An elderly gentleman sat on a park bench and folded his newspaper with a sigh after a long session of delving into each of its pages. His thoughts were somewhat on these lines:
‘I spend my days reading about the world and its goings on. I discuss politics, economics, sports and films with my friends. I eat, sleep and walk each day. Yet, something is missing. What is it I wonder?’
He shut his eyes and soaked in whatever warmth the weak winter sunshine had to offer.
Thousands of elderly persons spend hours ruminating about what they have gained from life’s journey. It is evident from one look at their countenances that they are pensive and at times pained.
What then is that one thing that most lives miss and overlook? What is it that gives joy to a few even in their evening years, when their health gives way, and the body is not the same anymore?
Spiritual thought tells us that it is the continuous thought of the Almighty and the endeavour to connect with Him that makes us find true fulfilment in life.
If we dive deeper into this subject we find that those who adopt an ‘attitude of gratitude’ in their early years find life’s obstacles easier to overcome; those who do not, simply keep searching for that extra bit of money or fame or power that keeps eluding them.
These are not my thoughts. They are universally known. It is just that we forget to adopt them and implement them in our lives.
Thus many people reach the ‘sunset boulevard’ of their lives blaming themselves for lost opportunities and ‘what could have been!’ Several good human beings spend years after they retire lamenting at their misfortune in the years gone by. Retirement comes easy only to those who take the rough with the smooth, do not feel wedded to their positions, and simply bear a sunny mien.
A life of fulfilment is probably the result of continuous positivity and constructive thought. There are few who can be super-human and live totally despondency-free lives, but some do manage to do so, at most crossroads along their pathway.
Thus it does not seem that material success or accolades from the world make us feel fulfilled. It is more the goodwill that we earn by being cheery and helpful to others, that does.
Building a life’s work that is fulfilling comes from doing one’s best in whatever profession one lands up with in life, and maintaining that inner attitude of cheerfulness alongside.
When we are in the thick of things they often seem complicated and vexing. But when the knots unravel themselves, and if we keep pegging away, life finds a way to reward us with happiness.
A well known fable goes something like this:
Two travellers went to the mountains. When they neared the half-way mark, the beginner looked exasperatedly at the undergrowth and began to crib:
‘And where is the beautiful scenery, which you were talking about all the time?’
His experienced companion smiled and answered:
‘You’re in the centre of it! But you will be convinced only when we reach the top of the mountain.’
If we look around at our society in the present era, there are not many who are enjoying the scenery that little hillocks allow us along the way. They are so busy combating the challenges that the thickly formed bushes of difficulties present before them, that they lose perspective. These challenges keep coming in droves of course, and no one is bereft of their company, but the visionary man or woman is the one who knows that there is a bigger picture to be savoured.
At a recent alumni meet, some of those relating their success stories to an admiring audience were the ones who admitted to have been back-benchers and under-achievers in their student days. One of them even spoke about the time when he was almost rusticated from college! Today he is the owner of a successful entrepreneurial venture and has funded four other start ups.
A life of fulfilment can thus be ours if we keep at it and remain thankful for what we have!

vivek.atray@gmail.com