When you have a small child, trips to the zoo are expected. Now that the child in question is independent and responsible enough, I don’t have to hover around her. What it means is that this time around, I could pay attention to the animals in the zoo. Have you ever closely watched a turtle or an owl or a panda for that matter? I have. Believe me when I say, it’s therapeutic, almost meditative. There’s an aura of calm around them.

It got me thinking how nowadays, everyone’s running around, multi-tasking, trying to look busy and important. Because that’s apparently the smartest thing to do. Ah, yes, may be! Now, tell me if you recall reading the Jataka tales or the Panchatantra? They would tell us that the owl and the turtle were the wisest (think Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda). But, err… umm… aren’t they the stillest or the slowest?

Are we missing something there? I for one believe that we are. We are going way too fast and we are not utilising all our senses. They are becoming redundant. Before they become vestigial, we need to do something about it.

Slow down. Step off the bandwagon, even if its only for a while. Allow your senses to take control. Breathe deeply and savour it. Watch a sunset, sit by the sea. Take a bite of an apple and hear its crunch. You know what I’m getting at? Exercise your senses. Your body will resist, fight it. Trust me it’s worth it’s while.

There is a reason we have multiple senses. They help give us a more balanced outlook. Have you observed a mural painter? Ever so often, he backs off and regards his work. It gives him a sense of perspective. Our life is that mural. We need to give ourselves a break to know where we are heading and where, if at all, are we reaching.

Funny how I am just coming across animal analogies today. Have you seen those funny videos with a hamster running on a wheel? I’ll save you the trouble since I googled it myself. Hamsterwheel. Noun. A circular cage for a hamster or other small rodent, which rotates vertically as the animal runs at the bottom. (figuratively, by extension) A monotonous, repetitive, unfulfilling activity, especially one in which no progress is achieved.’

Switching off and slowing down are not as bad as they sound. They are productive in their own way. They allow us to recover and to analyse. Before it burns you out, channelize that fire within you. Life is too short to be put off for another day. Make it count. Today. No one said ever, ‘ah, I wish I had spent more time at the office.’

I’ll share a favourite line of mine- ‘In a rat race, even if you win, you are still a rat!’ Before one more animal pops out in this piece, I’ll sign off hoping to have convinced you enough. Share your thoughts, I look forward to them.

-Dr. Shivani Salil

One comment

  • H.C.Verma

    Zara dheere chalo- that’s the crux.
    Enjoy every bit of the life around


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