"An unexamined life is not worth living" - Socrates
I climb down the seven floors flushed with a sense of an impending discovery. I am in the hub of Gurgaon, a Delhi suburb teeming with technologists. It’s the crack of dawn, the sun threatening to engulf the town with searing heat, and with the cloud cover, intense humidity. I pass the guard, he gets up from his broken chair immediately and salutes a “Good Morning”. I smile back at him and reciprocate, moving quickly towards the road. I immediately see a woman wearing the traditional Indian Suit come towards the building. She looks older than her fifty or so years. Her gait indicates her worries. I say the most cheerful “Good Morning” I can muster. A smile breaks past her, her worries dissolved for a fleeting moment. Unknowingly, I have just enabled the flow of energy!
I say a “Good Morning” to the guard at the gate even before he gathers his wits. He seems mildly surprised, perhaps because I break the rules of expectations.I say “Good Morning” to a retired couple walking gingerly who respond back cheerfully. A wave of a hand and a smile from another couple the next time I utter the magic words. A father and a son brisk walking in silence respond to my greeting with a guarded response. I continue on the road that acts as a walking trail. It’s lined with trees, Gulmohar, Kachnar and the likes. A few yards further along, the road merges into the next. A strategically placed traffic block allows for more pedestrians by blocking out the motorists. Two lovely ladies filled with chatter and laughs respond enthusiastically. I now walk freely without the fear of being overrun. I touch some of the trees while I stroll - acknowledging their presence. A man with a dog gets guarded as I pass by – perhaps wary that the dog might get vicious. I greet the dog with a smile who responds back with a gentle wag of the tail. A woman walking alone starts to cross the road. I belt out a loud “Good Morning” to her, startling her. She recovers quickly and responds back with the biggest smile seen on this side of the Aravalli’s. A strong sense of what I need to do later starts to take form. I consciously say “Good Morning” to everyone I see. I take mental notes of their reactions as they respond back to me.
A silent one, a muted one followed by a loud one. A college kid, starts to run as soon as he hears me. I imagine that perhaps my enthusiasm rubbed onto him and he shot off with energy as a result of that!
A pack of the famed Delhi street dogs start to block my path. My sense of positivity does not slow me at all. I walk past them acknowledging their unpredictability. I keep the pace on and reach a logical place where to turn back around. I walk across the street again, trying to be closer to the side that has more trees. I touch a few of them again and feel grateful. The sense of chaos dissolves when surrounded by deep rooted serenity.
I wave to a group of Chowkidars who are starting their work day. They talk and smoke the traditional Beedi – performing their daily ritual. They enthusiastically wave back and shout a "Salaam" when I take the initiative to bid them a great start.
I have overshot the building compound when I realize I have reached the “Ambience” Mall. The name is apt – I am at level zero – the place where one is near dead calm. I turn around again and walk towards the gate. An attractive girl, perhaps going to work in one of the tech companies notices me. She starts to get uncomfortable as I approach her. She pretends to look away from me, but I am too vested now to leave her alone. I say the cheeriest “Good Morning” I can possibly conjure. Her aloofness melts, the strangeness disappears and she smiles back. The gift of a “Good Morning” dawns on her as well.
I resolve to never walk quietly on a trail again. There’s a gift of light that’s free for me to give to everyone. It’s a start of the day everyone deserves. I promise myself to keep providing good vibrations. In return, feel it's power running through my veins....
I have been threatening to write my first “real” article/blog for quite some time now. I never got down to writing one partly due to the busyness of things and partly due to the fact that I did not have enough material worthy to do so:). In hindsight I could have written about transliter8 (www.transliter8.com) - the multi-lingual name and entity recognition product and services that we have made great strides on over the last few months. I could possibly have written about the great work I am starting to do at the “Not for Profit” that I am currently associated with. Or, even side projects that are starting to take shape due to (fortunate) re-connections with old friends and colleagues. However it wasn’t to be – those topics were just not sparking my imagination!
This fine Wednesday morning I am in the “State of Being” that enables the flow of words and thus to pen my first on this platform. As some of you might attest I have recently been delving more and more into “Why I am the way I am” kind of questions. The type of questions you intuitively know the answers to - but are afraid to ask yourself. What’s my basic fabric? What higher purpose was I meant to serve? The kind of questions one asks when one has an existential crisis or when one hits middle age or as in my case, both. The kinds that make your head spin after a concussion that you only wish on your worst competitors:). So as a well seasoned Entrepreneur once said “If can’t create new - plagiarize and improve” ©. Hence started my quest to discover that template that I could use to live till the day I died.
So whose life should I model my life after? Who is that one person that has seen it all? I had been searching for the answers for weeks till yesterday. On a long walk I replayed in my head a conversation that I had had with a dear friend over lunch on Sunday. Suddenly it dawned on me – James Redfield was right, Michael Singer made sense! The answer lied at the intersection of my childhood memories, my passion and my inner awareness! My childhood was all about role playing and movies, my passion is my work and time spent with family. When I started to replay that day's events I became aware that I had lent my friend the entire collection of my all time favorite movie.
The answer was surely in Star Wars - a set of movies that I have easily watched a hundred times! A metallic voice boomed into my psyche - “It is your destiny”! I knew from that moment on that I was going to model my life after the lessons learnt from Darth Vader’s life - his relationships and interactions!
Vader was ruthless with his subordinates. He would be highly demanding and threaten without flinching. ““I hope so for your sake, the emperor is not as forgiving as I am” would send a chill down even a Droid’s spine.
“You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I am here to put you back on schedule.” That one sentence says it all of how not to be with your colleagues and partners in crime!
Anakin's deference to Senator Palpatine bordered on pure reverence. His blind faith came about as a result of his belief that Senator Palpatine accepted him unconditionally. “POWER! UNLIMITED POWER!” – promised the Senator. In his quest for power Anakin failed to see the Senator’s ulterior motives.
Follow your leaders - respect and honor them. However your own conscience is the ultimate guide that you need to always listen to.
Obi Wan Kenobi was Anakin’s mentor and friend. Their friendship at times was fractious but based on mutual respect. Only a true friend could have said “You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you!” when his counterpart had just screamed “I HATE YOU”!
Friendship should not be based on niceties and commonalities only. A true friend is one that fights to protect you even when you become your own worst enemy. Listen and pay heed to their insights!
Anakin’s love for Padmé elevated him, made him want to be a better man. But his insecurities of losing her pushed him towards the dark side. “Anakin, all I want is your love”, she said. He retorted “Love won't save you, Padmé. Only my new powers can do that.” His love for her had turn into an obsession!
Keep love pure, nurturing and unconditional – don’t let it get addictive. True love liberates you, not weave you into doubts and insecurities.
Lord Vader had his light-saber drawn and was searching for his rebel son - to disarm and take him prisoner for the Emperor. “You cannot hide forever, Luke” he had barked expecting a fight. “I will not fight you.” was the unexpected reply. That one remark broke Vader’s armor like no laser could!
Members of your family may sometimes lose their way. They might start to wander into darkness. Never give up on them – always help them back, unquestioningly.
While trying to save Luke Darth Vader broke the shackles of the Emperor’s mental tyranny and flung him into oblivion. Mortally wounded he asks Luke, “Help me take this mask off”. Luke tells him that he would die if he did so. “Nothing can stop that now. Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes.”
For all living beings death is the ultimate truth. Don’t fear death and you can truly cherish life. Don’t wait till faced with death to appreciate what you had. Do it now!
“We are many versions of ourselves. At some point in our lives we really need to take off our mask and look at what’s important to us. Only then can we breathe freely!” Darth Vader had nothing to do with the above message – it was all conjured while I was in the flow. But I am certain his Lordship will find that "The force is strong with this one"….
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