Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hoping for hope ...

At times, you genuinely feel that life couldn't possibly get any worse. An endless tirade of letting down people and no matter how much you try, you screw up. With tears in your eyes, you imagine those times when you fought with your parents to let you take up humanities because chemistry, physics and biology couldn't make you happy. Even as a child contentment mattered more you, much more than grades or an occasional praise from a school teacher.

"You don't understand," you said, "I want to write because that is the only thing I can do. The only thing I can ever be good at." Such blatant disregard of parental authority was of no use. Their willingness to make you multitask and attend two tuition for each subject since you clearly no good at it, didn't help either. But in one of those unimaginably boring classes you did manage to meet an amazingly stupid guy, who still believes in you, especially when you don't.

It is futile to be stuck up in past, but when you have fought for your way for half a decade, it is a worthless feeling to even
consider that you might not be meant for what you have forever aspired towards. That you are indeed, mediocre, and to let go, is for the best.

But then life has its ways. This particular week, when I have been the most uninspired, the most wonderful things have happened to me.

1. A book - As always, your moment of redemption is when you read. It's thrilling to vicariously experience a multitude of feelings and travel across years, generations, places. This week it was Antony Shadid's House of Stone. A two time Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist's determination to re-build the house of his forefathers house in Marjayoun, Lebanon.

Born and brought up in Okhlahoma, Sahdid was the Foreign Correspondent for Washington Post and then the New York Times, he covered the Middle east for the last fifteen years. A reporter had once asked the father of two, "Why do you keep going back to war zones?" and Shadid had most assiduously replied, "I am covering the middle-east. And war is what's happening in the middle-east." and he went about how it was important for him, to witness the revolution, to somehow believe that, "if you are not there, the story wont be told."

Shadid died in Syria in February 2012 (a couple of weeks before his book's release), while reporting the on-going conflict. A week into the project, he was escaping from the country, returning to his family waiting for him on the other side of the border, in Turkey. He passed away on his way, after an acute asthma attack.

And even though, I am just half way through the book, Shadid's resilience is what keeps me going these days.

2. Search Engines
- All hail the internet for magically producing before you the most hopeful things, which you couldn't possibly encounter otherwise. A certain boy with Spinal Muscular Distrophy starts a blog and decides to laugh at his nightmare, of his muscles wasting away over time.

Another boy with a board with the following words inscribed, "Kiss me, I am desperate". It's funny but, an act of kindness has never hurt.

A mother's first meeting with the recipient of her 13 year old daughter's heart, who passed away in a Skiing accident. Miraculously, her heart continues to beat inside a 40-year-old mother of two.

3. Wonderful people at work. Who keep looking out for you. Get you presents, guide you and make you laugh even you are the most miserable.

And then you realise, the biggest let down would be, if you stop trying and stop dreaming. If you stop believing that one day you are going to interview Shahrukh Khan or study at NYU. Life is too beautiful and blessed to be bogged down by thoughts of constant discouragement. If you are unhappy doing something, quit. But if there is an iota of curiosity to just stick around and see what happens, take it up and pursue it will all your heart.

As I have realised, life might be distressful, mundane and frequently depressing. But the question is, what are you going to do about it?

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