A Merry-Go-Round called Life

When the music stops, make sure you get down happy!

A Merry-Go-Round or a Carousel: My Photography

love Merry-Go-Rounds. Who doesn’t? Well-lit, ornate and with beckoning melodies — Merry-Go-Rounds or Carousels have always been a part of everyone’s childhood. The high that one gets, at going round and round, the feeling of seeing the world whizz past, letting go of your worries, immersing yourself like the kid that you have forgotten to be and enjoying the butterflies that get created in your stomach — make the Carousel a great bait for adults as well!

On new year’s eve, I was on one. The philosopher in me decided to pen down the feelings that i had in those fleeting moments. Thoughts about life and its similarity to the Carousel begged to be typed out. Hence, this heartfelt article on Carousels and Life.

Once we are on, we have no control

We purchase our tickets and we await eagerly for the operator to allow us. We have been watching the carousel go round while waiting, and think of a thousand things — where will I sit, how will I enjoy, what will I watch out for and how I am going to make the most of my ride!

The previous ride finally stops and people disembark the platform. Our queue moves. Our tickets are checked and we are granted admission. With great excitement, we get on board. The lights come on and the music starts. A happy-sounding, but soul-stirring music that will have you hum it for hours after you have got off the carousel!

Then you realise, there is no getting off it until the operator stops the ride! This prepares you for making the most of it!

You now have a life to lead, and knowing pretty well that the end isn’t in your hands, you get ready to make the most of it.

We can’t always get what we want

I have always wanted to sit on a stallion on the carousel. The horses and other pole based seating arrangements have this ability of going up and down as well, in addition to being on the platform that goes round and round.

But sometimes I don’t get it. I will have to settle for Cinderella’s chariot or a dumb looking ornate cup and saucer! I am still on the carousel though, just not in a seat of my choice! Some people are just happy with just being on the carousel, but many aren’t. And there is no reason why they should be!

You might be living, but are you loving what you are doing? When not getting despite your best efforts, have you learnt to love what you have?

The Ups and Downs, the Round and Rounds

There is constant movement. The imagery keeps changing. You see people outside, walking by. When you come around again, they may not be there. The sky darkens, the weather changes, the crowd moves, the music changes, some of the movements change, the sensations that you feel change. The butterflies in your stomach keep fluttering.

Thoughts crowd around, just to thin out a moment later. Long lost memories make a cameo, only to make a hasty exit. Triggers are triggered, memory gates are unlocked, emotions are flushed. You go through a myriad of expressions and emotions, with every rotation. It is like the biggest show is happening within you.

It would be a cliche if I said life is made of ups and downs. But that is what life is all about. Highs and Lows are an integral part. Making memories and creating experiences is what we do, every single minute. Change is what happens, every second. Like the transition of dusk, we go through the ages — the stumbling 10s, the learning 20s, the growing-up 30s, the working 40s, the responsible 50s, the wise 60s, the again-a-child 70s & beyond.

Every single day, you are a different person. Every day feeds you experiences and opportunities. Every day gives you a taste of a different flavour of life. You simply aren’t the same as yesterday!

That’s me — Haven’t lost the child in me!

Everyone goes through life differently

Some kids start crying, some kids wail, some kids lookout for their mothers, some kids investigate the horse’s working, some kids admire the paintwork on the seats, some kids ride with all glee and become famous heroic characters, some kids just sit fascinated, some kids try multiple seats until they find one that they like, some kids experience standing on the platform and test out their bravery, some kids just enjoy the ride sitting in one place.

Doesn’t this remind of what we all do with our lives?

Whatever we do, however we react, Life Happens.

We miss people and places

“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around — and why his parents will always wave back. William D. Tammeus

We cannot absorb too many unknowns at once. That is why we prefer to keep a known item close to heart that reminds us of special people. These guide and give us company during our darkest hours. Kids keep their favourite blanket or toy with them until they grow out of it. People keep photographs. When I was in hostel, I used to store the sweets that my mother used to pack for me and used to have just a tiny bit everyday so that it will last longer!

The kids on the carousel look out for their mother, we look out for our siblings when growing up, we look out for our friends when we are in school or at college, we look out for colleagues when at work, we look out for our spouse through married life, we look out for our adult kids in old age. We miss people all the while. We may not say so, but we certainly do!

“Life is a Merry-Go-Round

We dance to its tunes and add our own jazz,

We flow with its movement,

and add to the razzmatazz.

We enjoy the shakes, the jumps and the hops,

We live it up, until the music stops.”

And when the music stops…

The number of rotations are limited. Every carousel has a fixed time setting. We may be riding the carousel with glee or cowering with fear or would have just stepped out of fear and started enjoying — in all cases, it will stop. Many of us will be eager to get off, while many would want to stay on longer. Doesn’t matter. Life rules.

When the music stops, our time is up. We get off the journey of life, the greatest ride ever.



I transform organisations. I collect life experiences. I share practical wisdom. Happy to Help — Just reach out!

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Bharath Kumar Balasubramanian

I transform organisations. I collect life experiences. I share practical wisdom. Happy to Help — Just reach out!