I feel that the two saddest words, or the two most pathetic words, in any language are “if only”. They reveal a sadness, a regret, a sense of loss or of disillusionment. Some time ago I heard someone say with regret that they should have maintained a more affectionate relationship with a close relative. They had not done so. They understood what they had lost only after the relative passed away. So, if only…
We take our decisions based on what we think at a particular moment. We are convinced then that we are right. It is only later that we come to know whether we are right or wrong. A senior relative once said to me with great regret that the decisions he had taken five decades earlier seem to him now to be wrong. Life in India has changed drastically in the last twenty years. Before that life went on in the same way as it had done for generations. No one in their wildest dreams would have imagined the changes that would come. I feel that his decisions were correct for those times and when he took them. But still, he sometimes experiences a deep sense of regret.
Very often we place an individual upon a pedestal. But, at some moment in life we realize they are not what we thought them to be. When we like a person, their negative points do not really matter to us. We all have plus and minus points. When we become disillusioned about that person the negative points become more important. There is a saying in my language which goes, “all colours were swallowed up by soot.” Many a time we move away from people who had once been close to us. We move on, and they are left far behind. If only…
Then, what about accidents? We always say “if only we had not done this or that.” Last November, our son slipped and fell just outside the entrance of his college. He suffered three fractures in his ankle. It had to be operated upon. He is fine now, but the after-effects are still present. We used to think, if only he had not walked down the steps or if only my husband had reached there a little earlier, life would have been different. At least he has recovered. Many a time accidents happen, and life changes drastically. Nothing is the same any more. That is a terrible situation. There is no consolation at all for the people involved. If only they had been more careful. But accidents continue to happen.
Here, in our land, our belief that “what has to happen will happen” helps us to face many difficult situations in life. We do our best and leave the rest to God or whatever or whoever we believe in.
“In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”