Tridiv Hazarika, [email protected]

Life, they say, is all about movement. The world, the solar system, and the universe is all about motion, and celestial bodies are more or less in perpetual motion following predictable paths. We are, therefore, constantly moving around even if we are in a position of rest because our planet is in constant motion. Our life, thus, is a reflection of this perpetual movement that, as a metaphor, can be compared to a busy metro station in rush hour, where people are in a hurry to get to their destinations and there is a frenzy of movement in all directions.

Life, I believe, can be perceived as a ride on a bus or a train, which you just can’t avoid. Most of the time, we have limited choices in terms of how our journey begins – where we are born, the place, the people, and the circumstances. But, once our journey begins, we do give ourselves chances of improving on the quality of this ride by sheer hard work, and some providence. The ride cannot be assumed to be smooth at all times. There will be the odd bumps and stoppages on the way. Our co-passengers (read our parents, relatives, friends, etc.,) are not destined to travel with us all the way to our destination. Every time the train or bus stops, some will get down, new ones will join. We will join a new job or quit one. Life’s journey will continue without fail, just as the distant stars but at times, we may believe that life has come to a standstill. But, it is just an illusion. Life never stops. We, too, have to overcome our setbacks and disappointments, whether in academics, or on the professional or personal fronts.

In life’s rather unpredictable journey, we cannot afford to ride alone. We need the comfort of co-passengers who love us unconditionally. But, many a times, we take these people for granted and value them only when we realise that they have got down at the last stop, never to get on the bus again. This is an eternal truth but, sadly, most often, we overlook this fact and end up spoiling the portion of the journey we are together by refusing to adjust and accommodate each other’s idiosyncrasies. When it comes to career and professional accomplishments, the ride will take us to odd places and at times, test our patience and appetite for handling unforeseen challenges and not-so friendly co-passengers, all competing for the premium seats. Here, we have to encounter moments that will test our gender sensitivity, our concerns for fair play, and commitment to natural justice. Whether we choose to be politically correct at all times, sacrifice work-life balance for financial gains, prefer to call a spade-a-spade rather than be diplomatic will determine how we negotiate this leg of the journey.

Seatbelts are mandatory for our own safety. In life’s ride, the seatbelts again are our near and dear ones and the blessings of our parents and teachers. The moral lessons learnt at the formative years will help us when we are confronted with ethical dilemmas in later life. They will also help us to adjust seamlessly in a more cosmopolitan world and develop a
worldview that will enable us to accept the fact that the world may not be the way we want it to be. We have to accommodate and welcome cross-cultural views and customs so that we can quickly make friends with every new co-passenger; that way, the journey can be much more comforting.

Just like we cannot actually feel the earth’s movement, we cannot always perceive every aspect of the ride called life. Many a times, we even develop our own belief systems and refuse to accept alternate realities. Life as a metaphor is a constant test of our faith pitted against the sheer unpredictability of what destiny has in store for us. True, people say that we can give shape to our own destiny by sheer hard work and determination. But just like we have to take standard safety precautions while riding a car and embarking on a long journey, emotional stability, respecting the natural elements, wearing at all times the seatbelt of love and blessings of loved ones, and the very critical resource called humility will be essential  in helping us negotiate the ride called life, till life tells us that our destination has arrived and it’s time to bid adios to our co-passengers!