‘A seemingly negative episode in life inspires a person more greatly than a legion of happy events can,' tellingly opined the legendary pugilist Muhammad Ali when he was sent to the slammer for refusing to go to Vietnam and fighting alongside the US Army.
This happened in 1967. That episode transformed the life of Ali and paved the way for his future greatness. A seemingly negative situation also occurred in yours truly's life, though he's yet to become a legend! On December 31, 2010, I was diagnosed with a very rare type of blood cancer. My Leukemia was diagnosed at one of the world's best cancer hospitals: Marsden Cancer Hospital, London. It was a bolt from the blue for me. The very word cancer shatters you and here I was at the receiving end of it. Once the dreadful news sank in and I reconciled with my inexorable fate, I realised that I didn't have much time at my disposal. Before the diagnosis, my life was a tad sluggish. Lo, cancer galvanized my slumberous existence. I'm a man with a never-say-die attitude and approach to life. Once I overcame the trauma of getting afflicted with the 'Big C', I began to educate people regarding cancer through my writings in various publications and on portals in several languages. Cancer is not the end of life. Neither is it invincible. One can defeat it, provided one has the indomitable spirit to live life on his/her terms. I believe in French existentialist Albert Camus' golden words that ' There's no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.' These words keep me on toes and continuously energize me. I've noticed that people have very negative and nebulous perceptions about cancer. They fallaciously think that if one's down with cancer, his/her days are numbered. I've been living with it for six years and aspire to live many more years with creative energy that I'm endowed with! Life is a challenge. Accept it. We must look around and realise that there're people who've more insurmountable problems and incurable ailments than the difficulties we're burdened with. Remember, any life-threatening disease or situation gives you a set of new and fresh perspectives. Somerset Maugham, who was a medico but never practised, said that every disease was insightful. Your vision gets broadened. Your canvas gets richer and your life becomes more meaningful. The same happened to me. Cancer has mellowed me down in a constructive way. To me, now every day is a bonus. It's a blessing. And when we take life's days to be blessings, we tend to become more positive and mind you, positivism is contagious. You invariably spread it around.
You inspire, encourage and enthuse people to come out of their state of torpidity and become a part of the great cosmos. Life is a boon. Enjoy it to the hilt and in the words of Lord Tennyson in 'Ulysses'-' Drink life to the lees.' Before the final moment arrives, there should be a broad smile and a big grin on the face with an assurance and satisfaction that the life hasn't gone in vain. Say with John Donne, 'Death be not proud'.