Escaping the Rat Race: Why is it important

Halki-phulki si hai zindagi. Bojh toh khwahishon ka hai.

– Piyush Mishra

Life is light. All the heaviness is from desires.

I first stumbled upon Piyush Mishra in the Bollywood movie Happy Bhaag Jaayegi. I didn’t quite know then what a legend he is. His epic comic timings and brilliant acting skills were my major takeaways from the movie. Though he played a supporting role, in my mind, he outshone everybody else in the movie. Quite naturally, I came back from the movie and googled him. Apart from the details on his personal and professional life, Google pulled up an amazing string of his quotes and poems. This quote in particular, remains my most favourite till date. I was stunned how this one-line quote simplified the reason for one of the most complicated phases of life – Rat Race.

Rat Race

If I ask y’all to stop a minute and think, how many of us would have dreamed of the life that we have today? And how many are still dreaming to have a life like us even today? But nothing seems enough, does it? We reach a goal, and immediately we move on to the next. Do we ever stop a moment to celebrate how far we have come?  Or do we acknowledge how grateful we are that the things worked out well? Nope, that seldom happens. We immediately crave for that next level up. Welcome to the Rat Race.

The vacations need to get more and more exotic.
1M followers? Time to reach 10M. 
Pay raise? The next move is to get a promotion.
Purchased an apartment? The next goal is to buy a villa.
Bought a budget hatchback? The next one should be a premium sedan.

The list is never ending. There is something intoxicatingly poetic about desires. They pluck us out from the periphery of reality and send us spiralling down the lane where we get to see how much better things could be. When we finally come back to our senses, our current life suddenly seems bland – you just witnessed how much better it could be, and that drives you crazy and greedy. 

To be honest, life never asked us to get on a rat race. It never compelled us. If anything, we complicated life with our endless desires. After all, we all have a status to maintain on social media. And for that, our life needs to get more luxurious every day, because a mediocre life doesn’t get people’s attention and nobody wants that now, do they? Then we wonder why does our life feel so empty and less sparkly.

We did that to ourselves, didn’t we? We dragged ourselves into this absurd competition where we have to win. We let ourselves be seduced by desires and affected by endless comparisons only to be dragged into a toxic labyrinth of unrealistic expectations which cannot easily be escaped. And then we complain life is exhausting. Humans, right?!

What if we make a conscious effort to get ourselves out of this rat race? What if we say no more to self-doubting comparisons and totally unnecessary self-satisfying indulgences? What if we come to the terms that everybody has a different story and journey and there is no scope for gauging at all? Doesn’t it seem like a good way to destress, declutter?

Count your blessings, extract yourself out from the rat race, and do whatever it is you have to do that puts your mind at ease. Remember no matter how hard you try, there will be always someone who has it easy, is leading a better life, earning a better pay and indulging themselves in a lavish lifestyle.

There comes a point in life, when all you want is some sukoon, peace. Not everybody realizes it at the same time, nevertheless, somewhere along the journey they definitely do – and trust me, that’s all that matters.

At the end of the day, a life well celebrated matters, not a life just surfed through.



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