Until an year back, the above lines were no more than a passable quote for me. I thought it was the most overrated ‘lecture’ one could get to keep reminding ourselves that we were alive. I mean, of course, we were ‘alive’! So what is the big deal in it? I don’t have to smile about it every passing day? I have my long list of "To Do’s” to accomplish before I set my mouth smiling 180 degrees. Career goals are unmet, my body isn’t in shape, have to raise my children befittingly, take care of my old parents, contribute to society at large, write a book may be, visit places across the globe, complete my Indian Classical music course, pick up other hobbies, bring up my NGO nationwide and so much alike to do. Must I congratulate myself and smile back at being alive at a stage when everything I’ve taken up either half-done or hasn’t started yet?
Then, I received the news.
I had been diagnosed for a suspicious lump in my breast which could threaten my life. Without wasting a day to ponder over the sudden mishap and ‘why’ it chose me, I was put through the series of rigorous medical rites. Mammography, FNAC, MR-M, Core biopsy, all followed one after the other. After a gruesome phase and body ripping apart, I was officially declared ‘luckier’ when the oncologist advised performing a preventive lumpectomy at the earliest. Darkness had spared me by a margin and I got operated with three masses removed.
All of a sudden my world seemed smaller. No more flying ambitions, complaints, cribbage and lofty dreams. All I wanted was immense love and warmth from my close ones. All I wanted was to spend the rest of my life with them in a healthier and happier way. All I wanted was to give to them as much as I could today for there could be no tomorrow.
However, getting back to life with physical recuperation I probably got away with mental dismay also in the humdrums of daily routine. The inner greed of the soul to want more and more overpowered all wisdom and in no time I slightly began taking things for granted. Again! As I was getting back to my regular schedule of living, I emerged a cautious and better person but secretly nourished my own share of grudges towards life.
One year past, when normalcy was almost getting restored, the suspicious masses reappeared. It seemed like more lessons were to be learnt. More wisdom remained to be acquired. More love and more solace needed to begin to ‘appreciate’ life.
The medical rituals fell back into its place and I was again fighting for my bit of existence. More pleasant words were no longer “Thank You, Please or Sorry”. Instead, it was “It’s benign!”
When I look back at the bad phase of my timeline, I feel that good life is important but being alive is more important.
Today, when I came across this picture in the morning, I stopped at the second line to say a special ‘thank you’ to this waft of pure breath that I take in and out. I realise, it is indeed something to smile about.
“For the things you took for granted,
someone else is praying for.”