Chicago, Chennai and Conscientious Action

The air is nippy in Chicago, but stand still in Chennai, India. First signs of winter coming up in the windy city, while rains are expected post October in Chennai. And change is in the air. The political landscape is about to change. And so is the reason to ponder at the same time, and be poised for action. Because once the wave of the pre-year end activities start, it will culminate in a tsunami of growth and prospect.

Each of us make our own history. It was in Chicago, Swami Vivekananda made his famous speech ‘ Dear brothers and sisters’. Not that many read ours, but millions of us write our own stories in the sands of time. For every one, the only guiding star is the conscience and the only proof is conscientious action. Without both conscience and action, one cannot handle the tempest of life.

I came across these wonderful lines of Sir Winston Churchill, in his tribute to Neville Chamberlain, and the words ring so true – ”History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with passion the former days. What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour.”

Our lives are measured by our own consciential yardstick. For some it is fame, for some it is family. For some it is money, for some it is the followership of the many. However, there is no universal yardstick that can satisfy the billions of humans. This non-uniformity is what creates the chaos – for those seek from without. Seek from within, and you will find the only yardstick with which you will measure your life.

As I personally stand at the base camp of what seems to be a tough climb, I am backed with hope and my own yardstick. Sometimes, this hope flickers like a candle in the wind, but still burns alive within me. I hope it is with you too.

-Ashok Subramanian

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