“If human life is just a transition of a baby born brave, free and creative into a coward and captive in a span of 60-70 years and who spends his creativity only to procreate for the sake of continuation of the lineage and finally dies as a big boy in the garb of an old man, then, beloved, I have nothing to be proud of being born as a human being.”
These lines are rough translation of an extract from the best selling Malayalam book that I recently read, namely, Manushyanu Oru Aamukham (A Preface to Man), written by the young and immensely talented Subhash Chandran. Through those lines that contain the central theme of the novel, the writer holds a mirror to the way we squander what we call our life.
Let me explain using a couple of questions thrown at us by the American literary genius Ernest Hemingway. “Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realise you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?” Most of us would answer ‘yes’. Unfortunately, the fact remains that we all love the anesthetising comfort that the four walls of our homes offer. And so we vegetate, live off the fat of the land and hardly contribute anything to it.
For most of us what we call life and happiness is having a family, a good house, a car, an annual vacation and an occasional dining out. We get by our life paying our mortgage, producing children and hobnobbing with our equals. Our routine is: Go to work, do our duties, come back, watch some TV, check into Facebook and Whatsapp, forward a few jokes, have a nice dinner and hit the bed. If life is reduced to these, let’s face it, we are just not needed here, the world can get by without us.
The question to ask is, is there something missing in my life? If yes, what could that possibly be? I think the answer is, fulfilment. A sense of fulfilment, I think, is the essence of life. How do we attain that? Fulfilment comes the moment we discover the joy of living life to the fullest by touching the lives of other people, instilling confidence in the less privileged, wiping a tear from someone’s eyes and putting a smile on that person’s face. But works of charity are not the only way to attain fulfilment.
Fulfilment comes when we unleash the potential within us, and make everyone around acknowledge that there’s something about this guy…
Fulfilment comes when we refuse to go with the flow but choose to chase our dreams…
Fulfilment comes when we make a difference in the lives of people around us, our colleagues for instance. If you are a teacher, stop being just another teacher, be an ideal one; if you are a student, don’t be an average one, be a diligent one; if you are a professional, be a role model. Remember, there’s a poet in all of us, there’s a writer within us, a reformer, a model teacher, an ideal priest, nun… What stops you from becoming these?
That’s how we realise that life offers a lot more happiness than just eating, drinking, sleeping and procreating. As the sage says, if we can leave this world a little better than we found it with our inspiring lives, then when our turn comes to die, we can die happy in the feeling that we have made some difference in the lives of some people. That’s fulfilment. And then, beloved, we will have a lot to be proud of being born as a human being.