Cool Buddies

TGIA (Thank God I’m Alive!) [by Sharada]

Posted in Life by Ratheesh & Sharada on August 8, 2009

“Ouch! That hurt. Why do we have to go through this bumpy ride in the city in the hot sun? Why can’t we buy a car with an AC and just zip around?” I protested as my back hurt when the bike we were riding on bumped over one of the countless potholes in the city. To this my best friend only smiled and pointed to an over crowded city bus where people were hanging on the foot board. “I know we are better than them, we are lucky to reach anywhere we want on our bike without having to wait endlessly for an overcrowded bus”, I mumbled.

As they say, there are always two ways of looking at a situation – the optimistic way and the pessimistic way. This applies to almost every situation in our lives, if only we care to analyze them. Even a physically challenged person might have ways to look at others and feel happy for what he / she has. Let’s face it – we do not choose the events in our lives, we do not choose whom we meet, what we do for a living, where we live. But we can always choose how we look at things, there is always a brighter side to things and the day we start looking at the brighter side of everything, we would have discovered pure happiness. And nobody can control our thoughts more than ourselves.

This might sound a bit philosophical, and it might sound like a very unlikely statement from a young person. However, in whatever way I look at this, there is no better way to feel happiness than to be happy! Let us go over some more day-to-day activities and see how we can feel happy and satisfied by looking at the brighter side.

You wake up one day and find that you have run out of cooking gas. Now, being the perfect person, you might curse yourself for not booking it on time and keep cribbing about it OR choose to use this opportunity to take your family out for lunch!

You are all dressed up to go to office, and then your car won’t start. You might get terribly angry at the car or the mechanic who serviced it last time and curse your bad luck and tell yourself that it is going to be a terrible day at work OR you can choose to wear sneakers and hit the road, use the chance to walk to office and feel exhilarated on your achievement on reaching and at the same time brimming with energy the whole day.

If we keep looking for perfection we might never find the ultimate day when everything would go as planned, your whole life is just as you wanted, you have the perfect job, the perfect partner, and the perfect house with a garden. Instead, if every day of your life you choose to be happy, you can be assured that there is no way you will be dissatisfied.

To begin with, make a list of all the things that you are blessed with, you never asked for and yet have got. These are truly the things that we should thank God for the rest of our lives.

  • Life – the ultimate gift of life, we are what we are because we are living. Once we are dead, there is nothing after that
  • Good health – If you are not suffering from any serious diseases, then you are lucky till now. Because there are a lot of people out there who are ready to switch their suffering existence with your healthy life. Do all that you can do to maintain health
  • Physical fitness – you might be healthy (no serious illnesses) but you might still not be fit. Fitness is what defines how many steps you can walk without getting tired. It also shows that all your organs are in working condition. This means, you should run, walk, climb, do whatever you can while you are fit.
  • Perfectly working senses – eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin – if even one of them doesn’t work, you lose a lot. You might say what is the big deal but wait till one of them gets shut off even for a day and you will realize how thankful you should be for them. It contributes a major part in enjoying your life.
  • Loving family – this is something that you always wish for but never ask for but sometimes get. If you have got loving parents, siblings, loving pets then you should consider yourself blessed. There are many out there who are orphans and yearn for some love from family
  • Love of your life – This is the person whom you can safely decide to spend the rest of your life with. If you have found such a person, do all you can to retain the relationship because the world is such a better place when they are around
  • Freedom – Have you lived in a country where you cannot walk freely on the streets or go to school regularly? Do you live in constant fear of someone knowing about your activities and might put you behind bars if they wish to? There are still a lot of countries where a majority of people are suppressed, cannot exercise their free will. If you are living in a free nation, you have a lot to be thankful for. You might curse the government for its policies, you might complain about corruption but believe me, there is nothing better than living in democracy.
  • Cozy home – It is that place where you are comfortable, would like to rest at the end of a hard day, no matter where it is, how it is, it the place where you can be YOU. Look around you and you see people living on the streets, in the cold without having a place to call “home”
  • Full stomach – Ever been hungry for a few hours past your lunch time without having a chance to eat lunch? Imagine this, you are traveling in a bus and forgot to pack lunch and the bus did not stop anywhere. There is no food available with you, but you look around and find other people happily munching on their stuff, you look out of the window to distract yourself and you see posters of huge burgers zip past. It makes your stomach cry. And finally after five hours you have reached your destination and you are almost in tears, you run to the first thing that looks like food and decide to buy it. At that time, to your shock you realize you forgot your wallet in the bus and you see the bus move away and there is nothing you can do about it. Feels bad? Of course, but this is not just a case of have-money-but-forgot-wallet scenario for many people out there. They just do not have the money to buy food; they are reduced to foraging the garbage bins to find anything remotely edible. Remember this the next time you do not like the food on your plate and want to waste it.
  • Clean air and water – This is the most precious gift of life, you almost never realize it and would never thank God for this because you take it for granted. You expect to find air and water everywhere, after all, isn’t that what earth claims to have to support life? Have you been on a trek where you have lost your way and exhausted your water supplies and all through the way you do not see a single source of clean water? You body is dehydrated but you know that you have to keep walking to find your way, you start hallucinating. You are angry at yourself to have wasted the last bit of the water pouring it on your face. Then you find a small pond of water, infested by mosquito larvae, but nevertheless it is water. You do not care how clean it is, what diseases you might get, at least you will be alive. You leave all the sophistication behind and decide to drink it. This is not just a story, it has happened to me. I realized the value of clean water that day. To realize the value of air, just go under water and try to hold your breath and if you do not know how to swim you would truly appreciate air! Across the world, there are wars being fought over water, it has become one of the most precious commodities exploited by corporates for money. Only the rich are entitled to the water and the poor have to spend all their money buying it. This is true in some of the African countries where there is severe scarcity of clean water.
  • Education – Back in your childhood, there might be days when you would have cursed your parents for sending you to school, but they would have spent a major part of their earning and ensured you get good education. You might not have realized its worth back then, but if you sit back and think, your life is comfortable now because of your education that you received. However absurd it might have sounded back then, it was important you pass through all these stages in your life to get to where you are today.
  • Security – You might live in a free country, you might do whatever you want to but if you are not secure there is no way you can enjoy your rights. Ever wondered how it might feel to live in a country or a state where there are people killing each other everyday and you do not know when you might never return home to see your family? This is the case with some of the states in the world, there is civil war going on, there are fights going on between two countries or states and people are living in constant fear. Their homes are getting destroyed, their friends and family members taken away and they never get to see them again. Democracy goes hand in hand with security; if you are living in constant fear in democracy then you will never be able to fully appreciate a free country. So, security is one of the important things that you have to be thankful for.

Do we really need a disaster to help us understand life’s precious gifts? Why can’t we start respecting and thanking God for these wonderful things in life? Don’t the materialistic things suddenly sound very trivial in front of these enormously important, life-supporting gifts? How often have we prayed to God that we pass in an examination OR we win a lottery? At that point, I can imagine God sitting with a few options on his computer screen which says “1- take away leg in an accident” “2- lose lottery” “3- trip to Africa to experience civil war” and you will be only thankful at that point that he chose to click on option #2, which is the least harmful of the choices. It is not that God is keeping a score of what you say in your prayers everyday and see if you thank him enough. It is just that when anything wrong has to happen, it will. So why not enjoy the good things in life meanwhile and be happy about them while it lasts.

Remember, life is not a destination, it is a journey. So enjoy your ride!

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One Response

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  1. umi said, on August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    lets not forget fulfillment. all our work is just for that. while reading on security i thought Gandhiji had the foresight to coin ‘sab ko sanmati de bhagawan’
    bless ya


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