In these merciless, cashless, days with paltry sums of money being spent via currency notes, change has become a rare commodity. Thus recently when a customer asked for change in lieu of a sparkling new currency note, the individual at the cash counter gaped at him exasperatedly, wondering how the gentlemen could have such high expectations! Both gentlemen scratched their heads for a while; then the man behind the counter came up with a philosophical one liner:
“Change comes from within!”
All in the vicinity had a hearty laugh at this, but the point which was made is pertinent to us all.
Change is the only constant, they say. And it happens with unfailing regularity. Even those gems in our lives who promise undying love have to fade away some day. They then remain with us in the form of memories and little else. The saints say that God is the only one who stands by us everlastingly.
Life is verily a ceaseless series of alterations that occur just when we think that we have seen it all. To paraphrase what they also say, “Never-ever say never-ever!”
The moment we start fancying our chances against life’s challenges, it springs surprises upon us. Hence those worthies who had stashed away reams of ‘notes’ in various hiding places, suddenly discovered to their chagrin the galling fact that their booty had been declared utterly worthless!
Nowadays, hyper-flexibility is the need of the hour. Those who are ever on the lookout for modifications in the terrain upon which they ply will succeed in adapting to it with ease.
A bright young man in his twenties decided to quit his snazzy job and start-up a website that offers online counselling for stressed out persons. To his amazement, he had thousands of takers within the first few weeks. By not recruiting anyone else and slogging himself day and night, he makes quite a packet, just by willing to let users share their woes, and by offering some solace. But what intrigues him is the fact that most messages he receives pertain to the stress of having to combat frequent break-ups in relationships.
Patience is obviously a virtue that has been diluted to the extreme in this millennium. Very few people are able and willing to deal sensibly with the whims of their partners, even if they themselves possess similar traits.
At times it is perhaps better to be willing to change oneself than to expect situations and people to do so. But then human beings have to battle that relentless enemy, the ego, and most often find themselves at second place in the face of it!
On Day 1 of the ongoing Literati event at Chandigarh’s Lake Club, celebrated Indo-Canadian author, Shauna Singh Baldwin, spoke of Mahatma Gandhi’s wisdom in telling us to “Be the change that you wish to see in the world!”
She went on to say that the Mahatma obviously meant positive change whereas some people today desire “retrogressive” change. Hence such people defeat, by their nefarious designs, the positivity behind the great man’s intent to inspire us.
Indeed, by taking humanity back towards centuries-old divisive tendencies, perpetrators of such despicable movements attempt to nullify the concept of progressive development.
India is a land of such humungous variety anyway, that one experiences 180 degree astounding differences in life style, culture, language and outlook as one travels from one end of it to another. In fact if one transits even 20 kilometres into the hinterland one finds a world totally distinct from the urban behemoths that many of us live in.
Any sort of change in such a setting may seem slow, with buffalos still grazing in the grasslands and smoke still willowing from an earthen ‘chulha’. People seem to have more time and space to live in, and whatever happens anew is gradually assimilated, without the need to react with undue alacrity to it.
City folk have a lot to learn from their rural brethren, it seems. We seem to have let the breakneck speed with which the world is transforming itself affect us totally.
Perhaps it’s time to search within and make necessary corrections to our own selves!

vivek.atray@gmail.com