Monday, 28 March 2011

Of Strength and Survival !!!

By any chance, sometime during the last week of February this year, you happened to be in the Karamah area of Dubai, near Lamcy Plaza, you would have seen me.

I was waiting for a friend. Karamah is usually a very busy place and the area near Lamcy is more so. So it is pretty evident that I whiled away my time observing the multitude. A gentleman caught my eye. He was dressed for a meeting, but his behaviour in one word was Haywire. He was on the phone, walking from here to there, walking into a financial institution and then out, walking towards the shopping centre and then out and so on. He was on the phone and his manner was hurried as if a train was going to leave.

And then he met a person (presumably the one he was waiting for so anxiously), exchanged a quick greeting and a few notes and he ran into the financial institution. In the meanwhile my friend came, we spoke a while and were about to move to my car. I passed by a car and the man was sitting inside. I’d missed his coming out from the building. He sat still in the car’s driver’s seat. My car was parked opposite his and I just observed him for what seemed like a couple of minutes. His expression was what caught me.

His window was opened just a little and he was staring out of the opening at the sun setting behind Lamcy. His fist on his chin, an upturned face from Rodin’s Thinker and he had a painful look in his eyes. I wouldn’t be guessing if I said that I saw his eyes were glistening with tears but he wasn’t crying. His lips quivered as he tried to maintain a straight face, closed his eyes and mumbled to himself which I’m assuming was a prayer. My friend called me and I realized I’d been staring as he waited to get into the car. We got in and drove out. So did that man. I’d swear I could see him wipe his eyes and smile deeply but then……..

The above is just another episode from any crowd in any city of the world. If you are keen to observe, you will see how we’re part of a world where everyone is alone in the crowd.

Reminds me of a piece of wisdom which goes, “Be nice to everyone you meet, they are all fighting a tough battle of which you have no idea about.”

Take a look around when you are free and waiting in a crowded area. You will see what I mean.

I guess February – March was a tough month for most, no clue why. But most of the people I met had something going on. Some near and dear ones too. Proud to say that all of them have hung in there.

That’s when I realized that the human spirit is an unfathomable thing.
People ask what is the purpose of life. As a muslim, I know that the purpose of life is to Worship Allah.

Hold on though, Worship does NOT mean living an ascetic life. Worship in Islam means doing everything as it is supposed to be done. It goes to the extent where looking at your wife with love is also considered a worship (to Allah not to her ;))

And Worship also means, taking everything that comes at you as you walk through life, EVERYTHING.

No matter what life throws at you, you take it head on, never look away, never back down and absolutely never give up.

Suicide is a cardinal Sin.

And Despairing is as good as going into disbelief.

Allah says in the Holy Quran,
“Allah burdens not a soul beyond what it can bear….” (2:286)

In simplistic terms, it means that if you are given a tribulation, from a thorn prick to a paraplegic body, you are given the mental strength and the grit to bear see it through. It is just a matter of believing it.

These are not just words pulled out of a Motivational speaker’s hat. Nope.
I’ve lived this, but more importantly, I’ve seen people live through worse. I’ve seen my parents grit and bear stuff which would have probably killed me. I’ve seen my best friend give life a run for its money. I’ve seen my brother bear pains too great for his young and confused heart. I’ve seen my sister fight destiny with tears in her eyes and prayers on her lips. I can go on and on about the inspirations in my life. Their strength is something they themselves cannot see, but I can.

The man in the car by Lamcy could not see the transition of helplessness to pain and misery to relief back to helplessness and then to a nervous smile of hope. I could.

I don’t believe strength comes from having resources to take care of your problems.

Strength is something much more deeper, much more complicated than that.

I believe, that it is in your weakest moment is when you actually define the strongest you have in yourself to be. It is in your most helpless situation that you define how much are you going to help yourself.

It is when you are left with no options from life, that you decide that it’s time to make your own options. The realization that you’ve hit rock bottom and the only way is Up. If not directly upwards, then sideways and THEN up!

At the risk of sounding repetitive, The strongest steel is actually forged in the hottest of fires !!

If you’ve followed the Adidas Campaign with Mohammad Ali, you’ll know this bit from the marketing quote: “Impossible is not a fact, it’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration, it’s a dare. Impossible is potential, Impossible is temporary, Impossible is nothing!”

Now re-read that statement, only this time, replace Impossible with Weakness ;)

See what I did there??

It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it only matters how many times you get up again.

In mathematical terms, in life, you are not a failure if you fall “X” number of times.
You are a failure only if you do not get up “X+1” amount of times.