Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: In quest of Last Victory by Navin Gulia

I came across this book by accident, an accident which I like to happen repeatedly. After thinking for a while, I ordered this book in FlipKart.

Who is Navin Gulia? Good question, by end of this book you will came to know who he is.
Like many other autobiographical books, this one also starts with author’s birth. I don’t know what happened around me when I born.  Do you remember? Like many other authors, Navin also went for over describing those days.

Slowly, timeline moved forward and we reached his school days. Author, just like most of us when we were kids, describe himself as a youngster longed for love, praise, affection and attention. Did he have all those things? No. His inability to finish in first place in many sporting events was too much disappointing for him. In addition to that Navin also ended up doing things, against his wishes for making others happy, an important mistake we often make.

As the time passed, author moved to different schools in different places, which brought new friends, environment and new experiences as well.

An important characteristic of Navin was his attention towards physical excercises – no matter whether it is walking or running or other athletic events he was very eager to practice daily. However, when it comes to competitive events he often find him in second place.

An interesting feature of this book is frequent motivational lines coming in every other page. At some times, you may feel – isn’t it going over the head? Did he really think like that at that age? However, most of the time, these lines are in sync with progress of the story.

One major setback he suffered at this period is the failure in the mathematics during the final year in schooling. Failure in board exams is something which can break any one. But Navin was not ready to give up.

From here onwards, along with author we are also going to joining at the life in NDA and how the institution helped him to focus more on life and values. Or as he writes - understood the key to success – ‘working meticulously towards it’.

However, all were not smooth. He had to work very hard to reach the standard he set for himself. In NDA a kick by a horse resulted in 29 stitches to his face. These pages also explain the idea of infinite ability to do things. Well I may not fully agree with this, I would rather like to agree on the principle, ‘One should realise when a task is no longer achievable’, and one should carefully decide on the course of action when the cost of achieving victory far outweighs the benefits we can extract out of it. A pyrrhic victory serves no one – neither the victorious one nor the defeated one.  However, ideas of infinite ability presented by him are inspirational.

One can also find references to Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem – ‘IF’

“IF you can keep you head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,”

Then come IMA, here Navin suffers the biggest setback of his life. An adventurous life involving Rock Climbing, Parachute Jumping etc came to a halt when he suffered an accident which results in Paralysis.

However Navin was not a person to be disappointed by life, hibernate and spend rest of his life with memories from old days. He tried hard to go forward and leave the bad memories behind. Finished graduation from Symbiosis, got driving license, tried flying a glider, spend long hours in driving, two failed attempts to Khardung La (second attempt reached very close to the top), world’s highest motor-able road.

Then comes the third attempt to highest roads in the world – this time to Marsimik La. Can I say rods? No. It’s more of some dirty tracks.

I can divide this book to three parts. In first part, Navin as a kid - eager to become lovable, to get attention and affection. In second part Navin as an energetic teenager is trying hard to live a life which is up to his dream. In third part, after the accident, he is not only trying hard to become less and less dependable on others, but also struggling to give a new meaning to life. His journeys to Marsimik La not only send a message of hope but also show how nothing can create roadblocks in front of a fully committed individual.

There is much more in the books, like in IMA and after that running to multiple chapters. Enjoy reading.


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