Subbu looked at Sendhil and told him, “Come on, Sir, You should give him a topic to speak." Sendhil gave a little thought and said, “From the time Mr.Rai and his wife came to the party, I kept wondering how they live their lives. I want to peek a bit into their regular life, and so I would request him to speak on that.”
Rai smiled and said, “That’s nice to hear. Rather than speaking plainly on my life, I think it would be better for me to speak how different is my life compared to yours.”
Saying these words, Rai requested everyone to close their eyes and make a little walk around the garden and then come back to their respective seats. As per the request from Rai, everyone closed their eyes and started to move from the chair.
Once everyone closed their eyes and started to move, they began to lose their balance as if their eyes have been supporting them all this time. Some kept falling, and some kept messing up with the table and the chairs. After fifteen minutes of struggle, everyone returned to their chairs and opened their eyes to newfound freedom.
Rai smiled at the noises and the subsequent discussion after them getting settled down in their seats.
Rai started his talk. “Thank you, people, for living my life for fifteen minutes. I know that you must be wondering how difficult it must be for us to live the same all our lives. If walking in a peaceful garden is that difficult, then walking in a crowded lane should be a nightmare. Anyways the first answer that I would like to tell you is that we have conditioned ourselves to see with our eyes closed. Maybe the description of our world is false, but it suits us to live it the way we live.
During our growing years, I felt very angry with God for making me blind. I always used to curse him. My friends used to describe things around for me, and it made me eager to gain vision. However, for a person like me who is blind from birth, eyesight is the distant dream. I slowly started to console myself for what I have, and I began to live my life the way I am.
Music had taken a significant role in my life as I started to gain an interest in listening to them. It was one day when I realized that there are people who are deaf and dumb too, I felt how unique this world is. If you take music away from me, I think I might fall dead, and here I see people who can never realize what music is. This gave me a reason to say sorry to God for the entire curse I had given to him.
You might find it funny that I compare my life to somebody whose life I consider is inferior to me. However, this is natural for everyone to live life in comparison. Even if you go to a shop, your decision to buy anything will be anchored by the comparative study you do with similar other items. In that case, comparing your life with someone’s life is inevitable. But my question is how much one must compare and what all one must compare.
And if you have decided to compare your life with someone, you must not restrict to just one thing. It would be best if you did it entirely starting from his birth to death. By doing this, you will realize one important truth which is always neglected by humans. It is the law of averages.
No matter how big one person is, at some point in time, he will reach a similar bottom to average out on his bigness. This applies to everything starting from one’s wealth to his character. But the person who understands this and accepts it is the one who will remain happy irrespective of the situations thrown at him.
If you still want to compare then start comparing with the people below you in all dimensions. I would suggest you live a day without speaking, or without opening your eyes then you will realize how blessed you are to have those virtues. I also recommend you to live a day without electricity and mobile. I would also recommend you to sleep on the platform for a night. By doing all this, you will start to appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t have.
And finally, one thing what I would like to say you are that no matter how big you become or how small you become, you will always find someone above you and someone below you. So the best thing for you to do is to have your dreams but limit your contentment so that the world has lots to offer you. Rai’s talk was appreciated with the claps. Sendhil and Priya never thought that they could listen to such an insightful talk from a blind man. After the claps, Subbu requested Gopi to take on the stage.
Gopi stood up, smiled at everybody and asked, “So any topic for me?” Without giving anybody a chance to provide a topic, Subbu said, “Why don’t you speak something on addiction?”
Gopi smiled at Subbu, indicating that he can speak something on that topic.
Gopi started his talk.
“Subbu knows me personally, and he also knows my history of drinking addiction and even my son with the smoking addiction. So I think he had chosen the right person for this topic. As you all know that I am the milkman for this colony, but the other thing which you don’t know is that I have been a real estate broker who had been instrumental in the development of this place.
My wish for money and my late-night drinking habit had ruined my wealth and also my beloved wife. My wife had developed cancer, and I could take her to the doctor only in its final stages. Her pain did not last long as she died within a week time, and my never-ending pain had just started. I felt I lost everything I had been working for. I took to the habit of drinking seriously, and slowly it began to take over my life. In due course, my son started to hate me for all that I had done, and he began to live detached from me.
My addiction had slowly engulfed my wealth, and also my sons love for me. One fine day I realized that I had lost everything except for this habit. I did not have money for my drink as well as for my medicines. I began to roam like a nomad, and it was then an NGO spotted me. They took me to their place and started to rehabilitate me. They also provided me with training in gardening and cattle maintenance.
Once I walked out of the rehabilitation centre, they provided me with some seed money to buy a cow. This was the start of a new me in the making, and today I am a happy owner of 20 cows and a plant nursery to take care of. It took some time for me to get my son’s accept me. Today when I look back and see where I had gone wrong, then I believe it all started with my drinking addiction.
Addiction to me is only a side effect of a bigger problem. People take solace of addiction to pause their worries and get over the day temporarily. When this becomes a habit, then it becomes more dangerous than the other concern.
I would like to share a story with you people which I had read a couple of months back, and it impacted me. It was about a small dog which was roaming in the street. The owners of the dog had to forgo it, as they planned to move away from the country. The poor dog had no other option to but to roam around the street looking for food. The other stray dogs did not accept its presence and began to chase it. The poor dog, instead of adapting to the new environment, kept running and running to a new place every time, only to be treated the same way. One fine day the poor dog found a dry piece of bone near the garbage disposal area. The poor dog jumped to joy and grabbed the bone in its mouth.
The bone was too dry and sharp for the dog to hold onto, but it continued to ignore the pain and tried tasting it. The sharp corners of the bone slowly started to tear the dog’s gums, and blood began to ooze out from the dog’s mouth.
The dog felt the taste of the blood from the bone, and it started to feel elated. One old stray dog which was passing by this small dog saw the blood from its mouth. It told the little dog to drop the bone as it is dangerous to hold onto it. The little dog, on the other hand, laughed at the old dog and said that no matter how much the old one tries, it will not drop the tasty bone from its mouth.
The little dog continued to enjoy tasting its own blood amidst all the pain. For me, addiction is similar to the dry bone that the poor dog tasted. All that one enjoys in his addiction is his own blood, and he refuses to accept it because of the circumstance he is put into.
This story was thought-provoking for me, and I wish I had read it a long time back. The wisdom I had gained from my addiction history had helped me bring back my son from the verge of smoking addiction. As kids, we never cry when he falls alone, but we do cry if any of our parents are present. It is the same kid that still prevails in us. We continuously try to seek attention to feel important and safe.
I missed giving the due attention to my wife when it was badly needed, and now I don’t want to make the same mistake with my son. I thank God for the faith he had in me to give me a second chance and also the NGO who still help me with all that is possible. I want to live a regretless second life, and I share my story to everybody whom I feel needs it.
Gopi’s talk kept everybody silent for a while. Sendhil could never imagine that so much was about to come from his daily milkman. Priya too was surprised to know about Gopi’s past and appreciated Gopi for what he had become now.
After the silence and the appreciation for Gopi, Parul stood up and took the stage without anybody’s request.
“ I must tell you this has been one of the best experiences I have had in a long time, “ Parul said and continued “ So do anyone has any topic for me or do I have the liberty of choosing it myself?”
“As you wish Madam, I hope some element of Vikas is added in your talk” smiled Priya. “Sure, why not. It will be only on him, and I and nothing else” Parul smiled back.
As everyone started to get ready for Parul’s talk, Parul took a sip from her glass of wine before she started.
Parul began her talk.
“First of all thanks to Subbu for bringing me here. He had helped me more than once during my turbulent days with Vikas. I knew Vikas since my college days, and his magnetic personality always attracted me towards him.
In fact, there was a competition among us girls to seek his attention. I made all the efforts to propose to him during our final year of the college, and it looked to me that that he too liked me and he instantly agreed to the proposal.
After this, life took a beautiful turn. We roamed all over the city, and I don’t think we would have missed a single restaurant during our dating days. Vikas was very clear about what to do with his life. His knowledge of film making and his networking skills were his greatest asset. It was a different story that he ended up in front of the camera, whereas he always wanted to be behind it.
He continued to amaze me with his creativity and storytelling skills. I used to spend hours together listening to him. Initially, I wanted to assist him in his work, whereas he wanted me to pursue my dream of higher studies. I finished my MBA and ended up in an MNC company with good pay, but Vikas was yet to find his foothold in the film industry. This did not deter my love for him, and we decided to marry against our parents wish.
Vikas slowly started getting an offer from lesser-known directors which he immediately accepted. Except for a little success, in the beginning, the rest of his movies bombed at the box office. It didn’t deter him from trying harder.
During this course of time, we had a baby, and my demanding job was taking a toll on me. I could not accept the fact that Vikas was still trying to get into a lost ship and I was slowly losing my temper over this. I started to behave differently from then.
My salary was the only source of income to the family, and Vikas had lost all his wealth in an attempt to make a new movie. I slowly started to demand more from him. I fired all the servants, including Subbu, to cut the cost and indirectly made Vikas do their jobs. My ego took over me, and I ignored all the love Vikas had provided me even in his days of difficulty. That time I felt Vikas was a complete loser, and all that he had done looked like a lie to me.
During love, all I did was to admire him and dream of our happy days together, but after the marriage, it ceased to exist. I started to look at all the negatives he had in him, including his smoking habit. Before the wedding, the most secure feeling I had was letting Vikas know me personally, but after the marriage, it seemed different. It looked as if he was spying on me. I started to see only the negatives after the wedding, whereas it was all pluses before. I loved to share things before the marriage and began to personalize it after the marriage.
It was one day when I picked up a fight with Vikas over his adamant attitude of sticking to his ambition. After the fight, I decided to leave him alone and went back to my parent’s house. Vikas tried to console me, but I had already lost my mind. Vikas meanwhile never lost faith in me and always wanted to call me to console, but I never took his call. I took a break from my work and decided to take care of the baby. It was during those times of solitude I slowly understood the love he had for me.
I realized my mistake but was feeling guilty to get back to him. It was then I took the help of Subbu who readily agreed to convey my feelings to Vikas. The very next morning Vikas was at the footstep with a flower bouquet. I remember the exact words I told him that time; I said: “How shameless are you. You are coming back to get a bad, ego full and stupid wife of yours”. He smiled back and said, “Well, at the end of the day, the wife is mine and so is her love for me.” I cried the whole day and never let him go anywhere away from me that day.
I am lucky to have a husband like Vikas, but unfortunately, it is not the case for everyone. Couples don’t understand that they have to treat their partner the same way they wanted to be treated themselves. In today’s modern world, there is no scope for ego, and everything has to be shared, including the work and respect for each other.
I missed out on that during my bad days. Finally, I want to say what I had learnt from Vikas. He taught me that if you love somebody, love them unconditionally even if you get hurt by it. And if your love is true, you will never find fault with your loved ones.
Parul’s words had made Priya cry. She went back into the house, refreshed herself and joined the guests. Sendhil couldn’t help but curse himself for not being the one like Vikas. He realized it was already too late to make a move as the divorce was to be declared on Tuesday. The guests were having a lovely time at the garden, whereas Sendhil and Priya were hiding their sadness and tears back.
After a happy session at the party, the guests slowly bid goodbye to the host couple and left the place. The garden again looks deserted to Sendhil and Priya. Priya looked at Sendhil, and she couldn’t control her tears, she wanted to shout at him but rushed back home and lay down on the bed crying her hearts out.
Sendhil, on the other hand, was clueless for what had happened with his life. He picked up his cigarette against the decision he made during Gopi’s talk and lit it up. He sat down on the garden and looked at the Blue Moon Flower Bud, which was big now and ready to blossom anytime.