Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What If. - Mr. Kipling, the pit and the fall. 
If you can keep your head when all about you 

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; 

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 

But make allowance for their doubting too;

Rudyard Kipling's first line of his immortal poem asked everyone a simple, but a very sophisticated question. It seemed simple enough; that old bloke didn't want you to donate someone your head, he just wanted to ask you whether or not you could keep yourself from donating your head all by one's own self. Absurd, but true. I woke up this morning unhappy, gloomy and extremely irritated. My friends were calling me out for tuition but I simply refused, I am snobbish on days like this. With no disrespect to Wednesdays, I have no love for this day (no wonder you were voted the worst day!). So I decided I would not eat anything for as long as I could. I spent my day, procrastinating, listening to some catchy and some particularly vague numbers on the radio and sleeping (now don't we just love to do that). I still had not had any food, and my stomach was pretty much growling away.

With a heavy heart and an empty stomach, my nutrition deprived brain, absent with glucose, began a wild goose-chase. I began an infinite quest to derive my life's meaning, questioning all my decisions and re-visiting every crossroad that I drove through. Then it hit me. I had no sense of ambition or 'lakshya'. My life was a grave pit, an abyss like Tartarus, where my Cronus ambitions were imprisoned by my Zeus-like fate, waiting all eternity to break free. Everyone tried to coax me out of my trance and lighten up a bit. I bluntly refused. I didn't realize that in doing so, I was following an endless chain of people who sulk, one of whom I faced the previous day. I may have said a word or two at the person's insensibility but astonishingly found myself caught in the same emotions that he must have indeed experienced. Although I was swimming a river with a stronger emotional current than my mentioned colleague, it felt as though I was letting myself drown by removing my very own life-vest.

A few springs back, my English teacher asked me a very funny question. It revolved around a story where a circus performer dived fifty feet into a small pool of water. His manager, pumping with amazement, guaranteed him his job and asked him the number of years into his career as a diver. The man was trembling with fear and blurted that it was his first time and that he just wanted to take the plunge to know how it felt once one climbed out of the pool. Everyone was astonished, including me. Then came the question. What did the man think before jumping? Hands shot up around me; almost everyone knew the answer. I had skipped last evening's study hours. A weak digestion process, vulnerable to raw potatoes, I claimed (boys hostels, I tell you). I grimaced and mutter out a vague answer, "He probably wasn't thinking anything, Sir. He wanted to think after he had jumped, before crashing into the water". A few giggles popped out: I was drenching in my own embarrassing sweat. Sir meekly smiled and asked again, "Would you also have done the same Nayan? Take the plunge without thinking?". I nodded in order to avoid further shame. He now carried a plump grin, "Smart answer. I think he is right." I  quizzed back, pondering my positive answer. My teacher than explained that it was the very reason that the man refused the job later on. He jumped without thinking and on the way he realized it was a mistake and that he might probably end up dead. On surviving he ensured that he would never do it again, he had made a mistake.

Then it hit me. I may have made a hell lot of mistakes in my life, but the important thing was that I wasn't stupid to take the same plunge twice. I decided to break fast and dinnered upon a roti and some daal and went up to my friends and apologized for my serene and mystic attitude I wore the entire day. Some groovy music and poor jokes, and I was back on track. It may have to take many more plunges in life, but I must ensure that it doesn't land me a career in professional base jumping! Next time onwards, I decided I would appropriately calculate the height, analyze the impact and spill and then jump if necessary. 

Everyone is a dare-devil, but we shouldn't dress up in red and leave a glowing "DD" sign wherever you go. If you are not Matt Murdock, then you only look stupid.

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