Photo: Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay
By P. Shivanand*
Astachal actually means a mythical mountain where the Sun takes refuge at night.
Astachal, in my opinion, is a timeless cyclical process as destined by the universe, Mother Nature! Every Astachal is followed by Suryodaya (Sunrise) and yet another Astachal and it continues forever and ever! Our life too is very much like that. Is it not?
Have you ever pondered what really happens between one Astachal and the next Astachal?
Many of us do not, and hence we keep moving like driftwood. We keep bumping against many hurdles and obstacles as we move along, twisting turning mostly involuntarily. More often than not, we do reach a destination! – Perhaps not what we had dreamt of!
At our relatively young age (with less or lesser experience) our attitude is somewhat casual – “Dekha jayega, Jo hoga who achacha hi hoga”; “puri life padi hai sab theek kar lenge.” Mostly we carry on regardless or unmindful of the consequences.
Is this Astachal or Suryodaya?
As we grow, gain knowledge, accumulate experience(s); we develop skills and shape our attitude. Hopefully we pass through a tunnel of awakening in our body, mind and spirit; where we may stop, pause and possibly reflect. It is often said that it is our attitude that shapes our altitude.
Fortunately, life gives us an Astachal – a time to reflect… regular positive and honest introspection that may either create a dismay or a ray of hope!
Many of us do this reflection subconsciously or our life events force to rethink, make course corrections, even change tracks. This is the stage where we have additional responsibilities of elderly parents, bigger family, children, social standing. Also comes with it the numerous materialistic requirements like car, bunglow, club memberships…perhaps keeping up with the up worldly mobile peers?
2nd Innings is a highly individualistic matter, this depends upon who we are – young brave hearts just out of school and college; bold and possibly matured Yuvajan chasing a career or entrepreneurial dreams, or a well-established successful corporate Executive / Businessman / Professional – with money, position, power, contacts, firmly engrossed in increasing their net-worth J Some of us make major breakthroughs in our career and continue to soar high, higher; but some of us continue to drift along as we are not really moving to a plan or to a fixed pre-identified Goal.
For All of YOU, in these musings, I wish to bring in yet another connotation to the word Astachal…
Astachal….It is time we pause, look back, in front, on the sides and contemplate What Next?
- Who Am I?
- Where did I want to go?
- Where have I reached?
- What, if any, have I lost or gained?
- Where do I have to go from here? And Why?
“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.”
― Arnold Bennett
Twists and Turns – Journey So Far
Life is a great educator provided we learn to differentiate between Immediate, Intermediate and The Ultimate. It is about time we start thinking about our 2nd Innings.
The 2nd Innings
“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!”― C. Joy Bell
It’s just the end of today…or the beginning of tomorrow?
We can’t reach The Ultimate without crossing Immediate and Intermediate
My Astachals and My 2nd Innings
Look at each Astachal as a process of evolution and hopefully continuous improvement; use the famous principle of:
My Astachals and My 2nd Innings
To me, Astachal means an opportunity to – visit your yesterdays, fully live out your todays, watchout for your tomorrows and plan for future tomorrows. This what Astachal means to me – the 2nd Innings!!
I sincerely believe that the best is yet to come…actually to be brought in by you, yourself!
I say this with a very high conviction – at 69+ (my chronological age), ask anyone, I feel, behave and live life like I am 20 years younger!! To me AGE is just a number!! What you do with this belief is what will perhaps make or un make your 2nd Innings.
This approach, with careful, logical, practical and matching well planned steps, is constantly facilitating my evolution as a human being – making me and others to witness my metamorphosis, growth, significant progress and phenominal achievements too …
So what is 2nd Innings?
Why do you and I need it?
What is in it for us and our near and dear ones?
How to shortlist, select / decide and forge ahead.
What is 2nd Innings?
We are all aware that there is a formal or informal; official or self-imposed retirement age for all of us.
Your introspection and facts around you have made you to realize that you have done well, achieved laurels, established a reputation, created sufficient resources for your family and yourself. In other words your untiring hard work has paid up.
Children have been brought up well and are now fully independent, well settled or soon going to be. Elderly members of the family, are by God’s Grace, maintaining reasonably good health and have their own resources as also support system.
In all these years of your toil, pain, sacrifices and numerous other exigencies may have relegated some or more of your passions, deep rooted interests, hobbies, past time, dream activities into the back burner L
Sorry, the idea is not to berate you or make you feel bad, inadequate or frustrated…it is sincerely to jolt you into action…as they say better late than never.
People who have been somebody, done something still have the desire, competence, enthusiasm to do more. Have the will and the willingness to channelize their energies towards gainful activities, challenges – pursuit of excellence!
Such people need to find themselves engaged, involved with things that are creative, fulfilling, provide deeply satisfying and worthwhile experiences – not necessarily a JOB!
After completing other responsibilities, fulfilling numerous obligations credibly and led a meaningful life…2nd Innings is all about What Now?
Look at yourself and do a mental check of self in terms of health – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual, status, hobbies, interests, pastime activities, resources plus other salient individual features. You will find that if most of these are stable and controllable then the biggest challenges could be:
How to keep:
Hence – 2nd Innings is all about SELF -YOU
Why do you or I need a 2nd Innings?:
To do all that was left undone because of the different complexities, priorities and continuously changing goal-posts! To follow your own pursuits of happiness; to chase your dreams, to make yourself proud of yourself and possibly leave your footprints on the sands of time!
How to shortlist, select and decide on your 2nd Innings:
I have always had a fascination for long distance self-drives. Way back in 1989, my wife, 2 young sons and I drove a simple Maruti Van from Bangalore to Ranchi in Jharkhand and back and clocked 3,558 Kms. I was then 38 years of age. It was a memorable drive, an immersive and an experiential learning lesson for all of us. Fortunately there were no dents, no scratches, just one flat tyre on the return journey. My passion took a back seat due to work pressures and family commitments.I use this kind of self analysis to reach a well thought of decision. It has worked or me and I hope the same for you too.
My 2nd Innings started in 2011 when I turned 60. We we had bought ourselves an all terrain 4X4 SUV with manual transmission. Fortunately my wife was not averse to car road trips and very readily became our navigator. Our self-drives became a major focus of our life – 2nd Innings and we launched our Khoj India Series. The idea was to see India, meet people, draw inspiration from our Incredible India. As on date and before the onslaught of the pandemic we have covered 104,000 Kilometers on Indian Roads in 06 trips! What is left uncovered is J&K, Leh Ladakh and a few parts of the North East.
We are using our self-drive road treks as a Sharamdan (donating our labour for a cause) to raise money for Bridge The Gap Trust.
My 2nd Innings together with road treks coupled with fascinating forays into National Parks / Jungles has rekindled my dormant interest in Wildlife, Nature, Photography, Videography and now writing articles and photo-features.
Fortunately, 2nd Innings has no fixed shelf life or “use before” as it comes with one Astachal and goes to the next. What you do in between is your 2nd Innings?
For me, my operating Credo is and will remain…I have Kilometres to go…before I GO!
All pictures, unless otherwise stipulated, are © P Shivanand
*P. Shivanand is a renowned management Guru based in Bengaluru. He is Co-Founder and Director Accord Consultants Private Limited, Bengaluru, India. In these columns he provides professional guidance on self-development topics. Readers can write to him for more consultations. For globalbihari.com readers, his first three consultations would be totally free of cost.