Some will call it karmbhoomi, others karmsthal, yet others kurukshetra. I prefer to call it karmshetra or one’s area of performance. I have not read Munshi Premchand’s karmbhoomi, nor do have I any knowledge of the war strategies that were formed during the Battle of Kurukshetra. I have barely an inkling about the karmsthals of kings, sages, laymen and paupers alike. In fact, these heavily laden words carried little significance for me until the above question popped up in my mind this morning.
I do know a few things though. I know that every human needs a karmshetra to perform and excel in. He or she needs an avenue to prove themselves to their own self and to the world, and in the same order. He or she keep looking for this place right from the time of their birth.
The rat race starts pretty early in life nowadays
In my days, kindergarten started at 5 years of age. Until then, my karmshetra remained in the confines of my home or a very beautiful nursery school where I remember being on swings more than at any work table. But nowadays, an infant finds his karmshetra as soon as he or she steps off the cradle. Children have to imbibe and learn a million things in the shortest possible time to prep themselves for the race.
By the time a child is five, he or she has already experienced a significant grind. Their performance has been assessed time and again before they even make it to primary school. And this is well before the onslaught of montessori, pre-school, nursery, kindergarten, interview coaching classes; the list is quite endless. The ordeal gets more stringent with each passing year.
Which is my current karmshetra?
The word kurukshetra has a negative connotation for me as it put kins at war. It was an event marked by a lot of bloodshed and more was lost than won. There were plenty of performances chronicled by Ved Vyas, but not all of them are exemplary. Craftiness rubbed shoulders with chivalry, good faith bowed its head before cowardice and there was so much was at stake. And to top it off, it was all so gory.
Given this, I want to know about the ‘karmshetra’ where I can fight to win, strategise my moves, plan my actions and move forward to taste the sweetness of success. At my age, I no longer have general academic assessments to excel in and gain certifications, nor do I need glances of approval when I walk into a room full of people. I have learned to care less about the shallowness that social circuits demand.
My professional work areas are well defined and under control. My satisfied clients and vendors have given me their nod and I no longer need to keep running in my place to be in the race. My home front and family are surely important areas that demand my time, earnestness and commitment, but they cannot be categorised as karmshetras in the literal sense of the word either.
The one place that remains to be explored is life
As it will go on till I meet my end, there are new areas to excel in as far as life’s challenges are concerned. So, is this where my kurukshetra lies? If yes, what is expected of me? How can I plan my moves when I don’t know how long I will have to perform? What will work, what will not? As my life is specific to me, how can my success metrics be based on generic recommendations or benchmarks? Will it not be wrong to get dictated about my stance by others grappling in their own karmshetras?
There are norms and conventions, but no such advice that can foretell my win – so should I be moving forward with just my gut feelings and intellect to get me to the fore? More importantly, how will my success be appraised and by whom? Who will define the key indicators of performance and shortlist the benchmarks that I should strive to attain? There are so many areas of concern.
Finding the right arena
But then, what’s the other option?
Does my karmshetra lie deep within myself? Well, if that’s the case then there is certainly a lot of work in the offing. The stage is all set and I need to show up with the limelight falling right on myself. The arc lights will dim and I will have to make my real me shine. That’s a tough karmshetra for sure!
If finding the right arena to perform can be so cumbersome, I can imagine how tough it will be to perform once the place is defined. I guess I will let sleeping dogs lie and just carry on with whatever I need to do as each new moment unfolds.