I recently read up on a great Poem written by Linda Ellis titled The Dash. I dedicate this piece to a fighter recently in the news who apparently fought and made that “Dash” of her life count, galvanizing the nation into action – with Prayers that “Post-Dash” year stays open for a long time to come. Salutes!
Sure many of us have read, viewed (as a movie or presentation), savoured , enjoyed, criticised or even wept over it. I am dead sure that none of you could ignore it. Reading it, I reflected on the inner meaning of the poem and got me thinking about life in general.
As my Guru, the Guru of Joy HH Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of Art of Living Foundation says, when we came into this world our first act was an Inhalation and then we cried. The last act was an Exhalation (and made others cry). Everything that happened in between this “all important” Inhalation and Exhalation is “LIFE”
Or is this Inhalation and Exhalation the “all important” thing?
I think “NO” because we have no control over both of this (except that last exhalation on which we may have a violent control, which anyway is beyond the purview of this piece). So what is all important – it is everything that happens between these two events (inhalation and exhalation). It is how we lived.
Did we “Live or just Exist”?; Did we “Grow or just Aged?; Did someone “Miss” or think Good Riddance” at the end of it all?; Did someone ask “Why” or “When” (are your leaving/dying)”
All of us would like the first half of the above questions to be relevant to us – so it is most important for us to ensure that we LIVED of our lives and not just Existed.
In this context, I present the verse, The Dash which in about 240 words captures the essence of life (or atleast what it should be)
The Dash -By Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak, At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone, From the beginning to the end;
He noted that first came her date of her birth, And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all, Was the dash between those years;
For that dash represents all the time, That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved her, Know what that little line is worth:
For it matters not how much we own, The cars, the house, the cash
What matters is how we live and love, And how we spend our dash;
So think about this long and hard, Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left, That can still be rearranged;
If we could just slow down enough, To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand, The way other people feel;
And be less quick to anger, And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives, Like we’ve never loved before;
If we treat each other with respect, And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash, Might only last a little while;
So, when your eulogy is being read, With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say, About how you spent your dash?
Get Well dear Friend! I am sure you would be proud of what the Nation & the World would say about your Dash. May the Dash be extended for many years to come. Hope to see you back in Bharat soon. It is not just you who is scarred, it is Humanity and Humaneness. Let’s those who perpetrated that heinous act not make us give up on the world, as yet.
Wishing a speedy recovery