This Too Shall Pass

One of my most cherished friendships of the last few years is Reema and Gautam. We are now oceans apart, with them living between Australia and India, with plans to move elsewhere, and all I want to say is: please come back to Singapore? Anyway, in 2009 they came to visit us when living in Phuket – at a time when we were trying to work out what the hell to do with our lives. We weren’t in a good place back then, because we had absolutely no idea what the future held, and we’d already agreed Phuket definitely wasn’t for us at that stage in the boys’ lives.

One night, while drinking copious amounts of booze and having a huge giggle, Gautam decided to tell us a story. Gataum’s one of those people that’s a natural story teller and can bring any story to life – he’d definitely be great around a campfire. However, if you read this Gautam, I apologize ‘cos I know I won’t do your story-telling justice. Hopefully I won’t screw it up too much and can at least get the essence across.

So the story goes, in ancient times (India I always presumed) a great King called his wisest advisors into the throne room and asked them to come up with a piece of advice that would cover every eventuality. The advisors said (well words to that effect): “but my Lord, you are the richest, noblest and most powerful King in all the land, why do you need such a thing?” He didn’t explain his motives and again insisted they give him wise words to carry him through any situation he might face.  

All of the advisors went away, discussing the King’s request, arguing over what to respond with, and it went on for many days. Eventually the oldest and wisest advisors knew the answer and wrote it down on a piece of paper (although I’m sure it wasn’t paper back then?) and gave it to the King. The King put these words in his pocket unread.

Many years later, war had been raging, the Kingdom in ruins, the Army defeated and in retreat, with the enemy over the next hill ready to annihilate them all. He understood that this was the time to read the words of his wisest counselor  and when he opened the page, all it said was: “this too shall pass.”

And it did.

Many years after this time, the King gained his Kingdom back and entered his City upon an elephant in a triumphant victory parade, with his subjects cheering and throwing flowers to their beloved King. It was a magnificent day, his ego was enormous, and he felt invincible – but he decided to read the words again “this too shall pass.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of those words these last few years, nor can I tell you how many times I’ve both said them and had them said to me. They are so right, and while hindsight is a bitch, no matter how good or bad things might be right now, always remember: “this too shall pass.”

When you keep that front of mind, there is only one conclusion to draw every day – have a bloody great time right now, and enjoy every now at every moment in your life, because now is all there is after all.

Thanks Gautam – you’re a legend. We’ve carried your words with us more than you know.

Yours, without the bollocks

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