Even a person lacking the most basic exposure to the philosophies of life and the world would have heard, paused and pondered about 'living life in the moment.'
To shut your mind off, and put all your senses, full blast, into absorbing everything around you in the greatest possible detail, along with what you feel as a reaction, without the influence of what can be or what could have been, is a superhuman task.
The saddest part of it all, infact is that the more we grow up, mature, age, the more we lose this remarkable ability, having been tempered by life's ups and downs to regret, fear and procrastinate.
The truth, although, is very simple.
It's the moments that we do manage to 'live in' that we hold within us forever.
Cut to May 2004.
A little-known, rocky, raging, typical Himalayan river, the Tons. I'm in a raft with my Dad, my sister, my brother and the rafting camp coordinator, Nalin Uncle.
The setting: Virgin pine forests around us, the roaring blue Tons, the atmosphere thunderously holding its monsoony breath as we go screaming past rapid after rapid, body surfing in the calm stretches of the river, the still-innocent 13 year old me scared of crocs biting my behind, underwater.
As we approach the next stretch of rapids, with my stomach in my mouth because they're getting tougher and tougher, I see my 5 year old brother holding on to the rope ring line in the front of the raft.
We go blasting down the next stretch, and he squeals with the thrill as his legs go flying in the air, hands still holding onto the line for dear life.
There's a song in my head.
'Chale jaise hawayein' from the movie Main hoon na. We'd bought the cassette (yes, those) right before heading outta home and had been singing along with all the songs as we'd driven up to the rafting camp in this little heaven, a small place called Mori, 2 days ago.
Suddenly, more rapids.
My brother sticks his paddle into the river, it jams between 2 rocks and snags underwater.
"Oh! Usne pakda!"
Nalin uncle and Dad roar with laughter at his childish fear of 'things lurking underwater'.
Screaming and bouncing, we cross the last rapid, into the calm stretch flowing into our camp.
The river diverges and I break into a song as our raft approaches meadows and I see mom waving at us from in front of our tent.
"Chalein jaise hawayein sanan sanan"
My sister joins me and we take one last jump in the river, the cool monsoon wind in our faces, hell be damned.
From my moment. It's a secret place in my head that makes me happy no matter what I do, or where I am.
Just like millions of other moments locked away in the recesses of my memory, accessible to me and only me at my own will.
Untampered, unviolated, vials of happiness.
I think I'm incapable of generating the same, of even comparable intensity, anymore. Maturity has taken its toll. I'm human after all.
I'm lucky. Extremely so.
Because mostly, as we perceive it, the world is a hostile place.
But there're still some things that are sacred.
Some instances at which you say,
"This, I keep."
And those, I kept.
Thus, I’ve lived.