Friday, June 22, 2007

Small talk....

The drizzle is now a steady downpour. Occasionally there's cold spray from the open window.

'Do you feel scared?'

'No pappa, I...I don't'.

'It's okay to admit your fears. Nothing shameful about it. Even if you don't express it to anyone, it's enough if you admit and acknowledge it within, instead of living in self-denial. To see that it's natural to be afraid, to be fearful of certain things. Making your peace with it. And then doing whatever your fear stops you from doing.'

'Pappa, are you scared of anything?'

'Constricted places! When you were a baby, there would be newsreports about small kids falling into open borewells. Some kids came out safe but quite a few weren't so lucky. I'd imagine their plight--stuck inside the belly of Mother earth, unable to move either way, gasping for breath, hungry, tired, bleeding, scared--it'd make my hair stand on end. I'd imagine myself in their places and it'd choke me. I don't think I'm over it yet, but it doesn't bother me.'


'And of falling from heights. Not exactly the fear of heights. I'd hold you tight whenever we climbed up the stairs to our room, fearing at times lest there be a slip.......! And again, street dogs. There were incidents of kids getting mauled by streetdogs. I had a tremendous fear of these animals because there were a few dogs in our locality and all the kids would play on the streets every evening.'

'Is it okay to be afraid?'

'To be afraid means that you're responsive and alive. It means that you have an active interest in something. And as long as your fear doesn't choke you, doesn't keep you in a rut, it's fine even if you don't overcome it. For example, you may fear the dark. But if you can still walk across the dark passage from your room to the living room, without screaming, it's fine. Only when this fear makes you curled up in a corner should you take notice.'



'Then what, pappa? What do you do then?'

'Figure it out yourself. One thing you're sure, you can't live with that fear anymore. It'll stop you from living a normal life, doing what you must do, what you've always loved to do. So either you choose to live with your fears or you decide to eliminate them completely and live fearlessly, live a fuller life.'

'But how? How do I get rid of my fears?'

'There's no one size fits all answer. Each fear is unique, each person is. You figure out your own answer, you carve your own path to freedom.'


' I'll tell you what a friend said, long time back. Each fear arises at a particular level, he said. And once you contemplate deeply on the root of this fear, you'll come across something you're attached to. Practice detachment at that level. Try and get rid of possesiveness towards that thing. Accept that that thing doesn't belong to you, that you came here alone and will eventually return alone. With this detachment arises fearlessness. But it takes practice. And dedication. And the result--the freedom from fear--is far more worth than the effort that goes into it. The joy of fearlessness. The adventure you'll have!'



  1. Vishwa, this small talk reminds me: "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear." ~ Mark Twain

  2. Well, Vishwa, your prose is brilliant."Be fearless, be bold", easier said than done!In fact we humans have to experience all these emotions, just to be human.Let us try not to be cowards and daredevils.

  3. Maria...Thanks. Whether we try to become daredevils or not, if a fear stops/shrinks us, it's time to overcome than just experience it.

    And yeah, easier said than done. But why expect everything to be easy?:-)

    Nick...But there seems exist a joy, a detachment in fearlessness that courage lacks.

  4. You really made me confused, Vishwa. So, I had to refer to the dictionary to relearn the meanings of "courage" and "fearlessness". Well, courage is readiness to face and capacity to endure danger,while fearlessness stresses feeling no fear, to be brave. I wholly agree with you that if a fear shrinks us we have to overcome it. But , then we should not risk our lives for an act of recklessness. We, after all, have to live to perform such acts!!!!!

  5. I'm flattered....never thought, I could confuse someone :-)

    Chuck the dictionary. Do you remember doing something(anything) with absolutely no fear? I do. Long back, I would stand in front of a 1000 people and deliver a speech--without shivering. I loved it. That's fearlessness.

    Now if I have to speak to a similar audience, I'll have to subdue my fear-anxiety and speak. That's courage.

    Any given day I'd prefer fearlessness over courage.

    And it's got nothing to do with recklessness. Would you jump off a building just because you're fearless? I don't think so. You won't jump, not because you fear, but because you know that you may not survive. Why should fearlessness make anyone foolish?

  6. Well, thanks for the lucid explanation.Considering that, small children are fearless and adults are courageous.
    Thank you, Vishwa. And, write more posts.