6th December, 1981 : Early morning

I still remember, it was bone chilling cold in Delhi that day ( temperature at some 6-7 degree C – perhaps the coldest day in a decade or so, as per a report I read later). But who had the luxury to soak in the cosy warmth of the blanket for a little while more? Had to rush to get ready by 7 am in that freezing cold – I had the Exam! The competitive exam for Recruitment as Probationary Officer in SBI !! And the examination centre at some non-descript school was far away from our PG Women’s Hostel of Delhi University. My fingers had literally frozen – both due to cold and exam fever ( Yes! Exam Fever is the only warm condition that freezes you !).  But then…. It is really good not to have an option at certain points of life. I could not have bunked this exam …. after  managing to stay in the hostel after completion of MA some 7-8 months earlier by procuring admission to M.Phil AND not attending a single class in the name of preparing for competitives !!   I got ready, took the bus, reached the venue well ahead of time, took the exam and as my result indicated in time … I had made it … to SBI as a PO! My ‘present moment’ on 6th Dec, 1981, despite the adversity, turned out to be perfect – in retrospect.

Tis Saal Baad

6th December, 2011: Early morning

Ohh ! Cursed the alarm at 5.45 am and just turned it off, cosying & cuddling a little more inside the soft blanket! It is not cold, rather pleasant here in Bhubaneswar during early morning these days inside a light blanket. I let myself soak in

the warmth a bit more and did not realise when almost an hour had slipped by when I finally got up and winked at the time on my mobile, lying nearby. I had not thought of the date then, honestly!! But soon enough, it sank in : well, 30 years back, I had done something on this date which has made my life what it is now!! And just think about it: did I ever imagine at that moment 30 yrs back that I would be having this moment 30 yrs later???

I am reminded of a Zen story that goes like this :

Rengetsu was among a few famous women Zen masters. The practice of women practicing Zen was frawned upon in the male-dominated Japan.

One day Rengetsu came to a village. It was night. She asked for shelter; but the villagers refused. She took refuge under a cherry tree.

It was very cold, and in the middle of the night Rengetsu woke up shivering. She gazed up and saw the cherry tree had blossomed and the moon was shining on the blossoms. Rengetsu was so entranced by the beauty of the scene that she stayed gazing at the blossoms of the cherry tree until dawn. As she was leaving, she knocked on each door and thanked the villagers. “Why are you thanking us? We put you out in the cold.” She replied, “If it was n’t for you,I wouldn’t have seen what I saw. Such is the way of Zen.”

……. End of story

So ?? There is always a blessing in disguise in every adversity. Every moment in Nature is just perfect : past, present and future ! And present is so called because it is a present – a gift – never let it pass without unwrapping it to see what it holds inside for you. Present is THE PARADISE – the only thing you must have is your SOUL to experience it !! Past has always been perfect ;because you are where you are now because of your past. And remember, future is nothing but the moment your present is going to turn into your past. Future is also the beginning of your ‘next’ present !! So whether your Future turns out to be a Fiasco or a Fantasia, all you have control over is moving towards tomorrow in the present – not the tomorrow itself.

I reiterate to myself – every moment and every event is just perfect in nature. Everything happens for a special purpose in this universe. It just so happens that we do not realise it immediately. Trust this and try accepting every experience with gratitude, as something happening as per Divine Will with an ultimate design for your good and soon you would start seeing the opportunity for growth and betterment in each event, in each experience, no matter how bitter, painful, challenging it may appear at the moment. Put in perspective, nothing wrong ever happens, neither anyone commits any mistake in the first place – it is all a part of a continuous learning process . Yes, repeat the mistake – the entire perspective changes – you have failed to introspect and learn. Each experience holds key to many benefits that accrue after a lag, which we fail to foresee and become wary of the present . “Accepting” gives us the fortitude to bear the present and reap the future benefits – if only, we truly believe in the age-old saying that everything happens for good.

So, I am grateful for each moment passed, each experience lived – no matter what ; learnt from what I have gone through, grown and moved on …. with unflinching faith in divine dispensation and indomitable will to be all that I can be. It is just that, 30 years back, I had not foreseen a bend that I would have to take en-route!

‘Living in the present’ in no way means letting every moment of life just pass by, or  a justification for simply watching life pass you by, moment by moment !! It means , you actively work every moment towards your purpose on this earth .. i.e to become all that you can be…! It is only by being yourself that you end up crafting a legacy that helps others, wherein lies its bonus for you – a sense of fulfilment, a sense of inner feeling that it does matter that I exist!! It means you draw your lessons, your strength, your knowledge from the past upon which you build further, in the present to move forward towards your future. Living in the Past or Future by brooding over past for what you have not got and worrying about how the future will be would only sap your energy in the present, which you could have invested in what you want in future !!!!

Back to what I said earlier : Past was perfect; Present is heavenly and Future is also going to be bright – if only you believe in yourself and in the Divine Design. Future is like a fluorescent material – that appears very bright when light shines on it and can be seen in the dark. That light comes from your belief in the grand plan of the Master Architect – the Universe and You, as part of that Ultimate Creator!

Last 30 years have been worth my while…..Thank God for everything!!

Feel like singing… ” Katon mein khile hein, phul hamare rang bhare armaanon ke – Nadan hei woh iin katon se daman ko bachaye jate hein ”  – a lift from that timeless song of Dev Anand from ‘Patita’