By Madhoo Shah February 2006 Under the guise of mishaps and tears there is always something to smile about. And beneath all the smiles there are the tears. Life happens. A day in one’s life can often seem monotonous or mundane, but when one steps back and sees the whole, one sees how dynamic it is. You are always moving or being moved. A beautiful pair of shoes can be known, acknowledged and appreciated only if it’s out of the shelf. It walks the world only when out of the box… I am 35 years old and proud to announce this though I am an actress, because that is the age of my experience. It is the vehicle for my journey. When you count every breath, life seems very long but when you feel every breath, a lifetime just goes by and you are left standing looking back. Events happen in everybody’s life; emotions come attached with every event but do we experience these emotions? Very seldom. What I see is that people keep their emotions in constant motion by talking about it to everyone or even thinking about it. Do we stop to feel them? We are so much into the inertia of motion that life can often become a mechanical process. Stop now. Catch your moments. Languish in some and lament some. See yourself, watch yourself, touch yourself and feel yourself. See the universe and not just your living room. Think about the galaxies and not just your town. Then life becomes glorious in all its shades. Life becomes a game and if you play it right, it’s even fun to lose sometimes. I see, or I am beginning to see, a new meaning in everything. Today, from where I stand, it is fantastic to see where I started out. The turns that I took, the stopovers that I made, the speed-breakers that I challenged, seem to have happened over many births, many lifetimes, but it’s all been a mere 30-year span; and I believe I have 70 more to go. We do make a big deal of all this; but having said that, it is a big deal because I am, after all, the universe to myself. My part in this game is important. The time that I have been given to walk on this planet affects the entire working of the universe. If you can see what is happening to you from the outside, then you will realize that the journey empowers you; there is a lesson for the soul in everything that happens. Just recently I faced a trying situation, which I attempted to experience as an observer. It was one of the anxieties of modern-day parenthood – school admissions. While other mothers agonized, I thought I would sail through, for I had done my homework well. However, I was rudely awakened from my complacency. After a difficult day, which left me completely sunk, I thought over my options. Then, doing everything in my capacity, I left it at that. A thought that kept coming again and again was, ‘Let’s see what happens now; I have made my move and now it’s your turn.’ Even as I am sharing this with you now I am not sure of what the end result will be. But I believe that whatever it is, will be the best for my girls and myself. My attitude that I will get what I want, and being so sure of it, makes many think of me as an arrogant person. But that’s not really it. I simply believe that the universe wants to make us happy. It is going to give you what you need, even if sometimes it may not be what you want. But this is how our story begins – some things to tell, some things to learn, a movie to watch, while smiling through tear-filled eyes. How many times have you suddenly met a person you were thinking of that morning? Doubtlessly scores of times; and you usually explain it away as a coincidence. But if you are a spectator of life, you will know that this happens to show you that you are the center of the universe. When there is no contamination in your intention, then you connect and things manifest in the real world. This is magic. It empowers you. It reinforces your faith that you are one with God. It is time to celebrate. I was talking to a dear friend about my career prospects when the editor of this magazine called me with an invitation to write for it. I was so busy thinking only about my films and acting that I almost missed the rest of life’s possibilities; but I quickly caught myself and saw yet another move by life to help me in my evolution. Say yes to life and you will see a whole new vista open before you. I could have said no to her request because I am not a trained writer. Why should I reveal my ignorance? Instead I said yes. I honored myself and thus I put myself before you. I said yes to my husband the first time he asked me to marry him. I said yes to so many film projects. Some clicked commercially, which everyone then lauded as a great career move, while others failed and everyone condemned my choice. As for myself, I have learnt from both, successes and failures. I always say that there are no mistakes in life, only lessons! Journalists often ask me why I have not reached the pinnacle of stardom. I have often asked myself the same. Now I know the answer. If I had been a superstar in 1997 (the year I met my husband), I would not have said yes to him. I would not have got my girls when I did. Today if I were to make a choice between my children and movies – hey, I’ve already made mine and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I climbed many quick steps in the ladder of evolution to be the woman I am today through marriage and motherhood. I stand before the mirror and feel good that both, frown lines and laugh lines, gel well on my face. Of course, the camera may soon push me towards the botox queue. I have no qualms about admitting this to you… Recently, a friendly journalist wrote an unflattering article on me. I felt let down by her and nervous about my husband’s and his family’s reactions. I worried about how society would perceive me. Yet, what I thought was the worst thing to befall me, yielded love, trust, faith and support from my family. In return, I felt love in every pore of my being. To feel that kind of gratitude and love was a huge spiritual leap for me, for which I thank my journalist friend. So then, that’s life – under the guise of mishaps and tears there is always something to smile about and beneath all the smiles there are tears. Life looks like a game board; you win some and you lose-win some. Stop picking up books that teach you how to say ‘no’. I say, learn how to say ‘yes’ to life. An actor whose body of work includes Roja, the writer is also an active seeker.
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