I believe in the value of moments.The right things said or done at the right moment have the magic of making the moment special. You miss it and the moment passes into the realm of banality.

Sometimes you lose your 5 seconds of attention by forgetting to say a brilliant, funny or caustic retort which comes to you,alas, 5 seconds too late. And you feel disappointed for having given away that moment. Had you said the right thing it would remain a moment of glory for you, which gets repeated on many occasions and generally gets a golden edge. The French call it the L'esprit de l'escalier (literally, staircase wit)
Once you have let it pass, you try to call them back or send them an email with the retort or remark, it is not the same. The effect is lost. The moment is gone. You had it in your grip a little while ago but now it is lost in thin air!And what we have is nothing but a regret for all that could have been.

Sometimes it is sadder when we think we have all the time in the world with people and forget to say how much they mean to us or how much we love them - parents for example. We take them for granted or wait to tell them how we feel and then it is all too late. You cant tell a departed person how much they mean to you and even if you roared your love from the top of a mountain it makes no difference when the one that needs to hear it is gone. Haven't we all lost a friendship or a love or a deal sometime or other because we did not say or do the right thing at that moment? But if we do seize the moment and do what needs to be done, the moment passes into a precious memory and gets immortalised. And the right thing said at the right moment may even transform somebody's life.

A lot of people say that they believe in living for the moment and what they mean is that Now is a time to enjoy, have fun - without worrying about the past or the future.This moment is real so go ahead and indulge fully. ("Eat, Drink and be merry for tomorrow you die!")But sadly that is precisely contrary to what being in the NOW is all about - it is about DOING NOW - giving your best NOW, being nice to people NOW and not wasting NOW because NOW is the only certainty in this very uncertain world.It is about living every moment fully and not letting it go waste.

While L'esprit de l'escalier may be true for a retort or a joke, there is always a good time for doing the nice things we want to do or say.As a chinese proverb says "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
And that is true of almost everything that you want to do, have to do and need to do.
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21 Responses
  1. Artnavy Says:

    A professor of mine used to say don't just live life but BE ALIVE- as in - be attentive & respond to people, sounds, sadness, happiness.

    Your post emphasised that for me.

  2. Shiv Says:

    It could also be a wrong act done and then u feel after 5 secs..y did i have to do tat..

  3. You've done it again Usha.....taken a very simple idea, made it a very interesting read, sent an important message and left us thinking and more importantly imspired us to believe in the significance of "now"....powerful!

  4. This is so true and unfortunately the most 'unused' truth in most lives. We all know this magical thing called 'Now' and yet so often end up postponing the magic forever and never get it back again.
    --- A Beautiful post!

  5. very well written.and so true.
    living life for the moment is indeed the name of the game.

  6. It's also about uncertainity, isn't it? We're continually shuffling roles and scripts every; and I sometimes think waiting comes from the fear of faltering on stage. Thanks for the post. A simple message with a lot to think about- we all have a trunk full of things we should have done but didn't!

  7. Mahadevan Says:

    I fully agree with you. Very often we miss the moment and regret it for eternity. Falure to acknowledge a fine gesture, inability to put somebody on the alert, to be with a near one at the time of need, to come out with a timely repartee are some of the missed moments.

    Certainly a post for the moment.

  8. Balaji Says:

    absolutely fantastic. One my all time crushes was chatting with me. I forwarded the link to her and told her that "you are a fantastic person". The magic of "NOW" did the rest of the trick.

  9. Ummmmmm I guess it's a very small thing that most people choose to ignore hardly realizing what it means to mortal beings like us.

    Nice write up and enjoyed reading it

  10. Hip Grandma Says:

    "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
    I could not agree more.I am haunted by memories of my mother who looked forward to my visit during my summer break and died in her sleep on Ramnavami day without meeting me.I wish God had granted her a month more.I am not going to take any chance in future.If you strongly feel about something Now is the time to do it.Well written Usha!!

  11. Anonymous Says:

    As always, a lovely post, Usha. It has a lot of relevance to me! Cheers!

  12. Raj Says:

    Lovely post, usha.

    But take my advice. Procrastinate NOW!

  13. Barani Says:

    Very Good Post. I completely agree. when we miss that One valuble moment it never comes back to us.. Most of the time we fail to identify such moments and the realisation dawns very late.. I can relate so much to this.


  14. Usha Says:

    Hello all:
    Thanks for the additional inputs.
    Many times we are disappointed with the present because it is not how we had imagined it to be when in the past we thought of it in the future. In crying for the things that aren't there, we forget what we have too and let the now pass into insignificance.
    Like Tagore says:
    "If you shed tears when you miss the sun, you also miss the stars."

  15. Usha Says:

    Art:Yes being fully in the moment -Zen says the same.

    Shiv:Oh yes that is another story!


    Vidhya:Exactly - one of the things that we postpone for later . Only Now doesnt wait until later.

    Ober/Ravi: :)

    Hermit: But it is still possible to start - Now!

    Mahadevan:Story of all our lives.

    Balaji: Felicitations! I think the fantastic person came here and left a comment too. am I right?

    Ugyen: Thank you!

    Hipgran: I am so sorry to hear that. I have a load of regrets like that too with my mother, a friend who passed a way, a few friendships lost etc.all because neither of us knew the right things to do at that time.

    Ravi: But I thought Carpe Diem was your motto and you do a lot of thoughtful things in the NOW!

    Raj: Will start right away!

    Barani: Thanks.

  16. passerby55 Says:

    NOW , A word with mere three alphabets makes so much impact when I go through this post.

    last week we had "The NO Excuse DAY". ITs Now or never. "Now" is the only reality, we all own and we should give it our best.

    Thankyou USha.

  17. Sigma Says:

    I agree - many times we regret not doing the right thing when the moment has passed. And also that the right time to do anything is NOW!
    A very nice post.

    And a very nice blog. I have just "found" your blog, and I find a treasure here !!

  18. A.R.Malik Says:

    Oooops. I just realized I procrastinated on reading a post about the magic of now! THAT makes me feel real smart.

    Re the importance of right moments, TH Huxley had once written that the most important lesson of education, and the one learnt last is the ability to do what needs to be done, when it ought to be done, whether one wants to or not.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    right said you about the power of Now. One more thing I have learnt by experience is this. You need to trust your instincts if you want to follow 'do it now'. Overthinking is a miserable thing to regret later.

  20. Balaji Says:

    @Usha >> The answer is Yes.

  21. Usha Says:

    Passerby: The noexcuse day huh. sounds good. Am going to try it one day myself.

    Sigma: welcome and I hope you also saw that we share a lot here. So we welcome your inputs. Join the bandwagon!

    Abhilash: !!and a nice quote as always.

    Silkboard: I agree on the power of instincts too.If you bring reason in, then procrastination follows as an uninvited guest.

    Balaji: Aha, good good...