The small victories

On this side of the mountain where I have learnt to live, little seems to be happening here. No one wishes to be on your side except you are winning. They want to associate with the obvious success. No consideration is given to the battles fought and won in the dead of the night- the fiercest of our struggles are not faced in the open after all. No one sees the wounds we have been blessed with by our inner demons as a result of the constant struggle to break free. We are quickly pushed aside without a second thought. We find ourselves in valleys and soon get comfortable with life! It is ok to be content with present situations but we must exercise patience to get to the next stop. Somehow, those well-earned scars are victories that are worth celebrating.
That shimmering hot summer afternoon in Oxford Circus taught me a lesson of a lifetime. Like most students, I longed for the summer months. They are almost inarguably my favourite time of the year. I get to spend weeks with my cousin Sarah. We take turns making breakfast and getting small Eze to be at his best. Today, Sarah was kind enough to mind Eze so I cashed in on the opportunity of a long day spent on the streets of central London. I caught the train and headed to Victoria with Inferno-my travel companion. Dan Brown has a way of pinning me down each time I pick up one of his works. Inferno like “The Da Vinci Code” was spell binding. Every page had a magnetic feel. It didn’t take long before I began to think myself as Robert Langdon. Now in Dan Brown’s make believe world, I found myself in a different realm. It seemed only like seconds since I boarded the train from Norbury station that I heard the voice from the automated sound systems on the train announce “we are now approaching London Victoria”. Thanks to Dan Brown, the 30 minutes journey didn’t seem that long any more- a great start to the day I thought to myself. I made my way to the door and exited the train with a throng of impatient tourists looking to enjoy the London fever. Today,It is taking longer than normal to get through the gates. Compulsively, I flung right back into Inferno to get full details on Robert and Sienna’s adventure in Florence. If I had foreseen the next incident, I would have waited till I got to the lounge to continue my fun.
Midway into my little world – it doesn’t take me long to get frenzied by Dan Brown, I heard what would rank as the most demeaning racial insults hurled at me. I straightened myself and turned towards the 5ft 9 figure, not much taller than I am. Anger and vengeance boldly smeared all over me. I was going to make him pay for his sins and those of his like. Just an air-thin distance from him, a thought hit the back of my head. “Eze, you won’t succumb to this shameful victory. You cannot give him an edge over you. Hold your own, don’t give in to the pressure”. In that split moment, I made a robotic turn from him. The excitement on the faces of the other passengers had been replaced with a miserable shock – they would have probably thought me a coward. I walked right back to my spot, the queue had disappeared by now. I was hurrying past the waiting lounge into the underground to clear my head and of course get back to my travel companion on the train to Oxford. Some hand from behind tapped me and I turned to see a young lad probably in his late 20s. It was him- the guy who had tried to crush me with his words couple minutes ago. In no mood for petty talks, I tried to untangle from his attention. He followed me-head on relentlessly telling me “I am sorry for what I said earlier! You are some strange guy, you did something I have rarely seen”. Now he had my attention, he didn’t look like the devil I had seen back there after all. We talked throughout the journey to Oxford circus. This was not the first time someone was “trying” to make me feel less of myself by hitting me with racial comments. Unlike previous experiences, today I am feeling better. I am not trying to stop my poor heart from crying. I didn’t let my emotions get the better of me. Times without number, I have resolved to take a calmer approach and not hit back at racial comments. After a long struggle, I was finally able to do that today. The fact that I was able to walk away in that split moment without uttering any word was a big slap of shame on his face. He was obviously having a bad day and I have helped lift the clouds out of his face. I killed two birds with a stone! The reward for my win, over rage and vengeance, couldn’t come have any sooner – happiness and self-satisfaction!
The greatest victories are often not evident in the results! They are the baby steps-the decision to succeed. They are not always the absence of failure! They are a culmination of silent tears, tough decisions, calculated efforts, persistence and patience. For some, success is an end and eventually becomes part of their blueprint. To others, it is a journey. It may seem life has been very surreptitious to you and you are hanging on to the tiny thread of hope contemplating whether to let go or cling even tighter. Remember that giving up is as tough a battle as holding on. Overcoming your fears of failure or winning the struggle with bad habits is worth celebrating. Don’t walk away from a lifetime of happiness by failing to celebrate your seemingly little victories. My encounter at London Victoria brought me to a realisation that I could not win the world around me if I could not conquer the world within. The reason we often miss the “little” victories is because we have set ourselves on a path to prove people wrong. The only person I want to dare every day is the man in the mirror! Like Serena Williams not needing a trophy to announce herself a winner on making a return to Indian Wells after a 14-year absence following a racial abuse, I am starting to enjoy the smaller victories even more without any acknowledgement from anyone.
No one is less of a human because of their skin colour! Neither religion nor lifestyle preferences can make us super humans. When I look around, I do not see colour, religion, age, gender or lifestyle choices. I see a world of people in need of love.


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