I stood in my bedroom, surveying the unpacking that was going on post shifting. My parents had left for work early in the morning and I was feeling bored. My mother had told me that a wizened old gentleman lived next door who was to be disturbed only when needed. I heeded her advice and sat in my room, flicking through all the television channels, none of which managed to entertain me.
That’s when I heard the definite sound of something falling and someone shrieking. I felt quite worried about the old gentleman next door and wondered if I should check on him. On grounds of humanity, I decided that such action was necessary. So I rang the bell and waited on the doorstep, feeling conspicuous and nervous.
Sure enough, the door was opened by a smiling wizened old gentleman who looked at me enquiringly to see what I wanted. I explained my reason for coming over. He laughed heartily and invited me inside. It was nothing like what you would expect a senior citizen’s house to look like.
Rock music blared in one corner of the room, while a television set had a video game plugged into it. The old man told me to wait a second before picking up the controls and finishing what he started. He was amazingly quick and deft for his age.
He made me some hot chocolate and invited me to play the games with him. I agreed enthusiastically. It took a lot of brains, guile and effort to beat him at his game.
Soon after, we started talking. My ten year old self doesn’t remember much of that conversation but one philosophy he showed me still rests as an untouched memory in my brain.
He told me that our generation had more perseverance and resilience than his generation had ever had. I thought that was impossible since we were so impatient and wanted quick solutions to all our problems. He gave me the simple example of a video game. If we don’t clear a particular level, we try it numerous times, in many different ways, never once losing hope, for we know, in our heart of hearts that we will find a way. Sure enough, we always do.
I was shocked when I understood that even a toddler would relentlessly try again and again to win when playing a game. He told me that the secret to success lay in each and every one of our technosavy generation.He told me that disastrous results couldn’t stop us from trying. He told me that we just didn’t know how to use it. So, he simply gave me another perspective which changed my life.
I had never looked at life this way. I had always seen my parents getting stressed over new projects or meeting certain deadlines etc. He taught me to treat life just like another video game. He told me to channel the perseverance I showed while playing them to my life and whatever held utmost importance at that point in time.
That’s when I realised that the best teachers aren’t those who can teach you lessons. The best teachers are those who can teach you to teach yourself a way to live because after all, life is the biggest lesson!
Today, I’m a big shot lawyer and permanently buried underneath timetables to follow, projects to complete, presentations to prepare and deadlines to meet. Yet, the happiness and exhilaration which my job brings me is more than anything else. Whenever I feel stressed, I clear my tables, close my eyes and think- “this is just another video game. I will find a way to win.” and hey presto! I always do.