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A tomorrow that never was

>> Sunday, November 27, 2011

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”(Oscar Wilde)

Last week, two farmers committed suicide in my place. They had struggled all their lives to make a living, but instead, accumulated only debts and decided to end their lives . Their families will continue the same struggle for the rest of their lives too. I have often wondered at the way life goes. Some people live comfortable lives not by virtue of their efforts, but by a matter of sheer luck. Others toil their whole lives making ends meet. But those ends never meet. If you are poor, life is difficult. No one will even lend you money. For those who have, there is no need to ask. It is all the more difficult if you are poor and sick. Then there are others who have money, but forget to live.

I was not going to write about poverty and money matters. It was Chackochan’s death that prompted me to write this.

I had known him from the time I joined the hospital. He was well known at the place as a businessman by that time. His was a rag to riches story. He had come to Khorfakkan as an ordinary laborer and built up a business all on his own, which grew in to a big money making business. He had been living in a cheap dilapidated villa and still sent his wife for a very low income job. He was said to have a palatial bungalow in his home town and many buildings at prime locations which he had leased off. But he lived frugally his all life in that dilapidated rented house; his wife still went to her work place by taxi.

Once when this lady came to me as a patient, I asked her.

“Why do you have to go for work now at this age, you are sick”
“There are lots of expenses, doctor, children are studying, and no money” This lady didn’t have money to buy the medicines I had prescribed and I had to send her away with some sample medicines.
Their house in their home town had a swimming pool and was fully air conditioned. But neither of them ever lived in that house. They never enjoyed the swimming pool because they didn’t know how to swim .All the while, they toiled and lived miserly in that slum like place.

And finally, last week, he made an unceremonious departure from this world.

This is not an isolated story. Half of the expatriates, who live in this part of the world, live their lives this way. They all tighten their belts to make money for the future and finally get old and sick and die, never enjoying the fruits of their labor. Their children live lavishly and lead care free lives and finish off the bounty in no time.

I know many who are rich by the standards here. They buy the cheapest of clothes, the cheapest of whiskies, the cheapest of perfumes and the cheapest of everything they can see. I seriously doubt if they do it as a matter of principle.

We all have this tendency to keep the best for the future. Like keeping the best dress for an occasion, the good food for tomorrow, to finish the stale food in the fridge, but end up eating the back log of stale food every day.

The other day a friend of mine asked me to go to the beach with him. Early in the morning, the weather was cold, the air was fresh and fragrant, the sea was calm and a gentle breeze blew all the time that brought with it the spirit of energy. The sun was simmering at the red horizon far away. We enjoyed a walk along the shore and then bathed in the sea and enjoyed swimming. It was a wonderful day. I was thinking….I have been living in the same place for ten years, I just had to cross the road to reach this sea, but never bothered to go to the sea and enjoy this wonderful pleasures of nature, that came free!

The best things in life are probably free for all of us. People spend thousands of dollars to travel to exotic locations and spend some time at the sea side, and here I am, living by the sea side and never bothering to enjoy that luxury, which was always free for me.

Now a day people kill themselves to eke out a living or improve their living conditions, but they forget to live. In fact, many people don’t live, but they exist and survive each day, for they are too busy, too tired, too stressed and too worried to really enjoy the pleasures of life. There is no going back in time. Thus, hours become days and days become months and years and all those years become a wasted precious life, and what for? To make a better living for tomorrow! A tomorrow that never was.

It is always said that to be successful in life, you have to work hard and never stop, because if you stop, another person will come and take your place. Besides, as the present world demands a lot of effort to survive and keep a decent living, pleasures are the first thing to be put off when wanting to achieve any goal. However, if you postpone your enjoyment until the time money and proper conditions arrive, that time may never come or come too late and you are unable to take care of yourself, leave alone enjoyment.

The strains of modern life force people to live in such a hurry that they don’t have time to enjoy the beautiful world we live in. People forget to take delight of the bonny things nature provides us. It costs no money and takes almost no time.

"This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it." - Thomas Carlyle.

We always want more than what we actually need. People accumulate things for others to enjoy them, for they value their lives by the things they possess, which is a quite sad way of appreciating life.

If at the end of the day we review the day’s tasks and ask ourselves how much we enjoyed the day, we’d probably conclude that we missed another chance of feeling alive. Responsibilities are absolutely necessary as well as a work, career and material things, but life goes beyond that. How many people at the end regret for not taking the opportunities they had to live, to have some adventures and experiences? There is nothing better than to look back your past and be able to say; “I lived and lived very well. I enjoyed life, this world and everything it had given me, I made mistakes, but I learned from them.”

Our time is not eternal. Each second, minute, hour, and day we waste is gone, and gone forever. To overwork for something you won’t enjoy is as silly as having the opportunity to live but to prefer to exist in order to talk about the ones who really live.


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