River Of Life And Reflections

River Of Life And Reflections

“What’s that? River of Life?” Lulu glanced at the paper on my table which was otherwise blank but for the caption written on it.

Sujata Deshmukh asked me to do this exercise; it’s called River of Life.” My tone must have disclosed annoyance. “I do not like people peeping into my papers, Lulu.”

“The paper is blank except for the title.” Lulu could not hold back his curiosity, “What’s it, tell me, I am sure there is no secret.”

“Nah! No secret at all. River of Life is an exercise which helps you examine your life. If you spend adequate time working on it, you will gain a few insights about your life.”

“What made you do it? Why this sudden interest in examining your life? What’s going on?”

“Sujata does this exercise in leadership development programs and facilitates it well. I usually sit by the side and observe, although she urges me to complete the exercise, and for some inexplicable reason I felt like doing it today.”


“I do not know”

“Why? Think hard and tell me.”

“Hmmm …. ‘Wahan Kaun Hai Tera’ was playing on the stereo; Shailendra’s philosophical song, Sachin Dev Burman sung it. Touched my heart, I do not know why. The last stanza: कहते हैं ज्ञानी, दुनिया है फानी (ephemeral)/ पानी पे लिखी लिखाई/ है सबकी देखी, है सबकी जानी/ हाथ किसी के ना आनी/ कुछ तेरा ना मेरा/ मुसाफिर जाएगा कहाँ…  It just hit me, I can’t explain why, but something moved me.”

River of Life (Copyright)

“I understand. We listen to some songs and the lyrics fly like speeding cars; we do not note the meaning. Then comes a day when the same lyrics hit you heart; like a dart they pierce your heart and all this is inexplicable. But we are digressing. We were discussing River of Life. What’s that?”

“When we examine our life, we understand how we were shaped – by circumstances, events, relationships and by people around us. These leave an indelible mark on us. These ‘shapers’ of our life also determine our responses to many situations.”

“There are twists and turns in everyone’s life. I hear you say that we ought to examine their impact on us, on our making whatever we are today, right? And that is how a young man who wanted to do a doctorate in Biochemistry became an IR Manager and later an HR Manager!” Lulu winked at me, he is such a mischievous parrot.

“And it still hurts me that I missed the opportunity to study Biochemistry! I had secured admission to MSc with Biochemistry but missed the admission due to illness. Then someone asked me to study Personnel Management and Labour Welfare, and I did. Not that it was my choice, but because there was no choice!”

“What impact did it have on your life?”

“That’s difficult to say, but it was not my choice; it is like falling in love with someone and getting married to someone else!”

“A famous Marathi author said that ‘Life is like sea which sometimes brings fish to the fisherman and sometimes takes it away!’”

“This life is a fishy business. Ha ha! What ‘fish’ was brought to you by life?”

“I met some great persons whose words and wisdom shaped my way of living. Dr. Nobhojit Roy is one of the recent one I met. He recently conducted a session on Ethics and Values Dilemma; it was not just thought provoking, it stayed on my mind for a long time.”

Lulu, my parrot

“He is a celebrity, and not so without a reason. And anyone else?”

“Arvind Shrouti who has influenced more than a hundred unions in Pune region. We worked closely in the last fifteen years. He has brought a proactive approach and positivity to this conflict-ridden space of labour management relationship. Arvind and I had our common Guru in Dr. Mrs. Shanta Vaidya who was my professor. She wrote a book at the age of eighty-two which when she presented to me, I bowed to her, touched her feet in reverence and prayed to the Lord that I should remain active and contributing till my last breath.”

“You have a boundless energy”

“May be, but one needs inspiration and Dr Roy, Arvind Shrouti and Dr Shanta Vaidya provide not just inspiration but direction too by their action and thoughts.”

“There is always a context to everything. HE puts people in our life with a purpose, they touch an area of concern, or in some way impact life in a positive way; it’s here that the river of life takes a turn. Have you ever stood at a high place from where you see the turn and bend of a river? It is a stunningly beautiful sight.”

“Yes indeed, it is a beautiful sight; flowing water mesmerizes.”

“They say that ‘People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person’”

“Sounds like a businessman’s analysis rather than being in the flow, being lost in the moment and shaped by it. Looking back, I see Dr Shanta Vaidya influencing me as a student, and yet again inspiring after I had spent twenty years as HR professional, Arvind Shrouti entering my life soon after my retirement when I began my second career, if we can call it so, when I started writing investigative stories of industrial relations, and Dr Roy when my concerns have gravitated to ethical and morality considerations.”

“So, what have they done to you?”

“Made my life richer, Lulu. I am deeply grateful to them.”

“At your stage of life, gratitude is the river of life. Let it flow deep and toward the sea.”

Vivek S Patwardhan

Feature Photo: Ismail Niyax on Unsplash

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” / Read more Lulu blogs in my book ‘The Lulu Duologues’