I have started often wondering now in mid-life that there were so many situations that could have turned out to be different only if I had been more focused on looking for long term goals, rather than being content on shorter, temporary ones. Things would have been different from the present. Maybe I would not be where I am now. On the other hand, a contradictory thought also juxtaposes itself on my mind that if I had not chosen the current path; maybe something else could have taken place and maybe I would have been regretting that decision. I am sure many people go through these kinds of circumstances maybe once in their lives. Where they are caught up in a dilemma that leaves them thinking that only if they had taken that one particular step; then life would have been different for them. Thoughts like ‘only if I could have studied more’, or ‘if I had taken the right career decision’, and ‘only if I could have invested in those shares at the moment or invested in that real estate’ etc. Things like these are just a few of the examples that sometimes plague our minds when we expect it at the least.
Well as I have grown more matured or at least moved closer to maturity with age; I have realized that reminiscing about the past does not solve anything; rather it complicates the current situation. Thinking about our past decisions, choices, motives etc. in the present time is according to me a futile exercise. As we cannot change the past or undo the things which we have done or not done. Yeah sure, if we had any super-human powers like going back to our pasts, then perhaps we would have done a lot of things we wanted to.
Unfortunately, as this is not the case and we should, therefore, be happy and content with the fact that we took our decisions based on the situations which we believed to be the right choice at the time. As Dr Norman Vincent Peale once said:
“Part of the happiness of life consists not in fighting battles, but in avoiding them. A masterly retreat is in itself a victory”.
This is exactly the theme of my following story. In this, the main character reminisces with his friends that only if they had taken one particular path on a fateful night, then perhaps their lives would have been drastically different from what it is now. I hope you would like the story. All the characters are fictitious due to reasons of privacy.
Rajiv, Akash, Mohit, and Priya were fast friends since childhood. All of them were from good families and all of them were quite brilliant in their studies and extra-curricular activities. Their friendship had gained such popularity that the whole school was wonder-struck by their comradery and love for each other. Though all of them were from well to do families, Akash was the wealthiest of them all but he never had the air of a rich spoilt brat, rather he was always found along with his friends and he thoroughly liked their company. All four of them had different personalities, likes, dislikes and lifestyles but the way they behaved and interacted with each other was something which can only be imagined from the scene in a movie.
Gradually as time went on their friendship grew more strong and intense. Even During college days, all four of them had chosen the same subjects and gone to the same college. Even in college all four of them used to stick together and the star point of their friendship was that Akash and Priya started liking each other. Even both Rajiv and Mohit were very happy for Akash and Priya when they came to know of them liking each other.. All four of them used to hang out together throughout the college and used to attend all the college functions and parties together.
Everything was going really fine for the four of them but as you know that life is full of twists and turns. This is what makes life exciting otherwise it would have been a tedious and excruciatingly boring journey. There were a couple of other young guys in the college who were in the same class as the four of them. They were Virat and Rakesh and both were extremely rich and handsome. These guys used to boast of their and used to throw frequent parties where all kinds of intoxicants like narcotics, alcohol and other intoxicating substances were freely used. Now Virat and Rakesh had somehow gained the Rajiv’s confidence and joined their group. So whenever they used to organize any party Rajiv, Mohit, Akash, and Priya were their most favored guests. Though it is human only to fall victim to temptation but Rajiv had built a strong wall of willpower and determination and he never used to like narcotics and also made it a point that his friends also should not be allured towards it.
He used to constantly counsel them against the ill effects of narcotic substance use and too much liquor addiction. Though Mohit and Priya liked to drink but they paid heed to Rajiv’s sermons against narcotic use. However, Akash had a flaw in his character; that he quickly used to get influenced and overwhelmed by anything that was new to him. This is what happened with him and in one of the parties when he was introduced to narcotics; he quickly liked it in the beginning and started getting addicted to it. At first, Rajiv thought that it was a one-off attraction and he lightly warned Akash. When Akash paid no heed to his friend’s advice and kept on getting addicted to it, it was then things started to become serious.
Slowly and slowly Akash completely went into the throttling chokehold of narcotic addiction. He stopped meeting his friends, stopped coming to college and worse his it affected his studies badly and his reputation. Oblivious to all this Akash was simply floating in the seventh heaven in a smoke-filled haze. The worst part was he even stopped meeting Priya and stopped talking to her. Naturally, this was a shock to Priya and at first she tried to console herself f by the thought it was temporary but when Akash once insulted her in front of others and broke off with her; then she really broke down and went into depression. Rajiv and Mohit on the other hand constantly tried to counsel Akash but he started behaving harshly and rudely towards them also. Things got to such a point when Akash physically intimated Rajiv in front of Mohit and Priya and threatened him bodily harm if he interfered in Akash’s life. Both Mohit and Priya were stunned and too shocked to see such a drastic transformation in Akash’s behaviour.
Days passed and things went out of control for Akash and his friends. Rajiv however undeterred still constantly tried to warn Akash of the consequences but to no avail. On the other, Priya had somehow had brought herself out of depression with Rajiv and Mohit’s help and started to live a somewhat normal life again. Then something happened which brought a drastic change in the four friends’ lives. One day it so happened that as Mohit, Rajiv and Priya were about to leave for their homes from college, someone came running to them and in a frantic voice told them that Akash had been involved in a fight and had grievously harmed someone and as a result was in police custody. Hearing this all three of them were too much in shock and unable to move for some time. It was Rajiv who was the first one to recover from the shock and asked Mohit and Priya to immediately come with him to the police station.
All three of them immediately rushed to the police station where they saw the distressed parents of Akash sitting quietly on a bench and also saw the parents of the victim. Rajiv went to Akash’s parents first and tried to comfort them and said that he will try his best to help Akash. He also went to the victim’s parents and offered them all the help he can. Then Rajiv, Priya, and Mohit went to see Akash who was in the lockup. As they went to see Akash they were surprised to see him sitting on the bench with his head cast down in shame and silently weeping on his own. Rajiv softly called out to him and as Akash looked up he could not face his friends and started crying loudly. Then Rajiv again called out to him and said that ‘I had warned you of this and look where it has landed you.’ He further said that ‘now I hope you have realized your mistake’; Akash again looked up to his friends’ faces and with folded handed and begged to be forgiven.
He said ‘that I know that the sins I have committed have no forgiveness but if I have been your friend anytime then I beg you all to forgive me’. Rajiv and Mohit quickly realized that Akash had undergone a dramatic change and they forgave him naturally and hugged him with a smile on their faces and were glad that their friend was back, Akash then turned to Priya and said ‘I know I have hurt you and insulted you and even mistreated you; I have no right to apologize to you and ask for forgiveness.’ All this while Priya was silent but she could see from the look on Akash’s face that he meant each word and was truly changed. So she also forgave him but unfortunately said that we cannot be together anymore. Akash took this bravely as he understood, but Priya also said that we could be friends as before.
This cheered Akash up a bit. After serving his sentence in prison, he personally went to the boy’s house that he had injured and again profusely apologized and helped them financially for some time. However, Akash had undergone such a drastic change within himself that he could not forgive himself for what he had done. So he decided to leave the city and move somewhere else where he could rebuild his life and though hard but try to forget this unfortunate chapter of his life. At first, his friends did not want to see him go but when Rajiv saw the utter shame and disgrace that Akash was feeling for himself that he said okay and somehow convinced the rest of them to let him go. From that time there was no news of Akash till the present time.
It has been fifteen years now and all four of the friends have moved on and built successful professional and personal lives for them. Rajiv is a successful criminal lawyer, Mohit is a wildlife photographer and Priya is a highly successful corporate lawyer. Akash has meanwhile built a name for himself as the youngest entrepreneur oversees of Indian origin. It’s been fifteen years now since that episode and all four friends have reunited once again and been a while when all four of them that is Rajiv, Akash, Mohit, and Priya were sitting quietly after reminiscing about their lives. When suddenly Mohit says in a loud voice that ‘had it not been for Rajiv and his Gyan and if we had not paid heed to his advice, we would have had our lives ruined by now.’ Priya also nods her and agrees and then Akash looks up to Rajiv and says ‘if only I too had listened to you, then things would have been different for me. He further says that we should salute and clap for Rajiv that it was his choice of not getting ensnared in the vicious cycle of vices and temptations’. All three of them stand up and clap for Rajiv and he, on the other hand, gets too embarrassed. The whole of the evening then passes by everyone constantly pulling Rajiv’s leg and laughing and joking at his expense.
So friends by now I believe that it is clear that Rajiv had made his choices very clear and he was firm in his conviction. That is there was no ‘only if’ kind of moment for him. It was his choice not to indulge in narcotic usage and get addicted. Whereas Akash still regrets the moment and thinks that only if he had too listened to Rajiv’s advice then maybe Priya would have been his life partner and his life would been different.
I hope you have liked the story