[This piece is by Mr. Anupam Banerjee, a celebrated and eminent teacher of English in the City of Joy. He is a faculty at the department of English, Don Bosco School Park Circus, Calcutta (my alma mater). His passion for the language and his in depth knowledge of literature has oft inspired many a student who passes under his tutelage. His erudite nature has earned him plaudits galore from various corners of the country. – Sandipan De]
Each new crisis we encounter is an opportunity in disguise To declare that life is merely a series of never ending struggles would be a cliché that has been whispered ad infinitum into the ears of restless souls who are yet to have the sharp blade of experience slicing off the frivolous wings of colourful imagination guiding their youthful spirit. But the word ‘crisis’ can be music to the ears of those rare adventurers who have a rarer spirit that makes them permanently intoxicated when they perceive the fragrance of an adventure on perilous seas in those untraveled and uncharted regions from whose mesmerizing yet deadly charm, no traveler usually returns. They have an unflinching optimism about the impermanence of tough times but the permanence of tough attitudes. These are the people who recognize a hidden opportunity to grow as a person in every crisis that stares them in the face. No condescending skepticism should greet these rare adventurers who lead by example in tough times and become examples to their comrades who dare to take heart when it is clearly the hard thing to do! It is this uncompromising attitude of man turning any crisis into opportunity that has allowed man’s progress from the age of the first potter’s wheel to the age of the rocket.
Walking the boulevard of broken dreams, man never flinched when the hostile elements of nature tried to repeatedly reduce him to the status of a pitiable vermin in a gigantic and infinite universe that he can neither fully comprehend nor contemplate. Man never gave up when he was told by philosophers like Hobbes that human life is nasty, brutish, and short and primarily concerned with avoiding pain and gaining pleasure. Nor did he care when Gulliver was informed by the truculently wise King of Brobdingnag that humanity is the most pernicious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl on the surface of the earth. Man rather chose to justify the Bard of Avon(“What a piece of work is man”) and he ran nude out of bath tubs screaming “Eureka”, used a boiling kettle as a motivator to run the steam engine, looked at the birds and invented aircraft, and depended on fairy tale kind of science fiction to invent the world of internet. Now, all these advances are the different ways in which the human civilization has responded to numerous crises.
Pessimism has always been the bane of any civilization and pessimism is nothing more than a failure to identify an opportunity during a crisis. Talking about banes, the greatest bane that can afflict the human civilization is the banal surrender to the continuous challenges that life throws at us! There is always a room for fresh thoughts and ideas such that the clear stream of reason does not lose its way in the dreary desert of dead habit. Fresh minds coming up with fresh ideas are often attacked by greybeards as sophomoric but they fail to distinguish a genuinely piquant insight from a sissified surrender to challenges in the name of tradition. Life is dynamic and not static and if that means changing some of the established norms to discover opportunities in the dark abyss of despair, so be it! This is not to insult tradition but to allow individual talent to regulate the flow of the river of tradition towards a future where tradition does not become obsolete due to its inability to adjust with opportunities.
Mr. Anupam Banerjee,
Faculty, Department of English,
Don Bosco School Park Circus, Calcutta.