Readers Write In #12: A Chennai story

Posted on March 27, 2017


City | Chennai

Location | Shivan Park, Ashok Nagar

A bright little evening on a weekend, I was taking a walk with my friend/mentor, a man of action with words to match up for it.

The usual gleeful evening crowd filled up the park ; Children playing see-saw and swing, parents with their kids, the badminton lot, grandparents with their grandkids, the love birds etc. The whole place emanated joy and frolic and we were enjoying the walk .

As we were discussing a lot of stuff, my friend stopped me short at a spot and said “Let us now take a brisk walk as usual but without uttering a word for 3 rounds. We must not speak until we complete the two rounds”.

Being the motormouth that I am , I was perplexed and yet thrilled at this little challenge thrown at me and I agreed.

We started walking. As agreed, we did not utter a single word and kept walking. The first round went well and we cruised towards the second round.

But as I was nearing the second round, I became uneasy and uncomfortable. Being quiet was absolutely against my nature and I had this tremendous urge to say something. Suddenly, I felt the place was not as pleasant as it was. I was dying to finish the 3 rounds so that I can start talking again. I noticed the more I thought like this, the less enjoyable the walk became. The sights around me disappeared. The beauty was nowhere to be seen. I was hell bent to the finishing line to quickly get rid of this damn wager that I had foolishly agreed to, so that normalcy can be retained.

And we did finish it at last. I breathed a sigh of relief as we completed. But I could see that my friend was absolutely unperturbed. He was still joyful and smiling while I was a sweaty and nervous mess, so glad to be able to talk again.

Now, I wondered why did I sweat so much and became so flustered while my friend was able to retain the composure he had shown earlier and remain calm?

Which is when this thought struck me. The one that gave me a lesson for life.

I realised I struggled because I stopped savouring the sights around me. The very sights that made this walking such a pleasurable activity. As we began this silent walk, the mind started ignoring the sights around me and started solely focussing on the end point, this imagined destination that we had agreed to. I was so hell bent on finishing this more than enjoying the silence and the beauty around me. My mind kept hammering, finish , finish ..finish your 3 rounds so that you can finally talk. In doing that, I lost the whole point of this exercise i.e. to savour and sink in the joy around me. With my mind completely focussing on finishing the task, I forgot to experience the beauty around me. At the end, what did I really achieve? Yes I reached the destination, so what? I just ended up being a nerve wrecked, sweaty mess which made reaching the destination pointless.

Now, isn’t this what we all do in our life. We have our goals, checkpoints and destinations. We have our deadlines, checklists and tasks to check off. But while doing this, are we savouring the life around us? Are we enjoying the joy and happiness around us? Are we taking into account the everyday poignant moments that we choose to ignore as we march along like foot soldiers towards our all important destinations?

With our mind and body entirely focussed in attaining these temporary goals, we forget to live life. We forget to celebrate the moments that deserve celebration, we forget to share the love to the people who deserve it and desperately need it. We forget to breathe, look at ourselves and in short, Live.

Now, I would not go as far saying have no goals or targets to achieve. That would be flippant. I believe Goals are wonderful motivators, they direct our senses towards the right action and helps us achieve important milestones.

All I am saying is, of course , set your destinations and goals.

But don’t forget to savour the sights. Because only the sights makes the goals worthwhile.

Aditya Raghavan | Moody Writer | Aspiring Composer | Professional Designer