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Carpe Diem. Do we really believe in it? Then why do we let moments of happiness slide away in the rat race of ambition and anxiety?
“Tu lagdi saarya nu vakhri, tainnu suit suit karda…” the words of this peppy Punjabi song attracted my attention. The singer was telling his muse that the Punjabi dress made her stand out in the clone crowd and it suited her a lot.
I smiled and try to recall – when did I last hear the words of a song so mindfully? In my childhood I did. The moment old songs play, their lyrics just come back floating effortlessly. The words make me recall my memories attached to these songs. Nowadays there is so much new music that I hear but fail to recall beyond the opening line. I realise that I have taught myself to ignore the input from my senses. I hear but do not listen.
When did I last enjoy the ordinary or the nonsense? It’s been months. When did I last see dust specks dancing in sunbeams, or felt the salt of Mumbai’s sea breeze on my lips? Or the sand between my toes giving me a natural foot scrub. When did I hear the chirp of the birds? When did I see the dew drops sliding on the grass blades as though they were giggling? When did I last make rings and bracelets out of pink and white Rangoon creeper flowers? Or lazily watched a hairy yellow and black caterpillar crawl on the leaves? When did I deliberately stomp into a puddle. I fail to remember.
Out of sheer habit, I took a sip of my tea and rolled the warm liquid in my mouth. Then I decided to do it with all my attention. Felt the flavour of cardamom and ginger rise into my nostrils. The everyday sip somehow felt more flavourful. Almost like the tastes of childhood.
We adults have a profound sense of drama, we spin nostalgic yarns about ‘hamara zamana’- where there was more fun in life, more taste in food, more rest in sleep, more meaning in relationships. But do we realise that this lack is all our doing?
We have made goals, SOPs and rules that bind our schedules and bridle our minds. The goal directed behaviour is like wearing horse blinders that shut out the view of the horizons and we just gallop. We look but do not see, hear but do not listen, touch but do not feel.
Even when we go for holidays where instead of enjoying the view and smelling the flowers, we are preoccupied calculating the financial damage. The falling bank balance makes our heart sink. The ice cream sundae no longer tastes sweet and heavenly.
We burden ourselves with worry for our kids. As parents we need to see our children for the joy they bring to us and not what responsibility and work load it is. To reflect upon our mistakes in their mistakes; and give them choices, not decide on their behalf.
My dog crouches near me and waits for me to make eye contact. The moment I look and smile, it merrily wags its tail, gives a happy growl and snuggles. The touch of its moist snout is a thank you kiss for my attention. The real joys of life are so little. They exist in our childhood, young life, and twilight years… always. The right thing to do is to govern the pace of our life at will. Know when to take the blinders off and inhale the aroma of home brewed coffee. To spread the yoga mat and stretch, not with any stress of weight loss or sexy body, but to just be. To celebrate that we can twist and turn, and can do all that we need to do.
Carpe diem – seize the moment not just the day. To allow our senses to run free like cheerful kids ready to explore the world. To retain the sense of wonder. To make time to see things that make us stare wide eyed. To do things that make our heart beat in a cosmic rhythm of thousand drums once a day. To live and not to exist and let life pass by.
Published here earlier.
Image source: Flickr, for representational purposes only.
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