I needed to be away from the hubbub of the city to brood over the situation. The first place that came to my mind was the usually deserted bank of the river that flowed at the edge of the forest. In case I decide to call it a day, what better place for a man who was too busy to learn swimming!
The river was in spate after the week-long rains. Muddy waters were hurtling towards the sea a few miles away, carrying logs, branches of plants, and even some dead animals. Though the rains had stopped, tall trees were bending in the strong wind that pierced the stillness. The sun had hidden behind fast-drifting dark clouds, leaving the bank in semi-darkness.
Only a week ago, I had sat there during a full-moon night, watching the reflection of the moon and the white clouds in the river. When I looked up, the same river had appeared to be flowing through the clouds! In the eerie silence, I had half-expected to find angels frolicking in the waters.
Even as I thought of the future, I remembered the day I came to the megacity, with nothing other than the clothes I wore and a determination to prove my mettle. Hard work and uncanny knowledge of the share market had made me a prominent figure in the city.
The faint sound of ringing temple bells floated from somewhere across the river, reminding me of my mother saying her prayers in front of the blue statue of Lord Krishna at home. She used to read some portion of the Bhagavad Gita every day and sometimes told us, the children, how it contained some sage advice from the Lord, on how to remain unwavering in the face of adversity.
“You came to this world empty-handed,” she would quote, “and will leave it empty-handed. Whatever you got, you got from here. What is yours today, was someone else’s yesterday; tomorrow it’ll be someone else’s. You believe all that you own is yours. That’s the cause of your grief. Whatever happened, happened for the good. Whatever is happening, is happening for the good. Whatever will happen, will also happen for the good only. Don’t be repentant for the past; don’t be anxious about the future. Concentrate on the present and do your duty without caring about the outcome.”
I had a feeling that my mother’s words were directed at me, infusing enthusiasm and courage in me. I didn’t want any more time to make a decision. I could start from scratch all over again, leaving aside my inflated ego. I am not going to offer a free lunch to the crocodiles that infested the river, I decided while retracing my steps towards the car.