God said,” Hey buddy?”
“Aah-hii”, i said confused. What was it? A tall, dark, handsome guy, rather uncle, with a halo and white beard, similar to one in Harry Potter books, but who was he? And why is he looking so superficial? I rubbed my sleepy eyes and tried to seep in what was it?
” Who are you?” I asked. Generally i attach ‘sir’ while addressing such personalities but something restrained me this time.
“Ah, well can I take a seat?” I realized he was already seated,” and have tea with you guys. By the way, I am GOD”.
“WHAT? “, i said with a mock but seconds later, I was like” Wwhhhaaaat?” , my whole body shaking. I longed for my friend Mayank, who had gone inside Fauji Dhaba ( the lone dhabha inside IIM Lucknow) for our traditional order – Samosa & chai at 6:30pm everyday in the evening of summers.
Actually it was month of May, 2010 and the whole 25th batch of IIM, Lucknow had left the campus for their summer projects and some of us, Phd students, were here, inside IIM L, for our research projects. Mayank and I were only ones left in our group so were having a ball out here. The serenetity of campus, ocean of research world, IPL, Movies and Lucknow had positioned our life very peaceful for the next 2 months, except, for what was happening in front of me now and Mayank was going to experience shortly.
“Why do u look pale? Don’t you offer prayers every day? You should be comfortable. Am here to strategize yours well as your friend’s life.” said GOD.
I could take the’ pale’ thing he said, i was really confused. I didn’t take that i offer prayers everyday but yes am a sort of regular. I take that i should be comfortable. But I didn’t take at all his purpose of being here. This word ‘strategize’ caught my attention. It was the most abused word in management courses with every specialization using this word as a whore, while the actual content of strategy is very different. I had realized this in my last 1 month of research in “Strategic Management”. I was about to explain God, the difference and the right usage of the word but I restrained myself.
“Who are you talking to?” asked Mayank, as he joined the table. “GOD”, i said peacefully and pointed in the direction opposite to me. I literally thanked God for making friends and realized how the fear of facing something you can’t handle alone, become a challenge if you have a friend by your side. Whether it is – fear of failure, fear of breakup, fear of living life peacefully or like this fear of facing GOD, all of these becomes an experience. I knew I was going to have one now.
““WHAT? “, he said with a mock but seconds later, he was like” Wwhhhaaaat?” his whole body shaking. I could sense the same adrenaline inside Mayank’s mind as mine few minutes again and also realized that he too was ready for an experience now but unlike me he didn’t make a fool of himself, he showed patience.
“Don’t panic dudes!” said God,” and don’t make a fool of yourself. Only you 2 can see me so just act chill and don’t prove the world that you both are dumb, especially you”, he pointed at me,” Every one already knows that. Sit straight and relax. Have your tea.”
I thought of a CP there. “Excuse me God. It’s you who make us feel like a fool. Why aren’t you visible to everyone? We are smart guys. And what do you mean by dumb? You made us so you are to be blamed.” I again restrained myself and did exactly as was directed. He was in some way right, Fauji dhaba’s waiters were looking sarcastically at us amazed, confused and thinking maybe we are drunk. We sat straight, and showed as if we were really drunk; else the next connotations to us were like – madmen, insane or stupid. We were smart guys so we started having our tea with –peaceful looks outside and hell of turbulence inside.
“Walk?” he asked. Mayank literally spilled out last sip of his tea and regained saying, “what do u mean?”
“I wanna have a walk with you both, ready?” he said as if annoyed by questioning of his intentions. I guess Gods don’t’ like to be questioned and he knew that we both used bikes nowadays for roaming places, even a km apart.
“Ya sure, we walk a lot”, I said without realizing that he was GOD and not our gym instructor who advices us to walk a lot and we always react the way I did now. “Stupid”, I said to myself, as I realized God knew how much we walked – ON OUR BIKES!
We set out towards the PGP block ( Our classrooms at lucknow). It was a beautiful evening with divine last rays of light just glancing through Chintan block ( faculty building) and beautiful yellow flowers all around hung on trees. It had drizzled that afternoon and the whole atmosphere was very clean and without any confusion, as if all of them accumulated in our hearts with GOD besides us. Or maybe it was HIS aroma, which was getting reflected outside. Whatever it was, it was very beautiful and appealing.
“You both are working hard for your summers”, said he and a shine could be seen in our eyes, even our proffs never commented something like this, “but this will not lead you both anywhere. It’s all waste!” he said spontaneously as if it was pre planned. Our shoulders drooped but rather now it was more comfortable as we already knew this fact.
“So you come all the way to tell us that we are a waste and did nothing substantial for the past one month?” I said looking at Mayank for approval for my comment. We had been researching hard for the last one month with nearly 3 dozens of literature papers, night outs, summary, ppts and above all self motivation to do this. How could we take that all these efforts will not lead us anywhere? Though we knew the fact, we had to defend ourselves or maybe we were curious to know that what was it that we were lacking in our approach?
“Don’t use management idioms here – “substantial” is a word that neither u nor I can define”, said GOD. We nodded our heads in agreement. We had come to this consensus in Chanakya’s dining table after an hour long debate with one of our most cherished senior (Name – confidential).
“I wanna you both to introspect a bit. Do you realize that you are all the time engrossed in something and living life without any real learning from its experiences? Do you realize that studying, roaming around, gossiping and sleeping takes 25 hours of your one day? Have you both ever reflected back the learning’s you received from life, experiences, encounters etc. I deliberately gave you both the greatest chance to have them in your life, but alas, you both couldn’t capitalize on that. This will not lead you anywhere.”
3 words caught my attention – introspect, reflect and capitalize. I wanted to shout,” It’s not true, we do this every day but only while playing Farmville on Facebook”, I again restrained myself.
“It’s not true, we do this every day”, said Mayank,” We are what our parents taught us, we think of them every time. We share our experiences and offer prayers just to balance things out. We also are very social and really capitalize every single moment of life”.
“Mayank sir”, said GOD, “and what’s ur name, ya Sanjay sir, am not talking of your personality traits and your good deeds here in the world. You know better than me regarding that. I am talking of that one encounter, one meeting with someone in life, which happened only once. Who came in your life and went away but drastically changed your life with some teachings, some thoughts to ponder upon. I today want you both to reflect upon those experiences and tell me what made that, one meeting, so impressive that you consider it as your lifetime opportunity. But make it fast, I have to leave before it gets dark. One experience each please”.
It came to us as if we were called out in 206 room of PGP block, with projectors on and an evaluator in place, to give an impromptu presentation of the one we saw ages before and that too in 15 minutes.
Mayank started his tale,” Well I met with a family who resided at Leh and had 12 kids. Father was a basketball coach and mother was a local journalist. They had a love marriage 22 years ago and now they had this dozen kids and a complete mess, I would confess. I was there as it had snowed a lot in mountins and our trekking plans were delayed due to the same. They gave us shelter for a day. The family, besides having such a big management problem of their own, had a patience which was unmatchable. Right from the time I entered their home and the next 22 hours when I stayed, not even once the couple lost their temper and handled every situation most tactfully with a smile on their faces. That was amazing. In India the families have their marriages balled up due to kids sometimes but they were simply superb and worth a case study in Harvard. Since that day, I always had a smile on my face. I realized that a smile can take away all the troubles so softly that no other magic can do. The family was a huge success.”
“Good. I know that family very well dear. They are blessed. I only allow pressures to mount on those of my children, who can handle. Most of them break their way, gets frustrated and panic. But 2 things can make way for you – Patience and Smile. You are very right in sense in analyzing your chance of divinity. You will go places.
Now, Sanjay, did u experience this divinity some time or other?”
“Well”, I thought, “there had been ample encounters but the one which moved me most was the old man with a bucket list”, said I.” His name was Harish Mehta. We met in a hospital bed where I was suffering from a fracture and he with lethal cancer. He was operated 2 days back and only had a secretary to take care of him. Later I came to know that he was the owner of the hospital and had a 21 year old daughter, with whom he had no cords left. So, he was all alone and it all started the day when doctor said he had just 6 months left in his life.
He shooed the doctor away and started writing something on a piece of paper. We had become good friends till then and thus he shared with me his bucket list i.e. – Bungee jumping, Experience divinity, kiss the most beautiful girl in the world and laugh his heart out till he cried. He said he wanted to do this before he was no more.
8 months later I received an e-mail from his secretary stating – ¾ down in the list and final one i.e. to experience divinity was left but that too will get fulfilled when Harish’s ashes will be buried on Himalaya’s top. He did bungee jumping in Jaipur, kissed his granddaughter after meeting his daughter for the last time in Mumbai and laughed his heart out, with his best friend, just before his death in Kolkata, so that tears rolled down his cheeks.
I was moved and thought – Life was too short to ponder over petty things and thus we should all be contended and experience life to its full. Take out the inessentials from our lives and keep the essentials. Everything else is secondary.”
God seemed pleased and said, “Ah, you have won my heart sons. Just like after scorching summer, when the clouds come with a strong gush of wind, it takes all the dried up leaves from a tree and leaves only the strong green leaves. It takes out the inessentials and retains the essentials”, said GOD with a bit of impatience in his voice. He continued,” You guys have had experiences and I guess now you know what I meant by saying – things that matter in life. Cribbing is an art of the devil. Only they live who live for the ‘essentials’ in life with lots of ‘patience’ in their heart & ‘smile’ on their face. So my sons, there you go, in this world created by me, to face all the traumas and troubles, which are deliberately made to test you. Promise me you will look into essentials of the same; patiently and always have a smile on your face. That’s your first ‘realized lesson’ in your life today. I will come back for more. Tab tak ke liye – TAKLIYA”. We had hardly uttered “I promise”, in chorus that he vanished leaving us alone in the stage in front of our Gyanodaya library.
It was 8:45 pm. We were perplexed with the event. We could not utter a word. We got up, went to have our dinner, came back, and before retiring to our rooms, Mayank asked me” Do you believe what happened or were we hallucinated?”
I was as confused as much as he was and answered, “It’s not essential to dwell on this question”. We smiled and made our ways to our respective rooms. That night we slept patiently and with a smile on our face.