Treat each birthday as a chance for a RETAKE..

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Like pebbles thrown in quiet waters, birthdays create a passing stir in the mind and commotion in an otherwise routine life. They can be fun, can make you sad, an occasion to make fresh resolves, go partying or generally sit and reminisce down the memory lane.

It is inconceivable to imagine someone who doesn’t take notice of the birthday milestone and take stock of life lived hitherto. They say when you are about to die, your whole life passes through your mind in a moment. I would say, birthdays have similar potential. But unlike the moment of death here, you still have time to think, plan and make appropriate choices after reviewing the life already spent. Every birthday is a chance for a retake. If at the end, you want to view your life like it were an Oscar winning film.

As for me, another birthday has gone. It has taken me a bit farther from life but a bit closer to understanding of life if I may presume so. There is also an awareness that like most people around this time of life I too have some overriding concerns and existential questions regarding life and its meaning and utility, about religion and above all what is right?

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Through all this, I have come to believe that being religious does not entail visiting the temples, churches or mosques and following rituals. The greatest religion is practicing humanity with a malice free mind. In the light of this religion and to facilitate its practice, we need to formulate a set of principles and work ethics for ourselves from which we should try not to deviate under any circumstance because this defines our character and strengthens our personality.

I also think that it is important to leave diplomacy aside and have a honest, frank and transparent relationship in which you can speak your mind. This helps in fostering a calm, quiet and healthy mind which doesn’t plot, sulk or snitch. I have also learnt that life is very comparable to a seminary and you won’t be wiser if you bunk classes. Every life situation should be accepted and dealt with – with patience, skill and grace – because some way or the other it is a result of our own conscious or unconscious choices. Hence, it is very important that we pay attention to the kind of choices we make at every step before they get translated into irreversible actions.

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Another very important thing is acceptance, which should never be confused with inaction. Inaction is the mother of regrets and these are hard to live with. Acceptance should rather follow choice and action as per best of our judgement and ability. It is acceptance of how life happens inspite of our efforts and wishes. It helps eradicate frustration from our mind and makes us appreciate the blessings that we have.

With a prayer, I strive to inculcate an attitude of such wholesome acceptance which rises above the schizophrenia of right and wrong, mine and thine, high and low and good and evil.

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