The Oasis of Serenity
Sitting in the library at 8 am, still trying to force myself out of the sleepy stupor and focus on the ophthalmology textbook in front of me, I yet again wished, if only I’d get a few more days to study I’ll ace this test! Just then my friend rushed in with this excited gleam in her eyes, “Did you hear? Mumbai’s first case was reported today! You know what that means?” “What?”, I whispered as the librarian shot us a stern look. “Holidays. Surely this will take a week or two to get in control, exams postponed!” And we couldn’t have been anymore wrong.
3 months later, as I recall my last day at college, the last day I stepped out of the house, one thing is certain- Life is unpredictable. If someone had told me that a day would come when we all would be locked up inside our houses, afraid to go out, afraid to breath freely, I would have laughed it off. And yet, here we are.
Humans like to be in control. And having the control taken away from us is terrifying. How many of us have complained daily about our jobs, our colleges and wished for a break? And yet when we got that much wanted break, we only had more complains. This is because we were going in a particular direction, we had a schedule. We designed our days and we knew what each day would look like (or so we thought), we had the control. And the moment that control was taken away from us, we panicked. We complained. And we acted out in the wrong way. The hoarding of groceries even before the lockdown started, disobeying the lockdown restrictions and the migrant crisis are all a result of this. We were not prepared to deal with something like this. But, can we ever be fully prepared?
“At its best, life is completely unpredictable”
The only thing we can and should be prepared for is the unpredictability of life. Unprecedented events will happen. It will make us afraid, but fear is not the rational reaction. This pandemic has been throwing challenges at us. There’s a huge question mark and no one has the answers. There’s a palpable fear in the atmosphere. We fear the uncertainty, we hate not having the answers. So what do we do?
We’ve all seen a variation of this quote in memes, but truer words have never been spoken. This sentence was made into a poster by the British government to boost the morale of people during the World war 2. And it’s the best and the ultimate advice because if you can keep calm and carry on in the midst of chaos, congratulations! You have mastered the art of living.
As I sit by my window, writing, I hear the birds chirp and long for the day I’ll be able to walk on the streets again without any fear. Was my neighbourhood always this pretty? And how come I never noticed the plant with the pretty pink flowers until now? My line of thought is interrupted as my mom reminds me to finish my assigned household work for the day. I sigh and think, our maid really deserves a medal for this. We often go about our daily lives forgetting that the reason our lives are functioning smoothly is because of a lot of people. The maid, the watchman, the cleaners, grocery store owners and so on. We often forget to be thankful for the little things as our ignorant self keeps wishing for grander things to happen.
“What would your ideal perfect day look like?” The pre-covid me would probably imagine a day filled with grand, exciting events happening all day long with luck by my side. The current me, however, would answer- “I wake up to the sound of birds chirping, with a feeling of positivity and excitement for the day. I am unfazed by any “bad” news. I carry on and make the most of my day. Because in this unpredictable universe, there are many battles, many adversities coming my way. I may not always have the answer. I may not always know what to do. I may be overcome by fear many times. But I’ll always strive to achieve calmness in the midst of the chaos that is life.
Because serenity is the ultimate superpower.