Life comes back at you full circle when you least expect it to teach an important lesson that you probably missed. Lessons of life could be sweet or sometimes you may learn it the hard way.
After a long day at college I asked my lab-buddy Vidya (knowledge in Sanskrit) for a cup of Tea. She proposed a visit to the temple nearby. I know it was a Thursday meaning it’s a popular place for people with lots of wishes. I reluctantly agreed to her plan mainly because it was her day at the lab, she played a major role to complete the assignments for both of us. With craving for a hot cup of tea still brewing in me we headed out towards the temple on my two- wheeler. The temple’s located at the corner of a busy street lined with street vendors. Thursday evening the street turns into a carnival causing a driving nightmare even for an experienced motorist. I parked my two-wheeler about a block away & we started to walk towards the shrine. My mind was still on a countdown mode, anxious to get through this as quickly as possible & retreat at a café near by.
A frustrated motorist in a rush to navigate out of that street quickly swirled & knocked over a flower cart crushing bunch of bouquets under his wheels. Sensing the mob around and situation can turn ugly; the motorist quickly jumped out, tossed couple of hundred bucks towards the owner of the cart, an old lady & drove off. The old lady still appeared to be in complete distress. I murmured, well that thick dough should calm her down. Vidya glared at me with her big eyes & curled forehead due to frown. She looked visibly upset. I shrugged off & said; come-on what’s the matter, that old lady got twice the amount than what her cart full of flowers are worth of. She can take rest of the day off relaxing at home & may be take a vacation tomorrow! My little business sense acted as a catalyst & further infuriated already aggravated Vidya. Waving her clutched fist she shrieked it’s not all about the money. She saw my eyes rolls — a familiar expression. Realizing people around her she calmed a bit & continued to explain… These are not just a bunch of flowers for that flower lady. Every single of that handmade bouquet is wrapped with people’s unrealized wishes, to be submitted to God in the form of a prayer. And when the old florist hears about peoples prayers turning into a reality she feels a sense of contentment, a gratification of being part of that whole divine process.
A thought, bit morbid for my level of maturity back then, even though Vidya is few months younger to me. I just realized that from no-where an old lady’s aggravation was standing between me and my highly desired hot cup of tea. I crossed my arms & touched my ears gesturing I am sorry & put up a puppy face to bring smile back on Vidya. The charm worked & I saw her lips stretch to reveal that cute dimple. With intent to make it even sweeter I walked towards the old florist and bought a bouquet from whatever she was able to salvage. I gave her ten bucks almost thrice the usual cost & asked her to keep the change. That seems to have backfired hurting the puppy plan badly as I see Vidya in shaking her head in complete disbelief. Walking into the temple she whispered to me, hope one day life makes you mature enough to appreciate things that you have taken as granted. When the day comes I promise you’ll b first one in my mind, I replied.
Few years later graduated from the college. Career goals brought me half way across the globe and found myself busy working for a global corporation. One day my manager called me to her office to talk about a project I was assigned to. She wanted to let me know that there were some executive decisions made amongst the higher management and few projects were axed. Mine was one of them. She also mentioned that this doesn’t come to her as a surprise, changes like this are common in corporate world, it’s all business and we should just move on. For me this wasn’t just another project. I was little lost in my thoughts. Sensing discontent on my face, my manager said hey, why worries we all got that extra bonus for just being on this project. Your designs have been noticed by the higher management, and have earned quiet an admiration too. Looking at me still visibly upset my manager said, I know you have spent a lot on this project, we do not have anything pressing at this time so why don’t you take rest of the day off. In fact stay home tomorrow & try to relax a bit. You have been through some rough days keeping up with that project.
How do I explain her rough days are not behind me I see them around me, ahead of me! From monitory stand point I did not lose anything & from career growth aspect I accomplished what the full grown project would have achieved. And yet there was that deep sense of resentment within me that kept on bothering me for the whole day… I was still trying hard to put together my fragmented thoughts and figure out what I did loose to be so disappointed? For the first time in my career I had embarked upon an assignment that my heart wanted to accomplish. So much creativity & soul poured into the work. Contrary to corporate selfishness in me, I wanted this project to be successful not only for me but for my entire team; to bring that appreciation for my team and that due recognition of being a creative team within the organization.
The project was about implementing technology for the front line workers. Those workers used to spend almost half an hour at the end of their day inputting their day’s summary manually. The new application that the project was about to deliver would have tracked their tasks real time eliminating tedious end of the day chore. The theme of the project was, “simplify your life let technology deal the complexity”. I don’t think the front-line workers would have ever known the hands that had actually build the application. But I am sure with application in place, they would be breathing a relief of sigh at the end of their day; at least few of them would have said may god bless those souls who created this application. Knowing that your efforts are bringing some relief to a hardworking person day brings a sense of contentment within you. I think that’s what I was missing.
Driving back home I wondered on to my memory lane, and there flashed a familiar face, Vidya & her words. She stood there smiling with a dimple on her cheek, I smiled back.
Life is a wonderful teacher; teaches you by example, if you fail repeats again by experience.