I will turn 50 on November 29, a day that comes with a gravitas I have been waiting to grasp and make mine. Fifty is a milestone in any life. It is also that time in one’s life when we must appreciate the party that is about to begin — a celebration of life and living, loving and sharing, caring and nurturing, mentoring and learning. I look at the numeric age as just a number; age is for wine, not people. You are what you feel, see, think, and grasp.
Having waited for this day forever, I don’t find myself asking the question that many seem to ponder about: “Where has time gone?” Nor do I wonder what I would redo in my life. Instead, I find myself being thankful. It has me thinking hard about the whys and whats of my life.
I contemplate on the creator of this world. Male, female, animate, inanimate, what shape and form — I don’t identify “god” this way. Many a time I feel they might not even exist. I am one of those who doesn’t believe that there is a puppeteer of some sort that created this mind-bogglingly rich and diverse, inspired and awe-inspiring world. But to be part of planet Earth, to see the connection we have with the universe, and to see the links past and beyond, one cannot but appreciate that feeling which makes many believe in a creator. To that creator, that force, energy or power, I give thanks.
Being Hindu and Indian, I appreciate greatly the role that the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets and their positions play in our lives. I am unlike some of my friends who believe wholeheartedly in astrology and past-life regression, who try to overcome anxiety and fears as they learn to cope with the everyday concerns about life and living. I am mostly a man with an open mind, and so I find myself feeling a deep sense of gratitude to the planet and the powers that be for having aligned the stars such that I was born to my parents, in the household which included my maternal and paternal grandparents and their families, and in India and New Delhi, in 1972. I am also most grateful to my parents for having given me an education at Modern School, Vasant Vihar, and further grateful for the teachers I encountered there. None of these happenstances were of my choosing, yet each of them has made me the man I am today. Strokes of good luck, good decisions, and good timing, and being at the right place at the most opportune time have made me the person I am today and given me all the advantages that have carried me forward.
My grandparents, my father’s sister and her husband and my mother’s three siblings and their spouses, all my cousins, my sister, her husband and her son, and my brother and his wife: to them I owe endless gratitude for having blessed me with love and support. My life partners who have given me love and angst, direction and growth, joy and fulfillment, to them, I owe gratitude, as well. I am grateful for my coworkers and colleagues, my business partners and champions, my friends and acquaintances, my school teachers and college professors, my neighbours and fellow city and farm dwellers, my mentees and mentors, my assistants and those who have helped me around my own home and at work, and those strangers I have been touched by, who, without knowing me, have shared their lives with a generosity of spirit. They have inspired me to be selfless, do for others what has been done for me through the good auspices of humans with big hearts and a bigger sense of purpose and human empathy and caring. To these people and many whom I have failed to mention, but who have played huge, life-changing and altering roles in my life, I bow in gratitude and awe. Without them and their support, I might have been nothing at all.
With the backing of such incredible people, I find myself staring at 50 with eyes wide open, with a very confident heart and mind. Because of them, I know that when I fall, I will be able to climb back much higher, with opportunities for peace, hope and love. If there comes a time when I am feeling broken, cheated, or lifeless, I know I will see a rope sent by life with new escapades, new directions, and new highways which will be more fulfilling at every turn.
If I were being gutturally honest, there is little about my past that I would change. Of course, in hindsight there are many things I could have done better. But that is only because as I have lived through my mistakes and their consequences, I have learned a lot, grown and evolved into a better person, a stronger human being, and a nicer version of myself.
My life isn’t halfway over. On the contrary, I see myself starting that phase of my journey where I finally begin to live fully, freely, and with purpose. It is my hope to embrace every second of my life, henceforth, and take from it all that life sends my way. I hope to live, and live like I haven’t before. Without fear, with clarity of thought, with dignity and grace, and with action and purpose. It is my hope that the golden rule of doing unto others what I want done to me has me living hungrily and happily, supporting the less fortunate and those younger, and providing for them as many provided most generously for me.
I am excited to begin the party that shall be the next years of my life, to begin new adventures, to see where life takes me. It is my wish to remain bold and unafraid. Instead of worrying about what others think of me, I hope to keep living and being mindful and grab every bit of opportunity that life sends my way. I appreciate that life is for the living and that the luck that has been bequeathed upon us beseeches us to go out and live. And so I will be living — and how!