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A shift within means change without

Every evening Ashok came home from work and winced at the condition of his place. Dirty dishes in the sink, clothes egressing from the laundry basket, cigarette ash sprinkled all over the marble floor—the house needed housekeeping. But first, Ashok had his own mind to tidy up.

Instead of fetching a broom, every day after work, he jumped straight into bed in his work clothes and shoes. Lying like a carcass, he wondered where his life was headed. He wanted to do more with his life than just code 10 hours a day. Ashok dreamed of becoming a wildlife photographer, but the idea of quitting a well-paying job was too scary to toy with.

The thought of listening to his heart raged a tsunami in his head. Every night, he made a resolution to pursue his dream, perhaps, go to the lake with his camera and capture the break of day. But every morning, it would be the same old Ashok, skipping shower to reach work on time.

Driving to work one day, Ashok’s eyes fell on a banner: Behind your stress and beneath your calmness, there lies procrastination. He read the words again under his breath as if they were written especially for him. The words stayed with him all day. By evening, he knew what he needed to do next.

The air, the lake, everything was clear and pristine. It wasn’t like the world had changed overnight for Ashok.

As he got back home after work, Ashok kept his bag aside, picked up the broom, and started cleaning. The cobwebs, dust, and stains. He changed the sheets, scrubbed the floor, did the laundry and scraped the dishes. A couple of hours later, his house looked like a home.

It wasn’t like he had won a losing battle by cleaning his apartment, yet he felt like a winner. That night, as he turned off the lights and lay in his bed, he didn’t make any resolutions, neither did any thoughts torment him. He slept peacefully, out like a light.

The next morning, he woke up before sunrise. Feeling reanimated, he took his camera and went to the lakeshore to capture a few fleeting moments of the dawn. The air, the lake, everything was clear and pristine. It wasn’t like the world had changed overnight for Ashok.

He just removed the clutter within and the world around him mirrored it.


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