Life is a big canvas and all we need to do is to spread the paints and make patterns as we like and desire. I have been blessed with one such colorful yet complicated canvas. On this life canvas, a variety of people have got an opportunity to either paint or make patterns as they were willing to…all of it adding up to my memory bank. Certainly, some imprints were wiped out while few patterns got haphazard because of various experiences and reasons. One thing that remained constant was the colorado made with the support of my immediate family members and a few friends I have made so far.
Every day, was a struggle for me only because I was busy making my life as well stated by the phrase quoted by- The 14th Dalai Lama.
Little did I know, what I am missing, because all I was trying to do is to achieve a life where I do not have to fight every day to earn. Currently, this life which is made draining myself all day and night is undeniably giving me all joy but is that a king-size life I wished for.
I couldn’t think harder about this until this pandemic struck!! Living in a scenario where we have no control over what would happen in mid-air. Certain things which we can definitely do are- follow the norms, the safety instructions, and support each other to live healthier while leaving the rest to fate. All of a sudden, we have started to live in an era, where sanitizers and masks have become as costly as a meal in any local restaurant.
This COVID-19 pandemic is like a hazy storm for which none of us were prepared. The strict restrictions on our movements and not seeing your workplace for endless days, discretely visiting your friends and relatives, no beer-bar, no Sarojini shopping were part of the package. However, instead of crying wolf in this challenging time, like most of us, I was even trying to be more calm and resilient finding my ways to have positive well-being.
Staying and working from home has converted this never-ending lockdown period into a bank of opportunities. Doing activities that you could never think of because we just didn’t have enough time. But the year 2020 was different and my ‘self-introspection exercise’ came to my rescue in this difficult time.
Apart from swiping people right or left, I read extensively and even written a few articles and blogs (some published, some did not). Books like –All the Night We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Less by Andrew Sean Greer, The Rebel by Susan Adelman and The Book of Life by J. Krishnamurti were a few on the top of my list. The anecdotes and narratives expressed in these writings were reanimating!
The only conclusion I could drive was that how important it is to ‘live life and that too king size’. A life I was also hurtling and rushing for. This I realized when I read further about what does it actually means to live life king size in this epoch, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. I read deeply about a few definitions shared by people (anonymous).
Some of them mentioned that living a king-size life means- live your Life with Big King Size Dreams. Another one said, following your dreams, doing the things you want to do and at the same time taking care of your loved ones and contributing to society in general. I was so convinced with this phrase until I read the real concept behind propagating the idea of living life king size by a money-making company. This catch-phrase was coined in the ’70s by a cigarette company that was advertising its “king-size” cigarettes. These cigarettes were longer than regular cigarettes and the company was targeting those who thought themselves superior to others and are rich enough to buy everything they desired for.
So the term “live life king size” was devised to attract exotic rich smokers who wanted to project a superior lifestyle. The aim was to promote king-size cigarettes as preferred by those who live a lavish (king size) lifestyle and are rich. I was not very happy to read about this, because all this life I have people around me living life to make it king size. Does this means- pretending to be SUPERIOR to OTHERS! I asked again myself do I planned my life to be better because someone grief is harder, someone else is marginalized or poor. Immediately I restarted to think if this is not what I want to tag my life with then what??
I was unable to find answers for many days till I enrolled myself in a course by Yale University ‘The science of well-being’ I learned diverse concepts about living a healthy and meaningful life. During my training, I could sense the importance of seeing your life as chapters.
Chapter — a distinctive period in one’s life, that is episodic.
There is no doubt at all that there will be substantial changes in different chapters of our lives. The country's economic slowdown, the regular physiological changes, growing old, making great connections, getting into relationships, or lurching for losing a special one. Aren’t these just chapters? And during 2020, I have experienced an assortment of both.
Our life is a mix of experiences, exploration, interests & relationships. The success of its journey for each individual depends upon the chapters we create and the growth and failure one attains. My life has been no exception!! What perhaps differentiates me from many lives in the realm of diverse opportunities & experiences, a spectrum of interests & responsiveness, knowledge, and attitude largely driven by traveling to different places, being a researcher, interacting and reading, contemplation, extra-curricular activities, etc.
‘Life is a bit like writing a book’- a phrase used by many philosophers. Each life has a beginning and an end, and in between, I am convinced that I am just building chapters. This catapults me from making memories about one event before moving to another. If you are stuck in living life like a king, wherein you are trying to prove yourself to others and preparing yourself to be superior. You are doing nothing other than just forming patterns of a negative thought, or a dead-end career, or even some form of depression. Nevertheless, now I aim to work towards making each chapter of life as melodious as possible. Something in my thought process has changed that is making me crave for just one chapter. Be it short or sweet or just a date to start with. My perspective is changing for the better!
AND to sum up, this pandemic is an unprecedented one that will have cascading effects on all walks of my life. The best way to arrest the situation is to strictly abide by the rules, thereby becoming a self-made soldier in this war. I am enjoying making chapters through small abstracts I witness in my life, with a hope that I will surpass this calamity soon and live happily ever after.