When mom asks me to hold my nephew, Arhum? (Arhum means Om in Jainism!)
I was shit scared; I had never held a baby in my arm. After initial hesitation, I did agree. When I held him in my arms, it was a special moment where his small fingers were trying to grip my hand and his adorable dimples made my heart skip a beat.
I was trying to identify myself in him – maybe his eyes or the nose or the chin looks like me. Finally, my sister joked he loves to sleep just like his mamu (uncle)!
While holding him in my lap, a thought occurred –
“What advice would I give to him?”
Mamu are only good for two things – buying you expensive gift and giving advice. Since the day when I can buy you expensive gift is in distant future, let me start with advice part. Not that you will listen to, far less understand, anything I am going to say (you are yet to be 1 month). So here it is, as simple as I can make it.
Pause. And reflect.
Yes. Pause. And reflect.
For the first 10 years of your life, go with the flow. Enjoy every bit of moment.
But as you grow older, start practicing ‘pause and reflect’. When you read a book, don’t just get carried away by the story. When you see a movie, don’t just walk out of the theater and forget it. Take some time off to think about what you read or what you saw. Did you like it? If not, why? What was good in the book? What was bad in the movie? Did you like the heroine? Did you hate the villain? And why?
Play a little game. How would you have changed things if you were the author or the director? Think about it for a while. An even better game. Write it down (even the faintest ink beats strongest memory).
Your mamu will always be there as a reference and a guide but this process should become internal.
I realize making time out for post-enjoyment analysis is going to be difficult with the faster internet speed and a world of games at your fingertips on the smart phone. But it still needs to be done. Why? So that you understand what’s good cinema and good writing? So that you develop the ability to critically analyze works of art?
You will understand what is it that moves you and what does not, what is it that you value and what is it that you don’t, what is within your abilities and what is not. And through this, you will get to know the most important person in your life. You.
Trust me, there is a whole industry built around convincing you that someone else’s idea of happiness is actually yours. It’s called advertising. And these guys are getting better every day.
There is a lot more advice still in my jhola, about choices and compromises, the power of imagination and where you should have best ice-cream in Udaipur. But they shall have to wait right now, because mamu too must pause and reflect.
Till next time.