There's one last hoop in my hand. The stationary fixed rod stands a couple of metres away. I have landed the previous three hoops right onto it and know I can do it again. In front of me are two marks in chalk, the number '10' at my feet and '5' a few paces ahead. Behind me, the next two numbers in the sequence are marked in white as well on the floor. I am 14 years old. It is a character development program for students organised at a rotary club. You score points (based on the mark you stand on) for each successful attempt to land the hoop. Five attempts. I have 30 points from four attempts. One more from this familiar spot and I am assured of second place with 40 points. The present leader has 45 points, I know. 

Part of the process was to make your own decisions and to this day I don't regret my choice. I take two steps back onto the '20' line. I spend a few extra seconds sizing up the new distance between me and the vertical rod and toss the final hoop in the air. I watched it swirl in the air as it heads towards it's destination.

“You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. 
You may have to work for it however.” 
― Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

I have always been a dreamer. By nature, I am an introvert and pacifist, but against the expected norm, that never stopped me from chasing the impossible. To have a goal in life is normal for us all. But it is the outlandish goal that I speak of here. The one which is surely out of reach... the one in a million shot. I speak of it today because I have one such outlandish dream. 

By logic, I have no right to even hope for it. The odds against me succeeding are not even worth mentioning. I neither know the path to my dream, nor can I be certain that the dream won't die at any given instant. If you knew what I was up against and the obstacles that stood before me, depending on our relationship, you would either openly mock me or you would try to let me down gently, knowing fully well that I have no right to succeed.

And yet, I find that I must try. Because it means that much to me, I have realized. I must strive for a goal which will take a minimum period of a year, if not two or more. I need to risk something I hold very dear with no guarantee that I will win in the end. I must risk the heartbreak of a really painful loss at the end of it all just for the faint possibility of success which would be life-altering. 

Have I any experience in jumping off a cliff on a blind leap of faith? Plenty, my own history would conclude. I know I have attempted the ridiculous/ the insane/ the impossible on many an occasion. I have reached for the stars and fallen before, scraping a knee or two. I have reached for the stars and even caught a few only to be burned by them and left permanently scarred. But you know what? I have also reached for the stars and caught a few which have brightened my life forever. 

I was a guy who spent his twenties living inside either a medical college hostel or a hospital itself. I would enter the operation theatre as the sun rose and watch it set as I left, missing it altogether on more occasions that not. I have slept in operation theatres, pre operative beds and post operative beds as I waited for patients at all hours that a clock can conjure up and worked 42 hours shifts with 6 hours of broken sleep before the next shift for more than a year. I didn't even have time to see the city I lived in during those days... yet somewhere the childhood dream to write and have it found worthy of publication endured. Sitting inside an operation theatre for 16 hours as I watched surgeons fix ruptured intestines, gynaceologists deliver precious babies and neurosurgeons remove deadly tumours, I didn't have the right to dream of sitting down after work and typing out prose when I should have been sleeping, let alone hope that people would like it or say it was anything more than garbage.  
And against all logic, that dream came true and I got published finally in 2011. And 2012. And now in 2013And no one can take that sense of satisfaction away from me.

Now the dream is different. It is more unlikely, more impossible. There are no backers, supporters or cheerleaders to egg me on. Just me. And I honestly don't know if that will be enough. There are external circumstances beyond my control that could stop the dream abruptly at any moment, right now or even a year from now. I am aware of it but I can't allow myself to focus on that part. I want to pray for a little help and luck but whenever I have asked for help for myself, the big guy upstairs has redirected my prayers to his spam box, we all know. Yet, he listens. I know he does. He has always listened when I have prayed for others, I know. Through giving friends strength to grieve when they lost their parents or children, through faceless patients who cried for their misfortune and just wanted their bodies healed, through broken hearts and tear stained pillows of friends, he has heard my prayers for helping people survive and find silver linings.

If the dream comes true, maybe 13 months or more from now, I will share the hidden pieces of this puzzle with you all. If not, like many moments of my life, it will remain consigned to a diary of tears I keep hidden within myself. 

Did I win all those years ago with my final throw ? 
The question I want to ask is, does it matter ? It was a test of character and personality. I know where the final hoop landed. I know the lesson it taught me. Today, decades later, I am back in that room again. I am still that same little boy with a final hoop in his hand and a target that is again farther away than any he has dared dream of before. 
And once more, I say a silent prayer... only it isn't for my happiness now. Praying for myself has been my mistake before. This time the prayer is different - it is for what matters the most to me. It is for the goodwill of the goal at the end. My being there at the end is my dream but the happiness and smiles for the goal... that is my victory. 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't 
do than by the ones you did do. 
So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain.


Nisha said…
If you don't have hope in your heart, you have nothing to live for. So give your best shot and hope for the best results. I know for a fact that when you work hard, the God's join in :)
'Give my best shot'... somehow I just know that I have to do it this time. And yes, hope is the key here.
Alka Gurha said…
Keep dreaming doc. It's a pleasure to know you. Your patients are blessed to have a doctor who can feel their pain. This is an inspirational post even as you are seeking and searching for answers.
Dhanya said…
Why r u even doubting? Take it that u are already there and be there.. That's all that is reqd. Keep going .. :)
So glad to read this, Roshan. I'm all for people giving their dreams a shot. I'm sure you're going to do well and learn much from the experience. Good luck, friend.
thanks Alka... indeed there is a long painful journey coming up... ironic for a guy whose job is to relieve pain
Thanks. That means a lot Dhanya.. really
Thanks Corinne. You have no idea how much a single good luck means sometimes.
Rohan said…
Just keep going doc!! Deep down if you think you can then you definitely can! Nothing can stop you. .
Go for Gold Roshan. When we dream, half the job is already done. Failures and uncertainties are always there in life and like you said that sometimes you even had some stars in your hand. I think that is your motivation. Good luck.

Lazy Pineapple
Danny Simon said…
Truly inspirational!
LEt me try n guess you are finally writing a book?
Believing in something to happen is one thing but believing in God to make something happen is going to the next level! All the best buddy!
Thanks doc. Too many insecurities and "it's impossible" weighing in.
Have to make an attempt, I guess. And yes, atleast a few times, I have been able to make the impossible dream happen... have to just hope that it works out one last time.
Thanks Danny. Not going to jinx 'it' by revealing the dream yet.. but would like your prayers on the dream, hidden as it maybe for now. Could use someone who God trusts on my side :D
jaish_vats said…
Good Luck Roshan. Nothing is impossible and I am sure in a year or two we would be reading another post from you about the success of your dream. :)
Sunitha said…
Good luck.. I am waiting for that book to get published.. :)
Anonymous said…
Why am I having a feeling that you are writing a novel finally? :)
Best of luck in whatever your dream is. I have been dreaming this impossible dream of getting published since 3 years. Lets hope I am as lucky as you. :)
I hope so Jaish... i sincerely hope so.
Book ? Novel... no comment.. yet :D
Amit... as I said, not jinxing anything by saying it out loud. So if you do put in a good word with the big guy, lets just keep it as 'Roshan's goal' for now rather than anything specific.
And thanks.
Congratulations for being picked as Blogadda's Spicy Saturday Pick. Yeyyyyy
Anonymous said…
Good Luck Doctor.. "There is no telling how far you will go while chasing a dream. But imagine how great you'll feel when you get there."
Thanks Vinita.. would have missed it had you not told me
Sigh. I hope so Seena... insecurities galore. Obstacles aplenty. Thats the burden.
It takes lots of guts to have dreams itself. U have it. Now just follow it, you know who is backing you. Never doubt that or turn back to look.
Thanks Anita. I hope so. Keep a good word for me and the dream with the big guy upstairs
Rachna said…
Reach out for your dreams and they will come true. Wish you luck doc!
Thanks Rachna. Gonna need it. Lots of it.
Deepa said…
Very touching..Good luck.
Rajlakshmi said…
your words are inspiring... chasing a dream is tough but you are living yours. Good luck.
Thanks Rajlakshmi... I wish I could say it was easy. But it is a lot easier to give up at times.
Prayers and lots of good luck for you, Roshan.
Sigh. I am going to need that WD. Its gotten a lot more distant since the day I wrote this
Deepa said…
How is this going on?..Hope your dreams come true. Good luck, again.
Well... not exactly, to be frank. It's part of my life, to watch dreams pass by... sigh.
i pray, your prayers are answered.. we should dream on, keep dreaming... when one dream doesn't work, dream it differently, adding more day it'll surely work...
Thats what keeps me going. There will always be the chance to dream and to work towards that dream. It's a matter of not losing heart when a dream dies...
Deepa said…
"I want to pray for a little help and luck but whenever I have asked for help for myself, the big guy upstairs has redirected my prayers to his spam box, we all know. Yet, he listens. I know he does. He has always listened when I have prayed for others, I know. Through giving friends strength to grieve when they lost their parents or children, through faceless patients who cried for their misfortune and just wanted their bodies healed, through broken hearts and tear stained pillows of friends, he has heard my prayers for helping people survive and find silver linings"

Feels like the story of my life. Touches a chord deep within me. And so today, I pray. I pray that you find the happiness and the result you are looking for. I pray that you are able to achieve what you set out to do, what you dream about and what keeps you going every single day even as you struggle with day to day shifts and everything. Because, like you said, when I pray for others - I think he listens. Best wishes, good luck and a whole lot of courage! Go for it!
I certainly hope he does Deepa... the one selfish resentment I do have is when I watch a dream shatter and think "if only people had cared enough to pray for me to succeed". It's a silly thought I know but I cant help myself.
Someday, there will be a happy ending with dreams fulfilled... I just wish I knew when it was.