It is 2057. You are in your late sixties or early seventies. You have lived your life. You are basking in the benefits of your savings and investments you had earned all the way through. It’s a cool January evening. You are relishing your dinner dessert listening to evergreen voice of SPB from one of Ilayaraja melodies that was composed many decades ago. That 11.1 home theater in your hard earned 3BHK house renders his voice with utmost clarity. You tell to yourself, those meaningful lyric ages are now long-forgotten. Your mind has been blown for the nth time listening to the wonderful confluence. You are transported to a new place. Gradually, the music fades down and there in front of you, appears a Genie.
It appears to be a friendly one. It takes pleasure in the fact that you are enjoying your life and the music. Slowly the Genie gets into a conversation with you. It starts by admiring your house and all those gadgets inside. You are proud. You start explaining to the Genie how you had toiled hard to pay back the HDFC housing loan's monthly EMI for 20 long years. You even quote one situation where you had enough money to settle the entire loan amount as a pre-closure at the end of 15 years, when you were after an on-site trip. But simply you refused to settle as you would be missing on those tax exemptions. You are explaining Genie other such strategies you had adopted to save every penny then. Genie feels impressed. It loves to learn more about you. It next asks for your accomplishments.
You are happy that you have got a listener for your own ‘Once upon a time’ stories. You jump out of your sofa in josh to tell Genie everything, starting from your awesome higher secondary board exams results with a centum in Mathematics. Genie, trying to control its laughter, asks you to proceed. That reputed university you attended; the interview you cracked. That world class organization you were a part of. All those accolades and respect you had earned over the years. Those numerous juniors you had mentored. Few thousands of rupees you had donated to the NGOs for the betterment of the community. Of the promotions you had got. How good you were as a spouse and how awesome you were as a dad for two kids. How dutiful you were as a son to your dying parents. As you recite your accomplishments, you give yourself a smug pat on your back.
Silence. Genie now asks one more question. “Any regrets?”. Taken aback by this unexpected question here, you look up to Genie and say ‘No’. Genie repeats, “Any regrets?”. Taking some time for yourself you reply back, “Nothing...really big”. “I’m all ears to hear the smaller regrets as well”, says Genie. Barely being able to appreciate Genie’s humor sense and good choice of words, you start off.
You do not really know where to start with. As random regrets fill up your mind, you commence with: you wish you had dressed better and you had styled your hair better. Genie tries to hide its laughter from you. Epic fail you could call. Moving on, you feel, in addition to spending money on your community, you wish you could also have volunteered your time with few less privileged kids from the society. You wish you could have spent more time with your own kids when they were still kids. Before you could realize that fact, they were grown-ups. You wish you had taken your parents along with you in their last few years. You wish you had helped your Mom and Dad spotting the specs box and the remote control they had misplaced because of their memory loss due to aging. After all, they had helped you to get back all those items you have misplaced till you were 22 and even beyond!
You wish you had met up your 8th grade Maths teacher and thank her for all the inspirations she had provided for you to get good with numbers. You wish you could have met her up at the least to say you owe a Thank You. You wish you had presented all those Thank you notes to your friends, relatives and office colleagues who have all contributed in their own way to what you are today. You wish you had realized small things do matter. You wish you had enjoyed the path, not just the rewards.
You think you are done. Genie goes speechless for a while. Then it starts, “You seem to be a good person. You have stated genuine reasons for you to re-live your life. Here you go! Enjoy!” Genie fades away as that same Ilayaraja’s melody ends. You realize you are in your early twenties; 2013 it is. Vishwaroopam I is still facing issue with its release date. It seems everything happened in a flash. You are confused. You have mixed feelings. You are happy that the things you had wished but left undone, are possible now!! You resume your daily work with just one more new thought in mind.
Enjoy the path, not just the reward!
PS: Inspired from the book ‘Who will cry when you die’ by Robin Sharma & a speech by Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy.