Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Autobiography of Disability - Part 1

Dear all,

I am disability. Now, before you close the internet browser window, please understand, I am not a ‘disabled person’ – but I am disability myself. I am different from the person possessing me. I have my own identity. Most often, people confuse me with that person. But then, I consider that as an insult to my individuality. It is as if a woman wearing a make-up, owns all the beauty she has, because of the make-up ! How unfairly does the world give credits ! Anyways, enough is enough. I need my value to be recognized. So today, i thought, i will speak out to the world. I thought i will give my side of the story to the people. I thought i will clarify a few things. And hence, this is my autobiography.

Honestly friends, i must first tell you all, the person possessing me – has no influence on me. He has no reason to live with me. You want to know why ? Well, for that, you need to understand my birth. So, let us go there first. I came to the world to live with some people. It is not because such people are 'special'. It is not because they are 'differently-abled'. It is certainly not because God wanted me to spend some time with those people, because of their past actions. It is not even because of nature’s biological defection on the person. Honestly, it is because of sheer bad luck. Yes, bad luck. Do you know him ? He’s my elder brother. Like how he meets you all, every now and then, taking your life into unknown zones - he made me meet with the person i got. More on my brother later though.

Coming back to my birth, my presence makes people wonder about the person I am with. Even with no understanding of me, people seem to think I am an eternal curse to that person. How mean of you all to judge me ! And worse, some are immediately sympathetic. Many are even scared. But most hurt I am, when the parents of the person I am born to, are ill-treated attitudinally. I wonder what was their fault, for my existence ! Just because I have come to exist with a person, does it mean that his/her parents have to be attitudinally ostracized ? Sometimes, I wish my elder brother curses such people for behaving so !

Anyways, back again to my birth. As you see, my birth in itself creates the first big problem. And the problem is that people seem to judge me. Worse, they seem to judge me, even without knowing me. They do not even want to give an opportunity to know me.

And then, without knowing me, without any understanding of my nature, without any attempt to understand my nature – people want to confine me and the person I am with – into a room. They seem to think I will be happier in a room. Do you think I was born for that reason ? I have heard that in that country called America, children are confined to a room as punishment. So, are you punishing me ? Shame on you ! What right do you have to confine me to four walls ? You did not even give me a fair trial ! It angers me. But then, what can I do with that anger ? I cannot even express. Anyways, let me tell something to you all. I am here in the world, for a purpose. And until that purpose is met, I cannot go away. I will not go away. No matter what you do. No matter how much you ignore me.

So, do you all want to know what that purpose is ? Then you have to come with me, into my life’s journey. You have to come with me into my past, my present and my future.

- To be continued -

Monday, April 16, 2012

Of Choices & Regrets

There are moments in your life, you always want to re-live. There are moments in your life, you always want to take back. That night, my heart was oscillating in the memories of many such varying moments.

27 years of life, and the one eternal truth I learnt is that everyone encounters difficulties. Everyone makes choices. And everyone regrets. That is the truth of life. While idealism promotes that life is a choice between good and bad, while it says that a person encountered with such choice, must always choose good – reality infact is something totally different.

In reality, life is never a choice between the good and the bad ! That is too easy to make. In reality, life is a choice between greater of the two goods or lesser of the two bads. It presents us a choice in ways that any decision, will only eventually lead to regret. For instance, when a young son of poor parents, has to choose between ambitiously pursuing his passion or financially supporting his parents – either decision leaves him with regret. When a wonderful daughter of a sweet family has to choose between spending her time earning abroad, or settling with her family here in India –either decision leaves her with regret. When a middle-aged father, has to choose between loving his own family or bring in his biased relatives – either decision leaves him with regret. When an old mother, has to choose between letting her sons go and live independently or protect them till the end with her own possessive love, either decision fills her with regret.

Choices in real life, are never easy. It is as if they always come free with a regret. And add to it our own sense of morals, society’s rules, perception of others, the weariness of the years that will follow, our past experiences, loved ones’ opinions, the occasional loneliness and the endless emptiness arising out of missing what we didn’t choose – life travels into misery over time. It leaves us a tendency, where a burning desire to experience life burns out. It happens to everyone. There is no escape. Or so I thought, until that night.

That night, I thought of God. I wondered if he really existed. If he was a real physical presence, who watched over planet earth and its countless beings forever. I wondered what would he have to say on the decisions I have made. What would he say on regrets ? How different would his choices be ? Does he have any regrets ? I smiled at myself. That night, my heart answered.

It said, ‘Sai, why are you so worried about regrets ? Why are you constantly feeding them ? I understand they hurt you. I understand you are unable to get over it. I understand you are missing the life of the other decision. I understand you will be haunted all life by it. But then, they are nothing more than your shadows. The real you is the choices you have made. Why are you not happy for the real you ?’

‘hmm, may be. But I see that I could have been way better if only I made the other choice !’, asked my mind.

‘Well then, you have time don’t you ? To the one who relentlessly hopes, there will always be an opportunity to redeem himself’, said my heart.

‘That’s a philosophical non-sense which never works in reality. Sometimes, things just go too far and there is no turning back’, said my mind.

‘Hmm. That’s true dear. That’s a philosophical non-sense. And sometimes there is no turning back. But nothing stops you from hoping and working does it ? Would you hope only if there is a chance of things coming true ? How selfish !’, said my heart.

‘But why would i hope if there is no chance ? Infact, in life, how do I ever know what should I hope for ? Whenever think of my past or my future choices, at any point, both my choices seem right and both my choices seem wrong !’, said my mind.

‘hmm. Well, then. We have to see the larger picture – don’t we ? Sai, all of your life, you have made decisions you have made decisions under the impression that it is easy to gain forgiveness than to gain permission. That it is better to risk and be ruined, than regret and live yearning. But now, if you aren’t happy with choices out of them, there is only one way out’, said my heart.

‘What is it ?’, asked my mind.
‘You have to answer the three questions’, said my heart.
‘What are they ?’, asked my mind.

‘The first, what choice would you have made, if it is given that no one in the world will praise or criticize it ? No one will have any opinion on it. No one will even bother about it. What choice will you make, if no one in the world existed at all to know it ?’, said my heart.

‘Why should I think of it ?’, asked my mind.

‘Because that removes the effect of unnecessary attachments, wrong beliefs, peer pressure and societal attitudes ! That just leaves you and me. And since i am one feeling regrets, i believe you should ask only me.’, said my heart.

‘hmm, what is the second question ?’, asked my mind.

‘What choice would you make if you know you were going to die today ?’, said my heart.

‘And why that ?’, asked my mind.

‘Because, one day you certainly will. And you don’t want to die with me regretting then’, said my heart.

‘hmm, and what is the last question ?’, asked my mind.

‘Can you live with a hopeless hope of your choice coming true ?’ said my heart.

‘huh ? A hopeless hope ? What does that mean ?’, asked my mind.

‘Dear, it means a mad desire for life. It means a blind belief that things will go your way one day. It means an arrogant attitude that you will not let your past wear you down. It means that you will stand up for your decisions, take responsibility for them and work hard to become better. It means creating yourself in a way, that you care not for what else you could be', said my heart.

‘And how would I do that ?’, asked my mind.

‘By believing Sai. By believing that, what you are now is of little importance, when compared to what you must be in future. By understanding that you are not just choices and regret, but are work and results. By knowing that you breathe every moment, not for the past, but for the future. By trusting that the universe always gives the worthy, a life to be proud about’, said my heart.

‘So, that approach will give me a life that I could have lived ?’, asked my mind.

‘It may or may not. But that’s your only chance. Don’t you want to take it ?’, said my heart.

‘hmm, I am not sure’, said my mind.

‘There is no need to be sure dear. Life is not about being sure with events, but about being comfortable with yourself. And you must be comfortable to think of your past. To love your present. And to live for the future. The regrets then will automatically give way to a beautiful story of life, that even god above will be proud of’, said my heart.

‘hmm’, said my mind.

That remainder of the night, my regrets and memories were silent.