Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You live only once – Zindagi na melegi dobara

For my overseas friends reading this, the second half is the Hindi equivalent which when literally translated means “You don’t get to live twice”. So true! ( and yet it is a strange title in many ways for a land that believes in a cycle of death and rebirth!)

 However, that is not what not my mind is right now. I watched this new bollywood movie (that bears the above title). At first I was happy and then sad and shocked at various levels. It is a well known fact that the youth take a lot of cues from the film stars, the movie themes, and lifestyles portrayed. Whether Bollywood sets the trend or merely reflects what’s already going around is a debateable matter. But, that is not what not what is on my mind is either.

What is it that made me happy?
The movie got it right - you have one life to live! The movie is about three best mates going on a holiday before one of them gets married. So it’s a bachelor party/holiday of sorts. Two are very successful yuppie businessmen. One in particular made work, ambition,and the acquiring of wealth his focus. This had repercussions on his social life and relationships. The movie goes on to show how this holiday helped him reflect and realize that money is not everything. There is more to life – and I couldn't agree more – but more of that later. There is a message here especially for the urban yuppy “wanna get rich quick” youth of today. Life is more than your work. It’s not an uncommon sight to see people in their twenties working 10-12 hours a day and sometimes even 7 days a week. They are being slave driven to the ground where they are not able to think beyond projects and deadlines. Their mind space has been totally occupied, their senses dulled. This is an unhealthy trend and we see it taking a toll on the recently married, young families etc. There is more to life than work. The Bible says in Luke 12:15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.

What made me sad?
 I was shocked to see a blatant challenge to marriage in an open and almost approving display of “live in relationships”, “short flings” and sleeping around. It came across as this kind of life style is a given – nothing to be bashful about or ashamed of. I thought to myself – have we as a nation fallen so far? Some may mock me and say I am not keeping up with the times or that this has been happening for a long time it’s only coming out in the open. No I am not old fashioned and no I am not unaware of the happenings around me. What I am sad about is that this life style is getting legitimized through the media. Thirty years ago an affair between the movie stars was hushed up and the media warned not to come anywhere near it. Today it is being blatantly flaunted in the press and the movies.

This brings me to what I have been reflecting upon
The absolute standard as given and instituted by God for our well being –  holy matrimony. This was God’s idea right from the beginning and He knew that if we kept this one command i.e “you shall not commit adultery” – all would go well in the family and society at large. Today in my city alone there are over 300 divorced filed every month. The west has its own tale to tell and the tell tale signs of that life style is showing up in different kinds of social problems and breakdown. As a famous sociologist and historian Carl Zimmerman, in his 1947 book Family and Civilization, recorded his keen observations as he compared the disintegration of various cultures with the parallel decline of family life in those cultures. Eight specific patterns of domestic behaviour typified the downward spiral of each culture Zimmerman studied. 

* Marriage loses its sacredness; is frequently broken by divorce. 
* Traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony is lost. 
* Feminist movements abound. 
* Increased public disrespect for parents and authority in general. 
* Acceleration of juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion. 
* Refusal of people with traditional marriages to accept family responsibilities. 
* Growing desire for and acceptance of adultery. 
* Increasing interest in and spread of sexual perversions and sex-related crimes.

Is this where India wants to be heading? God forbid! We can turn this terrible tide by teaching our kids the right values and modelling it.  I know I need to mix it with faith and prayer and ask the Lord to keep my children from evil and temptation. I need to talk the values with them and walk the talk thus modelling it for them. If our kids get it, we have a hope for a better future.

The other thing I was reflecting upon was : What is life all about?Is life about a better job, better education , better home, better car, better holidays, better this , better that? None of these things are bad in themselves – it’s how we use them – do we control these things or do they control us? Have they become idols in our lives? What is the purpose for which we are on this earth? The question has eternal implications. If life is all about “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” then we ought to live it up. But if it is where each one will have to give an account for their lives and we will be judged according to what we have done; where there are rewards to be obtained or lost because of what I did with the 3 score and ten years here on earth – ah! that puts a totally different complexion on things, doesn’t it? 

  While the movie got one part right , about the fact that we live only once, its interpretation of how we ought to live this life needs a serious reflecting upon. And the best way to reflect is to look into the mirror if God's word , the Bible.The movie  had a very existential note to it - live in the now, indulge yourself today because you don’t know if there is a tomorrow. How wrong!! There is not just a tomorrow but an Eternity to face ( whether you believe it or not) and a King on His judgement seat to whom we will all give an account. Death is indeed a leveler and it is final.

How then should I live? One of the principles from the Bible that has helped me in the choices I have made this far is and I quote is But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” Matt 6:33. I am more and more convinced that God is not a kill joy and He who created the heavens and the earth knows what’s best for me. When I put God in the centre of my life  everything falls into its right place and gets the right priority AND I am blessed.

As a Christian I have been saved and chosen at great cost to Jesus – I have been chosen for a purpose – to bring glory to His name by how I live here on earth. It’s not about me- it’s about Him. It has always been – right from creation.  As a Christian is my life centred on Jesus, His Kingdom, His glory, His fame? Or am I living with a “bless me God; make my life more comfortable, more easier, bless my gifts, my talents ....”

I have one life to live: I get only one shot at it and the years are zipping by faster than I can cope. I am already at the half way mark. I want to live to the glory of God. I don’t want to be short sighted. and live for a few fleeting pleasures of this world. I want to build with silver and gold and costly stones that will stand the test of fire. I want to blaze bright for Jesus. Pleasing him in all that I do is my highest aim. I want to give my life to something that will last forever! Reflecting on these things this is my prayer. So help me God!

Navaz D Cruz
Nov 2011.

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