As I sat down to type this, the first thing that came to my mind was a famous ghazal of Mirza Ghalib. Allow me to quote a couple of lines…
dekhiye paate hain ushshaaq buton se kya Faiz
ik brahman ne kaha hai ke ye saal achcha hai…
For those not familiar with the Urdu language, the translation goes roughly like this – “Let’s see what we get from these idols that we worship… after all a brahman (fortune-teller) has told me that this year will be good for me.”
We are quite curious to know what the future holds for us. In fact, in India, as in many other parts of the world, this is a thriving industry. People actually pay to meet fortune-tellers to know their future, and God forbid, if the prediction is negative, then we are also advised what can be done to change the course of things. For example, we may be told that wearing a certain stone might help, or praying to a certain deity can change our luck. And we go running to do what we were advised. At least I did.
We are so obsessed with this that we eagerly await the weekly horoscope published in the newspapers and lap it up. We go to tarot card readers, vaastu practitioners, fortune tellers, palmists and the like. Especially in times of adversity, when things are not going right, we explore all avenues. The problem is that we are at our weakest when things are not going right, and are even willing to clutch at straws. After all, what’s the harm in trying, right ?
Wrong. I say so out of personal experience, and this happens to be my own personal view. You may or may not agree, and I respect your view. I have no grouse against anyone subscribing to this school of thought. After all, I did so myself till some time ago. And boy, I was quite a believer. I would love talking to people who claimed to know palmistry or what-have-you. AND I followed their advice blindly sometimes. There was a time when I would wear different rings on different fingers, with different stones and metals, just because someone had told me that it would help shape the course of my life, get me out of the mess I was in, and generally help me to be someone big and powerful. And how I loved it all ! Especially in troubled times I would go running to find someone who could give me the guidance that I was seeking. But not any more…
So what made me change my views ?
After countless years of reading horoscopes that never came true, wearing rings that never brought me luck, I was quite disillusioned with the whole thing. And yet, I continued to believe these things, because we like to cling on to anything that brings hope to us. I still believed that some miracle would happen, and some prediction would perhaps come true.
Until one day, while going through some shayari online, I happened to come across these lines..
Apne haathon ki lakiron mein naseeb ko dhoondta kyon hai.
Naseeb to unke bhi hote hain jinke haath nahin hote…
Again, for those not familiar with Urdu, let me translate “Why do you seek you seek your future in the lines of your hands ? Even those who do not have hands have a future !”
The lines hit me hard. The more I thought about them, the more convinced I was. And actually, when you think about it, we are so fond of having our palms read by palmists, that we readily tend to believe what they predict from the lines on our palms. And yet, what about those poor souls who were either born without hands, or have lost their hand/s. Does it mean that they have no future ? The more I thought about it, the more sense it made, and that was when I decided that enough was enough. I had allowed myself to become a weakling, and the time had come to pull myself out if it.
So what did I do ?
I did some introspection and found that in my desire to change my future, I had lost sight of the only thing that could help me change my destiny – my own capabilities. My capabilities and my determination. Realization dawned, and I took the wake-up call, and decided to take charge of my destiny – the right way.
The question before me was – realization had hit, and hit hard, but what next ? I looked for inspiration, but this time, in the right direction. I did an honest SWOT analysis of myself. Not a very pleasant task, I can assure you. It is not easy to be critical of oneself, and this is what the situation required. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I decided that I had to shape my own destiny, and take charge of my own life, instead of letting some lines on my palm dictate things. I no longer wear any rings, no longer go seeking people to peep into my future, and no longer do I allow myself to become influenced by such things again.
I have found my direction, and although the road ahead may not be very clear to me right now, but I at least I have a sense of direction. AND I am determined to make things head in that direction. I may not be making much progress right now, but slowly and surely I am inching ahead. Because I have found something to believe in again – me. I believe in myself now, more than ever in the past, and I believe that I will get where I want to go. It may not happen overnight, and it may not happen in a few years even. But get there I will, because a renewed passion and a new attitude drives me. And that’s the only fuel that I need. And next time I find myself asking myself What Does The Future Hold, I will remind myself of the couplet below.
“You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.” – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad