Guest Blog by Megha Harish : For All The Right Reasons
Taste the streets. Rio. Jakarta. Delhi. Chicago. Cairo.
Taste the music. Sweet Child O Mine. Dream On. Joy Ride.
How? It’s simple.
Just a little pizza place close to home. Looks like any other but, you enter and these are the flavours that you see on the menu card.
The pizza is amazing. Forget the technicalities, all the woodburn oven and thin crusts and all that. It’s just SO creative. Pizzas that manage to bring alive things that are usually audio or visual. And that is brilliant for a customer! Imagine saying, <Okay, let’s go out for dinner. I feel like Guns N Roses tonight!>
It’s a breakthrough. It’s a situation where a product is doing something much more than it set out to do. Without failing to accomplish its most simple and basic mission.
And that is what we should all aim to do. Because it’s possible.
It is possible to go beyond just being what is expected of you. And what is expected of so many of us today? Study hard, do well, get into a good college, land a well-paying job, earn enough, invest, save, get married, have a happy family and make your children do the same thing.
But, in the process of doing all these things, are we forgetting our one basic mission? To be happy.
Rabindranath Tagore once said, <I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted, and behold, service was joy>
And to me, I feel that that is something that summarises the dreams I have for my life. The joy that comes from the knowledge that you’ve made another happy is insurmountable. Service simply for the sake of your own happiness is futile. Service must be for the sake of service. Service must be when it is considered not to be a service. It pains me to see some of the things that I see, in today’s world. Why is everything a contest? Why is everyone so insistent on running this race? Are our lives’ goals really just to be rats? And do the ends really justify the means?
In situations like this, I really do not think so. I don’t think it is anywhere close to okay. It’s not okay to volunteer or do a social service simply because it’s going to look good on your college application. It’s unfortunate that has become an option on reasons you volunteer in the survey of an amazing NGO. It’s just not okay. I understand that yes, the service does get done. Children are helped, houses are built, books are donated. But, is any of that worth it when it’s done with a staid expression and blasé emotions? Service is joy. And when that service leads to a Ivy League university that leads to a good job and lots of money and some material joy, is that real joy? Again, I think not.
A very wise friend of mine once said that she thought she’d make a good volunteer because teaching is the best way to learn and she had a lot to learn. And that was beautiful. By that logic, giving is the best way to take too. We all have a lot to learn. And we all also have a lot that we can teach. We all have the capacity to give. And only when we give with true compassion do we develop the capacity to take from it. To internalise and grow. Be it through random acts of kindness, innovation at work, putting extra effort into a project, knowing more than you need to know, helping out more than you feel obliged to, or even taking more time out for yourself and your happiness- just do it. Whether it’s a school project where you go all out and collect extra information and visit a factory and make your presentation extra brilliant or a even the first cell phone that did more than just phone calls and text messages, it’s always good to be ahead of the game. But, being ahead of the game should never mean compromising on own rules. All I can do now is think about how much I have grown and the miles I know I still have to go. And not be too bothered by the rats who are running their races, because I know that no matter how fast a rat runs, it isn’t going to go anywhere beyond its rodent wheel.
I’ve always maintained that there’s a lot to be learnt from Disney movies. In the wise words of Rafiki (from The Lion King), <Look beyond what you see> So, look beyond what you see, think beyond what you’re trained to, act beyond what is expected of you. Feel more. Do more. Be more. This year, I want to run for the right reasons. And my trusty shoes are taking me down the right road. So, let 2012 be a year where we all decide to get out, run for the right reasons and taste the music, while we’re at it.