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Friday, November 28, 2014

Get better, not bitter, from Life’s experiences

Each moment in Life has a reason for it being there__to make you complete and to help you reach and realize your ordained potential.

Of course, some of those moments are challenging, and at times, the aggregation of such moments can become a phase lasting several years. If you see it as Life's conspiracy to torture and beat you to pulp, that's how you will feel__trampled upon, betrayed, despondent and bitter. But if you treat it as a part of a larger Cosmic Design to make you stronger, skilled and resourceful, you will feel better, liberated and energized each day.

Two days ago I was at an event where my teacher from Junior and High School (Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan), Chandra Srinivasan, was being given a Lifetime Achievement Award for completing 51 years as a teacher. It was a special moment for me. Way back in 1978~80, when I was her student, my parents had to move from Chennai to Gulbarga, Karnataka, on account of my dad taking up a job there. They decided to leave me with my grandparents so that my academic career doesn’t get disrupted. But I didn’t cope with this separation well. Always an outstanding or above average performer until then, I started doing badly in most subjects. It was Chandra who noticed that I was perhaps homesick and she summoned my parents to take me out of school – and with them. My mother did not take kindly to my teacher’s perspective. She felt that my teacher had dumped me because of my poor grades and that I had failed the family by being a bad student. This led me to rebel as a teenager – I just did not focus on my academics from then on. This, naturally, caused a lot of anxiety for my parents and I often felt humiliated at school and at home. To escape all of this, I began immersing myself in reading and writing. Over the next seven years, I evolved to be a writer – a self-taught trait that helped me start a career in journalism. At the event to recognize Chandra, I was called upon to felicitate her. I was honored. And I thanked her profusely for her wisdom and insight. Without her (rightly) advising that my parents take me out of school, I may have perhaps never become a writer – it is not relevant anymore the journey I had to take to become one! I feel if I am author today, of “Fall Like A Rose Petal – A father’s lessons on how to be happy and content while living without money” (Westland, August 2014), it is because of what happened in my Life around 1980, 34 years ago!

I remember reading an amazing story in Forbes magazine on the 81-year-old, unputdownable, pop Diva, Asha Bhosle. Asha 'tai' opens up in that story on the tumultuous years of her first marriage with Bhosle, when he used to often beat her and made her feel worthless and unwanted. She eventually left him and her home. However, looking back on that phase in her Life she says, with no rancor or ill-feeling,"If I hadn't gotten married, I wouldn't have left home. I wouldn't have become a singer. If I had not met Bhosle (and married him), I wouldn't have become Asha Bhosle!!!"

Think about your Life. You__and I__are the sum of the experiences we have been through. To be bitter from them or better from them is a personal choice we must exercise. We will do well seeing each moment__with its opportunity or challenge__as one that is designed exclusively for our learning and evolution. That's when we will discover joy in the now and our lives will overflow with happiness.

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