And miles to go, before I find myself here again.
I crashed in front of the TV. I love that black piece with moving pictures and how it can sometimes make you forget things. This was not one of those times.
I was finally offered the prospects of climbing the ladder at work. A chance to co-manage an event, as big as a 80,000,000 bucks worth international conference, is something I had dreamt of. I had finally got a step closer to what I had been slogging-for for a while now. When your work forms the nucleus of your existence, things like this should bring boundless bliss and cheer. But the bliss and cheer died rather quickly.
I had climbed one mountain successfully only to find myself at the foot of another. Before I could feel elated, I had to get my act together and prep myself for this project. And I only made the climb steeper because of my own expectations from myself. I was now thinking about how to give my best at this project and what to achieve out of it. I was not afraid of the climb. But climbing one mountain after the other endlessly was tiring me. This whole process was tiring and senseless. You run the race as fast as you can, fall and get hurt. But no matter how far you come, no matter how many milestones you leave behind, there are still many milestones to touch. No matter what you aspire and achieve in life, no matter how much of happiness you earn, it will all run dry soon. You soon find yourself in the same place from where you started.
I kept surfing the TV to find something to numb my brain for a while and shut all the thoughts out. I stopped at a channel where I found a familiar face. The young girl in the kids singing reality show, I remembered her from the auditions that we had organized for this show. I recall that incident very distinctly…
“You all are very talented singers. Unfortunately, few of you have not made it to the next level. And fortunate few of you shall be invited to the studio for the final round of auditions”, the announcer said to a batch of young participants. Kids from age 8 to 14, who had come from all across the region, waited patiently in the hot summer afternoon for their fates to be read out. I was sitting near the announcer, getting a good look at all the anxious faces of the kids and the parents. When you put a lot of effort in an art, aspire a career out of it and have already spent enough time and money, anxiety during the moment of truth is obvious.
Two girls, around 10, who sat next to each other were soon separated by miles by their fate. One was to go back to her hometown, other was to go to Mumbai for the studio-round. “Congratulations to all those who won. Best wishes for next round. Those who couldn’t make it, don’t be disheartened. You are all talented. Just a bad day. Practice more and do come back in the next season,” said the announcer. Those words fell on deaf ears. Both the girls, one lucky and one unlucky, sat there numb and weeping. There were no cameras and judges around. This was the real deal.
The unlucky girl sniffed, the lucky girl held her face and I sat there staring at them for what appeared like ages. The similarity in their response, their actions, in spite of the difference in their new reality was moving. Their tender age made it all more agitating. The unlucky girl hadn’t lost anything. She still had a lot of chances to come her way. She was only 10! The lucky girl hadn’t won anything. She still had another difficult audition round to pass. Yet her tears of exhaustion felt as though she wanted to breathe some peace. She wasn’t dancing and smiling like most kids do, she sat there crying, what didn’t seem like tears of joy. It was part relief and part anxiety for the next round.
After some coaxing by their parents, the girls finally stopped crying. At that moment, both of them had the same blankness to their faces. One had climbed down a mountain and other had come out of a ditch. Both were standing on a median. Their blankness gave away their resolved indifference towards their realities. One left the building, other gave a shot to the camera for the TV episode. But their worlds were restored to normal in some unknown way.
The lucky girl was singing a sweet love song on TV. But I was only thinking of the median were those girls found their peace that day.
We have to step down every mountain we climb to get back to the median. But then, the median also lets us stand when we climb back up from our ditches. To keep walking is our irrefutable destiny. Mountains and ditches are part of the road map. But there is this place in between, which is neither good nor bad, to stand on when the legs tire out. A place, where both happiness and sadness are cured. A place were you can reflect upon the road ahead and start your walk again. And our world gets restored back to normal.
Posted on July 22, 2011, in happiness, Life, Life-lesson, People, Work and tagged climbing mountains, competition, ditches, Happiness, kind words, losing, mountain, peace, promotion, reality shows, singing, winning, work. Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.