Once upon a time, there lived a person named Ramaswamy in a remote village in Southern India. He was a happy person with loads of dreams. His everyday life was busy around his big happy family, a peaceful but colourful village and his friends who grew up with him. He couldn't have asked more if happiness was his only purpose in life, yet he kept dreaming bigger.
Ramaswamy hardly finished his school education and yet was always curious about all the happening around the world. He read all the newspapers and magazines which he could get a hand on. He was amazed by the wealth, power and fame of the celebrities all around. He wanted to be someone like them someday.
One day, a Mercedes car entered Ramaswamy's village and came to a halt near his house. Two well-dressed men walked out from it. They were the top Executives working for the company in the nearby village. They had come to this village to check out its potential for their company's extension plan. They looked at the bewildered Ramaswamy and requested him to give a tour of his village.
Ramaswamy's excitement had no bounds. He boarded the car with the two gentlemen and gave a detailed ride of his village. During this course of the ride, Ramaswamy noticed the green tie the two executives were wearing and was blown away by its beauty.
Once the village tour was over, the two executives thanked Ramaswamy and offered him a small tip for his effort. Ramaswamy, however, refused it with a polite smile and, in turn, asked them if they could spare him a green tie if possible. Ramaswamy's couldn't believe what he had just asked as the request just spilled out of his mouth impulsively. His heart was pumping hard anxiously.
One of the executives smiled at Ramaswamy. Without a thought, he took a spare green tie from the car and gifted it to Ramaswamy. They bid off to an exited Ramaswamy as they continued with their onward journey.
Ramaswamy's happiness had no bounds, and he was jumping with joy. He rushed to his house with his green ties already on. Ramaswamy's family were overjoyed looking at him with his green tie. Ramaswamy's friends couldn't control their excitement either. They told Ramaswamy that he looked like a celebrity with that Green Tie. They suggested him not to remove it anytime.
Ramaswamy's life took a big turn from that day on. He literally began living with that Green Tie. From the morning wake up till the night's sleep, he was always wearing that Green Tie. As days progressed, Ramaswamy got older, he got married, had kids and yet that Green Tie became an integral part of him. People began to call him "Green Tie Ramaswamy ". The Green Tie has become his identity now.
One day, Ramaswamy was crossing the village lake when he noticed his friends having a bath in it. His friends saw him as well and asked Ramaswamy to join them. Ramaswamy decided to join them after a bit of thought. He entered the lake with his Green Tie. He had a great time playing in the lake with his friends. As he was enjoying his bath, one of his friends noticed that Ramaswamy's tie was missing from his neck.
Ramaswamy was stunned to realise it. He immediately rushed out of the lake and began to look around for his Green Tie. Unfortunately, he couldn't find it. He was getting restless and began to act weirdly, much to the astonishment of his friends. He started running around the lake in despair when he noticed a little boy playing with his Green Tie at the Lakebed.
Ramaswamy came to an instant halt. Not wanting to frighten the little boy, he started moving slowly towards him without taking his eye away from that Green Tie. Once he was close to the boy, he sat down on the wet clay and slowly opened his mouth.
"Hi, I think I know you since you are having that bright Green Tie with you but do you recognize me because I don't."
Ramaswamy failed to recognize himself as he had lost his identity to that Green Tie, which consumed most of his growing years. It is interesting to note that anyone could have worn that Green Tie; however, Ramaswamy's life can only be lived by him.
Ramaswamy's life, his growing environment, his family and his people, his life experiences have never been experienced by anyone else, nor anyone will experience it ever. Yet Ramaswamy remains at the Lake Bed, unable to identify himself as he had lost his identity to one green piece of cloth.
For Ramaswamy, it's his Green Tie, but for many of us, the Green Tie is in the form of our Name, Fame, money, power, pride and even beauty too.
No matter who you are, irrespective of your colour, beauty, religion, wealth or social status, the first thing you must understand is "Who you are without all these attachments?". The second thing that you must follow is the acceptance of this real you.
But, instead of accepting you the way you are, if you start running to become someone you are not, you will end up running all your life as you will always want to become someone you are not at present.
My intention with this story is not to tell you not to have aspirations or ambitions but to tell you that having those aspirations must not come at the cost of losing the real you. Because the Real you can be lived only by you and not by anyone else.
Our life is for us to live and not for anyone else to judge. As an individual, we must take time to understand and appreciate the real person who we are. The rest can be dealt with later.
I want to conclude this little story with the closing thoughts I had written in my book "Footprints".
"One small life, it's all the life you got.
One small body, it's all the body you got.
You are a miracle in a timeless, lifeless universe.
You, your life, and your experience never existed before, nor will it in the future.
No matter what, you alone will remain with yourself till the end.
You create unlimited happiness with limited possessions.
What are you letting inside you, and what are you giving out?
Are the good ones delighted by you?
Are the bad ones threatened by you?
Live. Lead. Make the difference."