by Nikita Mandhani
(Pune, India)

''When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.''

These are the first few lines of a renowned poem by Edgar A. Guest. I think most of you must have read ‘Don’t Quit’ but I do not know how many of you thought of it as deeply as I have always done. I wouldn’t say that is because my life has had a lot of wrongs than rights; not really. Also, there is some sort of an incomprehensible power in every wrong that enters a life; it’s not as wrong as you think it is. I know it hurts. I know it doesn’t seem to end- the struggle, the sting, the disappointment; but, if you open your eyes, you’d know: Everyone around is suffering, in one way or the other. Every heart breaks. Every dream gets shattered. And yet, it strengthens you. You know that. You really do. There may be times when you want to smile but have to sigh; although dear friend, how tough is it to curl your lips into a ‘smiling curve’? Smile, because you want to. I don’t think you need to wait for a better reason to do just that.

''Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out;''

I have seen that there were times when I truly believed that things can’t get any worse, but they did. They really did. Then, I reached that point in time where I was so convinced that I would always be this ‘dead’; you know the way your soul dies. I recognized nothing could get better. I knew life would go on being as agonizing and as terrible. I thought I would never get up. But I did. Miracles, you know. Little miracles. What makes me glad at the moment is that, I know what pain is. I read this quote today by Henry Rollins: “I think about the meaning of pain. Pain is personal. It really belongs to the one feeling it. Probably the only thing that is your own. I like mine.” This did make me reflect on my pain. I can rightfully say- ‘I like mine too.’

''Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—

You may succeed with another blow,

Success is failure turned inside out—

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,''

Yes, I have tried giving up, or may be, I considered trying that. Giving up is not easy. Giving up does not make you who you are. We all are very strong people and every diminutive failure makes us appreciate how strong we are. Think of it. If someone told you about seven years back that you’ll face this crisis and this and that and this (okay, I’d like you to fit in your misery here), what would you have thought? I think I would have said- ‘Huh, don’t tell me I’ll have to face too much. I’d rather die.’ But, you know what? I am living. I am smiling and laughing despite of everything. What does that make me? What does that make you? A lot stronger than you thought you were. Be proud. Every black cloud has a silver lining- that’s where you’ll find yourself.

''And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.''

I am not telling you it’s going to be easy; I am just telling you- it’s going to be worth it. From my end, I pledge that I’ll never quit. I know there is a lot more to endure and cry for; however, I won’t stop being hopeful. I love to hope. Whenever destiny hits me hard, or God does, I plainly tell the both of them- ‘Let’s see what more you can do to break me. I challenge you. I know I am sometimes afraid. But, I dare you to break me down to ashes. You know you can’t, you really can’t.’

Happiness is just around the corner. Life’s beautiful. You’re beautiful. I’m beautiful. Nod your head. Come on, nod your head and say to yourself- ‘Fuck, I never knew I could be this strong.’ (I added the word ‘fuck’ to make it sound more level-headed and cool).

As I bring this to a close, I feel the need to share a quote by Mother Teresa which I tend to associate a lot with my life lately (and with the lives of those around me)

“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”

God, are you listening?

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