Everyday MUSINGS 2: ‘Follow your OWN path’
It was a cold winter morning when I decided to leave from Chandigarh to Delhi in my car since had to be in the city for an important business meeting. I usually start while its dark to avoid traffic on the highway and save time.
But that day, nature had a different plan for me. I had barely driven 10 miles out of the city when a thick fog welcomed me. It was so thick that I could not see anything beyond a few feet and had to decide if I wanted to continue driving in that condition.
Since the meeting was critical – I decided to continue, at a snails speed though. Whenever I got a little better patch of visibility – I use to pump it up and cover for the loss of time. It was a nerve-testing drive, and the music was not helping much too.
I had put on the blinkers and fog lamps of my car – for obvious reasons. The situation was so bad that not even a single vehicle passed by for almost 20 minutes of the drive on a usually busy highway.
Suddenly, I noticed a headlight flashing in my rear view mirror – it was some vehicle behind me asking for the way. In a matter of seconds, I saw an SUV passing me at a good speed – I wondered how was that guy able to see in such a poor visibility. Without wasting a second, I pumped the accelerator and started following the car as he was making way for me too clearing the fog. I was delighted to be able to drive five times the speed I was driving at for past hour.
Since I was hopeful of making it in time for the meeting – I started planning things in my head, going over the agenda and other things. Things looked right, and we drove like that for almost an hour and a half – me following the car at a reasonable speed.
After a while, I sensed the car in front of me was slowing down. I also slowed down telling myself that the fog might have got thicker for even the SUPERHUMAN in the car in front to drive fast. In a moment, the car came to a halt – I stopped too. I was keeping a good distance between the two vehicles for safety, and so I wasn’t even able to see what was happening in front of that car.
When he didn’t move even after a minute – I honked, politely. Nothing! I honked twice this time, a little louder. Again – Nothing.
Then I pumped the horn with all my strength for a while – not in a rude way though. I couldn’t gather the courage to step out of my warm car into the cold, so kept sitting there ducking in my warm seat.
Just about then, I saw a gentleman, must be in his late 40s, walking towards my car from the opposite side of the car in front. He looked little confused, which got confirmed when he gestured ‘WHAT’, twisting his hand!
Yes, just that way Rusell – you got that right! 🙂
It was time for me to give up the coziness and step out, which I did immediately. I stepped out and greeted the gentleman with a warm hello (as warm as I could be in that cold).
He also very politely asked as to what the matter was. I enquired if everything was alright as he had stopped and wasn’t moving – with all the astonishment on my face!
His response just blew me, and I felt like a dumb ass standing in the middle of the road.
He said, “Sir, I have reached my home. This is where I live – why should I drive further?”
I cannot explain how I felt at that moment; really, I cannot. But then I had to manage the situation. So, I did the best thing I could do – told him the truth that I was following him all the way ASSUMING that he is going the same way and will lead me to my DESTINATION. And since he was driving like a pro, I blindly followed him as he seemed to be a better driver on a foggy road.
He laughed at it, and that somehow helped me to come out of the embarrassment. He was very kind to offer me in for a hot cup of tea and the guided me to the highway as I had come all the way inside a town, a few hundred meters off the road.
I had the tea, thanked him for his hospitality and left for my journey ahead. In about an hour from then, the weather cleared up, the sun started shining bright, and fog disappeared. I zoomed my way to my destination and had a very fruitful meeting with the client, but that was not the most significant achievement of the day for me.
Actually, it was the LEARNING that I had during the incidence in the morning. I learned that every individual is on his own journey in life. I might come across people who are heading in the same direction, but they might not share the same destination. Every journey is unique, every path different from someone else – so I may still choose to follow someone but not BLINDLY. Not without knowing where I want to go and whether the path is going to take me there.
Assuming that we can follow the way someone else maneuvered through the challenges in his/her life and make our lives SAME is vacuous. Every individual has a unique story, different characters, and different scenes – no two scripts can ever be the same.
This relates entirely to today’s social situation where a lot of people start idolizing a few successful individuals and try to emulate every aspect of their lives. It doesn’t work that way in life.
Dropping out of school or college might have worked out for a couple of super successful people, but that doesn’t mean every drop out is a success
Though I cannot contest that one need to get directions from successful people, however, one needs to know where one wants to go to seek directions to that destination. One cannot just say “I want to do something great” and then start emulating lives of people – it will only bring disappointment in the end.
So, should we NOT seek inspiration from our idols?
We should, absolutely – but we should ensure that we FOLLOW our OWN PATH.
Let me know if you could relate to the story or if you too had a similar experience. Does it resonate with you?
I would love to hear views and feedback. Share in comments.
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