When Human Spirit Takes Over…..
Hellen Keller says, "No pessimist has ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed to an uncharted land ... Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing. .....We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world."
One thing is pretty much clear about the human spirit that it is thirsty, curious, eager to discover something. It has an eternal quest to understand something, to search for something, to conquer something. Sometimes this quest is foolish! Sometimes it is adamant, and sometimes it is indomitable!
The novel, titled In the Heart of the Sea, written by Nathan Philbrick, begins with a shipwreck. In 1819, a gigantic American whaling ship Essex set out in the Atlantic Ocean to catch the whales with the aim of extracting their oil. In those days, whale oil trade was a very lucrative business. The oil derived from the body of whale fishes was very expensive and valued. It had enormous demand in the international market.
It was a rainy season. Strong winds were blowing in the sea. The storm started jolting the ship. Still, the ship was advancing by rippling the high waves of that rough sea. Gradually, the weather started getting worse & worse to the captain's disappointment. Crew members were trying their best to save the ship. Somehow, they saved the ship that day.
One day it started raining heavily in the evening. The wind started blowing strongly. The fishermen understood that there was going to be a severe storm in the sea. The waves were so strong and high that the ship started to fill with water. There was an atmosphere of chaos. That day was like the doomsday for that whaleship. The captain and his fellow fishermen tried hard to save the ship. Suddenly an enormous devastating wave hit the ship. The ship got severely damaged. But still, the captain & his fellow men did not give up. After several unsuccessful attempts, somehow they managed to save the ship from those mountainous waves by turning the ship to the other side. That saved the day! Gradually the storm subsided. There was a wide crack on one side of the ship. However, after repairing the ship temporarily, they again decided to set out on an adventurous enterprise.
Three months passed with no further success. Pollard realized that there was no hope of sighting of whales at the Atlantic Ocean. The Essex sailed past Cape Horn to the Pacific, hoping for better luck in catching one. In the Atacama, the officers met a Spanish captain, who told them that his crew found the bountiful "Offshore Grounds" 2,000 miles to the west, but claimed that a vengeful "white whale" destroyed his ship, killing six of his men. Disbelieving the story, Pollard and his crew led the expedition to the west.
After a long journey, they found undisturbed grounds. They saw some movement in the water. They launched the whaling boats. Suddenly, they found something huge disturbing the serenity of the ocean. Yes, it was the big white whale of their dream! Their ship started wavering. They spotted the whale, but suddenly it disappeared. They started feeling the mishap. Fear was the only dominant feeling each one of them was experiencing. Everyone was very alert, tense!
Then again, the ship felt something. It was the same huge white whale, twenty feet away from their ship. Before anyone understood anything, it attacked the crew & destroyed the ship like never before. The attack was so furious & forceful, that ship was destroyed like a toy in seconds. All of them fell apart. The whale staved the ship in half, killing two men. The ship started sinking. There was no other way but to jump into the ocean in order to save a life. Captain & his crew somehow became successful in fetching three whaling boats intact.
Ahead was the real misfortune! The crew abandoned the sinking Essex. They saved themselves with the three whaling boats. Now they must have to sail hundreds of miles to reach to shore with minimal supplies. The whale followed and attacked again, but they escaped to the tiny island. While gathering food, they discovered the corpses of earlier castaways and concluded that the crew would soon die on the island before another ship passes by. Four men decided to stay, while the rest decided to sail again on the boats with hopes to find the land. Soon after, one of the men died on the journey. The remaining crew members reluctantly decided to cannibalize him.
A passing ship rescued Pollard's boat, but another boat continued to drift with no food or water. Finally, with the survivors on the verge of death, they reached land. The survivors returned to their hometown and eventually reunited with their distraught families.
Sometimes this adventure, this quest, this curiosity, this search is foolish! Sometimes it is adamant, sometimes it is fatal, sometimes it is suicidal, but sometimes it is indomitable, invincible or unbeatable! The whole story reminds us of our past, where every day was an adventure! Every day was a discovery! Surely life was tough, full of challenges, dangerous & uncertain in those days. Still, the very same adventure used to remind us that we were 'Alive!'. Gradually, we became civilized. The contexts changed. Adventure vanished from human life. Life became secured. As a result, the sense of 'Being Alive' also faded away. We forgot that we are humans. Life became robotic, mechanical. We forgot that every one of us has a deep-down desire to search for something & curiosity to know something! We have that indomitable will to conquer something! We have forgotten that basically, we are the SEEKERS.
Sometimes, the hero Gurukant Desai from the movie 'Guru' makes us think of that adventure. At the end of the movie, he says, "My father used to say, "Don't dream, dreams never come true!" But I saw the dream of building India's The Largest Company". Then he asks the thousands of shareholders sitting in front of him, "Has our dream come true?" "YES," mob calls out with full vigour, dancing, clapping & cheering. Again, the Guru asks, "Then what shall we do? Shall we stop? Or shall we see one more dream? .....the dream of becoming the largest company in the world?" & again the people jostle & say, "YES!", and at the end, Guru says, "Then tell the world that we are coming!"……
Come on, friends! Let's dream once again! Let's set out on an adventure! Let's revoke the sense of curiosity! Let's seek something! Let's move in the new direction! Let's sing a new song of life! Don't forget that we are seekers. We are humans, not robots. Adventure is in our blood. Do remember, "We are Alive."
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