Andrew Heanngam Pamei
The month January reminds me of a Roman God “Janus” the two faced God- One facing the front and the other backward. The Roman mythology says that the side facing the front looks to the future and the side facing backward look at the bygone days. Like the Roman God ‘Janus’, January is a month where we’re obliged to have two perspectives of life. It is also a time to be thankful for the year gone and feel hopeful for the year ahead. But often when we look back, we regret the things we didn’t do more than the things we did. Many of us perhaps even heard opportunityknocking at our door, but by the time we unhooked the chain, pushed back the bolt, turned two locks and shut off the burglar alarm- it’s gone. But let not that feeling deter us from moving forward in life, as Carl bard rightly puts forward, “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending”. In fact, January is an opportunity for us to look back to the past and get rid of unpleasant old memories and make way for a new and pleasant one. It is a perfect time to recommit oneself, never to dream up thousand reasons why we can’t do what we want to; but find one reason why we can, because it’ll be a lot easier to do all things we should do than spend the rest of our lives wishing we had. To better understand how a positive change can impact lives, let’s consider this short powerful story of an eagle.
The Eagle has the longest lifespan of its species. It can live up to 70 years of age. But to reach this age, the eagle has to make a hard decision. In its 40th year, its long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey which serves as food. Its long and sharp beak becomes bent. Its old age and heavy wings due to their thick feathers stick to its chest and make it difficult to fly. Then the eagle is left with only two options: die or go through a painful process of change… The process requires that the eagle fly to the mountain top and sit on its nest. There the eagle knocks its beak against the rock until it plucks it out. Then the eagle will wait for new beak to grow back and then it will pluck out its talons. When its new talons grow back the eagle starts plucking its old aged feathers. And after this the eagle takes its famous flight of rebirth and lives for 30 more years.
Why is change needed?- in order to survive and live. We too have to start the change process. We need to get rid of unpleasant old memories, negative habits and our fixed mindset. Only freed from our past burdens can we take advantage of the present and the future, and in order to take a new journey ahead, we need to let go of our negative old limiting beliefs, open up our fixed mindset and let ourselves fly high again like an eagle.
Having said all these, let us be also reminded that unity and integrity among different community is a must for peaceful coexistence. Gone are the days where one community fight against the other, where one religion fights against another religion and where a clan fights against the other. It’s time we constellate and march forward together for peace and better socio-economic development. To understand how marching forward together in life can bring greater sense of satisfaction at the destination, let’s consider a fable that we all grow up with. Almost every single person knows the story of the hare and the tortoise. But I’m told of a new extended version of this fable with a slight twist. It goes like this…
Once upon a time a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who was faster. They decided to settle the argument with a race. The tortoise and the hare both agreed on the route and started off the race. The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for sometime. Then seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he’d sit under a tree and relax before continuing the race. He sat under the tree and soon fell asleep. The tortoise plodding on overtook him and soon finished the race, emerging itself as the undisputed champion. The hare woke up and realised that he had lost the race. But the story doesn’t end there. It goes on to say that the hare was disappointed at losing the race and he did some soul-searching. He realized that he had lost the race only because he had been overconfident, careless and lax. If he had not taken things for granted, there’s no way the tortoise could have beaten him. So he challenged the tortoise to another race. The tortoise agreed. This time, the hare went all out and ran without stopping from start to finish. He won by several miles apart. Again the story doesn’t end there yet.
This time the tortoise did some thinking and realized that there’s no way he can beat the hare in a race the way it was currently formatted. He thought for a while, and then challenged the hare to another race, but on a slightly different route. The Hare agreed. The Hare and the tortoise started off. In keeping with his self-made commitment to be consistently fast, the hare took off and ran at top speed until he came to a broad river. The finishing line was a couple of kilometres on the other side of the river. The Hare sat there wondering what to do. In the meantime the tortoise trundled along, got into the river, swam to the opposite bank, continued walking and finished the race. The Story still doesn’t end there. The tortoise and Hare by this time had become pretty good friends and they did some thinking together. Both realized that the last race could have been run much better. So, the tortoise and hare decided to do the last race again, but to run together as a team this time. They started off, and this time the hare carried the tortoise till the river bank. There, the tortoise took over and swam across with the Hare on his back. On the opposite bank, the hare again carried the tortoise and reached the finishing line together. It is said that the hare and the tortoise felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they felt earlier when they won individually.
From the fable above, we know that it is good to be individually brilliant and win but unless we are able to work with unity as a team and harness each other’s core strength, we’ll never reach the satisfaction we expect, because there will always be a situation at which one does poorly and the other does well.
So, despite various cultures, caste, creed and race, let these two short yet powerful fables be a source of inspiration for all to bringpositive change and unity in our state. Wishing you all a prosperous year ahead.God bless.
(The writer is a student of Delhi University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Andrew Heanngam Pamei