Life is for Living…

Yesterday I was talking to a friend. We were in the same batch during our B. Tech. After completing B. Tech, he joined a good company while I went to do my M. Tech. Now, after switching several jobs, he is working as the country manager of a multinational company.

He is married and has two lovely kids. While talking to him, I asked how his life was. He said he was not happy. He is working hard but the company is not paying well. The company has given him a car, but he wants a bigger one. He was not happy the company denied him an interest free loan for buying a flat (he already owns two!).

During the entire conversation, every time I tried to steer the conversation to other topics like family, kids, etc., he will come back to money and how it is difficult to live with the salary he was getting (an obscene amount, in my opinion). He told me that he is planning to jump to another company that has promised a better package. He admitted that he will have to relocate, find new school for his kids and so on.

He told me the kids are very happy at the current school and they have many friends there. He is living in a nice neighborhood and his wife has some very good friends there. He said that he was facing strong opposition from his family as they liked the current place. But he was determined to join the new job and relocate as it would get him a bigger car and money for his new flat.

I asked him whether it was a good idea to sacrifice the happiness of his kids and wife for a few dollars more… But he was adamant. For him money was more important than the happiness of his family. I told him that once his kids grow up and start their own life, he will miss them. I suggested spending some quality time with his kids and wife instead of going after more money and worldly possessions. But he said once he gets all the things he wants, he will think about my advice.

I don’t think he will ever reach a stage when he has got all he wanted. The more he gets the more he will want. It is a vicious cycle…

Getting a job you have dreamed is great. Climbing the corporate ladder fast is good. Making more money than all your colleagues is nice. Having the most expensive car in the neighborhood is a sign of success. But, all this should not be at the cost of your family.

In the end, the only things that matter are your kids, wife, parents and other family members. If you have alienated them in your quest for money, power and prestige, then you have failed in your life. Success in life is not measured by your bank balance, but by the love you get from your family…

So live your life now, because tomorrow may be too late…

The poem below (author unknown) beautifully captures the essence of life and living…

Life is a gift we’re given each and every day.
Dream about tomorrow, but live for today.
To live a little, you’ve got to love a whole lot.
Love turns the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Life’s a journey
always worth taking.
Take time to smell the roses… and tulips…
and daffodils… and lilacs… and sunflowers…

Count blessings like children count stars.
The secret of a happy life isn’t buried in a
treasure chest… it lies within your heart.
It’s the little moments that make life big.

Don’t wait. Make memories today.
Celebrate your life!


  1. silverine said,

    December 11, 2005 at 6:21 pm

    This is so true. I have met such a man, my friend’s Dad who was the same. My friend grew up without her Dad beacuse of his constant pursuit for a better deal. One fine day he realised that his kids hardly knew him and treated him like a stranger. They treated his sudden presence in their lives after retirement as meddling. He still grumbles when I visit him that kids dont care. I feel like asking him, what he did to make them care?

    Cars and house and money do not make a relation.

    Lovely post.

  2. ashok said,

    December 12, 2005 at 1:24 pm

    i am a final year b tech student. some of my colleagues seem to be destined to take the route ur friend has chosen, viz. one of climbing up the dollar ladder.
    my view is that, money is supposed to help one become happy. apparently it seems to do the opposite function. being content with what one has, must the key to happiness. and one mustn’t try to control one’s life too much. let it flow where it wants. just give the rudder a few nudges when needed. please feel free to correct my views.

  3. Geo said,

    December 12, 2005 at 2:58 pm

    So true…

    I have seen a number of technocrats like the one you have mentioned. Some of them spend their days and nights in the office. Others travel abroad most of the time, leaving their wives behind. I pity their wives and kids. I wonder what their family life is like.

    Hope I will be able to tilt the balance towards my family rather than the other way around.

  4. Chacko said,

    December 12, 2005 at 5:59 pm

    Yes there are lot of people who doesnt care about family when it comes about money and career.

    Gulf is a best example… there is lot of people who have taken long leave/resigned, to move to gulf and work here… they dont care wether the kids are missing their father… these people come here with an aim of making some quick buks … but what happens is that most of them get settled here leaving the wife and kids back in kerala……

  5. anu said,

    December 12, 2005 at 6:09 pm

    hmmm… true… u have to focus on the things that matter..
    but sometimes u r so involved in some things.. and it is very easy to lose in touch.. iv seen it i happen to many people in my profession.. but if u have to make it really good in ur profession u have to compromise on the time u spend with ur family..
    ya quality time with the ones u love.. and some time for urself is very imp.. but difficult sometimes..

  6. Alexis Leon said,

    December 12, 2005 at 8:17 pm

    Silverine: “Cars and house and money do not make a relation.” You have summed it up nicely. Thanks.

    Ashok: You should have a goal of where you want to be and what you want to achieve. But whatever you do should not be at the cost of things that are more important. Professional success is important. But there is a lot of difference between success and greed.

    Geo: I wish you all the best… and with your ability to make the bug fixes and run the build manager sitting in the cafeteria, it should be a breeze:-)

    Chackochen: Very true.

    Anu: Your profession is different doc. But there also if you manage your time well you can spend a few hours of quality time with your family. That is all they need—the assurance and proof that you care. In your profession, striking the right balance between the professional and personal lives is slightly more difficult; but it definitely is possible. But I am very sad to say that many members of your profession are greedy and insensitive; they lack compassion. All they care about is money (measured by the number of patients they see each day, the number of surgeries they perform and so on…). But I know many good doctors, who are among the very best in their field, having happy, successful and satisfying family lives. I think you should read the article Putting ‘Life’ Back into Your Professional Life which can be found at It is the site of American Academy of Family Physicians. The site contains about a dozen articles on life balance. Check it out.

  7. Paresh said,

    December 13, 2005 at 11:16 pm

    Pragmatism! Not everybody can be as evolved and insightful as you are. Most people live their lives on ‘Trail & Error’ basis. By the time we realize our errors it may be very late but we’re destined to go through that cycle.

  8. amine said,

    December 14, 2005 at 3:27 pm

    nice post…

    like the monk who sold his ferrari??

  9. Thomas said,

    December 19, 2005 at 7:44 pm

    I think we have to blame the society in which we live a culprit to the persuit of money and material things, i see this more in kerala communities than the other indian communities, this is because of our high literacy and also the social stigma….if u don’t own a car, a house and a big salary you are nobody…..! I don’t blame anyone for becoming a monster…..!! but you have a choice ….and you need backbone to make the choice and stick by it….!! My fathers generation was better off than the present….i mean before this gulf boom so to speak started happening, people then just wanted a job form 9.00 to 4.00 and the rest will come , but the gulf greed….is not a healthy one….!