Reordering priorities

There was a time in my life when money came to me in abundance. It was the time when I was working in a high profile job with a very prestigious corporate firm. It was a rather good feeling that all the hard work that I had put in while slogging away during the college years were finally paying me back big time. The doors that money opened for me included a luxurious house in a high-rise building in the very in-demand part of the city. All the furniture and furnishings were high-end and it was all because of the free flow of money. Was I indeed one of the lucky ones?

And then, all the hype came crashing down because of a simple observation from my simple mother. She was watching me holding my dinner plate in one hand, a baby in the other and a phone precariously balanced between my tilted head and shoulder. I was on a conference call with a person across seven oceans, having my dinner and spending time with my baby all at the same time.  After an exhausting phone call, when my mother asked me how the dinner was, I was unable to recollect what I had eaten. She passed a comment about the futility of earning in thousands when one cannot enjoy the taste of a meal in peace.

That’s when the understanding came. What was the use of living in such a high-end gated community when I had no time to get to know my neighbour next door? I had no use for my very expensive dining table, as I did not remember the last time we had sat down for a meal on it. There was a beautiful balcony crying out for greenery to fill it with life, but there wasn’t any time to sit in that area to savour the peace it could offer.

With introspection came realisation. We already had stuff that dreams are made of. A loving family, healthy children, enough money for more than a basic life, a place where we belong, a lovely pathway to take a stroll on, a view of the city that transports one to a hill station and friends who make us relive childhood. After all, isn’t this the stuff that a dream-life is supposed to have? Happiness unlimited, happiness everyday.

Once the realisation happened, things changed quickly. I made a clean break-away from the demanding job. Now, we have at least one meal together on the dining table. The time I spend with the children is not shared by someone else on the phone. Once we spent time converting the balcony into a garden, butterflies started making our garden their home. And to think that all these years, this is the life I dreamt of, could have had, but simply did not understand that this was what we all needed. I guess all this should have occurred to me when the first word my child said was not ‘amma’ or ‘dada’ and it was instead ‘lathop,’ for a ‘laptop.’

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