If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Then give up.

There’s no use in being a damn fool about it.

– W. C. FIELDS

Life is series of connected events, that seem disjointed to the naked eye. But if we analyse a chain of random events, it won’t take long to connect the dots, and notice a PATTERN.

In today’s highly competitive world, life is all about success or defeat; we cheer the highs and condemn the lows. Neutral has no value. We try to convert even a failure into victory, or change other’s perception of failure . We just can’t ‘let go’ or ‘let it be’. Its hard to identify the root cause for such a mindset.

In childhood, our success got too much praise, like building a mountain of blocks or reciting a nursery rhyme or getting high marks at school. At the same time, expression of displeasure at our failure was also quite evident. While we weren’t scolded if couldn’t recite a poem, we surely did not get an ice-cream for it!!  The concept of ‘celebrating failure’ is very recent. I believe this tough upbringing is the reason why we miss seeing patterns. We don’t notice some unique occurrences and miss being enchanted by God’s magic. 

We all have heard of at least one person, who boarded an ill-fated flight at the last moment. There are also cases where someone narrowly missed a flight that crashed. While the former is considered as destiny, latter is ascribed to luck. We fail to notice handiwork of God and recognise the pattern.

It was May 2019. I was gearing up for my very first trek. And it was no ordinary trek, I was to trek to Everest Base Camp, situated at height of 5,364 meters. In April, after I had ignored pain in my left knee for a while, it was finally diagnosed that I had a meniscus tear. While the doctor had given an ok for the trek, I was to wear heavy brace for the entire 2 week trip while trekking. It was going to be a painful trek.

My flight for Kathmandu was slated for May 18. I was going on a hectic work trip to Singapore from May 11-17th. On May 9, I had got all my shopping done except for one crucial item, Dates. And May 10, I had to make an urgent trip to Bhopal for a condolence meeting, leaving me no time for any more shopping. On May 10 evening, I had a get-to-gather with ten odd school friends for dinner. They were to drop me to the Railway Station by 1am for my return trip to Delhi.

At 1:20 am, I get a call from one of my other classmates (not a close friend, we rarely spoke much in school), Hakeemuddin Saifi (Hakeem). He says he would like to meet me if I am still around. I told him that I am in the waiting room on the station and my train is scheduled for 2am. He says he was close by and will come right over. At 1:40am, he walks into the waiting room, greets me, introduces me to his friend who came along and then hands me over a box. I look at the box and I am stunned. It was a box of fresh Dates!

Seeing the box of Dates, I was thrilled, it was the strongest possible hint from God, that I was destined to make the trek and do it well. I literally saw Hakeem as a Messiah, who had been sent by God to me at that moment. I went on to have a memorable trek and the Dates proved very handy.

It was a moment big enough for me to recount the story to many people about how I met God. We all have such instances but many times we fail to see the pattern. How we are craving to eat something and in the dinner we are invited for, the same item is on the menu. Or how we have been remembering a particular song for a while and then the same song plays on the radio. Or how we have been wanting to talk to a friend for a while and all of sudden, the friend calls us. We tend to undermine the importance of these events by calling them ‘coincidence’ or ‘telepathy’. In reality, these are all patterns.

The purpose of this article, is that if we be observant of such patterns, be conscious of these happenings, we will have lot more confidence on God and that will give us courage to face life and its challenges more easily. Yes, not in all cases will these occurrences be positive in nature, some of them might be more of a warning for us to hold back and avoid even bigger damage to us. Like how I injured my leg just before a week before a Marathon. I might have had a bigger injury if I had gone for the run.

So in summary, I would say:

Enjoy the luxury of sleeping for a few more hours when your morning flight is cancelled. Don’t just fret on the meeting schedule going for a toss. 

The food is going to taste still as delicious, even if your friends could not make it for the lunch. Don’t spend so much time cursing them for the last minute cancellation.

The movies is still be a fun to watch, even if we have to do it at home instead of the theatre. Don’t curse the government for having shut down the cinema halls.

Look for patterns.

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Hetal Sonpal

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