The Trip Of Your Life

The day the misery stopped

Sometimes in life, you feel as if nothing could ever go wrong. Then suddenly, without any apparent reason, your chances turn and whatever you do, bad luck seems to be your constant hidden companion. But is that indeed what happens? Do we always see the things the way they really are? By telling the next story, Aneola wanted to make Shaoni understand that indeed, things aren't always what they seem.



Before leaving, they had worked out the whole scheme. Like a trip around the world. Everything had been planned in detail. Months, years even, they had spent preparing. The things they wanted to see, the things they wanted to experience, all planned in detail. Some of it, they knew, wouldn't be easy. No it didn't promise to be a luxury trip. Then again, they hadn't exactly booked a suite at a sea side hotel either. No sir, this was the real stuff. There would be some serious trekking and climbing involved, some traveling over rough and inhospitable roads too but hey, you know, that's what they wanted. They all knew why they were doing it ... and it would be well worth it.

No, of course they weren't sure it was all going to work out as planned. That's not how it worked. You could plan as much as you wanted to, study all the options over and over again, go into every single detail, once you arrived ... well, there was just no telling what would happen, no way of being absolutely sure how things would turn out ... not really.

But all that was back then. Now that they were living it, they weren't so euphoric about it anymore. There they were, shivering from the cold, trying to cover themselves from the howling winds.

"I've had it." one of them yelled out, "I want it to end right here and now."

"Oh why don't you just shut up!" another one yelled back. "Since the very beginning, you've been working on my nerves with your constant moaning."

"As if you are any better." a third one intervened, "You do nothing else but wind people up!"

Then they went silent again, worrying about their own problems, wondering if they would ever get out of this mess alive.

"My God," one said, "how did it ever come to this?"

'So what happened?' you might think. Well, as soon as they had started on their journey, bad luck just seemed to have been their hidden companion. Whenever something could go wrong, it did No joking! You could ask any of them. Oh, it didn't start out with a big catastrophe right away. No, it were just small things at first. Initially they even laughed about some of the mishaps. But as the trip went on and they started paying attention to these mishaps, they could clearly see it. This sure wasn't coincidence. No, something else was going on. Someone or something was deliberately leading them to their doom. Whatever they did, whichever road they choose, they would run into the next mishap, the next problem, the next catastrophe. Up to this very moment everything that could go wrong, had gone wrong ... and on top of it all, it was getting worse by the day ... right up to the very moment where they were now, in the middle of a fierce blizzard, with no hope left ... shivering, frozen to the bone, some of them ready to die.


They had forgotten about the euphoria. Forgotten how they had felt the days before they left. The plans, the things they wanted to experience ... all gone. All that was left now was suffering, pain and misery. They tucked themselves in a last time, blaming whoever was to blame for all the misery that had come over them. Then they closed their eyes, trying to catch some sleep ... thinking about the misery, the utter misery of it all.

The next morning, they were awakened by the noise of another group of people yelling from the distance. The blizzard had gone and now the skies were blue again and a beautiful ray of sunlight was greeting them. You might think this would have brought some joy back into their lives, make them see the beauty of their voyage again, make them remember why they started on this trip in the first place ... but it didn't. No, to them the weather change meant nothing ... it was just a temporary phase before a new catastrophe, possibly even worse than the last one, would hit them.

"Hey weenie," said the one, "have you seen my boots?"

"Don't you start bitching again said the other."

No, indeed nothing had changed. Then again, who would have expected it even? This promised to be just another day filled with pain and misery, a day filled with thoughts of self pity too. Just another rotten day.

By now, the other group had joined them. They were walking the same road but had left two days later. As they arrived, they were singing some local song, probably a hit back where they came from because they had all joined in, having the greatest fun and when the song had ended, they all burst out laughing.

"Idiots!" muttered the man who had been looking for his boots, "Complete and utter idiots! Each and every one of them!"

As always, whenever two groups meet up in the mountains, they sat together for a while and compared notes. The first thing they spoke about of course was the previous nights' blizzard.

"Wasn't that incredible?" said one of the newcomers.

"Sure was." another added, clearly still excited about it, "Absolutely frightening. We all sat together in John's tent, trying to keep each other warm. Funny actually. In the end it was pretty cozy and although we hardly slept, we had a wonderful night."

"Yes," a third one joined in, "that was a great experience."

"Idiots." somebody mumbled silently, "I knew it right away! Complete and utter idiots."

"It's just unfair." another muttered.

As they went on to describe their trip, it became ever more obvious that these guys had been lucky all the way. Blessed with luck even, they agreed amongst themselves. They too had planned this trip in minor detail but everything that had happened so far, had gone way beyond their wildest expectations. This whole trip, everything that they had experienced, the beauty of living it together, the friendships that had grown, the moments shared ... yes, and then there were the people they had met in the villages ... such lovely people. Whenever they passed a village, people would smile at them. Invite them in. And they would be thankful for that smile. These people who shared their food with them, even though they had so little. What beauty it was to be able to offer them something back in turn whenever the chance presented itself. Yes indeed, how lucky could one be? How beautiful life was indeed?

As they told their story, the people of the first group grew ever crankier. "You see!" they said, "That's the absolute proof". Now they were sure about it. Something had been tracking them down, wanting to finish them off. Something that had but one thought in mind, 'to make them suffer' ... for no reason whatsoever.

But as they continued to share their stories, something else became painfully obvious. That is ... to the newcomers it did. These people they had caught up with, sitting there, feeling miserable, had walked along the same path, they had seen the same views, met the same people ... but for some reason, when meeting these people, they hadn't smiled back ... on top of the mountains, they hadn't been able to enjoy the breathtaking views ... and last night, when spending the night together, they had lived it as one of their worst experiences ever, a nightmare even, so they said.

Still, for some reason the people of the first group didn't seem to notice these similarities. All they could see was how they felt. All they could see was ... their own so called 'misery'.

"And to say we have been so unlucky. It's just unfair." the weenie cried.

"Idiots. Too stupid to see what is really awaiting them." said the cranky one as he kicked a rock.

"What's the use." said the third one, "Life is just unfair!"

"No, none of them saw." said the wizard as he finished telling the story, "Two different groups my boy, both of them walking the same path, living the same experiences, up to the smallest details. One group decided to embrace life, the other ... well."

The wizard paused for a second, then he said, "You see Shaoni, it is not what happens that makes your life into what it is. It is the way you look at it."

Another pause, then he finished, "Now that you know, tell me Shaoni, which group would you rather be part of?"

Later that evening
Later that evening, the wizard came up to the boy and said, "Tonight my boy, just before falling asleep, go to your center and imagine ...

Imagine how in the night, whilst you are sleeping deeply, a beautiful being of light comes over to you and sits beside your bed, helping you to understand ... showing you that for all that has happened today, all is well."

"Is that all?" Shaoni asked.

"That my boy" the wizard replied, "will guarantee you a place in the newcomers' group."