After many days of hectic running around, I have taken a day off. It’s past noon – there is a sunny and verdurous quietness of a moodish, vagrant, capricious monsoon noon around me. Sitting in my old easy chair in my verandah shaded by overgrown climbers and thick bushes of raat ki rani, I am seeing clouds scurrying across the deep blue sky with the roguish westerly wind. I can see under the thick and green bamboo bushes across the verandah little robins hopping around and tiny shards and shavings of the sun littered in the deep shade, shaking the tender shoots still sleeping under the moist soil.
And how am I today? As serene and light as few on earth can be – no worries, no qualms, no fears. I cleaned my working space and tidied up my things today morning, smiled to look at the results, then took a rather long bath, washed my hair and pulled out an almost weightless long frock of light green and lemon colored floral print from my closet – an exact replica of my mood today. I am about to enter the 36th year of my life and am enjoying on this day-off, the freedom that I have snatched and secured from the clutches of time. Yes, despite the thousand and one challenges facing me, I am today as free as any woman on earth can dream to be.
I often take such day offs from my self-chosen hectic schedule (I love to work hard) to be with myself, to listen to my soul, and rediscover that essential vitality inside me once again – that all grave failures, heartbreaks, irreparable mistakes notwithstanding, I am still young and in good health, that I am learning, growing, improving, that I have a whole life ahead of me to live the way I want.
Yes, it is true that I have chosen (like Frost’s poem that I admired as a child) a road really “less traveled by” – full of challenges, difficulties and dangerous twists and turns. And it is equally true that I met with a very major accident recently after which followed a dark and dangerous phase of bitter realizations, regrets for mistakes that cannot be mended. But was this all not very much foreseeable when setting sail for such an unknown journey? To my complete dismay I discovered that the way I had been working all these years was totally wrong and that instead of moving nearer to my goal, I had moved farther away, that I shall never be able to become what I could have become. Worst still was the realization that I had failed to understand myself and what I actually wanted from life. . .
It took me time to accept that I will have to live with what I have made of myself, for the rest of my life. One such day of complete desperation, I stood and looked myself in the mirror – what I had made of myself – everything said how burdens of life were weighing me down. I cried. I cried over what I had made of myself – a complete loser! And it hurt my pride to accept this. Many had already started commenting on my fast-fading youth.
It took me time to stand up again and to decide to fight back, and not to give up at any cost, come what may. I know today that it is all a part of life. Life is also about how we take up challenges and meet with failures. And this knowledge that I have earned at the cost of failure is a prize in itself. That I was wrong all through – it is this knowledge, after all, without which I could never succeed in future. I at least now know how and in which direction to proceed and more importantly, how not to. This realization of mistakes is the essential key to the gateway that can open the future path of progress for me. And after all, success always lies in the sincerity of effort, not the result. Right or wrong, it was with best intentions that I had done everything. I decided to give my best to life and I did it. And this is reason enough to be glad about.
So, what happened next? I changed myself first.
Look at me today – I have started anew. I am doing what I should be, what I should have started doing years back – living each moment to its fullest. It is not the ruthless time that is commanding me, guiding me anymore, but the opposite. I have lost the extra 6 kg. I had gained by self-neglect, I am regularly doing physical workouts and enjoying how I am reshaping myself each day and beating time in the game. My skin, hair, face – everything has changed in the past few months. No wonder, I am getting compliments. I am reading, writing, pursuing my interests, working hard, very hard, and then skipping schedules sometimes for a break. I decide for myself what I want. I plan, I do and I defeat myself every time. I set new goals for myself, and smile to see myself defeated every time.
I have learned that instead of an elusive one big grand success, I should make efforts to make each day successful. My heart sings with joy, fulfillment, and sense of self-confidence in my ability to command my life, my day, my time according to my wish and that is true freedom indeed! So who was the loser? Not me, I have won a new me – a new life, new confidence, and a better self that I have got in the bargain!