It Is a Simple Story

The heart of the matter, simply put, is I am afraid.

It is all very well for my intellect to argue that FEAR is an acronym for False Expectations Appearing Real.

If something is patently false and just conjured by your imagination to trick your mind into believing such that you are thrown into a state of mental and physical paralysis one would expect a clear thinking individual would be able to easily jump over that fictitious hurdle. But no, here I am and here it is.

What I am looking at is not a rejection slip. Matter of fact and to the point I am asked by the agent to restrict my manuscript to eighty thousand words and put a stop to that tendency I have to ramble.

You would think acceptance would have me jumping hoops with joy and cheering from the rooftops but no, ever since the email has come I am sitting with a finished manuscript in hand, debilitated with fear.

Imagine a verbose woman at a loss for words, a woman with an exceptionally high EQ or emotional intelligence unable to comprehend what’s the snag within causing a complete system failure.

I am not afraid of failure. Had I been I would never have picked a pen and kept picking the pen no matter how many rejection slips were mailed my way and that the rejection slips always outnumbered the acceptance slips.

I am not afraid of success. Had I been I would not have tossed my hat in the arena so many times in different competitions- debates, declamations, poetry, dance, theatre… If my heart has asked for it I have always with a confidence that has often astonished many jumped into the fray, beaten all odds and emerged victorious.

There was a poetry recitation competition in our school when I was studying in the sixth. Since sixth was considered high school the contest was open to all classes from sixth to tenth. One of the girls I was competing against had won the inter-school debate competition so this was considered cakewalk for her. To top it off she had chosen to present Walt Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain! The one poem guaranteed to have the audience reaching for their handkerchiefs to wipe their tearing eyes and the judges for their pens to grant perfect scores. I had with my brash brand of self-confidence chosen to recite a poem I had written myself, a poem nobody knew and whose literary merit was to all a question mark.

And I won that competition. The judges loved my poem as much as they loved its presentation. She put so much emotion in the first line she forgot the succeeding lines. It was but momentary but that momentary pause cemented my victory.

I have never been afraid of success because of a spiritual guidance from the epic parable of talents in the Bible. God gives talents to us all. He expects us to use our talents to the maximum and multiply our talents growing our stature to the best of our ability. If we do not use the talents entrusted to our stewardship they will be taken away and bestowed on another more worthy.

A man going on a journey summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them.

To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability.

Then he went on his journey.

The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work and gained five more.

In the same way, the one who had two gained two more.

But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it.

After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them.

The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’

The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’

His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’

Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

But his master answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. For the one who has will be given more and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’”

Lord Krishna in the Immortal work The Bhagvad Gita exhorts us to act.

Do thou perform your bounden duty, for action is superior to inaction and even the maintenance of the body would not be possible for you by inaction.

It is a moral obligation to shine so why am I stepping back from taking the final plunge?

Could it be somewhere along the way from childhood to maturity I learnt to be a coward?

Then it has to be a conscious decision to break free of the shackles of mistakes and reorient my mind. To show myself the roadmap I have charted for myself and urge myself on through this valley where no one can see me running alone the marathon of life.

I am self-motivated to succeed. Just the armor of my faith will see me through that I am doing my duty by acting and in action I will find the answers I am seeking in life.

This then is the right thing to do. To collect my confused thoughts that have left me paralyzed and dump them in the garbage bin. A confused mind cannot act.

It then is a conscious decision to clear my mind, remove the distractions of the demands my duties place on my time and pursue with all my heart that which fulfills me that completes me and makes me happy with all my heart.

I love to write and hence I write. I love to reach to you.

How do I start this story? What do you want to hear?

I don’t know your tastes, your interests.

If I saw you or you saw me say across a supermarket aisle chances are we would not stop to wave for how do we recognize each other?

We have not met.

Honestly I don’t know to what extent I want to share with you or, why?

I think it important for you to read this- should that be reason enough?

A question nags in my mind- isn’t this too presumptuous of me?

To think I know what you need when I do not know who you are. To think I can help, I can offer you ease… an understanding… of our human situation.

I think I am going to take the plunge. I am going to leap off this edge and hurl my body through the wind resistance right into the cold water below. Seeing its India, the land of eternal summer, dust and heat I feel that no onerous task.

I will relish that moment of impact when I break through the surface tension. I will curl my body as if a babe in its mother’s womb when I travel deep where even light diffuses.

I will touch bottom before I flex and open like a flower turning to the sun. I will propel myself forward and upward to break through the surface tension again cutting it this time with new direction, energy fueled by a desperate desire to breathe… to live… to begin… anew.

If you possess a warm body, if a heartbeat throbs I know I can reach you. More importantly I can inspire your response because I… can… make…you…move.

© Ruby Mohan

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