Does this kid in the picture seem happy to you?
Yesterday, Rati and I had a fight during the day. Later, I went to office in the afternoon and came back late at night. The fight still wasn’t resolved and we exchanged some monosyllables, watched TV and had dinner; she went to bed alone and I kept awake watching TV late in the night as is my habit.
The movie that I sat watching in the night was ”The Invisible.’ The movie is about a Teenager who is attacked by a gang because of mistaken identity and is left to die, his body dumped in a sewer. The next morning, he discovers he cannot be seen – he is now a spirit in a state of limbo and can just observe others. Only his attacker, a girl, can hear his voice. The movie then shows the struggle of the teenager, how he tries hard to convince the girl to save him from dying, to tell the others where his body lies and rescue him. After a longg long struggle, the girl finally saves the teenager and dies herself in the process.
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I had a heavy feeling in my heart while watching the movie. After it got over I kept sitting in my rocking chair and thinking for a long time. I kept thinking about the boy, about his grieving mom who believed he had died somewhere, and about his panic on learning that he was about to lose his life permanently if he didn’t do something. I kept thinking about how beautiful life is; how beautiful it is just to be alive. I kept thinking about how I had forgotten the sheer joy of being able to live; the sheer pleasure of living with the person I love. If I had been dying today I would have regretted so much that I wasted my day with my wife over a stupid fight.
Sitting in my rocking chair, I remembered the whole year in 2008 when Rati was kept in custody at home by her parents because they didn’t want her married to me. We kept in touch with each other secretly and kept giving each other strength. Those were hard times, particularly so because I was struggling with two businesses in their initial stages- TathaGat and TotalGadha.com. On top of that, Rati frequently called up on phone and burst into tears because her mom or dad had said something unpleasant. Worried though I was because of my business, I tried hard to cheer Rati up during those phone calls; promising her that we would be together. There were nights during that year when I would suddenly jerk awake in my empty bed, with a cold fear in my heart. I realized that I never wanted to sleep alone in my life. I never wanted to live a life where I wouldn’t have anyone to hold in my arms. I was going to fight for Rati, no matter how long or how hard I had to fight.
Our love did win in the end. And we got married.
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And I sat wondering in my chair last night why it is that I fought so hard to win the love of my life and then I wasted so much of my time not celebrating our togetherness!
I was so consumed with worries about my future that I had forgotten the present.
I went back to bed and hugged and hugged my wife. She was happy in the morning and it was really really a fresh lovely day. 🙂
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While I was on the verge of falling asleep last night, I was also reviewing my life during the past one year.
Today, I own the biggest makeup and beauty blog on the internet; a blog which has aspired many women to start their own makeup blogs. Not only that, I also own the test prep company which is known as the best MBA test prep company in Delhi. But most important of all, I have a wife who loves me a lot. I have found true love in life and managed to keep it.
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So why am I still so dissatisfied? Why am I so restless that I am unable to enjoy what I have fought so hard to achieve?
When was the last time I lay in my couch reading a book the whole day?
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I realized that my fears and dreams about my future had eaten into my present.
Don’t get me wrong here. I am not an unhappy person. I am also not a snappy or brusque person in manner. I am a very funny guy who enjoys life a lot. I am also one of those fortunate persons who have found their metier in life. I love what I do- I love teaching, I love blogging, and I love running a business. In short, there is nothing in my life to make me unhappy. But still this restlessness in me, this unknown fear about the future… why?
Your Dreams Won’t Let You Sleep!
Rati and I are two persons who have seen most of their dreams come true. Rati already owns most of the stuff she wanted to own in her early life. I have already achieved the biggest thing I always dreamt about- that I wouldn’t have to wake up at 8:00 am everyday to get ready for office. In short, we have done what we wanted to do. But the catch is that the more dreams that are getting fulfilled, the more new dreams that are coming up. And each new dream makes us run faster, jump higher, struggle harder. We are becoming greedier and greedier. We want more and more out of our lives.
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So what’s wrong with that?
Rajat, my partner in TathaGat, seems to be going through the same phenomenon. A couple of days ago, we were discussing about opening a new centre in Noida. While calculating the finances of running and setting up the center, we realized that the center would take some amount from our profit. It was not a big thing though. We had the money, and if the center didn’t work we would not face such a big crisis in life. Still, we both got worried about what would happen if the center failed.
Today, coming back together in the car, I asked Rajat, “Yaar, we opened our organization when we had practically no money in our accounts. We took loans. Today we have money in our accounts. Why are we so worried about opening a center which we can easily afford?” He said, “It’s because we have made so many plans and dreams with that money that we are scared that our plans would be blown away if that money is gone.”
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Bang on. He had put finger on the problem that had been gnawing in my mind since last night. The problem put simply was, “Why was I not enjoying the present?” Rajat had given me my answer.
The problem was not with my dreams. Over time my dreams had become bigger and bigger, but that was all right. The problem was that my fear about my dreams not coming true was preventing me from enjoying the present moments. I was so bothered about the destination that I stopped enjoying the journey. I had forgotten one golden rule of life-
The Journey is the Destination
I read the first Harry Potter book a month after it came out. Like every Happy Potter fan, I was hooked on to it instantly; the magical world of Hogwarts, the game of Quidditch, the dark forest, the hidden passages, etc. and above all, the mysterious and fearsome Voldemort- the dark lord.
Years passed on, and I would wait for one Harry Potter book after another, reading about new plots of Voldemort to kill Harry, reading about new strange creatures, hating professor Snape, loving Dumbledore, wishing that Harry would find a girlfriend, and what not… But most importantly, I so wanted Harry to defeat and kill Voldemort.
Finally, in the last book of the series, the moment I had waited for came at last. Harry managed to kill Voldemort. In the next few pages, as I read about the magical world rejoicing the death of Voldemort, the bitter truth dawned on me- it was over! Voldemort was dead and there would not be another Harry Potter book. The end had come and gone. And I felt empty. And I realised that what I had enjoyed the most was NOT the end but the journey.
And this is the underlying cause of my dissatisfaction. I am not enjoying the journey because I am too concerned about the end.
Soothsayer: Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that doesn’t make you who you are. It is the rest of your story, who you choose to be. (Kungfu Panda- 2)
Before writing this post, I had already made my decision to change some little things in my life; tinker a little bit about how I feel. I am going to enjoy my time with my wife. I don’t want our moments to slip away. My dreams will come in due time and I shall keep working for them. They would happen when they are meant to happen. Meanwhile, I would relish each moment of my struggle. And if I lose my dreams, I would lose them knowing that I gave them my best shot. But I would stop being scared. I shall enjoy all the moments, big or small.
Po: Maybe I should just quit and go back to making noodles.
Oogway: Quit, don’t quit, Noodle, don’t noodle, you are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.”