“Please god , please god, please god” I prayed decades ago. 17 years ago to be exact. The 12th standard results were out. I had to commute to school to get the grades. I was young, quite possibly dumb and definitely clueless about the way of life. I secretly made a pact with god for a sign. If I could spot a red car, then I guessed my grades would be good. If I spotted a black one, it would be a shaky start to a possible pointless future. I believed in the pact with all my heart.
That road to the school felt uncomfortably long that day. I couldn’t spot neither colors for a while. This felt unusual because red and black were and still are quite popular colors as far as cars go. I think I spotted a black one first. My heart sank. By then, I had renegotiated my terms with god. I had swapped black for yellow and red for white. Still nothing though. I spotted black and then consoled myself by placing my faith in the renegotiated contract. The results were inevitable. The numbers had already defined the course of my life. I had given up that day. I passed. A lot of shit happened and a course correction later, I think school and grades are behind me now.
That little boy did grow up a lot. I guess somethings seldom change. So there I was this evening, making another such treaty with god. Please play this song, I prayed. The ipod was on shuffle, I was on the treadmill. The next immediate song, I wished upon it to be the sign from god. The song came and so did a quick bout of renegotiation. The immediate next song became best of 5 songs. Best of 5 soon became ‘play my song before I give up running’. The prayers had changed fast. The battle was on. God versus the desires of the heart.
The song continued to evade me. I refused to give up. 5 minutes later the song changed and I silently prayed. Another 5 passed and another prayer made. God wasn’t interested in listening to my prayers this evening. There was another thing that was growing certain. I was competing with myself today. It was an endurance test of sorts. At any point in time, all I had to do was give up running, call it an evening and that would be it. It would be the defacto sign from the big G. I could give up, but I wouldn’t. I ran till I felt exhausted. The miles kept turning, the calories burnt kept piling up. That song never came. My determination stood strong and firm.
My mind wandered a lot in the hour that I ran. It took me from one memory to another. I felt gripped by all the emotions that I could muster. There was love, there was anger. There was resentment, there was stoic coldness. There was a lot of care and there was a profound disappointment. As the tracks kept changing, the prayer stayed strong. That song never did come.
Exhaustion started kicking in. It was for both the mind and the body. How could I give up now? It was a test of will. How could I give up knowing that I had to give up? It symbolized my acknowledgement and acceptance of the inevitable. I put up a futile fight against that inevitable. With each breath, I was proving a point and being a fool. There was no balance in that moment. There was no voice of reason. All that stood between me and my desire was song that never came and a prayer that I wouldn’t stop making.
Somewhere down the line , I soon realized that I couldn’t beat the odds. The song refused to get played and I kept refusing to stop. One of the two would have to give in sooner than later. I secretly hoped and wished with all my heart that the song would play. It never did.
It was the workout that helped me see the pointlessness to my misery. I had placed my bets on a losing biased game. The odds were in favor of the house and I kept feeding the table money. Misery, the longer I fought for what I sought, the longer I stayed miserable. The mind was at war with the heart. Reason , logic hand in hand against the flawed heart’s meek voice. It was a nasty war.
Through sweat and determination, I finally decided to call it quits. I knew I had lost. I accepted being a loser. I felt happy that I gave it all. I fought for as long as I could. Somethings are not meant to be. I walked out of the gym feeling strangely enlightened. I didn’t feel sad that I had lost, I felt happy that I didn’t give up easy. There are days when life reduces us to be losers. We can either give in quietly, or put up a brave fight.
I came face to face with faith this evening. Faith is tested by reducing us to shambles. It is at the very brink of rejection of that faith is where one gets to make that choice. Do I hate god today? Do I give up on every thread of faith that I’ve accumulated in the past? Do I walk out because things didn’t pan my way? Do I accept and surrender, not out of free will but out of that sense of defeat?
I choose to embrace my faith. Yes I’ve lost. But I still am as clueless as I was that many years ago. I couldn’t see what I would become back then, I still don’t know what I would be tomorrow. I’m taking a leap of faith. The sign signaled from the skies up above, I cut my loses and do what I’ve come to do best. Live to fight another day.
Yeah, whatever!!! Fuck it.