Long long ago, when my uncle came back with a PhD degree and a designer beard, I was told PhD stood for Doctor of Philosophy. I came to understand my uncle had reached the epitome of knowledge! The little boy that I was; I wanted to be a Philosopher. I believed you can become a Philosopher by attaining the coveted degree and growing a beard and smiling at other people when they ask questions!
Subsequently I grew up to understand better. I also grew up to hate Philosophy; any Philosophy other than my own! So I am not very sure how others will react to my shot at Philosophy. With Potshots perhaps! Welcome anyway!
Exactly the same time when I saw my handsome uncle with the pleasant smile, I also became aware of 'Life'. That was when I used to score marks with same ease with which I used to pick up injuries to my forehead. One relative believed, I was getting smarter with every knock on my head! He also blamed the teachers for granting me marks as if they were distributing puffed rice! When things came so easily to you so early in life, you tend to become lazy. That exactly is what happened to little me. I thought it was all easy and 'This is Life'.
High school was another world to me. I missed the adoring teachers from Primary School and suddenly there was a drastic fall. The marks were more psychological than numerical now. Though it wasn't the bottom, I was closer to bottom than the top of the class. Erratic behavior, over aged friends and lack of direction meant high school will be remembered as a not so pleasant period. Except for my all time favorite teacher Mr. Panduranga Rao, I have very little to cherish from those 3 years at school. And I started to think, "Nothing comes easy. We have to struggle for everything. This is Life"
Getting through Class 10 with just about first class was an accomplishment by my standards. Thanks to the really generous Principal Prof. K. D. Kini, I managed to get a Science seat for my PUC course. Any combination that taught History was anathema to me. History was both misery and mystery to me. New friends, new ways of teaching and some really inspiring teachers brought life back into learning. Those two years were beautiful because of some really good friends. Vaman, Sri Hari, Guru, Rajesh, Kumar, Vishnu and I shared quite a lot of common taste. We enjoyed our group discussions at college and Cricket in the evening. We seldom missed any classes. Looking back, those were absolutely beautiful years. I believed 'This is Life'.
During all these years, I had a passion for Cricket and it still burns bright in spite of my extremely ordinary talent at playing. On some of those rare occasions I managed to shine on the pitch, I used to think 'This is Life'. Once I managed to score some 40 odd runs from less than 20 balls and everyone went gaga. In the very next match, I was bowled first ball to hand over a hat-trick to the bowler! I picked up 4 wickets for next to nothing from 2 overs in a match and followed it up with 3 no balls in one over in the next. So 'This also was Life!'
Medical College Bellary taught me not just Medicine;it also taught me about life and then about death! It was one real roller-coaster ride. I have very sweet 'Memories' of Bellary thanks to my friends! Every up and down during the ride used to make me wonder, "Is this Life?". Like most of my friends, I too outlived the heat and dust and the cauldron of stress that was the Medical College. And I am here today to tell the story; a story of a journey of an extremely ordinary man!
Profession, marriage, fatherhood and responsibilities have come with such break neck speed, I realized by the way that I had grown up! I also realized I had become a 'Jack of all trades'. Some sad moments and some happy moments; the journey is on! Those beautiful holidays, meeting my childhood favorite Vishnu Vardhan, my daughter's dance programs and those cozy family evenings; all of these evoke the feeling, "This is Life". Then I see my Father in Law suffering from Alzheimer's Disease going from bad to worse by the day. He had to be hospitalized thrice in a short span of time. This too is Life!
Nelson, a genial neighborhood Electrician helped us on many occasions. He used to consult me for his Blood Pressure and some other complaints. Once we called him urgently for fixing an AC in my room. He politely told my wife that he was stuck with some other commitment and we hired another chap. But Nelson dropped in later that evening just to apologize for his inability to help us.
Last Monday, my wife rang me from the market and said, "Do you know what happened? That electrician guy died suddenly this afternoon. Do you know what was wrong with him?". At 42, he had witnessed the demise of his Mother and Sister in a span of less than six months. Both he and his wife were a depressed lot due to these tragedies and also due to absence of children in their life. And then this sudden and ghastly tragedy! How his wife will manage to face this is beyond imagination. But she has to and she will, because "This is Life !"
Live every moment of life as if it were your last. We never know, some day we'll be right. So Live, Love and Laugh as much as possible. Because... This is Life !!!