As I stepped out for my evening walk today, one of the neighbors, a small, petite woman having little kids of her own, casually greeted me. She noticed my walking shoes and my headphones and instantly said, “Wow! You are so lucky that you manage to go out for a regular evening walk!” On normal days, I wouldn’t have even stopped to acknowledge such comments. But today, for some reason, I stopped, smiled and said, “I make time for walking. It is my way of retaining my sanity!” With that I pushed on pressing the hard gray road beneath the soles of my shoes.
I don’t know why it was important for me to make a point to this lady today. Why couldn’t I just take a simple remark in my stride and move on? Why did I have to bother and explain to this lady that behind sane, successful, happy lives, luck has very little role to play. Success at anything, even as simple a thing as an evening walk, is all about passion and commitment.
As I crossed the busy traffic road and entered one of quieter by-lanes, my mind wandered back to the days when my daughter was about two years old. I used to wait till 11 PM for my husband to return back from work, so I could leave our daughter with him and step out for my walk. We were a nuclear family staying alone in Chicago. As my husband watched over our daughter, I used to walk in the backyard of our apartment complex, snow around my feet; snow around my head. No matter how cold, dark or lonely it was, I used to still walk. When my son was born, and I couldn’t leave him behind, I used to walk the busy streets of Hyderabad, tying him to my chest or straddling him in a stroller. Whatever the climate, however busy the work, however late in the hour, I have stepped out to walk. I have taken office calls while walking. I have finished groceries and hospital errands while walking. I have been laughed at, chided, scolded and molested, just because I choose not to sit at home at the end of a long day. If that lady knew all this, would she still consider me “lucky”?
Have you heard someone talking about “Mark Zuckerberg” and “Lucky” in the same sentence? Or how about “Narayan Murthy” and “Luck”? Maybe “Steve Jobs”, or “Amitabh Bachan”? No, not really!
We don’t attribute the success of all these legendary personalities to “Luck”. We attribute their success to their passion, dedication and relentless hard work. We know plain luck wouldn’t have taken them this far. But when it comes to normal next door neighbors, we would rather call them lucky than give them due credit for their hard work. Maybe the term “Luck” or “Destiny” makes it easier for us to accept why they have more of something than us. “Oh! She was just born lucky! I wish I had half the luck that she has! Oh! If only my husband was half as loving and my children half as well behaved, I would be also able to step out for an evening walk!!”
Sigh! I wish I could ignore such friends and not let them get under my skin. I wish I could let them live in their make belief world where they could blame their luck for all the problems that they face. But sadly I can’t. I wish I could help them understand that they could do all this too. All they just have to do is stand up, put their shoes and walk.