Firstly, I want to thank you for making a choice to read this.
If you have been part of one of my sessions, chances are you have heard me talking about this inspiring incident which changed my life and made me ask this one question – “What Choice Have I Made With My Life?”.
It was a couple of years back, I had returned to Hyderabad (India) on a late night flight. After reaching the airport, I found the taxi stand to be unusually deserted and later got to know that most of the Taxi Drivers were part of an ongoing strike.
I waited for almost 30 minutes with a hope that I might find a taxi. My hope started fading with no site of a single taxi.
I decided to call my friends and then I heard a husky voice from behind “Sir, where do you want to go?”
A well-built man in his 40’s walked up to me smiled and said, “Sir, there is an on-going strike and you will not find any taxi here.” I was a little perplexed by his approach and found something very intriguing about him. Even before I could think and say something, he said: “my taxi is parked at some distance” and extended his card. It read Mr. RK (MA – English) with additional details mentioned. We spoke for a while and he agreed to drop me at my destination.
This few minutes of interaction, his unusual style, and world-class English stumped me and raised a lot of questions in my mind. (Taxi drivers speaking in English not usual in this part of the world)
I have heard of taxi drivers who take advantage of the airport distance from the city and of the late night travelers. I have also heard of the modus operandi used by taxi drivers of being very polite and using extraordinary communication skills to loot their customers.
I had a choice to make – trust him and reach home or wait for someone to pick me up. I was doubtful but still, I chose the first option.
Am I going to regret this forever?
Little did I know that the next 45 minutes were going to be one of the interesting minutes of my life.
As we started heading towards the destination, Mr. RK tried to initiate the conversation and made some general inquiries. I tried to stay away from the conversation but my curiosity towards Mr. RK pulled me towards him.
I asked him: “So you hold a Master’s Degree in English?”
Mr. RK said: “Yes, I completed it when I was in Jail”
There was silence. I asked myself again “am I going to regret this forever?”
Mr. RK: “I was convicted of a murder and was in jail for 5 years”
There was a long silence this time.
Mr. RK: “It happened when there were riots and it was in the same riots that I lost my family. I was jailed for 5 years. I was 20 and passionate about my studies.”
I asked: “…. And then, what happened?”
Mr. RK smiled and said: “I just remained positive and finished my studies while I was in the jail”
I asked him: “So, what happened after that and why did you kill others?”
Mr. RK replied with a smile: “I did not.”
And then there was silence again.
I asked: “Weren’t you scared?” Mr. RK smiled at me and said “Yes, It was scary. I was abused and assaulted each day. I wanted to give up my life. I decided to commit suicide and something strange happened. One day I heard a voice. I heard the voice of my mother. My mother was always my inspiration. She use to tell me that each morning when I wake up, I have a choice. I can choose to go back to sleep or wake up and start chasing my dream. I choose to chase my dream. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it and be a hero. I choose to learn and be a hero. Each day I can decide to stretch myself and do things which will discomfort me or can stay where I am. I choose to stretch. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaint or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life”
“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy, when you have circumstances or people around you. Look at you, you were jailed for NO reason! ” I protested.
Mr. RK smiled and said “I never believed when my mother told me this every morning and thought that in life, a lot of things happen to you along the way. The truth is, in life, you happen to a lot of things along the way. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or a bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”
“A lot of us have made great choices in our lives and many times we also might have made choices on behalf of our loved ones and then realize when it’s too late. At times these wrong choices are made due to ignorance and many times it is to boost our own ego. Later, we start complaining about the circumstances or blame people around for influencing our choices.” said Mr. RK. “When I was in the jail, I only remembered the words my mother spoke to me and today I live not in the jail but with a wonderful a wonderful family.”
There was a silence until I reached my destination.
Today when I sit back and think, I wonder how we always have a choice about how to handle life’s worst moments. Many times we are caught in a mid-way and then we have a choice to chose from an easy path which is short well kept, with flowery plants and bushes on both sides, easy to negotiate, but ending up in a blank wall. The other might be a long, at times complex and bumpy, and many times difficult to negotiate, but ending up in a vast orchard of fruit-bearing trees and beautiful flowers.
It’s the choice which you make that determines what you end up with.
– Sharat Sharma
The end result of your life here on earth will always be the sum total of the choices you made while you were here.