting papers and craft was sticking these papers. Music was another name for playing drums during marchpast and sports meant racing like a yoke of oxen on hearing 'On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!!'
Oral exams silenced my roar, written exams assured my brain couldn’t store anything beyond few pages of the textbook knowledge and practical’s showed me the detailed life of species I had no association with. The square of four is sixteen and thus four walls combined with four floors for sixteen years and taught me just one lesson; I need to be foremost in exams. However, I had a consistent record under my belt for sixteen years. At every parent teacher meet; I stood with folded hands, bowed head and the moment I hear ‘He is the most talkative student in the class’, I would look in to my mother’s eye through my eyebrows and would give her a wicked smile and she would bite her teeth in return. Pen replaced pencil, white ink replaced eraser, trousers replaced half pant, yet nothing replaced my talkative spirit. The Diary / Calendar, was the sacred book and page number 105 was a nightmare for me as a student. This page, titled as 'Teacher's remarks' was a place where almost all the teachers vented out their frustration of being underpaid. The irony is, none of the teachers used this page to mention anything positive about their students.
After spending 25 years in a metropolitan city, I realised that the only chapter from Mathematics that comes handy in life is percentage to calculate the discounted cost of services and materialistic things. Science was so much focused on future that it entered Mars, beyond Neil Armstrong's reach. My History is something that makes me regret some choices I made in life. Geography failed to teach me how hearts cracked and relationships exploded. An interview is the only platform where English holds value and few certified words from the regional languages, prefixed with mother and daughter helps in settling scores at a street fight or secure a seat in the local transport. Arts often showed me the dark shades of life and crafts showed me how people glued their faces with masks as per their needs. Sports failed to teach that I shouldn’t chase people and the only music that plays with uniformity are the beats of my heart. The orals of life made me realise, I must roar when I am right. The written exams made me realise, I have a very bad habit of remembering the meat and potatoes of every circumstances I encounter. The practical’s made me realise that the most beautiful aspects in life can hoodwink your perception. Nevertheless, even the white ink taught me the beautiful lesson, the dark truths of life can be hidden by white lies. The only unchanged feeling that still exists in my gut, with the same emotions, is the fear of opening my life diary and reading the content. Life taught me some of its best lessons without any walls. The irony is, my school taught me lessons first and asked me to pass the exams while my life gave me exams first and then asked me to learn the lessons.
Whenever I was asked - What kind of salary are you expecting? I would first think about the monetary benefits and not the nature of my job. When I was asked - Who is the only person who loves you for the way you are? Grievances by my near and dear ones reverberate around me, for being myself. When I was asked - How much money do you wish you had? I remember my maths teacher who taught that any number divided by zero is infinity. And when I was asked - How do you expect your life partner to be? I think about all the adjectives that even God couldn’t find when he made humans. Jobs, Relationships, Money, Marriage - My answers to these questions were usually blank like my Geometry answer sheets.
Whenever life came with the toughest syllabus, I wished I could talk to someone who could answer my questions. Many a times, I landed square on my face while understanding the questions and just when I managed to find answers to it, life usually changed its question by inserting its favourite W’s- Why- When- Where- What. The law of examination rightly states 'The toughest tests are often accompanied by limited time and strictest invigilators'. I met people who could help me with the one line answers but I never met someone who could help me with the subjective questions. Battered and bruised I often used to sit alone trying to figure out the puzzle called life.
It was a breezy monsoon night, and there was a fierce battle between my heart and brain. Unable to figure out the situation, I chose to go on a drive. Not more than 30 minute drive from heart of the city, there is a small mountain. I drove the car on a rough patch that leads to a small bench. I kept my phone inside and stepped out. Before me were twinkling neon street lights, with backdrop of the night. I could see few small lights in motion; I assumed them to be the vehicles passing down the road. I saw the refection of a small water body and various illumination patterns on the high rises. As I tilted my head a little and faced the sky, I felt the cool breeze on my face and the pillow of clouds added icing to the ambiance. The fireflies on the hills had their own radiance to excite my senses. The view of the satellite city from this point captivates the heart of young and old alike. I took few deep breaths, spread my arms and sat idle for a while. One thing I learnt here was; nature is the best medicine to calm down our inner self. Our phones may not have connectivity at heights, but we definitely feel connected to something. Like the mischievous children’s keep quiet on seeing the principal, both my heart and mind stopped arguing and lost themselves in the aura. My ears caught the clap of clouds at a distance. The sound echoed around the hills as if it was the applause for my mischievous children’s for keeping silent. Just when everything was perfect on the stage, I witnessed a flash down from the heavens to the earth in the blink of an eye. My heart smiled and mind whistled. I closed my eyes and soon I sensed natures sprinkler effect. The insects filled the air with an unearthly caterwauling sound. The aroma of earth mixed with droplets swept the entire city.
I sat with my eyes closed for a while, and when I opened up I saw a vague physique beside me. I was unable to see it clearly as fog had engulfed the heights. 'So, were your questions answered here?', a soft voice froze my spine as I thought it could possibly be an encounter with some unearthly force. I continued to gaze at it to understand how this object appears. Just then, a purple bolt struck with a flash around the corner and in a wink it was out of my sight. This rattled my hair, tooth and nail. I could feel the sweat drench my skin, the throbbing of my own eyes, the bite on my lips, the deserted throat, the ringing screams vibrating in my ears, and the thumping of my heart against my chest. My fingers are curled into a fist, nails digging into my palm. I can't hear my rapid breathing, but I can feel the oxygen flooding in and out of my lungs. I was almost swallowed by my fears and in the nick of time; the clouds roared like a lion, I managed to reunite the bits and pieces of my fractured guts and chose to drive back. I headed towards the car, turned on the fog lamps and wipers. As my usual habit before driving, I adjusted the side mirrors. I wiped the rear view mirror assuming it to be smeared with fog, yet I was unable to wipe it off as the mirror was spotless and it was the same hazy cast seated at the rear that conned my vision.
"Were your question answered?” I was asked again. No, I nodded. The showers accelerated, only sound inside the car was of the wiper blades as the fog lamps beamed at horizon. I was at the driver’s seat with an unknown identity behind me. 'Life doesn’t come with a plan or a rule book. Every person on this earth goes through adversity and prosperity. Every rich is poor when he doesn’t have peace of mind. At the same time, every poor is rich when he has peace of mind. Job, relationships, money, marriages are the core dilemma of almost every human in the world. None escapes this'. Having heard this much, I thought this could be the person who help me in finding answers to life. I turned back and it surprised me again. This time, the fear factor within me had diminished along with the hazy object. May be those wordings made some sense to what I was going through. I could see the same mushy matter re-appearing at the co-driver’s seat. This time it was not as hazy as I viewed it earlier. I could see blue shade towards the bottom and white shade on the upper side. The window panes automatically lowered down. 'Take a look outside, you cannot control the rains, but you can definitely control your desire to enjoy the rain or to seek shelter from it', slowly the panes slid up. Whenever you go through an unexplained situation, you must believe in yourself. Self-belief holds the key to all traumas of life. It may seem difficult or impossible at the beginning, but your initial reaction to the situation decides if you win or lose. There should be some aspect in your life that drives your soul, may be your intuition, gut, destiny, karma and so on. You always attract what you believe. Positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative. This can be proved by the people you come across in your life. Whenever you meet a person, who is energetic, positive and has motivation in his blood, your personal problems seem to vanish until the time you are with him and you wish you could be with him for some more time and eventually you end up seeking advice from the very same individual every time. He may not be able to solve your issues, but his aura gives you strength to face your worries. On the other hand, if you had to meet a negative and demotivated personality, you will attract more of his miseries in your life and you would eventually distance yourself from him. What differentiates both of them is their belief system'. I faced towards my left, this time without any grain of fear. I could see the same aura around, he was talking about. I figured that the blue shade was denim jeans and the white shade was a shirt, as the identity was defrosting itself as time passed. As my eyes were searching for better clarity, I was taught another lesson. 'When you face fear, look deep into its eyes without a blink. Nobody will face it for you. Going after the things that excites you and scares you at the same time could be the best decision of your life. You would either live in a world you dream about or you would live a better world that never crossed your imagination. Next time you are afraid of something, all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage, twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery and you can be sure something great will come out of it'.
I was relaxed to the core, at last I found someone who could pull me out of my adversities. Though I was fearless but I couldn’t ask anything. The best part was; my questions were not answered, instead I was being trained to face life. I continued to hear. 'You will come across various people in your life. The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back. Never vouch for someone who would trade your self-respect for their needs. Your answers to job, relationships, money and marriage will fall into place if you believe in whatever you learned tonight'.
The rains had stopped and the clouds were receding. My soul was at peace and I wanted to thank for the best night of my life and just when I was about to speak up, I was interrupted. 'Look there', pointing towards the east. Dawn sent shimmering rays over the hills, bestowing a golden path for me to travel ahead. I blinked towards the sun that brought me a day I was never promised, yet was glad to see. I let the moment sink in as the nascent rays touched me. I came out of the car, and before me was a whole new world. The rays pierced the rains drops on grass blades and produced innumerable rainbows on the hills. The butterflies replaced fireflies. That dawn taught me that fireflies and butterflies, both are destined to shine, in their own time zone. Comparing our lives with others and complaining is the biggest blunder we commit. As it is said, after every storm there is a sun shine. This morning meant a new beginning was possible and possibilities meant hope. Admiring the nature, I sat on the hood of the car. The energy that showed me the path all night was also in a sitting posture beside me. I recapped last night; I saw this aspect beside me on the bench, in the car and now on the hood. I was desperate to know what this was all about. In the sunlight, this appeared to me as a man dressed in blue jeans and white shirt, comparable to my attire on the previous night. The face however was still unclear.
This time I decided to ask and he sliced my thoughts again. 'Time for final lesson', he said. 'Your 4th standard text book taught you that the basic necessities of life are food, clothing and shelter. Unfortunately the world around you did not take the textbook seriously. When your soul leaves your body, your friends and family will definitely surround you for the last time, no one will talk about the amount left in your bank account, the degrees you held, the house you owned or the car you drove. Live your life in such a way that there is at least one person who would come to your grave and say, Thank you for giving me clothes when I was naked, for feeding me when I was hungry and for providing me shelter when I was homeless'. His words penetrated deep inside me.
‘I should leave now’, he said. I almost opened my mouth to thank him, and as usual he cut me, ‘When you go home and pen down this experience of yours, give the title as LOL’. ‘What did you find so funny in my experience, to Laugh Out Loud’, I asked. ‘LOL was laugh out loud for you until yesterday, henceforth take it as LESSONS OF LIFE’, his reply anesthetized me. ‘Will I be able to find you here again when I need advice? I asked him. ’Just believe in yourself’, he replied. ‘But I believe in you more than I believe in myself’, ‘how can I connect to you?’, I snapped back in hope. Instead he said, ‘On your further journey, drive carefully, do not jump signals, check for the notifications, adjust your mirror and drive ahead in life’. I heard him laugh and with a glare he faded away.
Lost in my own thoughts, I descended the mountain and was driving on the highway. Only regret I had was I couldn’t see him properly or ask him who he was. For some reason his last lines were still fresh in my memory. I approached a traffic signal; I glanced through my phone that was left untouched and I came across a Facebook post that read, “TALK TO YOURSELF, ONCE IN A DAY...OTHERWISE YOU MAY MISS MEETING AN EXCELLENT PERSON IN THIS WORLD”. I liked this post and adjusted the mirror for some reason and the moment I saw myself in that mirror, I recalled his last lines.
Drive carefully, which meant I must keep my eyes and ears open.
Do not jump signals, which meant I must not ignore warning signs that come in my way.
Check for notifications, which meant I must not overlook people who stood by my side.
Adjust your mirror, which meant whenever in doubt, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!