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Have you seen the movie “12th Fail” yet?

It has a wonderful song called “Restart“.

The hero is an IPS aspirant. Inspite of his humble background, he dreams big and works hard. At every step of his journey, failure hits him hard. But again and again, he “restarts”.

He knows that there’s no guarantee that he’ll succeed if he tries again. But he knows that if he doesn’t restart, he’s going to remain exactly where he is.

Go watch the movie. It’s pretty damn good.

I was an average student at school. I hardly remember anything that was taught in my younger years.

But there’s one story that has stuck with me from primary school: “Robert the Bruce and the Spider.

The story goes that after being defeated by the English six times, Robert the Bruce took refuge in a cave. While there, he observed a spider trying to connect its web from one area of the cave’s roof to another.

The spider failed in its attempts repeatedly but keeps restarting each time.

Inspired by the spider’s perseverance, Robert the Bruce decided to fight back with renewed vigour.

My annual spiritual retreat was kicking off the next day. The flight would leave in the morning, I would land in Hyderabad an hour later and then be immersed in spiritual bliss for the next 8 days.

I’d been waiting for this for 11 months. To rejuvenate, refresh myself. To see life from a fresh perspective.

My body was another story though. I was bed-ridden during the week leading to the retreat.

On the eve of the retreat, I thought: “Should I cancel?” 

It had started with a sprained neck 2 weeks earlier. A bit of rest for a couple of days.

No big deal. Right? Nope.

The pain got worse. So I met an Ortho and got an X-ray done.

The good news? He shrugged it off as a sprain as well and sent me home with some pills.

The not-so-great news? It got even more worse. 2 days later, the pain was unbearable.

My neck was hurting more. The pain radiated down my arm. I was forced to rest.

7 days left for the retreat. And here I was, lying in bed the whole time.

6 days. 5 days. 4. 3. 2. 1.

On the eve of the retreat, as I lay on the bed, looking at the ceiling, almost ready to cancel my trip..an idea popped in my head.

What if made an SOS call to my doc friend, Steve? 

I made the call. Listening to the symptoms, he knew exactly what was happening to me. As if he was right there in the room with me.

“Switch to these pills. And call me in a few hours.”

It was as if the Almighty had chosen him to rescue me :). The pain came down, for the first time in 2 weeks.

I got up. Packed my bags. And I hopped on the plane the next day, along with my treasure trove of medicines and balms.

The pain was now manageable.

The next 8 days at the retreat were heaven. I returned as a newer version of myself. I’d grown emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

But physically? The pain hadn’t gone away. Getting back to work was hard.

Just in time, another friend stepped in.

She sent me a number. “Get an appointment with this Ayurvedic physician. He’ll help you.”

She was right. Another magician of a doctor. 2 weeks later, I was fine.

A month. That’s how long took to get back to normalcy.

But wait..”normalcy” wouldn’t be a painless state.

To feel normal again, I would have to get back to how I was before this whole thing started.

Regular Yoga. Total engagement at work. An enthusiastic lifestyle.

I texted my Yoga teacher: “I’ve been off the mat for 4 weeks now. But I’m back tomorrow.”

The next morning, I rolled out my mat. And restarted enthusiastically.

But reality hit me in a few minutes. My right hand started to hurt again. I could barely do the Suryanamaskar, let alone some of the harder poses.

I sent another text to my teacher: “I struggled in class today. But I’m not giving up. 4 weeks from now, I should be back in full strength again.”

And added: “I’ll attend 6 days a week, to speed things up”

I kept showing up. Not a single missed class.

I pushed myself in each class, just a bit more each time.

I went the extra mile and practiced on my own.

As expected, the effort paid off.

The body is a remarkable piece of machinery. Under the right environment and conditions, it responds extremely well.

The pain, the weakness, the whole 4-week episode..it’s so far away in my rear view mirror now.

Once I chose to “restart”, the most important decision was made.

It wasn’t easy, of course. But the combo of persistence, perseverance and patience always leads to amazing results.

But that’s not the end of the story.

While celebrating this success, I almost missed out on another remarkable event.

My goal was to return to “normalcy” again.

But I realized that I’m now “better” because of this whole episode.

Mentally tougher than how I was 2 months ago. More self-confident. More aware of my storehouse of resilience.

My gratitude has also grown: To my own body and to my teacher.

Most importantly, my faith in my faith has deepened considerably.

As Mahatria says: “Experience by experience, experience by experience, lift me to the higher branches of consciousness, my Lord”

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