Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hemingway, his old man, and me!

After the failure of 84 consecutive days, the old man got a fish to his hook. Then started the real struggle. The old man had never been defied. He had not lost hopes even after returning with empty hands for eighty four days. For the 85th time, he put his ship in the sea. And this time, he caught his luck. But this was not the final victory. The real victory was in keeping the luck sustained, in getting to shore with it. Here was the real test, real fight -- not with the fish, not the sea -- the fight was with himself, with his luck. The old man knew -- what it happened was too good to get done with it.

Then started teh real fight. The old man easily defied the first shark. Then came many. The old man lost his axe, then went the knife, the the last big stick he had. But the old man did not lose. He stil had hope. His fight was still going on. His body was going against him, but the old man had not lost.

While keeping teh struggle with all his sufferings, all pain, he finally noticed -- the fish, his luck, has almost been eaten up by the sharks. He had nothing to lose now. There was nothing left to fight for. Suddenly, the old man felt very calm. How easy life becomes once you accept the defeat?

It's Sunday! The only leisure day of the week. Why do I need this leisure? -- to do something, to read something! But what if there isn't anything to read. Usually we have Loksatta on Sundays, only on Sundays! And today--saving 3 rupees of Loksatta and adding 2 more to it can buy Tab. Deriphylline -- so Loksatta cancelled.

Then what -- once again Hemingwe's old man! The old man lost the axe fighting against the luck, then his knife, then the last emergency stick -- and finally luck! The old man accepted his defeat and suddenly his life became calm. How easy life becomes once you accept defeat?

Tripped over this line -- how easy life becomes once you accet the defeat? I stopped. It's off all the day. No work. Just have good sleep all over the day. Evening at in-laws. Today is Rajasthan Royals versus Chennai Superkings match. Can watch the match in the evening. Rajasthan Royals should win. No work all the day. How easy life becomes once you accept the defeat.

Suddenly tripped over and stopped. Who accepted defeat? Me? When, where, how? Am I defeated? Is it a defeat to live in comfort? Thought get on whirling!

The old man fought till the last moment. He kept on fighting till the complete defeat. His life was full of struggles, but it was the life of a winner. And mine? Where is the struggle? Is it a struggle to be happy the earning of mere 4 or 5 thousand? Is it a struggle to kill your littlemost wants for financial reasons? It is a damn defeat! Get going with whatever present conditions -- to keep things going as they are -- is a defeat!

What should I be doing at this moment? There is MPSC prelim after 3 weeks -- need to appear UPSC next year. I am struggle-less. I am cool. I have no hopes in my mild. Where do I stand? Am I a winner because I'm liviging a happy-go married life or a defeated one because I am still standing where I was yesterday?

The old man's defeat was not a defeat. It was a victory from another viewpoint. To earn money is another thing, but the feeling of "I am a bit different old man" that nurtures your self -- his struggle ws to make people believe on this feeling. He had lost the fish, but even the skeleton was enough to make people believe that he was indeed a different old man. His defeat was not a defeat at all.

Sunday morning spent with the old man! Shedded some tears. But the old man gave a thump -- Be careful my son, you're going to do a crime.

To lose is not a crime. In some way, the old man was too lost. Real crime is to keep on afloating with whatever comes. Keep on struggling, to put a foot forward from where you are is a victory. To be an xxx is not a victory. It is just a step! The definition of victory is confirmed. Sometimes, an old fisherman too teaches you a lesson for life.
~ Ganesh Dhamodkar

(This is a translation of my own article I wrote about 2 years ago in May of 2008. Translated by myself. )

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