Another rainy morning I thought to myself as I peered through the balcony door. The rain fell in a steady cadence and brought with it a fine mist that enveloped my balcony view. The misty, white shroud encompassed the entire expressway as well and I could just about make out the traffic building up for the 9:00 am charge of the light brigade to work.
Should I go to work or not ? I mused. The routine I had set for myself during the post lockdown period was to go once a week to office. But looking at the curtain of rain and mist, I felt like reneging on my own commitment. My Libran mind played the usual tug of war with the left side saying go to work and the right side saying stay for a good half hour as I brewed my morning cuppa and the rain gave me no indication of stopping.
My intuitive self finally nudged me into realisation by chiding me – hey, its July, it will rain. What do you expect? And then it struck me. Why was I dithering and cribbing ? I was in the midst of monsoon in Mumbai and how could there be no rain ? In fact it is the wettest month for Mumbai every year.
And this insight produced an epiphany for me as my mood segued from moody reluctance to a calm acceptance of the situation. It dawned on me that some of life’s greatest truths also followed the same drumbeat and that worrying over these would do me no good.
People will lie: a truth so obvious that it should be expected and managed as we navigate the humdrum sea of life. I am not ashamed to admit that even though I pride myself on being truthful, there are quite a few instances when I lie – to prevent others from finding out what I really feel, when I am faced with an uncomfortable situation with friends or when I want to wiggle out of a commitment made to myself. The list goes on. Telling a lie is a compulsive urge which humans have invented in order to escape from situations which they cannot immediately control.
People will cheat: This is an extension of the former, but with a bigger impact. Some people will cheat you – the online marketing scam that you got pulled into, the business deal that went sour, the colleague who pulled a fast one over you to get the promotion. Pockets of people who cheat exist everywhere. That’s the plain truth.
Deadlines will be exceeded: Another truism that is a fall out of multi-tasking in this mad, mad world. Everyone is out to make money and secure the best deal for themselves. In the process, deadlines are invariably not met and commitments are routinely reneged on with excuses like – sorry was caught up with something urgent. It’s easy to apologise for not doing what you said you would do and saying sorry so that you can assuage the other person’s feelings. That’s life.
Friends will fail you: This one hurts the most. When you really want that jolt of validation from your inner circle, when you do something which you feel is great and your inner child is jumping up and down saying “ Look at me , I did it !” it is friends who give you that validation. It is they who know you best and should be happy in your joy and support your dreams and best work. But they don’t.
Many a times, friends will fail to live upto your expectations. They won’t be there for you in your biggest moments; they will brush aside what you have painstakingly put together, brick by brick. And when you truly look to them for succour or help, they will mouth platitudes but will not put their shoulder to yours and ease your burden. Get used to it.
Children will grow up : Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. The poignant verse from Gibran haunts me with increasing clarity as I watch my children grow. Their childish innocence and wonder being slowly replaced with a hard cynicism that is the trademark of an adult mind. Children will also argue with you, fight with you and forge relationships outside theirs with you. It’s not that they love you less. But now their window is open wider and what they see excites them. And that’s the way it goes.
You will grow old: our reaction to this truism is the strangest of all. While living our life we really do not expect to grow up except for maybe the first ten years of our life. Every birthday makes you a little bit older but you don’t see it. And the years roll by and suddenly it dawns on you that you have grown old. And that’s the inescapable fact that we tend to gloss over. I don’t want to but I am….getting older. See what I mean ? I said older not old. Time waits for no man.
You will die: The obvious, the inescapable, and the irrefutable truism that trumps every other truth that shouts out to you from the inner most recesses of your mind. You are mortal hence you will die. You will see it happening all around you and you may develop an ostrich mentality which tells you to ignore this fact. A gruesome accident, that front page news of an actor hanging himself in the prime of his life, the deaths from the virus that has taken up our collective consciousness like no other in the last decade or more, all these point to only one fact. And yet we routinely discount it by looking the other way and pretending it won’t happen to us.
But hey, wake up and smell the coffee. You will die someday.
These then are the truths that seek our attention with monotonous regularity. Yet we keep ignoring some or all of them and then feel startled that the obvious has occurred. It’s good to be optimistic and cheerful. That’s the best way forward to tackle Life.
But now and then, it’s also good to step back and see the pitfalls that we as humans are destined to endure – to stumble, to lie, get cheated and trodden upon. These come and go as regularly as the monsoons in Mumbai.
As my favourite singer Freddie Mercury croons in one of his songs the timeless message that we all need to remember :
Your every day is full of sunshine, but into every life a little rain must fall.
picture credit : Pinterest