Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Staying Alive

“The sun never sets on one's problems“. How true! I had heard this many years ago. Life is such that problems keep cropping up every now and then. I, too, had my share of problems. But the profound statement would surface in my mind and enable me to wade through the problems without getting disheartened.

Once I found myself in such dire straits that there seemed to be no way out. It happened when I had lost my job, which was my only source of livelihood and my only hope of continued education. Things worsened as time passed.

Soon a day came when I did not know as to how to arrange for the next meal.

The wolf was standing at the door. Several days went by one after the other with nothing but plain water to subsist on. And I had no one around to look up to. I had huge responsibilities to fulfill and so the thought of suicide could never enter my mind.

How did I muster the courage to get over the calamitous situation? First, my faith that this phase would pass. And what fuelled my faith were two priceless books I had read. One of these was the Diary of Columbus. The great mariner and visionary records the progress of his voyage of discovery at the end of each day. It seemed to be an endless sailing through the turbulent waters of the North Pacific Ocean. For days on what Columbus recorded in the Diary was the repeat of a one-line statement: “This day we sailed on, course WSW (west south west)“. No sight of land day after day. Columbus was the only one on the ship who would look forward to the next day with renewed hope while all his mates kept cajoling him to turn back.

The other book that helped boost my dipping morale was Lust for Life. It was about the life, work and struggle of the immortal Dutch painter of the 19th Century, Vincent Von Ghogh, each of whose paintings ironically fetched millions of dollars after his death.

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