Monday, January 12, 2009

CROSSING YOUR RUBICON

Some time back, a friend of mine was driven to the wall. He had used all his strength to fight his battles ... Financially, the times were tough for him; it seemed, that all the taps, suddenly, had dried up. Then, like an oasis in the desert, came a substantially big assignment, all from the blue. And, he saw the proverbial silver lining.

The task was performed by my friend, to the best of his abilities. And then, came the 'invisible' enemy, again ... as if to frustrate my friend to death. They held up his fees, and started harassing him. My friend, first tried all the gentle ways - the noble paths. Then, he attacked them bluntly, ruthlessly. He spoke to them with the 'most straight forward' language he he could ever do ... and, after that, told them - "Now, do what you like ... To hell with my fees."

Within two days, the phone rang. The guy on the other end informed my friend politely, "We will courier your cheque in two days."

No 'ifs' and no 'buts'. The bluntness had paid!

"Be careful; handle the situation with caution." I had advised my friend, concerned about his 'tough times'. "You should not lose your money; you need it badly."

My friend did not argue with me. He went about solving his case, his own way. Then, he told me these two stories, from which he had found all his inspiration.

The first one:

The movie 'The Predator'. The incredibly tough guy Arnold Schwarzenegger leads a bunch of toughies on a mission. On their way, they are challenged by this invisible Predator - an alien. They fight and fight and fight, but only a loosing battle. The invisible enemy picks them one by one, and kills. Then, there is this scene which inspired my friend. One of the members of the mission is a Red Indian. Frustrated, and tired of trying all his 'learnt' and 'sophisticated' skills ... he resorts to the last skill which he inherently possessed. His native, survival skill. He takes off his shirt, pulls out his dagger ... and goes for the final assault on the invisible Predator. "To hell with you," he screams."You would anyway kill me; kill me this way."

He gets killed. But, not before he inspires hundreds of viewers in the darkness of the cinema hall.

The dialogue is mine; but, not the moral of the story:

"When nothing works, bank on your survival instinct. And, we all are endowed with one."

The second one:

The early days of the Israeli nation. After years and years, this nation - of great fighters for life - had found their land back, and they had put together a small nation, which they still believed was their 'Promised Land'. Their great tormentor Hitler had gone; now, the Arabs had sworn to wipe out this 'dot called Israel' from the map. It was tough time; they were just born and were surrounded by half a dozen cash-rich, and some crazy, Arab nations. Israel had no choice but to defend themselves against any probable invasion, any attack. Against this back drop, a reporter, once, asked Ms. Golda Meir, the hard-nosed, Israeli first-woman-Premier. "Madam," he said, "Is it true that your country has built a secret nuclear device to use against your enemies?"

"Absolutely true," Ms. Golda Meir shocked the world. "We have no place to go."

No wonder, this tiny nation - this 'dot on the map' - is considered to be a nation of mighty warriors!

My friend told me these stories, when I had expressed my concern. He, also, told me this:

"The only way to cross your river Rubicon is by burning the boats and bridges behind you ... There is no other way."

I think we all possess this 'native skill and strength' - the fighting spirit - within us. And, I seriously believe, when driven to our 'walls', we should bank on it ... the way my friend did, even when he knew that he was putting his 'next meal' on line ...

It is glorious to die this way ... Fighting with all that strength God has stuffed into our souls!

Julius Caesar had won; my friend had won ... And, I have all the reason ask: "Why shouldn't we?"


GERALD D'CUNHA

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