“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”- Confucius
When was the last time you felt like giving up? Maybe every day? Maybe this very minute? Every second is a constant battle for us irrespective of the nature of the problem. Failures are a hard pill to swallow. However, perhaps they are not so bad. Maybe we can grasp the inexhaustible determination of a creeper. Here, a small story is being told. It might merely be a story; for me, it’s what incited the courage to absorb failures and grow tenacious.
An Inspiration Got Planted
A tiny little creeper uprooted from its place and forced to thrive in the unwelcoming soil; that happened more than a decade ago. As a child, I was destructive in a constructive manner. The house my family lives in has a huge backyard. We could bring twenty relatives and there would have a spare room for everyone. I abhorred my school time; not because I didn’t like to study but because of the ways things were taught. Most of the learning I did happen in practical situations. This vine was the beginning of my inspiration when I took to gardening in my spare moments.
The Budding Hope
Once I just snapped a portion of the huge trumpet vine which proliferated at a rate so rapid that it could have left even the bacteria red-faced. Holding a trowel, I went to the bare stone wall behind our backyard to plant it. Assuming the stunted success rate of its survival, I just left it on its own. The wet soil was dripping off the trowel. The weather was sunny. Only one thought flurried in my mind. I thought, “Would it survive?” No plant planted by me had survived since the time I decided to do gardening. I had even injured a chameleon in an attempt to open the main gate. Poor creature suffered internal bleeding and didn’t sustain. It was given a decent burial after I couldn’t shed the massive guilt of killing someone unintentionally.
Over the course of a week, I continued to feed the trumpet vine’s fragment which I had so mercilessly nipped from its parent body. The little sapling had evoked a sense of relief in me; it had not shown signs of deterioration. One fine day, I went into our backyard to water it. The sight of the little fighter made me say, “I would do anything to protect you.” That day, I tenderly caressed it before going to sleep. The dusk had descended.
The Painful Parting
The tiny warrior had blossomed into a massive vine over the course of two years. Every day, I shooed away the monkeys, and sometimes even my father whose compulsive urges to clean the yard of all the weed often threatened the creeper which I planted. The seeds of affection were sown in my conscience when I saw the little one standing tall and proud in its full glory. Soon, I made it my mission to protect the hope I planted. Sadly, the warrior was left alone with no one to tend to it as I headed to my college in another city. Neither my parents nor my little brother took the slightest interest in watering it. Little did I know, the beautiful creeper will become my inspiration later on.
The Period of Existential Crisis
Do you recall the times when you were close to what you wished for? You work hard; expect your efforts to pay off; find a mate who you could love, and maintain peace in your life. Somehow, at the very moment landslide happens and leaves you dismayed. You often think, “What did I do to deserve this?” Apart from my inability to adjust among shallow people, my desire to find my soulmate was crumbling.
The first man I fell in love with was found in the arms of another woman, a thousand miles away. My university grades plunged because of my emotional instability. My family, being orthodox in gender-based beliefs, couldn’t understand my plight. The gap between me and my family widened because of the rupture of fruitful communication. Later, a friend of mine hanged himself and I fell into a voracious pit of depression. Vulnerable, I shifted to another relationship only to be experience psychological and emotional abuse. The ordeal continued for the next four years. At that time, I didn’t know where my life was heading. Was I destined to a failure? Sadly, my family believed so. I was never their ideal daughter. Why? Because I never adhered to the gender-norms; thought in a gendered way; agreed with the beaten path of career; behaved or dressed the way others wanted me to.
An Unusual Teacher
Why is a flowering creeper being talked about here? Because it gave me hope when I was close to giving up. When I was away, the warrior was burnt, uprooted and damaged multiple times. I recall shouting at my family members when I found that it was snipped from its stem in the name of cleaning the backyard. One year passed; my trumpet vine generated its roots and steadily perched itself on the very stone wall near which it was planted. The rugged wall was hostile to anything which grows near it. However, the creeper and it soon became inseparable. Second-year crawled; it was yet again uprooted. I used to anathematize my father whose idea of maintaining backyard was at odds with me.
Years passed by and only one thing kept my hopes up- the trumpet vine which I nourished so lovingly in my school days. It never gave up and always sprouted back. It never flowered though. In due course of time, it had deepened its roots so well that nothing could ever stop it from springing back. This creeper, in a way, symbolised me. It was expected to flower, yet it never did. However, it always showed an undying determination to conquer all odds. Over and over, irrespective of the inestimable attempts to sweep clean its existence, it started from the beginning to climb the same stone wall by germinating micro-roots. Whenever I needed an escape from my misery, a mere glance at this grown-up trooper relieved me. If nature doesn’t give up, why should I? The obstacles will be thrown at each step in your life. Maybe we can learn a cue from nature itself. My little vine was renamed as Phoenix vine when I understood the message of the universe.
In the words of Confucius, you are only defeated when you don’t rise up after being battered. The Phoenix vine is still there, hugging the same wall near which it learnt to survive.