The tiny infant cuddled in the warmth of the cradle soon becomes a cute toddler who runs after butterflies and rainbows. No sooner do the fairy tales and pranks of school days get over than the carefree lad blossoms into an exquisite youth when the heart leaps up to pluck the stars. The woods are lovely, dark and deep and the dreamy youth plans for the lovely miles he has to tread until the hard facts of life stare him in the face.
The stress, storm and strife and manhood transforms him from within and without until one sad day the mirror acquaints him with his ‘Other self’, i.e. ‘grey hair, sunken eyes and trembling hands’ and he shockingly realises that ‘shadows of the evening steal across the sky. But Oh! What about the rosy dreams waiting to find expression, the plans left halfway, the promises to be kept, the words of love never spoken and the aspiration to reach the stars?
Seeing the shattered dreams, lost hopes and barren regrets, his heart wails, “Oh! If only I get a second chance! “But no!! Life is insensitive and does not give us a second chance. We happen to pass through this way but once!
A hurdle race from the womb to the tomb—if we may choose to describe life—compels us to question ourselves, “Have we extracted all the joys, the Maker intended us to, out of life? Time slips out of our hands even before we realise it. How tremulous is the water on the lotus leaf! Such is the life of man—frail and transient. Life is a gift of God—given to us because he loves us and wants us to realise the grandeur of life. But the Time keeper does not give us the leisure of eternity to play here to our hearts’ content. In this journey of life one has to be always alert to seize opportunities, learn from mistakes and make hay while the sun shines.
The period of youth is the spring time of our life when the mind and body is at its very best. The age from 15 to 25 years is of paramount importance because it lays down the foundation and determines the path of our life.
Studies, career choices and job opportunities are hotly-debated issues during this period. Except for the aristocratic families and blessed elites, almost everyone has to be the architect of his own fortune, “Everyone has to take charge of his life or else you will be lathi charged by Time” warns the dynamic Ms. Kiran Bedi.
Academic pursuits require perseverance, dedication, positive frame of mind and concentration. Lord Arujuna perceived only the bird’s eye while aiming his shot but today students get distracted by a number of birds chirping around and are led astray by the false pleasures of this world. It is high time students realise that pending time in noble pursuits will enrich them from within and without while wasting time in ignoble pursuits will impoverish them from within and without.
Money is man’s dearest possession. He will think a thousand times before parting with it. Money can buy almost every material comfort and security, which is again an integral part of life. In the same way careful use of time can make or mar our future. It can lead us to the Golden Gate of achievement, satisfaction and progress while misusing time can drag us down to a sad, bad and mad world where life is meaningless.
You have nothing more to conquer in this world if you waste your time in negative thoughts, bad friend circle, cheap literature and visit ignoble places. The negative influence of these dark looks, darker thoughts and darkest deeds will compel you to sink deep down in misery and degradation. Then it is very difficult to regain the ‘Paradise’ once you have lost it.
How our tomorrow will be depends on what we do today. As you sow so shall you reap? How many precious lives and promising careers have been wasted and ruined only because they cared more for the false pleasures of the world and in the process they missed the track that would have led then forward. Perhaps the negative thoughts weakened them mentally and they lost the war even before it began.
Perhaps the false friends misguide< them, the cheap literature spoiled and upset their mental balance and the ignoble dens they visited titillated their baser instincts and led them astray Bad thoughts cultivate bad habits that lead us to bad places, acquaint with bad people and drag us into undignified circumstances.
This category of people constitutes the losers who may win some of the battles in life 01 of sheer chances but they are bound to lose the war unless they realise the value of time and use it wisely. The other category constitutes the winner who will win the ultimate war even if they lose some of the battles in it.
Their wise investment in good thoughts, good books, good friends and good places pay them rich dividends. Entertaining good thoughts conditions the mind to great deeds, spending time with good friends relieves them of anxieties and undue pressures and cheers them onward with their load; good books are good friends wisely will ring out the old and false and ring in new and nobler modes of life.
It can lead us to the paradise of excellence and satisfaction as is evident from the lives of great men and women who left their ‘footprints on the sands of Time’. Be they artists, scientists, sportsmen, businessmen or administrators—they excelled in their chosen fields because they realised the value of time. Procrastination, laziness, sluggishness are terms alien to their hearts.
They believe in 100% commitment, which gres them 100% contentment. Be it the dynamic Sachin Tendulkar, the cricketing genius or the ‘Nightingale’ of India—Lata Mangeshkar or the business tycoons Ambanis’ or Tatas or the most successful man of Modern time—Mr. Bill Gates—life is not a bed of roses for them. Thorns of failure, betrayal and losses pricked them at every turning but they did not lose heart and persevered till they got the coveted crown.
They are all geniuses of our times—which have in infinite capacity of taking paints at their task to the exclusion of everything else. They did not court success in a ‘sudden flight but were toiling upwards in the night; hammering on the edges of their abilities, on to the bounds of perfection, breaking and bettering their own records until the world acknowledged them as Masters of their trade! They realised very early in their lives that, “If you waste time, time will waste you; If you honour time, time will honour you.”
Great artists and sportsmen practice for long hours at their task to maintain the excellence and standard of their game. It is a superhuman task of character to concentrate on our goal when the whole world is out at play. A great artist once said, “If I don’t practice for one day, I realise the difference in my performance. If I don’t practice for two days, my critics discover the difference and if I don’t practice for three days, the whole world knows the difference.”
The beautiful world of rainbows and fancy happenings invites them to play but they stubbornly shut themselves in and refuse to yield to the allurements. Those who have conquered them can conquer the world, while those who have lost control over themselves will lose all the beautiful things in the world.
Some people always complain that they have no time to do the things they always wanted to do. The weariness, the fever and the fret, consume all their time, money and energy. You will never get time for doing something, you will have to find time; change your priorities and adjust your schedule. All the dreams and plans can be actualised with proper time management because as Gandhiji said: “The days of miracle are not gone.
They will abide so long as God abides”. Trials and tribulations form an integral part of life. It is not help but obstacles, not facilities but difficulties that make men. Men have risen to dizzy heights despite the trials and crosses of life. Even the great Sarojini Naidu said, “Behold! I rise to meet the destined spring and scale the stars upon my broken wings”.
Jawaharlal Nehru advised his brilliant daughter Indira Priyadarshni in a letter, “The individual has it in him to rise above the caprices of fate…He can, if he so wills, stand foursquare to all the winds of heaven and hell. By doing so, he influences and turns the very fate.”
Hence, we ordinary mortals must not get disheartened by the problems of everyday life. We must shed the burden of the unfortunate past and work sincerely today if we want to move towards a brighter tomorrow. What matters most is the present moment ‘Now’. The day is always his who works in it with serenity and great aims.
Yesterday is only a dream and tomorrow is only a vision but today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope and glory. Let us therefore realise the value of today. “We shall not pass this way again Oh! Heed the passing hours Let each day a record make Of something pure and noble A smiling face, a cheering word Make others’ around us happy And lightens up the rugged way That leads us on to glory.”
It is not only during exams that we must use our time wisely but throughout life because life is our greatest Test—the Mother of all Exams. If only we are a little more cautious and careful in all that we think, see and do, we will have fewer regrets and repentances.
Life unfolds itself like a procession in front of us. The innocent child has sublime pleasures and he rejoices in the kings and princesses of the fairy tales while the excited youth seeks for the princess in his real life and loves the challenge. The adult has more mature commitments while old age looks across the memory lane with tears either of satisfaction or regrets.
Each phase of life demands duty and has a charm of its own. The basket is in your hands. Whether to pluck flowers or gather thorns depends on you. Act wisely because it will all be over very soon even before you realise it.
“Catch them Oh! Catch the transient hour.
Improve each moment as it flies,
Life’s a short summer—Man a flower,
Hedies—alas! How soon he dies.”