Monday, January 11, 2021

Is Change Possible? Reflections on "Ek Ritu Aaye, Ek Ritu Jaaye"

Most of you know that I have two Youtube channels, one titled "Dr. Mishra sings" to share music, and the other titled "Dr. Mishra speaks" to share ideas. There used to be a time when I used to write short blog posts on all my music uploads, but I deleted them all to allow the uploads to stand on their own. More importantly, I didn't want to be just sharing links to my uploads on my blog unless the post added any additional value to my readers. That is the reason, I am sharing the link to my latest music cover upload. I think it adds to the conversation that I had started on New Year's resolutions in my previous post.

The song Ek ritu aaye, ek ritu jaaye is no doubt a beautiful composition based roughly on Raga Ahir Bhairav. But the lyrics of the song are very depressing. "Seasons come and seasons go, years come and years go, but the pathetic conditions of life remain the same." Can there be anything more depressing than that? But strangely, I find those lines inspiring. They remind me that change does not happen automatically. The year 2020 was horrible for a lot of people on this planet, but things won't get better just because a number on our calendars has changed. As a social media meme said, "We know that it is 2021, but the virus doesn't know that." My purpose here is to not express pessimism about 2021. Rather, it is to highlight the truth expressed in the song that misery tends to persist for extremely long periods of time.

The idea that misery persists may seem contrary to the idea that everything changes, including good times and bad times. However, that would be a premature conclusion. It is true that everything changes, but things change at different rates of time. For example, while it is true that the darkest periods of our history eventually led to times of happiness and prosperity, but it is also true that those darkest periods often lasted for centuries. In other words, several generations of people have lived through miserable times; things changed, but not in their lifetimes. We cannot and should not passively hope that things will get better for us, now that we are starting a new year or a new decade. When stated explicitly, it is clear to all of us that passively hoping for things to get better is foolish, but all of us engage in such self-deception.

So, the point of this post (and the song) is to remind you (and myself) to take matters into one's own hands. You may be a person who is not miserable, but all of us, irrespective of how well or poorly we are doing, have areas of life that could benefit from improvement or even a major overhaul. So, I hope the song and this post inspires you to take ownership of your life, as it has for me. [The use of the word "hope" in my previous sentence may seem ironical, given that I criticized hope as a passive form of self-deception in the previous paragraph. However, understand that I can only take responsibility for myself, not for you. I can only hope for you.]

If we go by statistics, at least a quarter of the people who had made New Year's resolutions have already faltered on it. This should not be interpreted as we being incorrigible. Rather, it should be a time to reflect on why we faltered and what we can do to move forward despite having faltered. In my next post, I will share some specific tips on what to bounce back from such small but significant disappointments on the path of self-transformation.

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