Snakes and Ladders

I am always told that we should not become participants of a rat race. In the same breath I am warned that I should work harder to become someone. The quest is not to do something, it is all about becoming someone.

What I think? I would say it is no sin to go wrong or just living idly for some time. If you did not work hard that is because in subconscious you did not feel the pull for that particular endeavour. That might have resulted in an option forgone. A chance missed, thousands more to come. No big deal!

In the prestigious IITs, one or more students commit suicide every year. Young boys with bright futures ahead. They lived with a constant guilt of time they have wasted and opportunities they lost. They often had less achievements than their peers. They were exhorted to achieve their true potential which was theoretically and rightfully, infinite. So they felt like underachievers. People around them added emphasis on the ‘under’ and ignored the ‘achievers’. As a result someone envied by millions others committed suicide.

What we fail to realize is that life is not a race on tightrope. It is a game of snakes and ladders. If you have a ladder nearby, work to catch it. If you miss, it’s all right, just keep moving. If you get bitten, No problem! go search for a ladder nearby. Just keep rolling the dice!

For every ladder you have climbed, a snake is awaiting just round the corner. For every snake who bit you, life will compensate with a ladder albeit at a distance.

In a perverse paraphrasing of a movie dialogue: bus, train, ladki aur opportunity; ek jaye to doosri aati hai.


A wonderful quote says, “Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted!” Because the world is not rational, we don’t need to be either.


PS1: Snakes and Ladders was invented in India many centuries ago to teach virtues and vices at different stages of life. Of course the ultimate aim was to attain moksha.

PS2: Mathematically, if the dice is rolled a large number of times, the cumulative probability of finishing the game comes close to 1. (It’s around 175 in a chart on wikipedia. Link here)