Where do we live: In the Past, Present or Future?

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LavanyaChellam

There once was a family, initially a husband and wife -who lived in a house with only three rooms- who were distinct; distinct to neighbors, and relatives, and pets, and even to time itself. This is why; the couple never had a single goal for today, not a single conversation for today, not a single activity for today, nothing done for today at all. They never lived in today at all. This was their daily routine: Mom would sit on the old cot in the room– the room with the squeaky door, smelling of wood, cotton and daisies–and think about her childhood, when she was brushing a meter long bush of hair, when she was bitten by a drunken dog, when she was devouring her entire birthday cake, when she was driving her brand new blue car, when she was dumped by her first boyfriend, when she last saw her parents alive…….when it was just memories, memories sewn with excitement and pain and struggles and cheer; when it was long ago. The dad is sitting in the last room—the room with a metallic handle, and smelled of detergent and Lysol – would lie upon his hot/cold new bed and plan for the next seventy summers and winters of his life, during which he would buy a new Ferrari, a new three- story house with ten bedrooms for each of his ten kids- he would have five girls and five boys- and travel to every country in the world, save money for all the peripheral recessions that would knock his door, get his kids to all become millionaires, get them married, babysit the grandchildren, buy a bigger house for the growing family, find a diet to prevent obesity of old age-BIG ONE- and then dream more, for all the sorrows and obstacles and joys and worries and successes and blessings that the future would bring. This was their routine, for both mom and dad, every day, every minute, every second, for every moment of the present. They didn’t notice the sun nor sky, nor moon, nor stars, nor their two- year- old daughter Clara.

“ Mommy, can you play with me?”

“ No sweetie, I’m busy……..look at this photo. It was taken in 1987; this is me in fifth grade with Sally, my best friend. How I wish she was with me now, that we play by the sand once more. And that house; my room was painted in all pink shades! Here, look, I had just come from school and was eating pumpkin pie; pumpkins were so rich in taste back then—and that dog then! He was so cute!, And this………………………………………….

“Daddy, will you please help me build this Lego kit?”

“Uh…not now Clara, I’m really busy. Look, this is going to be our new home, and one room will be deep blue, although I can’t decide whether teal or sky blue would look better on your graduation dress. Look, this will be your brothers and sisters, and their bedrooms. You will share one with Dona, your third sister. Then, Dane will go to law school, because we need a lawyer when I get old. Then, this Ferrari should be red, and then we will all go to London to see the Buckingham Palace in 2045, and then Venice during Christmas, and then……………………………………………………

The same conversation repeated itself every year, the same hopeful Clara, and the same dreaming parents. One year, two years, five years, and one day Clara did not wake up. Clara didn’t fit in this family, the ever-dreaming family, so cancer took her. The parents then woke up, to reality, to the present, to their daughter, by the moment which all was lost. Even the nonchalant time cried pitifully.

We all are always hankering for that which we want and lamenting at that which once was. However, in that process, we lose what is with us, by which time it is too late, and what was once at present slips from our lives. It’s not wrong to dream, but the past and future should be visiting areas, not home. Home is the present, what we have at our best interest. We can’t bring the past back, nor the future, the good or bad of both. So, live for today, dream of memories and visions, but do not dwell there. The clock is always ticking, irrespective of where we dwell. So, use what is at hand and make an effort to achieve something today, that which is reality.

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