Career Booster
Learn To Live

by DP Sabharwal
In the fierce blind race of materialism, have you forgotten to live? Do you realize, what are you losing in the process. Just a gentle, thought-provoking reminder... before it is too late!
First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so that I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire. And now I am dying... and suddenly realize I forgot to live.
‘What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare,’ these opening lines of the poem Leisure by WH Davies, that I studied during my school days more than fifty years back, still ring constantly in my ears. The sight of the full moon is thought provoking and entertaining as is watching the birds come to the window-sill to drink water from the pot. Then there is the ‘never ending line’ of flowers in the garden. Looking at the torrential rain falling on the rooftop and making deafening noise and then reduced to a trickle dropping from the leaves of the plant are rare sights that are difficult to forget. However, it is a sad commentary that today people enjoy rain only when hero-heroine are getting drenched in a movie-scene. Life has taken such a turn that kids go to a planetarium to see stars instead of looking at a starry night sky. 
A man and his friend were in a city, walking through the street. It was during the noon lunch hour and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening. Suddenly, the man said to his friend, ‘I hear a cricket.’
His friend said, ‘What? You must be crazy. You couldn't possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!’

‘No, I'm sure of it,’ the man said, ‘I definitely heard a cricket. ‘That's crazy,’ said the friend.


The man listened carefully for a moment and then walked across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure enough, he located a small cricket. His friend was utterly amazed. ‘That's incredible,’ said his friend. ‘You must have super-human ears!'


‘No,’ said the man. ‘My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you're listening for.’


‘But that can't be!’ said the friend. ‘I could never hear a cricket in this noise.’


‘Yes, it's true,’ was the reply. ‘It depends on what is really important to you. Here, let me show you.’


He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. And then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs.


‘See what I mean?’ asked the man. ‘It all depends on what's important to you.’

How true! We do what we consider is important for us not what is good for us. We have built walls around us cutting ourselves from the nature. We do not go for walks in the open areas; instead we go to gyms. We have discarded simple fruits and vegetables and gone for modern (read 'junk'!) food. We consume aerated drinks with food instead of water. The whole family gets together in front of the television to see a match or movie, but they never have time to sit together around the dining table for any of the meals. To put it simply, we have lost touch with reality and have forgotten how to live. We are living an artificial life and like artificial flowers, the fragrance and flavour is missing. And for this, we do not have to blame anyone else. We might be copying others, but the choice has been ours.  
Yes, we are learning all these new things all the time, but perhaps the choice is not right, for who am I to say that it is wrong. It is for you to decide two things: wheather to learn and what to learn!
Wg Cdr DP Sabharwal (Retd) is a post-graduate in Aeronautical Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He worked in the Indian Air Force for 25 years on fighter (Hunter, MiG-21, MiG-29) aircraft and helicopters (Chetak, Cheetah, Mi-8). He sought voluntary retirement in 1995 to pursue a career in teaching and writing.
A Fellow of Institution of Engineers and the Aeronautical Society of India, Sabharwal is visiting professor at engineering and MBA institutes and a Corporate Trainer on behavioral skills. Author of 22 books including 'A Finer You' a book on personal grooming, manners and etiquettes; he is settled in Bangalore (India) and can be contacted at