Thursday, December 6, 2012



An Inspirational Pep Talk

When I was a small boy, my grandfather used to tell me a saying in Marathi, which roughly translated meant:

If you don’t want to go a certain town, then don’t take the road going towards that town

Well, obviously, the word “town” is a metaphor and can mean anything undesirable – it can be a habit, a person, a place, a career, a value system, yes the word “town” can mean anything you consider undesirable, detrimental, harmful or damaging to you.

For example, if you want to enjoy good health, why smoke that first cigarette?

Your first cigarette will lead to the next, and then the next cigarette will lead to one more, and cigarette will follow cigarette, and gradually smoking will become a habit and soon you will get addicted to smoking tobacco.

Then, when you realize that smoking is adversely affecting your health, it will become difficult for you to quit smoking and retrace your steps and “rewind” back to where you started from before you had your first smoke.

So, if your goal is good health, take the first step on the road to good health by beginning to exercise. There is no point in getting addicted to health-destroying activities like smoking.

It is the same with alcohol and other addictions. By the time they realize that alcohol is adversely affecting their health, they may have already become alcohol dependent and it becomes difficult for them to quit drinking.

If you do not want to become an alcoholic, why have that first drink of alcohol?

(Yes, if your chief objective in life is to become an alcoholic, then it is a different story altogether - please go ahead and have that first drink and many more drinks and embark on your life’s journey towards achieving your long term life goal of becoming an alcoholic).

Why experiment with drugs when you don’t want to become a drug addict?

Many young persons fall victim to “peer pressure”

I have seen so many youngsters taking that first step in the wrong direction under peer pressure.

That is why you must select your friends carefully.

Why make friends with individuals whose behaviour and life-goals are not in congruence with your own goals, aims and purpose in life?

It is the same with gambling too.

If you don’t want to become a gambler, then why go to the race course or casino or play teen-patti?

Some will argue that you must try out all these “vices” for curiosity sake, but then remember the saying “curiosity killed the cat”.

Sometimes your “first step” experimenting dangerously can go awry and ruin your entire life.

The risk is just not worth it.

(It is easy to pontificate and give moral lectures to others, but let me tell you from my own first-hand experience that I too started drinking and smoking after I joined the Navy in 1977 mainly due to peer pressure and the “conducive” social environment around me and it took me more than 25 years to give up these “minor vices” and permanently quit smoking and drinking. I never fancied playing cards or gambling, and though I did enjoy going to the races occasionally, it was primarily because I enjoyed the sport rather than the betting and “punting”)

This metaphor

Why take the “first step” in the direction of the “town” you don’t want to go to 

is relevant in other important aspects of life as well.

If you want to remain honest, why pay or accept a bribe in the first instance?

Why associate with corrupt and dishonest persons?

If you are an ethical and morally upright person, why take up a job or business which requires you to be morally pliable and where there is so much corruption that an honest person cannot survive?

If you want to achieve spiritual goals in life, why befriend “sharaabis and shabaabis” (drunk and debauched persons)?

Is it not much better to spend time with like-minded spiritually inclined people?

If Godliness is your goal, then is it not better to attend satsangs rather than indulge in wild rave parties and freak out in drunken orgies?

If you desire a life of tranquility and inner peace, why take up a career or job which is fast-paced, hectic, stressful and “noisy”?

Isn’t it better to look for comparatively hassle-free vocation which is in harmony with your values and goals in life?

Why start a “work-hard, party-hard” social lifestyle which is not in harmony with your long term life-goal of a peaceful, tranquil and healthy life?

Well, if your life’s ambition is to be a “Page 3” celebrity, then it is a different matter altogether, and you must choose your “first step” accordingly in that direction.

Decide what you want (the destination “town” you want to reach) and then go in that direction.

But please don’t take the road which leads towards the “town” where you don’t want to go?

Why go in the direction of a place you don’t want to reach?

Why travel towards a wrong destination?

Remember, once you embark upon a “journey” it will be difficult to retrace your steps.

If you are going in the wrong direction, one day you will realize that you are on the wrong road of life and you will want to turn back to where you began your “journey” and then reorient yourself and start “walking” on the “right” road towards your actual goal.

Time and tide wait for none, so it is not possible to “rewind” your “clock”.

Now just imagine the amount of time and resources you have wasted in travelling on the “wrong” road just because of that one small “first step” you took in the “wrong” direction.

That is why, when you are at any crossroad of life, the first step you take in a certain direction is important, for once you begin your journey in that direction it is difficult to stop, turn around, retrace your steps and come back to the starting point.

Then after coming back to the crossroad point, from where you had started your journey, you may now decide to start “walking” in the direction of the “town” where you actually wanted to go. But it may be too late.

I am not being judgmental.

It is your life.

You have to decide what you want from life and where you want to go.

And once you have decided the destination “town” you want to reach, then take that first bold step in that direction and bash on regardless on the road that leads to your chosen “destination”.

It may be apt to quote the words of the Chinese Taoist Philosopher Lao Tzu:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”



Your first step must be on the right road which takes you towards your Goal (the “town” you want to reach)

Remember what my grandfather told me:

If you don’t want to go a certain town, then don’t take the road going towards that town

All the Best.

Decide your goal, and then take your first step in that direction, and then march on with full gusto till your goal is reached.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like reading this article?
I am sure you will like all the 27 stories in my recently published book of short stories COCKTAIL
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Foodie Book: Appetite for a Stroll

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a large number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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