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What Do You Do? I Have An Unusual Answer To This Simple Question

Posted: January 12, 2018

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The ‘what do you do’ question usually refers to one’s occupation, but in this case, became a moment to reflect on one’s deepest beliefs about life.

“What do you do?,” asked  my co-passenger on a flight from Mumbai to Delhi. We had come much farther from what is usually just an exchange of amiable glances between strangers and were  amidst a conversation which had moved from monosyllables to well-formed sentences about details of our lives, interspersed with occasional laughter. Rather inquisitive, my co-passenger was  a charming  40-something woman who was going to Delhi  for receiving an award for her work on women empowerment.

“I eat, pray and love”, I said with a reflexive smile.

“Well, I mean, like, are you working or stay- at- home?” Confounded, she rephrased the question.

I reiterated matter- of -factly, “I eat, love and pray. I eat to survive, love to revive, and pray to thrive. I also write and translate books. But my brief for each day is to be human, the identity I am born with. I seek my ‘hygge  through living upto this identity.”

For me the word ‘Eat’ encompasses fulfillment of needs for survival and a restrained indulgence. I am definitely not an ascetic but surely austere. I prefer frugality to vanity, and try to exercise  self-control and  discipline. Isn’t gluttony one of the seven sins?  A consciousness about when a handful changes into sinful is what I seek to acquire.

‘Love’ for me is an action verb. It is not just a feeling but a decision, a  response and a choice. A smattering of humour and laughter, a bias towards impeccable words, a heart of compassion  and endurance, are an absolute source of love. It lightens the situation and diffuses the steam from a possible altercation. Every single day, I choose  to love against clear cues to blow my top. So when my helper allowed the milk to overflow while boiling, I chose my response, (it was hard) as “Don’t cry over spilt milk.”  We had a hearty laugh and I added, “Next time,better luck.”  I choose to be temperate over temperamental!

‘Pray’ for me is action plus state of mind which I seek to possess amidst the vagaries of a rough day. It is a place where my movements and interactions are marked by thankfulness, gratitude and non-complaining attitude. Each adversity is an opportunity to count one’s blessings.

A place where – bitter is not bad, simple is not sad and the mind is not mad!

From human being to being human is what I do!

Top image via Unsplash

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