Monday, November 3, 2014

My Name is.....Change

The world around us is constantly changing.

We are regularly introduced to newer ways of doing things. From more efficient ways to communicate & faster means of travel to innovative styles of clothing & fresh genres of music we are witnessing revolutionary advances in almost every avenue of life.

Our environment seems to be in a perpetual state of remodeling and even though we adapt and re adapt in order to survive, how much do you think these changes really affect the real person inside us all.

Can we as human beings really change who we are?

If we can, what brings about that change?

Smoking is an awful habit.

The WHO once released a report which referred to it as “the single most preventable cause of death in the world today”

Ever since I was a child, I have seen people around me struggle with it.

Over the years the general attitude towards smoking has changed, awareness has increased, advertisements appear on television and radio from time to time, studies regarding the harmful effects of tobacco have been published, laws restricting sales and smoking in public spaces have been passed, heck, they even started printing the words SMOKING KILLS right on the boxes containing cigarettes, but here is the harsh truth, none of these measures have had any significant impact on people who are already hooked on this habit.

In spite of all the evidence and all the warnings why hasn't the world quit smoking yet? Why haven’t we changed?

Saurabh was one of my closest friends at school, his father stopped smoking only after his second major heart attack, He still considers the day his father flung the two packs of cigarettes in his pocket out of their apartment window the best day of his life.

My pre-university college friend Francis quit smoking after a struggle that lasted over 10 years, dozens of visits to de- addiction centers and multiple attempts at using nicotine gums and patches couldn’t do for him what holding his first born child did in a minute.

Smoking is just an acquired habit, and yet it happens to be something people find incredibly difficult to change about themselves, I can only imagine how much more difficult it is for us to alter more innate traits of our nature and our personality.
Its going to take a lot more than just 60 minutes !!!
Let me now draw your attention to something that happened to me a few weeks ago.

It was a Monday and I was driving back home from the clinic.

On most Sundays after Church I like indulging in some savories at a wonderful little bakery close to where I stay, I love the doughnuts they make, this Sunday however, I couldn’t go to there.

I was on a 6 km stretch of a wide and straight road, the sun had taken a break from blazing all over the city, the wind was cool and the streets were desolate.

I stuck to the speed limit and stayed on the left.

I was enjoying the ride.

My reverie was disturbed by what I saw on both the mirrors on my bike, two different buses were trying to overtake each other, they nearly occupied the whole road behind me.

I looked back ahead, from the corner of my eye I saw an elderly gentleman who seemed to be trying to make up his mind whether to cross the road or not.

‘Potential Jay walker’! I thought to myself and slowed down a bit.

I could see that he was drunk because as soon as he stepped on the road he started doing a weird dance.

How do I explain this dance to you ?

Got it !

Imagine a zombie doing the Gangnam style… Done ?

Alright, now imagine him doing the moonwalk too and throw in a little bit of the robot dance to the ensemble.

Seems cool right?

I was terrified.

It was a weird situation for me.
Whenever I would think that he was going to cross the road he would pause and return to the curb,
Hitting the brakes meant risking being wedged in by the speeding buses behind me, driving on ahead could have led to a possible collision with Mr. Bojangles on the highway.

I was in trouble.

The buses didn’t seem to slow down and my bike’s horn fell on deaf ears.

The gap between me and the man on the road narrowed.

This was it, I thought to myself. My life as I knew it was about to come to an end.

I took a chance and squeezed down on the brakes.

My mind went blank for a few seconds.

There was a lot of noise.

My tyres and the tyres of both buses behind me screeched before halting, foul odor of burnt rubber filled the air.

I couldn’t believe I was still on my motorcycle; miraculously I hadn’t fallen or skidded off the road.

The Dancer didn’t care, He was completely oblivious of the chaos around him, maybe he thought we all had stopped to applaud his performance.

We watched with mouths wide open as he reached the road divider crossed over and repeated his performance on the other side of the road nearly causing an accident there as well.

Exactly How we felt !!!
Life resumed, the buses abandoned their race and proceeded on their routes as I parked my bike near the sidewalk and sat on the curb.

My hands were shaking and my heart was racing.

A moment ago my life was almost over.

Blood rushed through my veins causing my head to throb.

As I slowly came back to my senses I reflected on the whole incident.

Every now and then I hear people talk about how in our  final moments our whole life tends to pass before our eyes , we supposedly think about all the opportunities we missed, all the things that we could’ve done, all that we would’ve achieved if we had more time and, all that we should’ve done with the time we had.

No such thought came into my head during those decisive few seconds of my life

Just before I hit the brakes I remembered the only thought in my mind at that point of time was this-


All I thought about was missing out on a tiny little detail of my life that brought me a little happiness and a small sugar rush every weekend.

I drove straight to that bakery after the incident and relished every single morsel of that hollow round and fluffy snack as I understood how important the little things in life are.

We are born with a spirit that is endowed with ambition and a passion for achievement, it is what give us a reason to get out of bed each morning  but to sacrifice the small joys of life in order to pursue something bigger is often highly overrated.

That morning in the clinic I had spent considerable time making plans for my future, apparently I had everything figured out for the next 2 years of my life.

And here I was a few hours later sitting on the side of the road thinking how it all could’ve  ended in a few seconds if not for a divine intervention.

I have always known that life is too short. It doesn't matter if we live to be a hundred years old, time flies by.
This incident helped me realize how life is also very unpredictable, things can change without a moment’s notice.

What we see today maybe all gone tomorrow

So can we as human beings really change?

Yes, I am of the opinion that we can, I also believe that it takes really strong personal life experiences for us to pause and re-evaluate our ways of thinking more that just a rapidly modernizing world, it doesn't matter if its breaking a bad habit like smoking or changing our appreciation of life as such.

Be ambitious, follow your heart and chase your dreams but make sure to indulge in the things that make you happy.

Stop to smell the roses you see along the way, because you never know if you’ll find them when you return.

Until Next Time...