The Calling: Read with an open mind

Some of us go through life without the slightest inkling of our purpose here on earth, while others just get through one day at a time. In pursuit of a career, ambition, better pay and better life, one often forgets the necessity to feed one’s soul to nourish our inner selves.

The Calling by Priya Kumar aims to get people to stop for a moment and think, think deeply about one’s actions and its corresponding consequences. Ultimately our lives are our own for making or breaking. We may not be able to change our neighbours, our families or friends, but by changing ourselves we may slowly affect others and our environment.

The book introduces us to Arjun, a media hot shot, whose life is increasingly spiralling out of control. His wife has filed for divorce and is demanding half of everything they own, his relationship with his two little girls is being threatened, pressure at work is building up and to top it all, he survives a near fatal accident en route Shimla. And of course, then he gets to meet a sadhu who send him on an errand to Hemkund Sahib and his real education begins.

One aspect that jumps out is the insatiable need to be connected to our smartphones. The fourth word in the book is a BlackBerry which is not just the cause for Arjun’s terrifying accident, but at every step he is frantically searching for network connection, to link him back to his old world. There’s never a true escape for those who always have one eye on their phones. Even when Arjun is instructed by another (or maybe the same) sadhu regarding certain tasks, he’s always waiting for that network bar to pop up on his phone.

The Calling is peppered with some good quotable quotes that could be tagged up on the pin board for posterity. Since I’ve been in the corporate industry since the past five years, the quotes in the book have resonated with me at some level or the other.

“Don’t continue selling your life and your soul to the highest bidder. For when you do, with that you sell your family, your dreams and your purpose.”

For me, I do not know what is the purpose of my life and reading The Calling hasn’t exactly removed the mist around my confusion, but it has at least helped straighten out my priorities and put a lot of my thinking into perspective. Sometimes, we get so absorbed in our daily routines, we don’t realise how we are slowly falling into a rut and this eventually deadens our senses. Our social lives diminish and personal lives come to a screeching halt.

While self help and philosophy may not be my go-to genre, it’s good to read such books from time to time with an open mind and heart. You never know what may strike you as profound and what gets retained in the subconscious.

What really struck me were the three tests Arjun was made to go through, along with his guide Chandu, by the sadhu. Every level has a deeper meaning attached to it, which to be honest, did not occur to me. Thus, don’t go through life mechanically, but live it to the fullest and always in search of your true calling.

About the author: Priya Kumar wears a number of hats, chief among them being motivational speaker, corporate trainer, author and columnist. She also organises fire walks, i.e., getting people to walk over burning coals, and instilling the phrase ‘Impossible is Nothing.’ And I’m having a strange feeling that she may have conducted a similar walk at my college, almost 5-8 years ago! Imagine that!?

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book, however opinions expressed are my own.  

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