The Aldabra giant tortoise is known to have lived for 255 years. The Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus Longaeva) has been deemed the oldest tree in existence, reaching an age of over 5,000 years. However, for us humans, average life span if just about 100 years. How well are we living our life?
“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”
― Rabindranath Tagore
Are we making the most of the time we have? Are we making the mistake of holding on to something, which will go away from us? Will it stay with us for ever? Does anything stay with us for ever? The fact of life is that we came alone and we leave the world alone. Yet we cannot help being possessive about all that we have and still desire to get a lot more.
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”
― Robert Frost
When we feel nice, we want to ‘seize the moment’. When we are with our dearest, we so wish that the world would just come to stop. When you get a surprise, we so desire that the moment could last for a long long time. Divine as these wishes might be, unfortunately, none of them come true.
At the same time, when we have an unpleasant experience, when we are with someone whose company we detest or when we get a rude shock from an unexpected source, we hope that the moment would pass at the earliest, we hope that the person will take our leave at the earliest. And justifiably so, those bad times also rarely last.
At the moment, we are going through our worst time in life. A pandemic of this magnitude happens once in 100 years. And when there is so much sadness, pain and anguish, we feel as if ‘The world is coming to an end’, ” We all are going to die”, “If the second wave does not get you, the third one will’ and so on. But in reality, all these thoughts are completely unfounded. Even in case of the Spanish flu in 1918, the biggest pandemic before this one, though deaths were in millions, and the healthcare facilities were a fraction of what we had today, majority of humanity survived to leave behind information about pandemic.
“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.”
― David Foster Wallace,
There is an old story, many versions of which are popular across the world. Let me share the Desi version (trying to be Atma-nirbhar here!!).
Once there was a farmer, Ganga Ram, who had a large farm and a beautiful horse in his stable, Chetak. One fine morning, when he woke up and went to the stable, he noticed that the door was open and Chetak was gone. Soon the word spread in the village and as Ganga Ram was very kind and famous, people came to show sympathy. One of the villager said – “Oh Ganga Ram, you are so unlucky.” Ganga Ram replies “Maybe, Maybe not.”
After a few days, Chetak returns back to the stable. And what more, he gets a few other wild horses along with him. As the news spread about his return, villagers came to meet Ganga Ram. ” Oh Ganga Ram, you are so lucky!”. Ganga Ram replies “Maybe, Maybe not”.
Ganga Ram’s son became friendly with the wild horses and one fine day, he was riding on one of the horses and the horse stopped suddenly and his son fell and broke his leg. The villagers rushed to help the son and met Ganga Ram. ” Oh Ganga Ram, you are so unlucky!”. Ganga Ram replies “Maybe, Maybe not.”.
After a few days, the King’s men visit the village and take all the young men away to join the army.Ganga Ram’s son is spared due to his injury. The villagers, though envious of him, come to meet Ganga Ram and say “Oh Ganga Ram, you are so lucky!”. Ganga Ram replies ” Maybe, Maybe Not.”
As in the story above, we all have our ups and downs in lives. Neither the good times nor the bad times, really last. We all fear death, but fail to realise that every moment, every nano second, we are dying. Our skin cells are dying and forming new cells constantly. Its just that we do not feel it.
Similarly, in relationships, we all experience so many ups and downs. While we might feel that the ones who are closest to us, hurt us the most, but in reality, its just that we ‘feel’ the impact of their every action far more, due to our closeness to them. But if we understand in case of every one, every action, every thought, every feeling, every word said, all has an expiry date, we will be able to handle the relationship far better.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
Even an average storm experienced in the neighbourhood, looks far more powerful than a cyclone thousands of miles away.
A famous story often misquoted to many people goes like this: It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. It should make the sad people feel happy and the happy people feel sad. They presented him the words, “And this too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!
Neither our near and dear ones, nor any of our possessions, nor any of our achievements and not even our own thoughts stay forever with us. So, its better for us to enjoy what we have, when we have it and celebrate the going away of everything, as it will soon be replaced by other people, other possessions, other actions and other thoughts.
Nothing is created and nothing is destroyed but everything is always in a constant state of transition.
~Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry.