Fulfillment And Unfulfillment.

“No one achieves complete success in life but, even partial fulfilment is attained by but, a few. Unfulfilment is the normal condition of man.” ~ Irawati Karve.

This post has been inspired by Ekoshapu’s post on Reunion. Since I attend reunions regularly, what the poem says resonates with me.

The heartthrob of the school,

is a man grim and somber.

That lanky little girl,

is now a weightlifter.

The topper of the class,

is a happy homemaker.

Back bencher of the lot,

is an entrepreneur.

The flamboyant fashionista,

became a dreaded lawyer.

Oft ignored average Joe,

turned a well known writer.

The one who failed math paper,

is a fashion designer,

and one who often got to stand outside the class,

is a respected army officer.

The reunion taught me how,

people come with many layers,

and told me why we should,

never judge a book by its cover…

Let’s remember this every time we step into our classes;

Each child is a potential success story!! Lets help them write it

On reflecting on the topic, it also occurred to me that in these reunions, one rarely comes across someone talking about how s/he has failed whereas irrespective of whether one came from a background of privilege and money or the absence of it, the successes inevitably talked about it and maintained that they are self made successes. As a corollary, I suppose that the failures are also self made failures but, they are unwilling to admit it. They will blame everything possible other than themselves for their failures. Usually, the government, competition or often, bankers.

To reinforce this trend of thought, I have recently had to interact with two young friends of both categories and I dug up the Nightingale quote for the latter. He was quite stunned that it had not occurred to him and we spent quite a long time discussing how things could have been different had he done somethings differently or not done somethings at all. Since he is quite a determined sort, he has perhaps understood the situation and will try again.

To the former, it was easier to point out the advantages that he had to start with before he became an entrepreneur to deflate his ego a bit and give some credit to his parents and background. Subsequently, his father rang me up to thank me for doing that! I must have done something right for the news to reach the father!

Which brings me to the second quote on unfulfilment being the norm for most of us.  I think that Irawati Karve has hit the nail on the head but, am willing to be corrected by any of my reader/s who may think otherwise.

Nothing Really Happened.

A dear friend sent this little poem in Hindi to me with his best wishes.

Let me try and make justice by translating it to have the same effect in English.

Nothing really happened
Broke the heart a little
Alienated a few people
Shattered a few dreams
Nothing really happened
Just lost some sleep
Just some joy was taken away
Nothing really happened
Just lost myself
Nothing really happened
Just a dear one made me weep.

The Back Benchers!

B

A Backbencher in the UK In Westminster parliamentary systems, a backbencher is a member of Parliament (MP) or a legislator who holds no governmental office and is not a frontbench spokesman in the Opposition, being instead simply a member of the “rank and file“.  You will see that there is no space between ‘back’ and ‘bencher’ as opposed to the title of this post.  That is because the contents here are for students in our schools here who either voluntarily sit or are punished by the teacher to sit on the last benches in the classroom.

Some students wear that honour with great pride.

Out of the blue, my friend JM posted this message in a WhatsApp group’s page a few days ago. I have tried to get details of the source without success and if some reader can help me I shall update this post with an update.

The Back Benchers

In school, there was, is and will be,
A unique and discreet subset.
A few rows of back-benchers,
Students, who were never afraid of a test.

The backbenchers took the longest breaks,
Took the longest to settle down.
Rarely would have done their homework,
Still, from teachers didn’t evince a frown.

They were current on movies,
And knew great stuff on sports too.
And if our city had secret places to visit,
They already been there an done it too.

They weren’t good at academics,
But weren’t bothered about it.
They were good in sports,
But would not bother others about it.

They were taller and heavier,
Some had seen more summers.
Puberty struck them earlier,
One of them was a drummer.

They had magazines which front benchers didn’t,
More glossy and re-readable at that.
There was an air of mischief,
And a smile that complemented that.

Except in the art class,
The ones in our class were great artists too.
They’d draw on the desk,
Art mentionable & unmentionable too.

They knew how to fly planes,
Land missiles on teachers.
And with a poker face,
Lie with panache & credence.

Catcalls and comments,
Came from them with a regular flow.
Assignments were jointly completed,
Later than sooner they would show.

They were a nice lot,
Happier than most others, I’d say.
More at peace with themselves,
Except on the results day.

Sports Day was the day they’d excel,
And make their class and house proud.
Win points and medals,
Be cheered by the crowd.

They had the colours on holi,
Their pen wielded ink too.
Their crackers resounded in toilets,
They had the gadgets & games too.

In time we met again,
In social media groups & reunions.
They’ve done as well as those in front,
The differences have melted since.

Happy then and happy now,
The backbenchers had a fair deal.
They must’ve slogged in between,
As good or better than front row, I feel.

It generally evens out in life,
Whether you were at the front or back.
The benchmark was never the bench,
Or where they sat, front or back.

I posted on the page that I was a back bencher in school and this poem resonated with me. I have also had the experience of being punished by being asked to stand up on the bench as shown in the image for the person in the third row.   I had also used some classes to catch up with sleep deprived due to excess physical activity.  I also used the opportunity to give my thoughts about what the others in the group might have been in school and all my predictions turned out to be true. None of the others incidentally, were back benchers though!

I mentioned this to a couple of friends and one of them said that he is not surprised that I was a back bencher but, his reasoning was based on my being larger in built than the average Indian male.  I thought that was odd and asked a school teacher friend of mine as to what could have prompted that observation and he promptly responded that the larger built students in schools were either into sports or the NCC, Boy Scouts etc and as such are less studious.  They are also more likely to be punished for being mischievous in class by being relegated to the back benches.  This too resonated with me as I fitted that description when I was in school.

The poem resonates with me because like the poem says, I have done as well if not better than the front benchers of my class in school.

What bencher were you?

Freedom.


“Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high, 
where knowledge is free.

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.

Where words come out from the depth of truth,
where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection.


Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it’s way
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.

Where the mind is led forward by thee 
into ever widening thought and action.

In to that heaven of freedom, my father,
  LET MY COUNTRY AWAKE!”

Rabindranath Tagore.

Need I say any more?

I have suggested this topic for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 Blog Post where Shackman and I write on the same topic.  Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to read what he has to say on the topic.  Thank you.

Acceptance.

Life, with its hardships and losses, isn’t exactly a non-stop celebration. While one would certainly like it to be so, there will be occasions and events when the celebration comes to an end and things pass into memories. Some times, even memories do not suffice. The time always comes when the party ends and the festive spirit slips into memory, or even beyond memory as T. S. Eliot so poignantly expresses in The Waste Land.

“The nymphs are departed.
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.”

I was reflecting on this poem sent to me by a friend who had a recent loss who found solace in poetry like I did in reading and attending classes on Vedanta. I was trying to find the right approach to be of some comfort for my friend when I received this message from the same young man who inspired my post The Company Of Great Persons.

“A man was pierced by an arrow, and a doctor was immediately summoned to have the arrow pulled and the wound treated. However, the wounded man insisted to find out who shot the arrow before he would let the doctor treat him. Was it a man or a woman? Was the attacker young or old? Which direction did it come from? What was the arrowhead made of? How big was the bow that shot the arrow? What kind of feathers were used?

The wounded man would definitely die of poisoning before his desire for knowing all the information was satisfied.

I love this story. In regards to acceptance, it is so valid. Some of us would rather go our whole lives in pain through resistance than to acknowledge what is wounding us. We refuse to accept the wound or pain. We think that things should be different than they are. We go around trying to resist the inevitable.

If we were to acknowledge the wound and surrender to what is in that moment, then the arrow would be able to be taken out. But since we, like the wounded man, ask questions like why is this happening to me or trying to rationalise what is happening, we never heal the wound. When we identify with the ego, that wound will never be healed because the ego is resistance which created the wound and keeps the wound from healing.

But once we can forgive and realise that all that is happening is okay and is only in the mind, that acceptance is what heals. The resistance is what makes it so painful.”

Since the message arrived just as I was scratching my head to come up with a topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday post, I suggested it to Shackman, whose take on the subject can be read at his blog. Please do go over and read. Thank you.

Jalaluddin Rumi.

Some beautiful answers and way of thinking of Turkish poet Jalaluddin Rumi….

What Is Poison ? ? ?
AnyThing Which Is More Than Our Necessity Is Poison. It May Be Power, Wealth, Hunger, Ego, Greed, Laziness, Love, Ambition, Hate, Or AnyThing.

What Is Fear ? ? ?
Non Acceptance Of Uncertainty. If We Accept That Uncertainty, It Becomes Adventure.

What Is Envy ? ? ?
Non Acceptance Of Good In Others. If We Accept That Good, It Becomes Inspiration.

What Is Anger ? ? ?
Non Acceptance Of Things Which Are Beyond Our Control. If We Accept, It Becomes Tolerance.

What Is Hatred ? ? ?
Non Acceptance Of Person As He Is. If We Accept A Person Unconditionally, It Becomes Love.