Fear is just a state of mind, so is fearlessness

 

As a child , I used to get very anxious whenever I  got sick and was prescribed an injection by the doctor. My mind kept imagining the moment when the syringe would be brought near my arm and the extreme, agonizing and intense pain which I will have to bear after that. I used to pray that my parents forget the date of my next vaccination. I still have in my mind  the distinct image of myself  tightly clasping the hands of my mother whenever the terrible needle was being injected in my arm. Continuous reassurance by her failed to curb the intense anxiety that I would feel at the sight of a needle.

One evening my  father had  invited one of his old friends  with his family  for dinner.  He had gone to college with this friend but after college they went their separate ways. I had heard about them from him several times  but was meeting their family for the first time. The couple had a son Gaurav who was ten years old and their daughter Ekta was just six or seven. The children were very well mannered and cheerful. We got along well.  My mother came and asked me and my brother  to take them to our room and   play with them. They went with us to our room. The boy was like any child of that age- hyperactive, candid and addicted to video games. The girl, though only seven years, had a calm, composed and serene face and  seemed to be a happy go lucky child. We were playing in the room as if it was a football field.

The girl was wearing a long skirt and was carrying herself with grace and poise unlike children of that age. Then, suddenly, her brother, who was running around in the room lost his balance  and fell on her.She   slipped on the floor. It looked as if her right leg had come off. I was barely able to stop a scream. Then I saw that it was actually a prosthetic limb which she had in place of her right leg.

The girl didn’t cry or utter a single word. She just pulled her “leg” with her small arms and tried to fix it back herself as if she was simply wearing her shoes. After that she said ,”what should we play now?”, as if nothing had happened. I was still shocked and was repeatedly looking at her. I came to know that she had met with  an accident two years back. Her right leg had been completely crushed and had to be amputated. She used to wear only long skirts or trousers whenever she went out  so that she appeared normal. Her mother told my parents that she never said no to an injection (she had to take many injections after the operation). In fact, she never got depressed and was brave enough  to inject herself with great skill and precision. I couldn’t help admiring her. How can a person so young have such big issues to deal  with and still remain happy and cheerful.Does she not inspire everyone who meets her? Doesn’t she set an example for others to emulate.  She looked at my face which was in a state of shock and surprise. I  remember her innocent expression even today, how  she got up immediately and without getting perturbed ,    said in her enthusiastic voice   “Let us play “.

That night my father, mother, I  and my brother sat together for a long time. We discussed about the little girl and the terrible tragedy which she went through at that early age . Her indomitable  spirit was beyond my comprehension. The inspiration which I got after meeting that girl has left a life long impression on my mind. The day  my swimming teacher asked me to dive for the first time from the 15 meter high diving board, I did not think twice. Just went up the stairs and jumped.Unlike my fellow sky divers, I did not hesitate even for a moment when I had to take the next step and jump from the training aircraft. The  determined look  of that little girl has made me fearless for the rest of my life. She taught me the biggest lesson of my life. I stopped being  afraid of any kind of adverse situation, any type of anticipated failures and of course   from  injections since that day.

Piyush Mordia

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Fear is just a state of mind, so is fearlessness

  1. Beautifully written. My heart goes out for the little girl. Life has somu h to offer. Why dwell on problems. I know this individual who lost both legs but did not give up hope and now he has artificial legs but does all his wk himself. Such people are an inspiration to all of us

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  2. Another beautifully penned down emotive post but , this time around, I BEG TO DISAGREE with your observations dear blogger. It’s a rather lengthy comment but I insist that you may please read on…
    (I would like to state upfront that, though the narrative in my comment , largely, pertains to certain happenings in India, my country, I do not mean to imply that the other less or even more progressed nations are any different or better. Indi a is my country, and l shall always continue to admire, love and accept it with all its strengths and weaknesses.)
    Agreed my dear blogger, “FEAR IS A STATE OF MIND, AND SO IS FEARLESSNESS ”, but this state of mind itself is rather fluid, far from static, and practically too complex for us to ever hope to accurately decode. Brain, till date, continues to be an enigma, which no laws of arithmetic have the power to resolve. Despite all our convictions and claims of having learnt our lessons from life and achieved enlightenment, we can, at best, have only a superficial understanding of the thought processes of an active brain. Life is far too intricate for anyone to completely demystify. Often, what the eyes are allowed to perceive, may not always be the truth at all!
    Another fact that makes me rather perturbed is this innate tendency to glorify (actually undermine) someone’s sufferings by painting a valiant picture of him/her smiling down, stoically, from a pedestal towering above all the ordinary mortals. The piece on the inspiring tale of the young girl Ekta is a case in point. It comes as no surprise given the fact that the blogger claims to be from a state where until recently cases of Sati pratha, despite an official ban, were still being reported periodically. In this ancient barbaric socio-religious custom, hapless widows bedecked in bridal finery were forced to alight the pyres of their dead husbands and were burnt alive in the presence of hundreds of heartless spectators drowning their pleas and shrieks under chants of “Sati Mata ki Jai” (Long live the virtuous woman ) before being, posthumously, exalted to the status of Devis (Goddesses). Later, thousands of men and women flocked to the sati sthal (the site of immolation) to worship and pay obeisance to Sati Mata as stories did the rounds of how she had fearlessly alighted the pyre despite all persuasion, and smilingly let the dancing flames engulf her frame with the husband’s head placed, lovingly, in her lap. The many ‘Sati Mata ka Mandirs’ (temples devoted to such women) dotting the landscape of Rajasthan are a mute witness to this macabre celebration of murder or suicide in public.
    For those who find it hard to relate to the woes of a Sati, I would like to cite a more recent case where one of the most gruesome gang rapes happened in a moving bus in Delhi, the Capital of India, around 4 years ago on December 16. The horrific tale of the poor victim, a paramedic student, who was badly humiliated, and tortured before being thrown out on the street, naked with her intestines hanging out shook up the entire nation. For the first time in recent history, people from all walks of life, took to the streets and unitedly demanded justice for her and her family. The poor girl later succumbed in the hospital, only to be reborn and renamed as yet another Devi : “NIRBHAYA” (fearless). In the absence of a sensitive, competent and devoted police force, speedy justice, strong legal deterrents, honest and strict implementation of the existing laws, and deteriorating moral values, many more such incidents have continued to happen ever since in different parts of the country. That, it should actually be the perpetrators of such crimes who ought to be branded as “NIRBHAY AND NIRLAJJ” (fearless and shameless) no one seems to have given any thought to. Sadly, each hapless victim of such savagery is being given the same label “Nirbhaya.” Has anybody tried to pause even briefly and reflect deeply on what would have been the actual state of mind of these poor victims in those final moments while they were being brutally vandalized and subjected to this very painful and humiliating death? Whenever I read about any such incident, my mind’s eyes can’t help visualizing the chilling scenes from their last moments, the pleading eyes, the widely dilated pupils, the faces all bathed in tears , blood and grime, the bleeding trembling lips, the folded hands begging to let them go! Can any sane mind still believe those poor victims had no fear on their minds while they were being brutalized!!
    Now coming back to Ekta, the little girl in the post. It is quite possible and praiseworthy that she had actually managed to conquer fear at such an early age . But is it also not possible (even remotely) that this sweet, lively, little girl was only putting up a brave front so to protect her loved ones from hurt and sadness? Could it also not be possible that the hurriedness to get up and play again was actually an effort to deflect the discomforting gaze of the shock-stricken blogger and thwart the usual questions and exclamations likely to be made in such situations “Oh! you poor girl..How did it happen”, “so sad..does it really hurt” etc etc.
    FURTHER, NEITHER CAN THE FEELING OF FEAR ITSELF NOR FEARLESSNESS BE DUBBED AS ABSOLUTE. Both of these emotions are fairly relative, flexible and likely to be influenced by what one considers to be actually at stake under a given situation at a given point in time: life, comfort, love, health, wealth, property, reputation and so on and so forth. The list of what one holds dear is endless, divergent and ever changing, and so are the fears. Were it not for the fear of invoking the wrath of God, hurting the loved ones, getting private lives splashed across newspapers or undergoing a humiliating post- mortem examination (read molestation), so many more people would have taken the flight to the creator from an overbridge. That, they are found to be still alive and battling their troubles is NOT a result of bravery, but a deep sense of fear they fail to surmount!!
    I am impressed that the blogger has triumphed over fear of life and injury as he/she claims to have done. Perspectives vary, however, and life alone may not be so precious a blessing for all. It certainly isn’t precious enough for me! But has he or she also managed to conquer the far more common but disproportionately least advertised of all fears which linger deep within the hearts of most ordinary human beings (mind you, I am NOT referring here to Devis & Devtas): the fear of being caught while lying, making false promises ,cheating on someone, absconding from work, bunking classes etc. Doesn’t one often resort to lying for the fear of hurting a loved one? Doesn’t the fear of reporting late for work, messing up a speech or function, getting poor grades or inability to crack an entrance test, missing a train or flight, finding a lizard in the dashboard (of one’s car)or a frog in one’s shoe often steal a good night’s sleep? Is it really an act of fearlessness that makes people refrain from truly paying taxes or disclosing their property to the government? Is it fearlessness again which makes people deny all wrong doings, and publicly disown their own kids, their less privileged, less stylish or ill clad friends and relatives ….?? MOVING ON IS EASY, BUT CONQUERING FEAR DEFINITELY ISN’T!!….
    Even Hitler, acknowledged as the most ruthless and fearless of all World leaders of his times (as well as of all times to come), ultimately shot himself when faced with the fear of having to accept defeat…FEAR MY DEAR BLOGGER, IS NOT ABSOLUTE NOR CAN FEARLESSNESS EVER BE…!!!

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