Sunday, November 17, 2013

My road to self-discovery

"We start out in highchairs, we end up in wheel chairs, and somewhere between the two, we all have to figure out where our happiness lies and then start marching in that direction.” – Prof. Dan Gilbert
For all practical purposes, figuring out where our happiness lies is the key. It isn’t an easy find. Many lives are lost seeking this grail; some do not realize there is life between two chairs, and some just give up.

To think that I may run out of time, and get lost in this mercurial happiness race drives me to cherish every other day as a novelty and strive towards being a human – a happy human.

I have had an intractable childhood, filled with flaws. Just like most of the children from this country, I had no ambition, no clarity of thought and just about no source to figuring out where my happiness lied. And just like that 20 years of my life went by and am engulfed by a sudden surge of inordinate misery. I refuse to look back at my failure; I refuse to learn from it and move on; I refuse to believe that it isn’t the end. I refused…

Another couple of years bid my austere life goodbye while I vainly tried to recant my mistakes. Friends were not bidding much hope as my egalitarian harangue drained their energy. They would rather be ignorant of time that’s running out and seek solace in televisions and pop culture’s esoteric prolixity. A perfect testament to the all-pervasive claustrophobia this plutocratic society bestows upon us unfortunate.

So I run away as far as I can from this cynical, maligning, pseudo robotic society, in search of one that is meaningful, unassuming and giving. Giving – I might have just struck my gold there. And as a friend so rightly said, “you can do whatever you want in life, engage in any form of learning; but sooner or later, you have to drop your anchor when you have identified what you are good at”! He could not have said it better albeit in a career perspective but it is just as pertinent for life. What is it about giving that I feel so strongly about? Why does it seem to me that the self-inflicted human divides cause more hurt than happiness? Why do I feel responsible for leaving behind a world worthwhile for the next generation? The deeper I ponder about it, the simplified my life became.

I moved on, well, trying to, from the autocratic, self-obsessed rat race of a life to one that leaves behind a better tomorrow. A life or life’s deeds that significantly contributes to the wellbeing of the under privileged (economical, physical, mental, racial, gender, caste / class), who for no fault of theirs live a life of solitude and oppression. So in this pursuit for happiness, I have involved myself in activities, which for a long time, I used to shun from mentioning. Not anymore. I now strongly believe that compassion begets compassion.

It started out with community service that was attached to academia. Teaching kids to sing and dance, explaining various concept of science - never ceased to amaze me.

Visiting children at the cancer research institute, celebrating ‘happiness day’, play, laugh, and be merry.

Working with the British Red Cross is worth mentioning. Especially during the latest tsunami, every single penny that went into the kitty was valuable. There is no joy better, than to see that my efforts could make an individual’s life slightly better.
‘Epilepsy connections’ in the UK is so very dear to me. I have worked with people across age group and diversity who suffer from some form of epilepsy and in the process, befriended some lovely bunch of people. A friend with epilepsy said he’d miss me when I moved back to India – I am happy alright!

Through theatre, making people aware of issues such as gender bias, sexual assault, atrocities in the name of caste and many such divide, is now my dream. I shall not stop. 
Recently started visiting Banyan to interact with the inmates, and I carry with me fond memories to be treasured for life. 
Through Nirmukta, voicing for videos is a ‘dream come true’!

Just being aware of the privilege, questioning biased behavior, bringing to fore the dark side to using ableist / sexist remarks at workplace / social gathering. 

One might think what difference it makes that I choose to or don’t engage in these activities! One might speculate if this can bring about any change at all? One might conclude I am wasting my time.

The beauty of giving is not sacrifice; the beauty of giving is profusion and once we identify it as a collective, there is enough for everybody to coexist in harmony with no need for prejudice! Utopic? Hardly! 

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