God thus made three kinds
The Moon, the Stars & the laggers behind
Everyone warms up to a success story, because of the very simple reason that nothing is more rejoicing, more uplifting and more inspiring than success. But having tasted not very many measures of that nectar in life I reserve my vote for just the opposite – the dreaded failure. Remember Prof. Veeru Sahasrabuddhi’s famous assertion in that classic ‘Three Idiots’ – “There is no point racking your brains over who stepped second on the moon because it’s not worth recollecting.” Well, that was with reference to the ‘moonwalker’ who succeeded Neil Armstrong. But what about those sleepless owls who have merely stared at the moon night after night and never found the ladder to climb up to it. For me even the gawking got harder, with increasing myopia, an-out-of focus moon getting dimmer by the night and the distance between my terrace and her canopied porch more and more fuzzy and unchartable.
None the less, failures have their own brand value. Here, I am talking about those diligent, single-minded, unfalteringly focused beings who somehow manage to rise up from the ashes of burnt down calories over self-set targets and dust the debris off their persons to charge afresh to put in that extra dash of effort into their already failed mission with the hope that they would be able to make it this time…and the exercise continues forever… till the ‘n‘ of the mathematical myth ‘to the power n’ assumes a whole new paradigm. Crux of the missive, failures are those, who by some unfathomable means, withstand rejections, fiascoes, despairs and miraculously bounce back to persevere uphill one more time like the resolute Zodiac goat of the Capricorn. But after all a goat is a goat is a goat.
“Darr ke aagey jeet hai” is the ad-age driving the go-getters, the milestone achievers. Failures, the ardent disciples of Robert Bruce, tripping over hurdles and obtusely haggling with obstructions, have nothing more to fear than their own misguided hopes, because you see veteran failures never fail to fail. It is of utmost relevance at this point to make an urgent distinction between the revered failures and those lousy lazy heads who never try their level best even if they fail to achieve or those who choose to succumb to a morbid end too soon. Remember the golden axiom of life, “nahin suptasya sinhasya pravishanti mukheh mrigaah…” The deer never trots into the mouth of the sleeping lion on its own which implies that those who do not try hard enough cannot hope to fail or achieve. So the thumb rule is to keep at it even if the deer disappears in the wilderness or chooses to hop into the competitor’s cavernous hole of a mouth.
Readers must have by now figured out that I am one of the worthy representatives of the respectable clan of universal non-achievers. There are ample instances to prove my worthiness as under:
I was always an average student, (though not in conviction), cocksure that someday I would leave behind an outstanding academic legacy for posterity. Well, that someday is yet to dawn.
Children in their various phases of growing up cherish varied dreams. My cousin, in his pre-teens, nurtured this unshakable belief that he was born to become a tram driver. My best buddy in school was passionate about classical dance and followed her chosen goal. I was always clueless as to what I wanted to be. Yet I was habituated to day dreaming and whiled away hours in, as my father would say ‘unproductive thinking’, wasting precious study time, which could have stood me in good stead, had I employed my mind with equal amount of assiduity in the latter. But an incorrigible dreamer knows no reasoning. And as the water-blue sky hunched down to my window and the young leaves of the Neem tree tickled the panes I had this intense longing to wander away into those unfound lands where human idiocy had not found a way to tamper with Nature’s tranquility. This wanderlust persisted till harsh realities and responsibilities of life drove the aimlessness of a vagabond out of the window.
Coming back to those crucial formative years – every Bong girl has to learn how to sing a “gaan” which is as essential as appearing for the CBSE Board Exam. So, following the quintessential Bangaali tradition (with an extra emphasis on the ‘a’) I was put under the tutelage of a recalcitrant guru whose insistence upon regular riyaaz spun me into an overdrive albeit with a secret hope that one desultory afternoon R.D. Burman strolling past my ‘baari’ would soon discover one of India’s prodigious talents (boisterously belting out benign bandishes) in me. (Please note that I am talking about an era when avenues like Indian Idol or Sa-Re-Ga-Ma-Pa was unheard of.) Alas! (wo)man proposes and God disposes. In this whole ambitious project what actually transpired was my pet Mr. Snow Boot developed a fascination to match his grunts and growls with my pitch and octave whenever I sat down to exercise my vocals so much so that it became a standing family joke that Snow loved to play the duet with me.
And then came spring…with all its blushing blooms. A time when the cheeks go rosy and the eyes are tinted with a gleam. A time when an overzealous Cupid stresses himself out piercing the hearts of the fledglings with his love tinged arrows. The inevitable could have happened with me too had I not descended on this Earth as the Chosen-One for God’s PFPM (Premeditated Failed Plan Mission – abbreviated). The handsome boy with the shy grin who stalked us to the bus stop and sauntered around the college gate turned out to be vying for my best mate and I ended up boundary managing their budding romance, providing them moral support as well as my shoulder blades at times of tearful roothna-manaana sessions and copying down copious volumes of class notes for both me and my love-swoon afflicted friend.
Forging ahead, paapi pet ka sawaal overtook all other priorities in life. Youth with its wide-eyed innocence, bursting with idealism and a sincere wish to do something worthwhile knocked the glass-doors of the corporate behemoths for roti-rozgaar. Here, I might say, I fared better. The first few years saw ‘a bright eyed & bushy tailed’ me ploughing on non-stop a rocky terrain which was far less arable than my imagination would let me believe. Two and a half decades later I am pained to conclude that merit and hard work are not the only ingredients of a flourishing career.
Doomed in career, creativity and matters of the heart wizens one up, of course, the hard way. Extending that summation to my creed, all failures are like uncut diamonds – rich in untapped wisdom painstakingly hauled out of life’s harrowing experiences. One just has to wipe off the layers of grime without to be dazzled by the shine within but be careful chances are that you may graze your fingers by cinders smoldering underneath.
In brief, failures dream big. They are the indisputable survivors of personal disasters. And last but not the least, endowed with a razor-sharp instinct, the one thing that a failure never fails to do, is recognize a compatriot in the crowd – a fellow failure. When I see that dewy-eyed, worshipful approach towards work, the unquestioning loyalty towards the loved ones and the decisive desistance to trample past a co-runner towards the finishing line in the marathon of winning and gaining, I sit back with a relaxed smile and say to myself, “There goes an indefatigable failure in the making.”
Befriending hurdles, a seasoned failure marches ahead unperturbed. However, a bumbling fresher, unconscious of his/her latent potentials, occasionally needs prescribed dozes of pep talk. I deemed to be the former, have elevated myself into a self-styled motivator. My advices to the weaklings are like those daadi maa ke gharelu nuskheys, simple and very, very effective – the only difference being my verbose medication is not for turned toes, sprained ankles, runny noses or squeezy tummies. Lo! I embalm dizzy heads, sew infracted hearts and blow-dry soggy souls:
• Never give up on HOPE
• Don’t blame yourself for the disaster that has devastated you and your life
• Talk and let the toxic angst and anguish out of your system
• Immerse yourself in WORK or some other physical activities, preferably, which you have never undertaken before
• Don’t give yourself time to brood over what did not happen
• Give yourself TIME – the greatest healer of all medicines
• Don’t think that a broken dream is the end of the world though it may seem so for the time being. There is MORE to life.
• Pull yourself up and focus all your reserves to SURVIVE the carnage
• BELIEVE in the Dalai Lama when he says, “ Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck”, and
• Just MOVE ON
Having said all that, I may as well confess that there are those mornings and evenings when I am not myself. When granny’s home-made antidotes just don’t seem to work. When despondency has the better of me and destiny like a speck in the horizon recedes further and further away , intractable and ungraspable. When I feel like a stranger hunting for an unknown address and time shifts like grains of sands from under my feet.
Catch me if you can says the westward drooping sun and the faraway stars fail to lit the path rendered a shade darker by a melancholic moon. It is then that the wilting heart pops up questions difficult to answer: “Isn’t there one tiny ray of light left anywhere in the slimmest corner of this teeming Universe of zillion constellations which can be my guiding vision? Isn’t there that single prayer amidst long hours of soulful submission which can awaken faith and courage in the face of deception and dejection? Isn’t there that one single sweet angel who shall nod a yes when I stretch my arms towards eternity and implore for mercy and redemption?”
And the wind that hurries past my window, holds its breath in foreboding silence for just a wee second, and then bursts out in return: “There is…there is….there is…”
Foot Note: A first person narrative does not necessarily indicate an autobiographical post!