Success or Failure does not matter, go ahead and do it.

Remnants of Berlin Wall

I was 12 years. I was in my High School. The school was about 4 kms away from my house. It was fun to walk the distance. All the friends who walked with me were 1 or 2 years elder to me. Because I was the youngest among the lot, I get to listen. It was exciting to hear the nick names of teachers and stories about rogue students were really gripping. This kept me fascinated during this routine walk.

However, the return journey was never a pleasure. The main reason was that I was alone. Yes. I get to leave 30 minutes earlier than my senior friends.I take the bus ride to kill the boredom. It was faster and thrilling at times.

One such day when I boarded the bus, something happened that left an indelible mark on my life.

As the bus came out of the station and turned left to move towards a flyover, I noticed a big commotion on the other side.

“It was an accident”-someone shouted.

“This boy is bleeding, if no help arrives within 10 minutes, he may die”-someone elder who has probably seen similar accidents made an expert comment.

Fear gripped me. With so much of difficulty, I peeped over the window to get a look at the accident scene.

“Oh No. I know him. I have even played cricket match with him”-My mind started mapping his face. “Balaji”-My mind succeeded. But this success only added sorrow to the fear.

I wanted to get down from the bus and run to help him. Something in me stopped me that day. I came to know later that my friend passed away on the way to the hospital.

I am not sure how much I could have done to save his life. But not even attempting is what bothered me for long time.The guilt of not helping my friend haunts me even today.

Are you wondering what made me to bring this subject now. Something happened during my vacation I went with my family last month.

We went on a cruise trip last month.The cruise started from Copenhagen. First stop was at Rothenburg, Germany. We chose Berlin for sight-seeing. It was about 90 minutes by road to Berlin. Our guide Mr. Daniel Flaherty surprised us with the amount of preparation he had done for this trip. He handed us few books which contained highlights from various books on Berlin history, few photographs including the currency issued during the Great Depression. He was Passionate about the Berlin History. He even inspired Aditya, my 10 year old son, to listen with intent and raise queries on Berlin History.

We walked on the streets where Berlin wall existed till 1989. It was a Wall built by East Germany when it was under the influence of Soviets. This is to devide East and West with an aim to cut off any influence or connection to the west which was under the control of Allied Forces. The Wall was made up of an outer wall which touches the border with WestGermany, an inner wall well inside the East Germany and a strip that runs in between called “Death Strip”. Anyone found in the death strip can be shot without warning.

Well. This is not about Berlin History, though Berlin wall plays an important role in this story. This is a Story told to us by Daniel about the father of Daniel’s room mate Mr. Wolf Hogan.

One could find many stories of heroics of people escaping from East to reach west. But this story left a different impact on me.

Our Hero and his friend have planned this escape very well. Everything went well as per plan to swim across the river running between east and west. Our hero reached the west german side only to turn back to found his friend standing at the other side.

“My friend what happened”-our Hero asked.

“I can’t swim in such deep water.” was the reply from his friend.

Our Hero could have left his friend there and enjoyed the freedom he earned for himself.

But he chose to jump into the river, went to other side and swam back helping his friend also to cross the river.

I saluted this hero in my mind.

I could have changed something in my life had I stepped out of the bus that day

or may be not.

However, I could have avoided the guilt that I carried for long in my life.

Is there something that you could have done but getting stopped ? Well go ahead and do it.

There can only be two outcomes. Either you succeed or you fail.

But not taking the action, you not only fail but also carry the guilt of not doing it.