Chris, Sheela and their 6-year-old son, John were embarking on “the longest journey ever” (as declared by John). Chris had spent his early growing-up years in a small village near Trichy. As Chris reached college, his parents moved along with him and his sister to Chennai, leaving behind their small ancestral home and farm under the care of a relative. As Chris finished his college and did his masters in Bangalore, he barely went back to his village, as his parents were in Chennai along with his little sister, who was still in college. This year, John wanted to go. He said he had never seen a village and was keen on making the trip. Sheela was also interested, as she had been looking to go to a farmhouse. So, they drove from Bangalore. Bangalore to Trichy was a 7 hour drive and Chris’s village was another hour away. Chris wanted to make sure that John was ready for a long drive and kept preparing him for weeks. So John was ready for “the longest journey ever”.  In reality, kids will be kids. In the two hours that took Chris to just get out of the Bangalore traffic, John had already lost his patience and Chris had lost his cool. After all the grumbling, John fell asleep and Chris cruised on the highways. After two stops, Chris reached Trichy and took the 8 km road that led to his village. The scene had already changed. It was a Monday, but there was no Monday madness that John had witnessed in Bangalore. Kids were playing near the fields. Elders looked on, but no-one seemed to chase the kids. Some curious kids waved at the car, a few of them ran along. The road was bad, and the drive was bumpy. Chris could hardly hit a 20. But John was no longer complaining. He was looking at the surrounding scene. He tried to relate how the days looked like in the city to how it looked like in here. People here did not seem to be in a rush, everyone was just sitting or standing or strolling. Chris looked out and nostalgia hit him. A few people recognized him as he approached his farmhouse. He stopped the car for some tender coconuts. Some old timers, his father’s friends came forward and talked to Chris. They exchanged life stories and Chris felt a wave of relaxation hitting him. The urban life is full of pressures, pressure from work, pressure at home, pressure from school, peer pressure and so many pressures. People are always competing, trying to have that marginal victory over others. Yes, it is important to keep going ahead in life. But is it all worth at the cost of happiness and health? Humans are in desperate need to find the right balance in life. As Chris resumed the journey with renewed energy in his body and mind, John looked out of the window silently. There were people sitting outside their homes, standing by the side of the road – not doing anything, not even talking to each other, not looking at their mobile phones, not even reading a book or paper. John looked at Chris and asked, “Dad, what are they doing?”. Chris replied, “Just being, John. They are just being”. Yes. Sometimes, we need to JUST BE. Let’s learn to Just be. Let’s teach our children to Just be. Just being doesn’t mean doing nothing. Just being means we are being together with nature. Just being means we are at peace with ourselves. Just being means we have mastered the Art of Living.

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