The Journey

Every journey is an adventure, including the one we call life. Most people manage to just get through the journey, but some try to question and learn en route to their destination. The journey then becomes more adventurous for those who learn their purpose.

The train pulled into an underground station at a considerable speed and before it reached a complete halt, people started jumping out, as if their life depended on it. No sooner had Spark reached the door that he was pushed by the mass of people moving out. Spark fell down, but got back on his feet in an instant and started pacing towards the exit. He did not want to be left behind either.

Before you start thinking that was a normal train ride, let me elucidate. These people were put on the train by an unknown entity/organization. They did not know of their own existence. They neither knew their destination nor the purpose, and this land seemed entirely foreign to them.

People were just moving around in an haphazard fashion. The train had pulled back from the station, and in its place all they saw was darkness. In spite of their ignorance, something made them walk away from that darkness, a voice that forbade them to move in that direction. Confusion stuck a few of them and they just sat down in their place, not knowing what to do. They just looked around at this new surrounding. Little did they know that chances of their survival was bleak, unless they got up and moved. Time was a luxury they couldn’t afford.

The new place did not have much lighting. It looked like a cave, with structures of various shapes they had never seen before. The structure itself would frighten some with its millions lines and tubes. Some of the tubes just dripped liquids unknown to them. It was all very fuzzy in their mind as they weren’t even capable of analysis, at least not yet. It was as if they were influenced by an external force.

Spark was smarter than the others. While others, at least most of them, started getting scared of the voice resonating in their head, Spark kept his calm. He looked for cues and directions to his next step from the voice. The voice now guided him to move towards the door of the big tube in the depths of this foreign cave. While he was sceptic about moving towards the dark tube, he realized that he really did not have choices. Perhaps the voice was a guardian, a savior. Lesson one – “Listen before reacting” .

He kept a minimum pace, albeit striding cautiously towards the tube. The tube was at a good distance and higher than he could jump. The voice now spoke a word, something that sounded like “help”. Spark did not understand the word, but an idea suddenly flashed in his mind. He understood that the voice was trying to help them move ahead to their destination, wherever that was, but what he realized was astounding. The voice wasn’t coming from a physical source. He would need guidance of the same sort, but from a physical entity, if he were to climb the tube. So “help” probably meant getting physical guidance, he thought to himself. Lesson two – “Never dismiss thoughts. Employ them in your analysis.”

He couldn’t see anything physical around him at the first glance, but as mentioned earlier, Spark had the capacity to look through. Other people in his place would have ignored the “help” clue. Spark stopped in his tracks. I am physical, he realized suddenly. I can touch and hold things. This means that all people walking alongside me are physical. I could employ them to climb the tube, he thought to himself.

While the idea was excellent, people weren’t. They did not want to help Spark. Spark then realized that no body would help him, if the concerned folks were in the same competition as him. Spark now convinced the folks that he was capable of understanding the voice. He can help others to reach the destination, but they will need to help him too. New word – ‘Team work’. Lesson three – “Help is mutual.”

Although, help was out of question, what Spark told made sense. Getting out of the current situation was their priority and adjusting a bit wouldn’t hurt. So they were all ears now. As they approached the tube, Spark asked people to be lined up. This would be solved in two steps. Step one – half the people go up. For this, the people needed to climb on top of the other’s shoulder and create a vertical chain. Once half of them get there, it was Step two – Pull the other half up. This would need people holding each others legs, forming a horizontal chain. This idea would have been executed to near perfection except for the fact that while pulling a person up, he started arguing about the lack of process and accidentally let go of the partners hand. He was heard of no more. Lesson four – “Keep up with the situation. Anyone who falls behind is left behind.”

As the last of them climbed the tube, a new emotion started arising in them. They couldn’t express it to each other, but they all felt it. Spark heard the voice now. “Victory”, it echoed in his mind, followed by “Joy”. Even as they were celebrating this new found team spirit, everyone knew inside that the journey had just begun. It would be more difficult here on. After this much of walk on the first day, they decided to rest for a while. Of all the people who came in the train, only 9 were left now. They all slept on each others shoulders, tired as they were.

Spark awoke within a few hours as the voice inside him woke. He woke up the rest of the team. Within minutes, they were on their journey for the second day. They started feeling tired as they walked. They were not nourished yet. They had to find a way to stop the energy from deteriorating. The voice told spark something, but as always he couldn’t make out. As was his style, he stopped again, this time thought a little more hard and a little different.

What was the source of his nourishment? Why was it depleting ? He looked at the others in the group. He saw that some liquid was coming out of their body. They were sweating. He was also getting tired when he spoke a lot as air was coming out of his body. So he concluded. Anything that goes out of the body decreases energy so anything that goes in should increase it. He started taking in large gulps of air. Suddenly a freshness came inside him. He explained the same to others and they felt a rush of energy too. Spark told them that while they only managed to stabilize the air, they were yet to neutralize the loss of liquids. They had to find source of liquids. He remembered seeing liquids coming out of some thin tubes. Lesson five – “If things don’t go right, try left instead”

Spark decided that if they were to survive they needed nourishment. They had to search, but this was a huge unknown place. He suggested that the group be split into 3 members each. They could search in different directions and come back to the same spot in two hours, even if they did not succeed.

The different groups then moved in three different directions. Spark’s group were unsuccessful and had to return. The second group had only one survivor and he reported a negative on energy source. The third group had not yet arrived. So Jack and the rest of the team went in search in the third route. They found a liquid source at a distance. So the third group had cheated them after all. They had found the source, energized themselves and moved ahead. They wanted victory on their own.

Spark and the team of three members had their fill and moved ahead. Suddenly the voice inside Spark shouted “Danger”. The tone of the voice make Spark stop suddenly, and before he could shout out, two others had moved ahead. Suddenly the land below started sliding and they fell into the depths, along with the land. Now Spark realized what actually happened. The voice had probably warned the third group too, but lack of knowledge and greed had caused their fall. Jack did not feel bad for them, but felt bad for these two who had managed to stay true to the team. He felt a new emotion. Pain. He stood for a while, feeling sad and then moved ahead. Lesson six – “Trust and interdependency are key to a team’s success. There is no single winner”.

Now there were only two of them and lot of land to be covered. As they moved ahead, they shared with each other about what they learnt so far. It was a short span of time, yet lot of lessons. They had started to like each other now. A new emotion blossomed in them. “Friendship”, the voice explained to Spark. Whatever it was, this was his best emotion yet. He did not want to let go of his pal. He made sure he listened to the voice even more carefully and kept himself ahead of his pal. He was now being protective of this new friend. “Strange are the ways of the unknown. Stranger is the fact that the known do not care about these emotions.”

The voice started speaking again, a message of warning. Spark looked around for any dangers, but could not see any. Suddenly there was a loud noise followed by a thud. A large body of mass had fallen behind spark, missing him by inches. His friend however wasn’t that lucky. The mass had fallen in between Spark and his friend, and managed to injure his friend. A section of his body was crushed and he couldn’t move. He started screaming in pain. Anger arose in spark. What was happening?> What was the purpose of this whole drama? He looked up and screamed at the voice. He screamed until he could no more. He had sworn to protect his friend and yet he couldn’t. He quickly lifted his friend up from the ground, and started walking, without looking at his face. His friend couldn’t bear to see this and tears started rolling out. Spark would not leave his friend behind at any cost. “Lesson seven – Friends can be found anywhere. Keep them”

After 2 hours of carrying his friend, Spark was now getting weary, but that did not deter him. He walked on, but slower. As he moved another hundred feet, he saw some sort of a light emanating at a distance. It was something he had not seen before. It was a blue azure stream of continuous light coming from ahead. It did not have an origin or end. Just looking at the light gave him a new sense of Joy. His body started feeling a new energy and the light seemed to be attracting him. The light now created a figure out of it. Similar to Spark and his friend, but more beaUtiful than either of them. The voice once again resonated in his mind. “Life is calling”, it said slowly, but with excitement.

As he stood marveling at this visual wonder, he suddenly felt a shake below his legs. The land seemed to be moving. My god, it was the same feeling that they felt near the liquid stream. They knew that unless they moved towards the light, they would fall into the depths just like their friends earlier. This was their last hope. Spark started moving forward, but suddenly realized they would need to jump a huge distance if they had to reach the light source. All they had in between was a rock. If they could create a bridge towards the rock, they could run towards the rock and jump from there. Unfortunately there was nothing that could support them, and there was no time now. The quake was getting stronger. Suddenly his friend cried – “let me go you fool. Jump fast. I am anyways hurt and cannot make the journey further. You were anyways the one who could hear the voice. Let me be the bridge.”

Spark was in no mood to let go of his friend, but his friend wanted to die in peace. He had no energy to travel further. Spark had to finally listen to him. With tears in his eyes, Spark laid his friend on the ground. His friend crawled ahead and held on to the rock, creating a bridge. Spark took one last look at his friend, and said “Adieu dear friend. You shall not be forgotten”. He ran towards the rock and jumped with all his might, just as the ground below his feet shook and slid down, to the far depths, taking his friend along. Lesson eight – “Sacrifice is the most noble and selfless act”.

Spark just managed to reach the light. From the light, the shadowy energy came out. Spark walked slowly towards the energy, and as they came closer, he felt an unknown joy erupt in his mind, a rapture that couldn’t be explained even by those who knew. “Love”, said the voice, “Love and Life”.

The energy engulfed his entire being. He felt that he had not existed until now and existence was just beginning. Life was just beginning. He was the spark for life to begin.

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