Last week, I saw a group of brave young men, all in their early youth, create a battle for the sake of their ideals, and accept death. I saw their leader fight till the last. He witnessed all his friends fall down around him. He saw himself surrounded by guns. He folded his arms, raised his head, and said, ‘Kill me.’ The guns were raised. ‘Kill me too. I’m with him,’ said another young man who might have escaped the butchery. The youths smiled at each other. The guns did not let the smiles end.
When I read of the end of that brave battle, my thoughts were too busy worrying about the hero. He had been saved in the battle but was still in danger. And I was too busy following his course as he was pulled to safety by the labours of one kind angel. My mind being busy elsewhere, my heart escaped the grief of the end of those brave men. Or so I thought.
Two days later, a chance word heard on the radio revived the almost forgotten scene in my mind. And then I looked anew at the face of that hero who had ordered ‘kill me!’ when he was still so young that his enemy said, ‘It was like shooting a flower.’ I looked one by one at all his comrades. And the grief came rushing and did not loosen its grasp even when the day passed away.
It did not matter that I had met those brave souls only in the pages of a book. (Les Miserables, read my review of the book).
Such is the power of a good book. It grips you, it imbibes in your heart, it shakes your thoughts. And even when you think you have escaped its shadows, you may find that they had entered your heart nevertheless and were only waiting to spring on you at the opportune moment.
I have often been asked about what inspires me. I think much of my inspiration stem from the awesome people I have met. Some real, many fictitious.
The memories and emotions of good books live on long after the reader closes its pages, often altering the reader’s perspective of life. And therein lies the success of the book.
And the very next day, I heard of another death. This time, of a real hero. A more severe loss! Loss of the one whom we all love and admire. Yes, the late Shree A.P.J Abdul Kalam. A man who fought against many odds. A great soul who towered above millions and yet never lost his humility. A legend who inspired respect in one and all. An achiever who inspired the youth of India to aspire and to work hard to fulfill dreams and ambitions. And when he departed, millions across the globe mourned.
He may have left for the heavenly abode, but his aura, his wisdom, his teaching, his inspiration live on.
And therein lies the true success of life.
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