by Deepak Ramola
As the name suggests, it is a book relayed in a question answer form. Simplistic questions yet awfully thought provoking. This book is soothing to the soul. Many of the answers will leave a lingering smile on your lips or will make you think long and hard. The author has a knack for words and his vulnerability oozes through in the pages. He isn’t perfect, neither does he preach to be. He just leaves us pondering over the many seeds he sows in our hearts and minds along the way with his words. His way of writing seeps into your being. Sometimes his approach is pragmatic and sometimes he dips you into a storm of emotions with his verbalization and conversations.
Some of the questions and (extracts from) answers/musings that made its way into my heart:
1. If you could only ‘see’ or ‘hear’ for the rest of your life, which sense would you pick?
In this, the author beautifully captures an anecdote of a young 11 year old girl that explains the advantage of being blind by innocently stating that “ she can see a rainbow when there isn’t one “.
I don’t think I have heard something as profound as this in a really long time. Sometimes, children can earnestly say things that can leave us in wonderment and amazement.
2. Are you okay?
Such a simple question and one that we get asked a gazillion times, but who is really listening? How many people actually intend to listen to you and not snuff the words into thin air as they walk along.
The author makes you realize the importance and need to mean these 3 words when spoken.
A line in there that touched a chord in me: “ Being happy is a full time job and you can choose to be employed with a little help”
3. If forgiveness was essential to breathing, how often would you choke
The trick doesn’t lie in not having conflicts but in resolving them as soon as you can at the end of each day. Do not go to bed without resolving each argument, doubt and resentment you might be holding. After all the good news is you are alive and the bad news is, no one knows for how long
Awfully Introspective. I think 2 years ago I would have died choking but my resolve to rise above the water and embrace forgiveness as a virtue, has hopefully pumped enough oxygen in my soul to inhibit any future choking. It takes resilience and perseverance but it is possible and transformative.
Do read my blog on forgiveness, to know more:
4. What saved you
It is impossible for us to be alive without HOPE. A farmer ploughs his land, sows his seeds and does everything he can but at the end hopes for the rain to arrive on time and in just the right proportion to nurture his crops. That’s hope that makes its way to your plate every single day…. Next time you call yourself hopeless take into consideration all the hope that reaches you in every gesture and acknowledge and appreciate it. Just because you can’t see it yet does not mean it doesn’t exist.
So beautifully explained. I would never have thought of this kind of an analogy for hope. The idea of trying to consciously think of the veil of hope that surrounds us in numerous hidden ways each day is heart warming. A simple tip to see the hope around us in daily lives.
5. Tell me about the time you made an assumption and were proven wrong
The world is driven by quantity, quality takes its own time to find admirers. I have never seen a flower refusing to bloom because there isn’t another flower in the neighborhood blooming with it or a river that demands to see the trajectory of another river deciding its own course. I am yet to come across a leaf that grows enchanted by the company of others on a thread like stem or a rock that measures itself against the strength of the other stone. Every element in nature celebrates its self for its entirety. It definitely adds color and meaning to the collective but never feels reduced by its singularity. Maybe we too can find the courage to be alone, to bloom in our solitude and yet feel whole.
This is such a real example of how nature lives its course on its own terms and is not undermined by either its singularity or the twinning shapes and forms around it. We need to actually learn our lessons from all things around us, especially sometimes focusing on the tacit examples around us. It is truly ubiquitous. We just need an eye to find it.
6. What lesson in life took you the longest to learn?
People are like plants no matter how much you wish, all you can do for them is provide resources care and assistance so that they can reach their highest potential. You cannot force them to grow your way. There will be a trait, a behavior that will pop out like a leaf unforeseen that is not bargained for. The last thing you can offer is that you leave them with hope
A certain level of neutrality is something all of us need to work on. Our love for those around us cannot be defined by our domineering efforts to steer the course of their lives for the better. Beyond a point, healthy boundaries is the key for sanity. Each individual has their own journey in life. We cannot be in the driver’s seat for the course of their life.
7. Are you successful
Whether you think you are successful or not depends entirely upon your definition of success. The answers are as many as there are shades of people in the world. But it helps to pause and ruminate over what tools and benchmarks you set for yourself to feel you have profited over this affair called life…. It always helps to find achievement in the small acts of progress. That way the bigger wins seem grander and the small ones won’t go amiss.
This answer reminded me of a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends To appreciate beauty To find the best in others To leave the World a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived This is to have succeeded
8. What is the one thing you are in denial about in your life
If you spend all your time trying to edit other people’s story of you, then you will be left with hardly any time to construct your own. Be the author of your own story not the editor of their interpretation.
A powerful line that hits you in the gut. We really do, invest a lot of time in altering the judgement of others, mostly to a futile end. Validation of others has never been the trusted path to success in life, personally and professionally. Be confident in the narrative you are creating each day. And if you aren’t confident, then the introspection needs to be internal, not external.
9. What would happen if you love and trust switched roles for a day in your life
Trust is earned through actions but love can be sporadic and irrational. Is that why it’s easy to fall back in love but difficult to trust again once it has been bruised. The world doesn’t lack love. There is an abundance of it, the ways to express it are muddled and scattered. There is a deficit of trust.
This was truth in big, black, bold letters. The unadulterated truth for many of us. The sheer question gave me the chills and suddenly re-emphasized the importance and the colossal need for it to never be interchangeable.
10. What is your favorite word
What a peculiar question. I had to think really deep and hard for this one. You are free to chose any language, any dialect that strikes a chord with you. For me, its “ ruhaaniyat “, it is an Urdu word that means soulful. The sound of the word feels like music to me. The intensity behind the syllables touches a depth within me that is inexpressible. The word envelopes a poem in itself.
11. What problem of yours would you like to solve
A different take on viewing problems. Whilst stewing in the marrow of your problem today, can you possibly recollect “ what was your biggest problem three problems ago”
This was one of those “aha” moments. What a knee jerk reminder ! A marvelous way to pacify ourselves that nothing is permanent, it is going to change.