Experience life to understand it
Only plunging into the pool of life will enable you to understand it, says Suma Varughese
I am one of those odd bods who need to see the whole to make sense of any part of it. This meant that for almost 16 years, from 16 to 32, I kept my life on hold while I tried to figure Life out. Yes, I drifted into a job, or even a few, made some friends and so on, but none of that was volitional. Life blew me like a straw here and there, and I went along because I really had no other agenda.
Life seemed quite willing to leave me holding down an unchallenging job as an associate editor of a men’s magazine, with very little else happening in my life. In fact, a friend actually remarked that while other people’s lives seemed to be moving along into marriages, babies, and purposeful careers, mine alone was going nowhere.
Come 1990, and the Universe decided to shake me out of my comfort zone, no matter what it took. First came a job offer to go to Dubai to work with Khaleej Times. I gave in my resignation and almost took it up, but being notoriously absent-minded, I was sure that I would set the house on fire by forgetting to switch off the gas. At the last moment, I chickened out. But I need not have bothered. The Universe was out to flush me out. Within a few months, I was offered the job of editor of Society magazine, an honour I had never dreamed of, nor, to be quite frank, even desired, because I was unambitious, petrified of publicity, and had thus far, shied away from responsibility.
By then, I had figured out that if I said no to this, something else would come my way. So, it was with dread and fear that I took the job, confident that the Universe was giving me this prestigious job only to smash me cruelly to the ground as it would turn out that I was incapable of delivering. You can see how much faith I had in myself.
Taking the job was the turning point in my life. The task of being responsible for a magazine and a team was novel and taught me much. I was also under the mentorship of the inspiring and charismatic Nari Hira. For the first time, I worked for a boss who treated me with deep respect. I remember thinking that if Mr Hira could treat me with so much respect, perhaps I was worthy of respect, after all.
Indeed, I have to confess that if I have a guru, it is Mr Hira, for I am sure that the nurturing I received from him that one year, paved the way for my spiritual awakening the next.
There was, though, one more agent to the awakening: a relationship that I had entered into very reluctantly that first year in Society. It was the collapse of the relationship that led to my spiritual awakening. With the advent of the awakening almost exactly one year after I joined the magazine, I finally understood life and how to live it. I understood that happiness was the highest priority and that materialistic goals such as fame, money, or power were immaterial.
Whew! So much had happened that one year. My life was fully transformed and I was finally living it, firing on all four cylinders. Perhaps it is that my time had come. But perhaps it also is that finally, quaking fearfully, I had plunged into the pool of life and therein found my answers. So, if you, like me, are waiting to understand life before living it, change the equation and consider living it in order to understand it.
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