Three Situations…

Dr Navniit Gandhi
Tuesday, January 3, 2023

A new year has dawned. A fleeting glance at the year gone by, usually helps. Although one must let         bygones be bygones, a glance in hindsight at how we acted and reacted usually helps. A pause to reflect thereafter, can be the mainstay for wise conduct in the future. A little thought on how can I react to and accept life a little better this year, helps…

Not that one must often dissect life and try to search for any hidden or true meaning thereof. There are many of us who subscribe to the simple statement put out by Somerset Maugham in Human Bondage, wherein a wise man concludes after much search that: LIFE HAS NO MEANING!

It must have dawned, by now, on many of us that it is futile to spend a life-time, searching for meanings and purposes. We must just live! Live as well as we can; act and react as one’s instincts tell us to and accept what comes with the flow… As far as wisdom or philosophy is concerned, much emanates just from observing and listening to the swarm of people all around us.

Just like that, from these keen observations of people around me, a thought knocked: that there are three crucial situations that all of us face and which make up our life-time. Of the three, we do quite well in TWO of them!!! What about the third one? Well, therein lies a real test of who we are and how are we living…
One situation is when something is given to us.
The Second situation is when something is taken away from us.
And well, the Third is somewhere in-between; those times when we just HAVE... There is no major give or take happening during those times.

In situation No.1 when we get something, we do quite well. We jump in joy. Our glee knows no bounds. And if what is given to us, is something we always had sought, we are exhilarated. To sum up, we behave as we ought to.

In situation No.2 when something is taken away from us, we do quite well too. We cry and whine. Whether suppressed or overtly expressed, our complaints can be heard and seen all over. We lament at the unfair-ness of life. We look hither and thither and cry louder looking at green pastures of others. To sum up, we behave as we ought to. After all, when something precious is snatched away from us, we ought to cry, isn’t it? We do…

In situation No.3, we falter! It is when nothing is being given or taken away. We live this phase in not a conscious state. Close your eyes and think. What are your strong memories? They are likely to be of those when you were in situation 1 or in situation 2, isn’t it? How many of us recall those days, months and years---when nothing significant happened. A large part of our lives is spent in this phase---when neither is something being given and nor is something being taken away from us. We simply HAVE, whatever we have, even as life keeps flowing by!


When was the last time life handed down something to you? Or took away something or someone from you? Perhaps, one or two or five years ago…? For nearly all of us, there are no more than 20-30 occasions in all, when something remarkable or someone precious is snatched away from us or when something valuable falls in our laps. Every day, deaths or births do not happen in one life; accidents or weddings also do not happen daily and even profoundly sad or good news does not come daily to any of us. Other than those few days of situation 1 or 2, in the rest of thousands of days that we live, we live in situation 3; we simply HAVE!!!

We HAVE loved ones; we have all our organs and our mobility; our functional bodies; we have our jobs; we have our homes and we have food, and we have qualities and character too. We have minds that work and hearts that beat! And yet, we remain not-conscious; not-aware of all of that… We daily use all that which we have but without much thought; much gratitude.

We also HAVE virtues, flaws, and weaknesses. Alas, we are not conscious of them either… During this situation 3, we like to flood our days and nights with lots and lots of activities; with trying to tick-mark on our infinite to-do lists. We have this to do and that to do and a lot to do.

We do not pause; reflect; and feel grateful or joyous in just having our huge baskets of mixed deals. In short, we do not do well at all in situation No.3!

We are fully alert when we get something. We are alert more than ever when we lose something or someone. Yet, when neither of the two are precisely happening, we live in a dazed state; like zombies. We don’t take out time to absorb and feel contented when we are in this phase. Years whiz past; the wheel moves and once again we land in situation No.1 or No.2 and then we wake up!

In which situation are you right now: 1 or 2 or 3?

Navniit Gandhi is an academic since 25+ years; a feature writer (300+ articles), and has authored 9 books. Her write-ups can be read at
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