Life is a crossroads of personal and professional commitments and that suddenly became fact in my life and before I knew it, I lost everything or what if I say- I paid the biggest personal price of a professional commitment. Life is no less than a game, where you are the only player playing sometimes with your emotions and sometimes with your professions. Once upon a time, there was a farmer who lived in the most pious city of India- Prayagraj (old Allahabad). Hailing from a humble background, the farmer lived an ordinary life, but gave an extraordinary vision to his children- To prefer duty over rights whole heartedly. With whatever little awareness he had of his surroundings and this little world, the farmer was once magically transported to a place he never imagined. The magic was known as the hard-work which he had passed as the legacy to his kids. When they grew up, they made sure he never needed to work. All he had to do was to witness the seed of hard-work reaping the dreams of his children. The fruits of success from the tree named hard-work tasted heavenly. He was living in bliss and his children, they began living in denial. Denial of the perpetual existence of everything and everyone in this world. Greetings were exchanged, pleasantries served, dreams were discussed, visions were revealed and efforts were awarded. The whole scene was no less than a heavenly gala for all those who had achieved something and also for those who were just going to achieve their hallmark of appreciation. I never knew that while I will be helping others to achieve their dreams, I will be losing my vision. With the humble background and humblest familial values, I have always been able to solve any equation. From a man of solutions to the man of helplessness, the journey was unexpectedly short and practically never imagined one. The program began at sharp 5 PM on 25th September, 2021 and I was beaming with pride on stage to address the chief guests and all the esteemed world record holders. All eyes were lit with pride, enthusiasm and a different josh was in the air. 5:28 PM, my phone rang- “Sir, your father is getting critical. We have to put him on ventilator.” The call was still on and the show too, was going on, but for that moment, I became mute and deaf. The world stopped making sense to me. A tap on my shoulder by someone, whom I still don't remember, brought me back to the glamour world of the award ceremony. “Ok, Keep me updated and I will be there soon.” I still can't recall, whether or not my words were clear or even audible enough on call and I cut the call and rushed back to the stage as it was my duty calling. “Beta, life will always test you. It will test you when you will have nothing and it will also test you when you will have everything. Always remember, there is no victory or loss in this game. It is you who will define the victory or loss. But if you personally ask me, I would always say that if you failed to do your duty towards people that will be your failure.” The words began echoing loudly inside my head while I was going up till stage through stairs. Every step shook my heart and made my legs tremble in fearful anticipation.
I reached at the podium and I saw all eyes pinned on me in hope and thankfulness. It was a special event, because it was the silver lining after the dark tunnel of pandemic. I took a deep breath and decided to carry on. I did carry on. What left me here amidst all this was my source of making me carry on- My father. Whenever there was someone else to take over the podium, I called up the hospital, but every time despair is what I got to listen. I took another decision- to send my family one by one to hospital without disclosing anything to these 300 lives dancing with joy and pride. 6pm to 7 pm and then 8 and then finally 9:15 PM. I carried on, the show went on, my breaths were on, but I was just existing and breathing, my heart was beating, but my mind had stopped working. “Namaste everyone. Life puts you at the crossroads of confusion when you are utterly clear about everything. While I am immensely joyous at the grand success of this award ceremony, I will have to leave immediately as my father is on death-bed and I guess now I need him more than he does. I apologise for my sudden departure.” My voice trailed for a moment but I hoped against the hope and rushed to hospital. The rest is all history but history always teaches us lessons. Losing my father during the award felicitation ceremony was the biggest test of my life. On one side was the maker of my dreams, heart and mind and on the other side was his dreams' manifestation- this award ceremony AKA my professional duty. I was totally torn, but his words stitched me and kept me sane- 'The Show Must Go On.'
Today when I look back, I don't feel proud. I don't feel victorious and I don't feel great at all. Self-sabotage is ruling my mind and it seems like a spiral through which I would never be able to come out. The maze of confusion and dejection has stolen not just my smiles, but also my courage. It taught me two things as – A life is all about choices and death- Well; it never gives you any option. If life is a question, then death is the answer. Father must have got answers in the relief he got from his diseases, but I, I am still looking for solace. The solace which went