The QuestionAugust 1996. I had recently written, directed, acted & compared a musical street play based on Indianfreedom struggle from 1857 to 1947 when in second year undergrad college. It was a hit. We played itagainst 3500 crowd twice that day. I was popular, everybody recognized me after that day. Teachers,classmates, friends, acquaintances, peons, college not teaching staff, canteen Aunty, and every studentin the college, juniors, seniors, all.Suddenly, one day I was asked a question. What is your purpose in life? Asked by a beautiful and smartgirl, a year junior to me in the short recess in second year college, to which my prompt answer wasignorantly simple, being good and enjoying life. She asked it again. What is your purpose in life? Ismilingly said I have answered, she said no, you haven’t, ask this question to yourself when you havetime to reflect. What is your purpose in life? Quizzed, I left for the class as recess was over.I could not concentrate in class that day. I was feeling uneasy the whole day. A sleepless night all spenton pondering about the 5 minute interaction with an unknown girl in college that day. I did notunderstand the reason for all that. I tried to ignore the question but could not. Time and again it came tome. No escape, no respite. Tired, I traced that girl the next day and asked her, why is it important toanswer that question? Not to you but to myself. Why is it important to know the purpose of your life?She said calmly, a life without a purpose is useless. You are talented, dynamic, confident, young, smartand intelligent, yet you were not aware of your purpose in life. I saw that, it would have been a pity foryourself and many around you if you were not faced with that question. Everyone has to give a call tothis question one day or the other. Yesterday it was your day. Think, what if? The same question was leftunanswered by the freedom fighters of India. Would we have received the gift of freedom by themtoday? Your play was excellent. It shook me and took me to that era of struggle that night. But deepdown I realized by observing your behavior in college after that performance, that you have notanswered that important question. What is your purpose in life?After that day, whenever I felt lost, confused, overjoyed or under stress and depression that 5 minutesinteraction zaps to my mind and I am forced to search the answer, forgetting everything. It is so strong aquestion that no pain, no pleasure, no feeling is over impressed on my mind after it is been asked thatquestion. It’s a very energizing question, a humbling one and a worthy one.It has been with me since that day. Though I have not found the perfect answer to it yet but whateverCHI it gives me is fantastic. It helps me secure my first Post graduation degree. I was selected at the bestschool in the world for studying economics i.e. The London School of Economics and Political Science fora course in environmental policy. It helped me in my professional life, business, family & social life. And Iam sure it will never leave me. Neither do I want to stop asking myself that golden question again andagain and again…. What is your purpose in life?Friends, have you started asking that golden question to yourself?