Getting lost was something of a habit for Nemo. Sometimes, he would start out knowing exactly what it was that he wanted to achieve but forget that life isn’t a straight road and after a few twists and turns, he would lose his will to carry on because there didn’t seem to be any end in sight. Other times, he wouldn’t even know where to start. So, he would just stop. Stop walking, stop reaching, stop searching, stop doing… stop living.
Then, he’d remember what his mum said to him on the day she mustered the courage to quit the job that justified sucking the life force out of her by throwing peanuts at her on pay-day- “Vita non est vivere sed valere vita est., which, loosely translates to –“There is more to life than just staying alive”. He’d chant it to himself (In English, of course. His name was Latin enough for him) every time he felt the numbing mist of despair descend on him. It was, of course, not something she had come up with on her own. She was just a smart lady with a thing for dead languages. Well, mostly dead. After all, as Miracle Max in ‘The Princess Bride’ says, “Mostly dead is still slightly alive”.
And so, when the mist cleared, he’d look up at the stars to re-orient himself. On cloudy days, when doubt and uncertainty threatened to consume him, and loneliness came nipping at his heels, he’d take heart in another one of his mum’s borrowed sayings – “Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them but you know they’re there”. You see, they make for excellent navigation tools even if they are just giant balls of gas and dust, and are only pretty from a distance (on the plus side, they almost always look pretty since they have a constant desire and need for space). Stars and friends are considerate like that.
However, even the stars couldn’t save him on the darkest of nights, when the blackness swallowed up the sheen of those borrowed pearls of wisdom, and all hope seemed lost. That night, the silence was so deafening, he could hear the thunder of his own heartbeat.
He realised that the thunder was from the hoofs of the stallion he rode upon. Lightning struck, and it dawned on him that what is lost, must eventually, be found. In fact, sometimes it is essential to lose yourself in order to find yourself. You just pick yourself up, give yourself a good shake, quit wallowing in self-pity and trudge onwards. It’s alright if you don’t know the way and your sense of direction wouldn’t know North if he came and slapped it in the face. You’ll get where you have to sooner or later.
After all, the earth is round; it’s impossible to be lost forever, and what you can’t find, will find you.
Picture Credit: Elliot Erwitt
This write-up has been submitted by Samyukta Menon (5th Year).