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A CLOSE LOOK

On journeys — forever

Nilratan Halder | Published: June 21, 2019 21:15:58


For some life's journey begins with a bang, for others quite insignificantly and still for others modestly. When a boy or a girl born in an unenlightened home of a remote village tentatively ventures into schools away from the known environment and gradually discovers the irresistible charm of education and city life, it is a giant mental leap. More significantly, the lone battle s/he fights in achieving academic success elevates the person to go through a sort of sea-change within the inner self. The exceptional among them literally embark on a light year's journey when they earn for them admission to one of the universities of the Ivy League in the United Kingdom or the United States of America. Those who are born with a golden spoon in their mouth always have the advantage of making it to the elite club but it is those coming from humble background who earn for them extraordinary feats really prove life's worth.

The world would have been a poor place had there been no struggle to excel. Imagine the early voyages some people undertook to see and know what other parts of the world looked like. The discoverers were not all guided by the commercial or conquering motive although their sponsors surely had on their minds the thought of exploiting resources from unknown lands. It is no fluke that steam engine was the first great scientific invention in the history of mankind. People had the urge to go places as fast as possible either to bring commercial exploits home or just settle in lands where life would be easier to lead.

Thus the streams of human races have continued well beyond the recorded history. Local people have been subjugated or even annihilated. The progress of civilization has thus taken a tortuous course. Now that nations have found themselves within more or less agreed geographic boundaries, people find it difficult to migrate to climes of their choice. International and national rules and regulations have been framed to screen who qualify for such migration and who do not. In a situation like this, the less qualified and skilled take the clandestine illegal routes to make it to their El Dorados.

But the process is fraught with risks and physical dangers-risks of getting caught for illegal immigration and dangers to life because of the nature of journey. When Bangladeshi youths float without foods and drinking water for weeks on boats in the sea off the coast of Tunisia or in the Mediterranean Sea only to perish in the most hostile and tragic condition or their desperation compels them to get into covered vans before becoming icy mummies, the world confronts a harsh and cruel reality.

How differently the journeys culminate! Not all mountaineers on their expedition to the Everest, the highest peak in the world, successfully climb to the top or return. Quite a large number of them embrace the snowy death and not everyone's body can be traced. This year many of the bodies got exposed from their unlikely burial under layers of ice. The Nepalese government is facing problem identifying them and returning them to their near and dear ones. In the days of Captain Cook, similar was the case with people perished on their voyage to the arctic poles. Ordinary mortals in search of a livelihood abroad lose their lives in wilderness and expeditors also embrace death in their quest for proving themselves. These are well-off people who could live a life without bothering for their income. But something inexplicable beckons them to take the hazardous challenge. If they become successful in their quest, they either rewrite history or at least get a place in the record book.

So journeys from the most ordinary to the most ambitious are what propel human beings to announce their existence on this planet. It is because of this lust for something beyond life, man has embarked on journeys to the Moon and Mars and even plans for exo-planetary expeditions. Life has no limit. But no one yet knows where it comes to the touching distance with the eternal.

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