Windshield Vs Rear-View Mirror

I met an old friend yesterday, and he was kind enough to drop me off at my place last night – it was almost midnight.

The serenity of one’s thoughts improve dramatically during late evenings and early mornings, and I have repeatedly observed this phenomenon.

While driving, my friend discussed topics which has impacted his career and life over the past few years, and I mentioned a few of my life experiences briefly as well. After a while, he became contemplative and mentioned that he did not feel that bad or seriously affected by past happenings in his life.

He asked me “do you know why the windshield of the car is so much bigger than the rear-view mirror ?”.

I was groping for an answer, when he went on and said “this is because one has to spend more time looking forward or ahead, rather than looking backward – so the windshield is much bigger than the tiny rear-view mirror in comparison”.

I thought through that statement – while it is evident why that observation is absolutely correct and meaningful, I cannot but emphasize how we are all affected in multiple ways by things which have already happened in our lives in the past, and how we keep brooding about them.

That is a sheer waste of time, because time and opportunity has already been lost. While learning from the same is possible (and sometimes desirable), starting life afresh with new thoughts and approach might have a much greater impact on one’s life than what has transpired in the past.

This brings me to one of my favourite topics – why countries such as India and China (and many other Eastern nations) pride themselves on their history rather than on what lies in store for them. The ancient history and religions have impacted our lives in South and East Asia so much that we often spend time glorifying our past (even the inglorious parts of it) rather than strategize for the future. While China has moved on, you can still see that often it refers to its past such as the Japanese occupation for instance. India has always been engrossed in its past, and how glorious it was – sometimes politics demands that people be misled with such an approach rather than the indeterminate future !

Well, well, I can be distracted writing like that. What is crucial is for us to realize how important it is to move ahead without much of the baggage which often characterizes our lives. That way we can see ahead with clarity and also enjoy what is left of our lives. I will write soon about the significance of our lives to the survival of this planet Earth (if you are curious what that is all about, just hang on – my thoughts are flowing and I just need to find some time to serenely capture those ideas and cast them in writing !).

Have a great weekend !


Vijay Srinivasan
15th Sep 2013


2 thoughts on “Windshield Vs Rear-View Mirror

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s