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The author shares her belief that seeing the world from a height helps put things in perspective and one realizes that he/she is merely a speck in the vast universe.
All of us have had the opportunity to see elevated views. From the top of a terrace, balcony, fort, building, tower, or mountain range. Mostly, it is an engaging sight. Many a times, quite beautiful. But that’s not all.
I believe there is something cathartic about a bird’s eye view.
My earliest memories of enjoying panoramic views go back to my hostel life in Delhi. At the end of an exhausting day, I would climb up to the common room on the fourth floor, plonk myself by the wide casement windows, and watch the city. Especially at dusk. Twinkling lights of the bustling habitation, looked like a web of intertwined stars. Serpentine rows of vehicles inching forward to form a string of glowing red embers garlanding the urban jungle. Blurred sounds of horns from a distance, neither too loud, nor too faint, filled the air.
As I sat, viewing ‘life’ from a height, I’d think what each passenger in the car was going through. Living his or her own story. Own experiences. Ups and downs. Happiness and distress. People walking by the roads looked like little ants marching on, carrying their own perceptions of the day gone by. So many lives in a state of flux, simultaneously. Predictable, and yet, so unpredictable.
It was hard to imagine how tiny I was in this larger spectacle of the human race. More like “’oh! I ‘also’ exist.” Soon, I’d find that any seeming difficulty, or an incident that I was mildly upset about, simply disappeared. I’d realize that my life with my own ecosystem of struggles, aspirations, and relationships, was not that complex. And even if it was, what the heck. It was manageable. Everything is, ultimately. I remember almost laughing at myself for feeling ruffled earlier that day because the shirt I’d wanted to wear to college was crumpled!
Similarly, whenever I go trekking, I rediscover this perspective, each time. While climbing up, I believe I will feel a sense of achievement when I reach the peak. However, when I do reach the top, and absorb the bird’s eye view below, the towering scale of life blows me away. Streams of fluffy clouds, powder blue sky, trees swooning with the breeze, settlements et al bustling with countless concurrent lives. There is a balance. Fragile yet resilient. There is peace and quiet. Yet no one’s at rest. Every atom is energy is ‘living.’
I stand reminded of my relative existence in the world that we ‘know of’. I am a speck in this spectacular scheme of life. And I feel humility and gratitude to be the chosen one to participate in this unfathomable grandeur. I am here for a span of 80-100 years to enjoy and replenish nature’s inexplicable universe of actions and reactions. ‘I’, ‘my’ problems, ‘my’ likes, are just so puny.
This ability to see myself as a part of the larger macrocosm, is the greatest lesson that bird’s eye views have taught me. It has helped me to take myself less seriously.
So go ahead and scale new heights. Take arduous journeys. Reach more tops. Achieve. Feel elated. Feel dejected. Do it all. But don’t forget to breathe, play and smile. If you’re going through a personal crisis and feeling terrible, calm down. You are not the only one. If you’re winning awards and bursting with pride, again, calm down. You are also not the only one.
Image Source: Anusha Singh
I am a non-fiction writer and public speaker. Former lawyer, business editor and head
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