“See the thing is, I care very much about aviation. It has been the great joy of my life, that’s why I put my own money into it and I’ve lost millions, senator and I’ll go on losing millions, it’s just – what I do.”
— Leonardo Di Caprio as Howard Hughes, The Aviator
There is this friend of mine who is crazy about photography. Take him to a trip and he’ll go bananas over shooting pictures. You just can’t stop him. It’s a mania with him. He’ll hound places that you would never care to stop by and go on clicking his camera furiously. He eats drinks and sleeps photography. His life revolves around it.
Now, most grown ups would wrinkle their nose and waggle their thumbs at this character and hasten to shrink away from him. Some of us even laugh at him and mock him, making him a subject of classroom cackles.
However, when I visited his room one day, I saw him staring solemnly at a desk covered with his photographs. It was dusk and the retreating sunlight was dancing on his magical face. Somehow, it didn’t seem so funny then. I realized that he was the only person I knew who was truly and fully happy with his life. And he didn’t give a shit to what I thought!
Now all of us – whether we are successful or failures in this frivolous rat race of regular life – all of us have something precious within.
It may be automobiles or electronics or journalism. It may be singing or strategizing or scuba-diving. It may be anything.
When we close our eyes and think – really think about the happiest moments of our lives – we would never remember that endless parade of birthday parties or discotheques or shopping malls. Pleasure has never brought happiness, and never will. We may remember the competition we won, or a painting we drew or a book we read, because happiness invariably involves pain – and victory.
So do we go for it? Do we follow our dreams and step out of this mad rush of collecting trophies and praise and approval from those around? Do we live our entire lives doing what we really love to do or do we condemn ourselves to a life made of forceful torture. The choice is ours and ours alone.
Taking a new road is exciting but it is also mysterious; it’s adventurous but at the same time it’s unknown and most certainly difficult.
You have to ”loose a ground without gaining another and you may not know the way”. Yet, you know this, that there will be inches of heavenly joy when you do what you love to do and in those inches you will live your entire life.
No one created history following the footsteps of others. It simply isn’t done that way. ”A ship is always safe in the harbor but that’s not what a ship is built for.”
And what do we leave our dreams for anyway. By the time we reach 12th class, we realize that 7th class grades meant nothing. By the time we reach college, we realize that school grades meant nothing. When we work, we sigh that college grades don’t matter. And when we turn 60, we moan that our life didn’t matter.
So, if you really want to taste happiness and peace and if you really want to understand the power of a human being and the beauty of this life and the charm of living in this mind boggling universe – if you really want to come closer to God and make the most of this one shot of life that you’ve got then rise and shed away your fetters – and go for your dreams.
And having once started, never stop, whatever temptations be there on the way, never give up, just march on and on singing the eternal lines of Robert Frost as you march along,
“The woods are shadowy, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go – miles to go before I sleep.”
(Written on May 03 2008)