Are there second chances in life?

by Anita Menon

When I was 20 and was studying second year engineering, I had come home during a semester break. During that break, I had a chance to attend a devotional recital by Pandit Jasraj with my parents. This recital took place in the holy premises of Dwarkadhish Temple in the early evening hours. I attended this with my parents and though it has been 14 years since, Panditji’s soulful voice still rings fresh in my memory. He sang devotional songs praising Lord Krishna and his different forms for more than three hours. We were all seated on the stone floor surrounding the platform, where Panditji sat and sang like he could see the Lord in his true form. We sat there for 3 hours, not realizing time flying by as Panditji sang one raga after the other. When the programme ended, we felt cheated because we wanted it to go on for a few more hours. It felt like we could have sat there the entire night and not get tired of listening to his mellifluous voice. As Panditji got up to leave, we moved towards him to say a few words of appreciation.

My parents spoke to him, expressing how serene it felt to be in his presence and it is nothing short of a blessing. They went on ( to my embarrassment) to explain how I loved to sing and in their ( my parents’ opinion), I was quite good at it. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to train formally and as parents, this was a regret they live with every day.

The entire time the conversation happened, I pretended to admire the architecture of the temple like I was looking at it for the very first time. I have visited the temple more number of times that I can count because we lived so close, it was easy to drop by any time we felt like we needed to pay the Lord a visit.

To this, Panditji said, “Koi baat nahi. Aagle janam main seekh sakti hai!”  ( Doesn’t matter, she can train formally in her next birth).

I was quite taken aback to hear his response. I was only19-20 years old. I had the entire life in front of me and I could do whatever I wanted to. Yet the Panditji thought it was too late to train formally! Ironically, I do not even believe in ‘next janam’ – which means I am done for. There goes my singing career!

Well, I was over reacting ofcourse. I had no plans of becoming a singing diva or a playback singer. Yet, when the Panditji responded in that fashion, I felt limited. Like one choice in life had been crossed off already and I didn’t even know it.

Why did I make that trip back to the memory lane? 

Well, early this year I started an entrepreneurial venture with a partner just to test, if I had it in me to do my own thing. Turns out, I do.  For a start up like the one we built, we were wildly successful. Perhaps it was beginner’s luck. Whatever the reason, it proved quite a few things to me. Unfortunately, it went bust in four months time. The business was booming which pointed to the opportunities available in the market but our partnership couldn’t bear the stress of the rapid growth. These are my first lessons in entrepreneurship which I will keep very close to my heart.

I learnt that I was capable to do my own thing just as every other entrepreneur in the market and having tasted the freedom of doing stuff my way, there was no way I wanted to stick around with the monthly paycheck schedule.  A failed entrepreneurial venture did not stop me from taking this plunge the second time over. I quit my job and prepared to start my own venture and this time, without any partners. So far, it has been an uphill task and every day I feel plagued by insecurities that didn’t seem to matter so much when I was in a partnership. A partner in the venture, provides you with answers that you cannot explain to your own self. You need to hear it from someone else who is in the same boat as you. Now that I have set out on this adventure, all by myself, it is difficult. On certain days, I feel it is a mistake and I need to go back to a more orderly life of an employee with an organization. On others, I feel more optimistic and feel like things are taking shape. It is such a yo-yo situation and it is all in my head. Today is one such cynical day. Hence the post.

Will life give me this second chance to feel the success I felt with the first one? Or like Panditji said, it is better to wait for another life time?

I don’t really know what to believe. All I am doing right now is doing what I am supposed to do and waiting patiently. Things are moving at a snail’s pace. Dynamics are different.

It is the dark side of the moon that faces me right now.

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