I remember a professor stressing the importance of the basics of science in the eleventh grade.
How will you build on the subject if the basics are not clear, he would ask.
One will be able to tackle complex problems only if one is well versed with the foundation, he would add.
And the basics are indeed crucial, be it science or life. Appreciating and expressing gratitude for the simple and basic things in life is a good tenet to have.
Without the basics, how can there be a foundation to build on? How do we grow?
I have always been huge on introspection and the pandemic brought things to a standstill for everyone, myself no exception.
As the initial frustration and worry wore off, it also brought immense clarity. The sheer uncertainty and frailty of life ushered in a rude realization.
There was paranoia, and loss all around, and suddenly my fully packed timetable felt utterly useless.
It was about this time that I took up gratitude journaling. Every day of being healthy and alive felt like a stroke of luck.
And then it hit me: it WAS a stroke of luck! Each day, renewed breath is a stroke of luck, regardless of whether or not we are hit by a pandemic.
As human beings, we are quick to take things for granted. We adapt easily and get caught up in our respective worlds without realizing the immensity of what has been bestowed upon us.
To add to this, I had the amazing opportunity to tutor a bunch of children coming from an underprivileged background, which was a game-changer.
The things I had taken for granted all my life were not available to some despite years of struggle. It was a truly humbling experience.
I daresay I learned more from them than they did from me.
Gradually, gratitude journalling became an everyday thing and now, over 800 entries later, my day does not start or end without it.
I was amazed to see how many truly wonderful things I overlooked as trivial.
Whether it is binge-watching a series with my dad or chatting with my mother, there was something to be grateful for, every single day.
Whether it was Chintoo, the stray cat greeting me with a purr, or watching a breathtaking sunset after a hike, my journal was replete with entries every day
I cringe to think of all the years I spent like a fool, without acknowledging these simple yet beautiful things.
The sheer privilege of getting to experience it all is overwhelming.
There seems to be a common practice of mistaking gratitude for complacency.
While there is always room for improvement in life, it is never a bad idea to acknowledge the good that ALREADY exists.
One must strive to be and do the best one can, but that is also possible while still appreciating the opportunity to be able to do so.
And in our pursuit to do so, when things do not go our way, it is gratitude that puts things in perspective.
Recently, when my professional plans went kaput, I was crestfallen. I felt sad, almost betrayed that things did not fall into place.
But I also remembered that life owes me nothing. It makes NO PROMISES apart from the promise that I MAKE TO MYSELF: to experience it head-on.
And for every single thing that might have gone wrong, there are about a hundred things that have gone right.
All it demands is a bit of introspection and a whole lot of perspective.
The basics for each person could be anything—a secure home, healthy food, support of family and friends, an opportunity to seek a good education, or just a relaxing cup of coffee.
When big plans crumble, go back to basics, appreciate them and start over again.
And when big plans succeed, appreciate the basics even more. It is dangerous to overlook them.
I am aware that an ocean of victories, defeats, triumphs and just life lies before me.
There are many lessons I am yet to learn, but as Baloo, the bear, says in The Jungle Book:
Look for the bare necessities, the simple, bare necessities, forget about your worries and strife!