The Pressing Need to Slow Down…

mind & soul

‘It’s been one hell of a ride..” –  thought Kavya as she sat on the balcony of her apartment staring at the city skyline. Sipping the fifth serving of her vintage Glenmorangie, she tried to remember the first time she had tasted this malt – probably five years back at her first President Award recognition party. It had been a love affair since then.

Life has generally been kind to her. Growing up in Delhi, Kavya had the most loving parents and an army of cousins to hang out with during the summer vacations. Perhaps because of growing up with so many of them, a sense of competition was instilled in her from a very early age. She usually aced most of her exams never giving her parents a chance to complain. However, her real love back then were the weekend Katthak classes. The few stage shows where she performed, before life took a turn, were still clearly etched in her mind. After graduating with record score in English Honours she got into journalism. But two years into her job in a leading English news channel as a Copy Editor, she realized journalism is not going to help her soar high. She loathed slow progress and success had become a habit already. She spent the next three years cracking the GMAT, getting a MBA from an Ivy League B-school and joining a top consultancy firm. Life was finally rewarding her for her constant toil and she loved every moment of it. She was no more a Delhi-ite – she was now a New Yorker! By the time she was 35 she was the best at her craft and a partner at her firm. She was climbing the corporate ladder at a furious pace.

It was around then that she started getting the feeling that something had been left behind. Perhaps it was the feeling of not being able to have a meaningful conversation with anyone in a long time… Perhaps it was the last incomplete phone conversation with her dad. She had said – “Dad busy, will call you back!” He suffered a massive stroke and passed away moments later. By the time she could reach Delhi all that was left were a few tears and a lot of unexpressed love….

Perhaps it was dancing and the guilt of never pursuing it after childhood. She never knew. And life had its own way of keeping her busy enough to never look back.

It was a couple of years ago that the discomfort started. It was just a nagging feeling of breathlessness once in a while. She ignored it; there was still too much left to achieve and life was short. She had always tried to be healthy – eat right, catch up with sleep, do the occasional yoga when she found time. But health was not the first thing on her mind. After all she was young, busy and successful! She could worry about her health at 60.

That was then.

Kavya passed a fleeting glimpse at the doctor’s report at her hand. Apparently the damage was irreversible. The blockage on her artery was too big to stop the slow drag towards the inevitable. She looked up and complained, “I am just 40 for God’s sake! There are people to inform, finances to sort out and.….Mom!” The thought plagued her – “May be I should have slowed down! Breathed a little more. Tried a little less. Travelled a little more. Evaded a little less. Nurtured relationships. Learnt to cook. Spent a day walking on the morning grass at the park. Given in more to Mom’s childish request of Skype-ing twice a day and so much more. How can life just get over? There was still too much left to do…”

Kavya is not alone. There are thousands of us who are too busy chasing an unknown goal. We often don’t realize the need to slow down – to live, to feel pain, happiness, love – in their purest forms. But often the realization comes to us when it’s too late. Fortunately for you and I, it’s probably not too late. It’s still worth slowing down – taking out time to observe, think, love, express, feel and appreciate life and all its simple joys. Life should be about ‘living’ and not rushing through in a never ending chase. Think about it – in the end will the race ever be worthwhile?

Upal Sen

An urban nomad and aspiring globetrotter, the author is a chronic bibliophile who loves to write once in a while and can go to any extent for good food!

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