"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising everytime we fall"
Oliver Goldsmith's above words have been my companion for quite some time - cajolling me, inspiring me, prodding me, waking me, helping me focus - for over four-five years (since I was around 13). Those words had never failed me. That was because I had never failed miserably or fallen hard before.
I had generally been high on confidence, to the extent of parading around with absolute nonchalance. Even when the confidence hits a slight trough, those words had never failed me. Be it sports, or academics, or other extra curriculars, these words had always helped me stay calm and put my best foot forward.
These words had helped me scale my first mountain, my class X exams. When even of my own teachers had little expectations on me, and atleast couple of them thought that I may barely scrap through, these words had motivated me, and made me do well and in the process, break couple of noses as well.
These words had never failed me, untill March 2000 ...
.... I had failed for the first time in a major exam, the very first paper I took in my first semester graduation exams. The graduation exams in which I had promised myself that I will rewrite all records at the university for marks secured, and that I will roast every other of my classmates alive, and make them realize what kind of stuff I am made of. When I had first entered the college, I visualized that at the end of the first semester exams, my classmates will revere me for my multi-tasking abilities.
Come March 2000, I had earned more friends than what I had before. I was also part of the mortals. I was very special, for my marks. I had kept my promise, albiet differently. I had rewritten a record of different sort - that of having scored the lowest mark in the college's history. ZERO. In my very first semester exams.
It was a family funeral. Every body was heart broken, but no body spoke about it. I guess, the people closest to me had that sinking feeling about me, that of shining brightly for a few moments, only to deceive them big time.
With around 40-45 days, for what I considered at that time as my Mount Everest Squared, my CA Foundation exams, my confidence was severely dented. I had doubts, not over the extent of my abilities, but presence of them. If my dreams were shattered, my sense of superiority, the EGO, was battered. And Oliver Goldsmith failed me, for the first time.
After couple of weeks of introspection, which led nowhere, the feelings like a worm, had not died. The realization of having made a fool of myself and others in such a fashion had pushed me to fathoms I never knew existed.
That was untill the fools day, a Saturday, when I read this article in The Hindu, in the sports section, "THERE IS NO GLORY WITHOUT GUTS" by Nirmal Shekar.
The article was a tribute to the living legend "Steve Waugh".
To put in one word about the article - IMPACT!
Never was I moved so much by a news article. Never ever did I expect my salvation in a sports article. The article had everything which one would expect from an epic of a movie. Drama, emotion, passion, facts, great personalities, greater words - everything beautifully entwined around the one little idea called THE FIGHTING SPIRIT, the essense of being a fighter, mentally tough fighter.
To say that I was kicked up, and kicked up big time, would be an understatement. What happened to me in the next one month, was nothing short of a complete transformation - my way of looking at things, events, at people, the qualities one should seek, everything underwent a complete change. To use the cliche, it was the "coming of age" phase in my life.
I would have read the article atleast hundred times over the next one month, and a thousand times over the next three or four years, and I still couldn't get enough of it. It was my treasured possession over the next many years, till I lost it during one of the house shifting.
Nirmal Shekar had effectively helped me realize a lot of things, pertinent ones for living, couple of years before Ayn Rand refined them. I guess without that failure, without coming across that wonderful piece of writing, my life would have certainly been empty. That article, as with Ayn Rands works, have contributed to and defined, to a very very great extent, whatever I am, however I am.
Still experiencing the impact, happily . . . .