‘You have grown up quite too much now!’ remarked my mother over a phone call on my birthday.
‘Well yes, I have turned 28!’
‘Now it is time to be more responsible in life !’ she alluded.
‘We are not talking about marriage mom !’
Laughing at her fruitless attempt she said,
‘ But you are at the right age to take the next step in life.’
‘Will you listen to what I did today Mom before we continue further ?’
‘Yes , surely. Tell me.’
‘Yestersay, while trekking up a hill in the lower Himalayas, we noticed that there was a lot of garbage lying around everywhere on the route. It left me quite sleepless the whole night. The next morning, with our heavy backpacks and a garbage bag, we set forth to do our bit to make things better.
All throughout our 5 hour downhill journey, we knelt down and picked up as much trash as we could. In the end, my friend and I had collected a total of 5kgs of plastic from the trail.
Now, my dear mother, tell me,
Am I not taking responsibility ?’
‘ Yes, I am glad to know about how you decided to do your bit, when it was easy to just walk past and not do anything.’
‘Mom, I feel that one should not wait for an age to start taking responsibility.
I cannot promise to bring a bride home,
But I promise to be a responsible human being at every living moment.’
‘Do what makes you happy my son.’ she said encouragingly.
The conversation with my Mother on my birthday made me realise how we use an age as a benchmark to start being more responsible.
At a certain age, you should take responsibility of another person, start a family, earn a living, buy a house etc…
And most of us in the urban middle class succeed in doing all these things.
But accomplishing all these life imperatives does not necessarily mean we are being responsible.
Let me cite an example.
If one is not responsible enough to take care of his own health, exercise, eat well and sleep on time, is he in a position take care of another person?
If someone chooses to jeopardise his own health with vices and endanger his life,
Is he being responsible about the gift of life that has been bestowed upon him?
Once someone is responsible about his own health and well being, does he seek more responsibility to change things in the little world he dwells in?
Only when we start looking at the act of taking responsibility as a way of life, do we head in the direction of creating positive change both within and without.
Maybe while talking to kids, instead of saying ‘Be Careful’ we should say ‘Be Responsible’ more often.
I urge you to think about how responsible you are being about the immediate world that you interact with.
And try to be a little more participative, a little more responsible with each passing day. It should be a way of life !
Today, as I was approaching the end of the downhill trail, I saw two contrasting events.
Behind me was a group of young urban yuppies, choosing to throw wrappers on the trail.
In front of me was a group of village kids, sweeping the streets to keep the lanes litter free.
Who is older?
And who is being more responsible?
I leave you with that thought,
And the promise being responsible holds.
To a better world of our own making.