Often we come across quotes that make us smile and think at the same time. I used to collect them in my diary. When I stopped writing diaries, with that went away the habit of collecting quotes too. I gave up both for the same reason- I realised that it is a waste of time and effort to chronicle one’s thoughts and activities on a day to day basis.
What we consider very important today would turn out to be very insignificant tomorrow. A thought or incident which we consider as life shattering will not even be remembered in a couple of week’s time. So why bother recording them all? Let the process of churning in our minds continue unhindered and what is worth remembering be remembered and others merely forgotten.
Same is with the quotes. Many of them that we consider as essence of wisdom at the time of reading/hearing will turn out to be irrelevant as soon as we are out of the context. But some of them that really match with our thoughts will linger on and refuse to be forgotten. We might even forget the source and the exact words, but the idea and the wisdom remain in our consciousness. It is not the ones that we consciously collect over a period of time that matter, but those few that refuse to leave our thoughts.
I have a few quotes that essentially guide me in my life. I don’t know who said them or where I picked them up. I only know they have remained with me and will probably remain forever.
One such quote is ‘Never sell your eyes to buy a painting; howsoever beautiful it may be’. I don’t know if these were the exact words of the original quote (I searched the net to find the origin when I decided to write this post, but to no success. May be I should have continued the habit of recording them!). But this is the way I have assimilated the wisdom.
Now back to the quote; how profound it is! If we remember and follow the message of this quote in our lives, it becomes much simpler and easier. We realise living life is all about setting priorities.
Today, when I read this tweet from a friend, “@sdsanddunes: Bhanwari case has highlighted, once again, the rot that has spread in our society! Lust! Different types....but lust all the same...” I could not but agree with it. I was instantly reminded of our quote.
Well, Bhanwari case is still under investigation. I wouldn’t dare to prejudge any one’s culpability or otherwise in that case, more so when we don’t even know if the lady in question is really dead or alive. But for the purpose of our discussion, let us look at the allegations. It is about a powerful Minister of Rajasthan getting involved in relationship with a midwife and then getting caught in a sleaze CD with her. It is alleged that when the CD came out in public domain, the lady was kidnapped and possibly murdered so as to save the Minister and the Ministry from any embarrassment.
Just look at the stupidity. A person who is in the position of a Minister, advanced in age and having a wife and family succumbed to the temptation. I am sure he is (assuming that he is guilty as accused) not the only person who has ruined his life for similar reasons.
Look at the case of Rajarathinam and Rajat Gupta. They had everything- money, prestige, success- going for them. Yet they succumbed to the temptation of greed. Knowing very well that their actions were illegal and unethical, they went ahead and tried to make some extra changes by taking advantage of insider information.
Same goes for allegations again Suresh Kalmadi or A Raja. Anyone would envy their success, yet they were not satisfied with it all. Instead, they went ahead and tried to make some extra money by doing something that they knew was blatantly wrong.
It is not limited to these celebrated cases alone. Even in our lives, we regularly fall prey to lust and temptations. We forget the value of the eyes that we already are blessed with and lust for that beautiful painting. Our lust prevents us from all rational thinking and compels us to give up even our most valuable possession, our eyes, merely to get that painting!
In the process, we don’t even realise that devoid of our eyes we will not be able to enjoy the painting as well. Without our eyes what beauty is there in a painting? Without our family, our children, our social status and many other things dear to us, what will that forbidden fruit mean to us? Once again proving how stupid human beings are in reality, we still go ahead and chase those very things that can destroy our lives.
Let us all understand our priorities. If we are not satisfied with the spouse that we have, there is no guarantee that we will be satisfied with another (wo)man for whom we risk our marriage. There is no guarantee that we will be able to enjoy those extra billions if we are caught and jailed in the process of cheating. Instead we would lose the ability to enjoy even the millions that we already have.
Life is all about learning to prioritise our requirements and to enjoy what we have than chasing what we don’t. It is the basic common sense that we should protect what we have while striving for more. If in the process of striving for more, we end up losing what we already have, then our life will never know satisfaction and contentment.