Life does get better..

Every girl wishes to be beautiful, successful and have a loving partner. Some manage to achieve it all. So did some awesome women who were well-known faces of Indian cinema and television. They had attained the status of celebrities and people like me thought that they had it all.

Yet, they were so unhappy at some point that they felt that death would bring them comfort?

It is not just women, but so many men in India who commit suicide as well. For not performing well in studies, for not finding a job, a failed relationship, an illness and other situations that make a person feel hopeless and worthless.

Are these problems serious? Ofcourse. I am not undermining the extent of pain that any unfavourable situation could cause a person. But is any problem serious enough to end our life?

We attach so many conditions to our happiness that we spend half the time waiting for those things to happen and the rest of the time mourning in disappointment when it doesn’t.

If I pass X exam, I would be happy..
If I get X job, I would be happy..
If I become X manager, I would be happy..
If I marry X person I would be happy..

When the X event happens, we realize that it brings its own challenges.

I remember a friend of mine in school who was not as good at studies as me. She used to get poor grades, but she never seemed upset about it. While I was the kind who would get a 99 and still cry about losing a mark, she would be quite content with her almost failing grades and used to smile and laugh all the time and enjoy with her friends. Nothing could take away her smile. Back then I used to think she was so shameless celebrating her failures while I used to mourn over what others perceived as success.

The same friend is doing very well in life now. She has a very good job, and is doing well personally too. She was always right in her attitude. She knew that being happy is a choice.

Success, failures are all very subjective and even so, they do not define us. What defines us is our strength of character and the grace with which we find little moments of happiness in not so happy times.

This weekend, my grandmother visited me. She is 85 years old. She has become frail and weak with age, and forgets a lot. But is still coherent in her thoughts and words and loving to be around.

At her age, she has seen a lot. She lost both her parents at a young age. She then got married to have four children. But she became a widow when she was only 36. It was an emotional and financial disaster. She says her first thought was to end her life. But the faces of four children kept her going.

She took control of the situation and went back to complete her studies. She soon got a job as a professor in a reputed college. A short and petite woman, her small physical stature betrayed her age. When she went to college without her customary sindoor and bindi, colleagues used to ask her if she was an unmarried girl. It was painful and everything was a reminder that her happiness had been brutally cut short. The unfairness of it all would often overpower her and she could not understand what kind of life this was, where there was so much of grief. There was always a feeling that was there any point even living?

But she went on with her life, determined to give the future to her children that once she and her husband had dreamt of together. She became a respectable and popular professor. Students loved her because of the kind and strong person that she was. She retired with dignity and financial security.

She raised her children to be good humans and capable professionals. She is proud of her children and their children who are all what they are because she decided to live. She has imbibed the strength of character in all of us.

She always tells me that life may give us any card. As harsh and unfavourable as it may be, we still have to play it. With courage and hope. Hope that if good days unfortunately ended, bad days would also end. We just have to hang in there.

She also believed in being grateful. Sure, there was pain but there were a lot of reasons to be thankful for. Today she reminisces on the past events of her life, some good some not so great. Because she lived enough to see that life does get better. What seemed disastrous at one point became a story that she tells her children and grandchildren. Stories of struggle. Stories of hope. Stories of inspiration.

She is a happy woman today who is loved and admired by many. She would always be my hero..

When things fall apart, consider the possibility that life knocked it down on purpose. Not to bully you or to punish you, but to promt you to build something that better suits your personality and your purpose. Sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall together – Sandra King.

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