If they answer not to thy call, walk alone,

If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,

O thou unlucky one,

open thy mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,

O thou unlucky one,

trample the thorns under thy tread,

and along the blood-lined track travel alone.

If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,

O thou unlucky one,

with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart

and let it burn alone.

Tagore wrote “Ekla Cholo re” in 1905 (translation in English above). I would have never heard it if it wasn’t for the remake of the song for the recent movie bollywood movie “Kahaani”. Since I did, I can’t help thinking about the depth and breadth of the lyrics.

I can’t imagine the quality of life or the challenges for that matter in 1905. Must’ve been more than what we face today. But now, more than a century later, it sounds like people have been the same, they don’t change. At the very basic nature of humanity, judging and opinionating comes with the package. And that’s why, a song written 107 years back, sounds as true and pure as it must’ve been back then. No matter what century you live in, at some point, you have to fight your war alone. You have to know the truth inside you, your calling, and march forward with it, all alone.

Taking the road less travelled isn’t easy. There are people looking at you as if you are an idiot to be walking this side, there are thrones and stones and all kinds of things you wouldn’t expect to face. But what it does to your soul, only you can feel and understand. It ‘s a divine feeling of conquering the self, which according to the Indian Vedas, is the hardest thing to do.

This is the third week of my sabbatical. I feel great, to be away from the herd, to be able to find my own road to travel, to be myself, to believe in myself. Every now and then, I hear the little minds cursing me to have done the unthinkable, a stupid thing. And while I have all the faith in my decision, I feel sad I wouldn’t lie. It’s hard to make people understand why you want to find your call. Why you don’t want to be known by what you do, but by what you really are.

Unfortunately, the world that we live in, supports herds. They trust the wisdom of many minds than one, even though those many minds are synonymous and hence not effective anymore. And so, every now and then, when a single soul wants to break away from the herd, they call it stupid, and aggressive and out of control, not knowing, the world we know today was created by some of those out of control people. Those that were in control, died living a controlled life without electricity and no pictures of them taken what so ever. Sometimes I wonder, is walking alone really the best thing a person can do. May be the answer is yes. May be sometimes, there is no point standing and waiting for the crowd to join you.

Belonging is something we might yearn for. And that is what makes us do sacrifices. Sometimes those sacrifices are worth it, sometimes they go un-recognized. If I were to answer, the goal of my life is to sit in that retirement chair and be able to say – “I tried”. That’s the answer I want to every possible question I might ask myself in that chair. I don’t care if I fail or succeed, if I die a millionaire or penniless. “I tried” is what is going to give me peace. Nothing else. And that’s what I will work for, always.

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