As I “grew up” I realized that it is not only me who wished to reach the mountain top, and however hard one tries, one’s path is going to be crisscrossed by others’ paths. What was unknown to me was the fact that what our limited vision shows us is only the mountain top, and many times not even where we are standing at that time. Even if a lucky few among us can make out where they are standing, it does not guarantee that they could see THAT path that could actually lead them to the top.
Somehow it is so incorporated in the ways of the world, that what others can see is: from where a (successful) person starts, and where is he now (that is, the top of the mountain), but not how he got there. Maybe he might have pushed a few people down on his way to the top. May be, a few people who could not make it were equally or more capable, but tried to climb from the wrong side of the mountain as their vision did not give them a panoramic view; may be they would have reached had it not been for bad weather which no one could predict; may be they missed it all because of one wrong footing; may be they reached there when that mountain was not discovered and no one attached glory to actually “conquer” it; may be when they reached, no one actually saw them reach there and so no praises were sung; may be… And then, a few very lucky ones could take a chopper up there. No such luck with me.
With realization of a few of these facts I began to ponder what is the fun in trying to climb atop a mountain where factors other than sheer talent and determination could play major roles? Is it really worth? I have a limited life; is it really worth climbing up and to be remembered for a day or two, in highly amnestic public memory? No. Does it mean I will never climb up a mountain? No, I will, if situation demands, but the mountain would have to be a “check point” to reach somewhere; that “somewhere”, which would be more interesting, irrespective of whether or not reaching there would be a matter of pride, or if laurels would be showered upon me on reaching there.
I realized that “success” as we know it, is different for everyone. Just because climbing atop a mountain is difficult, does not mean I have to try reaching there. Neither just because everyone thinks that those who are able to reach there are “successful”. Eventually success, just like life, has to be a journey. One should feel content at the end. If a lake with scenic beauty impresses me more, there is nothing wrong in sitting there, taking in all the beauty that its environs have to offer. Who knows if the mountain peak could be quite barren! To make sure one would have to climb up to the top. So, why take chances…
Alas! Even when was I decided I liked the lake more than the mountain peak, I was still young, with a wider vision, but yet not wide enough. To simply survive is not life, but definitely to be alive one needs to survive. The demands of life extend beyond where one wants to reach at the end. To tread the path also one requires “resources” – food, clothing, shelter, and what not. Unfortunately, like fruits hung on trees, these resources are not always available on the path we take – at least not on the trees that border the path we wish to take. You may have to go a bit deep into the wilderness that flanks your path. And, even there you realize it is not only you who wants those fruits. Others have already plucked quite a few of them. You end up spending most of the time plucking fruits rather than walking on your path.
And then there are some, who choose a path that has fruit-laden trees everywhere – not really thinking where the path leads. Rather, it is not some, but the majority.
Well, that is what life is like. I think the happiest are those, who, as is obviously stated by many, are able to enjoy the journey, pluck fruits when needed, and not try to hoard too much out of their paranoia, or sadistic pleasure of not letting others have them; nor are those happy who totally forget about the fruits they have to collect, and get lost in their way, and perish – unknown to any one…