The Journey of Faith
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiHow strong is your belief? How deep is your love?
Can you dive in the deepest of oceans for that oyster, called ‘hope’, and cross all seven skies for your prayers to be heard?
When courage is your armour, love is your passion, your veins scream,” I Believe and it is possible!” In an unabating, relentless spirit you conquer the rink of your life, just like the boxer, who after being severely injured with the blows of his opponent, bounces back, holding his ground firmly on that faith-only then you are a warrior. A believer. A native of a Never give up land.
This is a story of belief, faith and unconditional loving.
It’s true to its soul. Believe it with your heart and surrender to the events which occurred. This experience of my life was of cognition, awakening, enlightenment and an insight into my soul’s journey.
I will forever live to always believe in the power of love and faith.
This will inspire me always to believe and never give up.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiI am sharing a true tale of my hero, my companion; my pet, Max. I call him my friend because I always have respected the being in animals soul like us, I have always felt, received and reciprocated the same love I feel for fellow are no different. The exceptional courage and the will Max showed, is and will always remain the most inspiring moment of my life.
I am sharing this only because, I want you to believe!
I want you to believe in your self and your dreams.
To never give up hope.
To fight for what you want and what you believe in till your last breath.
Faith will sail you through any tempestuous storm you encounter.
2015, January. Yes, a New year, a new beginning. Like everyone, I was in jubilation too. This was another year which would take me closer to my Olympic Dream which I have been cherishing since my childhood. After a long, strenuous, tiresome day of hard training, coming back home to hug Max, to pet, to cuddle, the walks, the wagging happiness, was my great stress buster. But the beginning of this year got me one of my biggest challenges and reasons to fight for. My pet’s illness. Max’s illness started with an acute ear infection and some symptoms like instability, listlessness and shivering in his body. I got alarmed and rushed him to his veterinary doctor. He was put on a heavy dose of antibiotics. And I was assured that he will be alright. A week had passed by but his pain had no respite. I was in a complete state of confusion and desperation, as he wasn’t really responding to the medication.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiOn 24th January 2015, Max suffered his first stroke. He got paralysed and immobile. I froze.
It was a shocking moment of disbelief; angst, despair and that undefinable agony. He was going to turn 4 years of age, next month. A youthful, vivacious, energetic dog; succumbed to this sudden numbness.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiHis wincing movement as he could not walk broke my heart disconsolately.
After all the elaborate medical tests, doctors told me that he suffered a neurological disorder affecting his body movement. He was paralysed. They gave him 8 weeks to recover with a heavy dose of steroids but alarmed that if he doesn’t in that much time probably he might never.
What? Never? My world came to a halt.
I could not accept that verdict. I started with the best of treatments.
But their eyes told me, no and some even had the courage to tell me, “No, maybe never.”
I can never forget, his pain, his yelping and his cries. His yowls pierced my soul and heart like chisels. He was not able to pass a motion, walk, jump or even move. He was numb in his legs. As if all the joys had left him there, his runs had deserted him forever. The helplessness I saw in his eyes, talking sadness to me; the very same helplessness would roll down my cheeks. I would cheer him up and tell him that he will be alright as I believed but could not hide behind the windows of the blurry sight of Max just lying numb in movement, from the corner of my tearful eyes.
Soon, the pressure started to take the best of me. I was struggling to make him walk every single day of my constant juggle of my strenuous training for my Olympic dream and Max’s illness turned my days and nights in frenzy.
As time passed by, soon all the doctors asked me to give up.
People around would see me carrying him in my arms and would tell me,” Let him go, you are causing pain to him by keeping him alive”.
Some doctors even suggested putting him to sleep. Everyone rendered their sympathies and advice, and yet I was told, he’s just a pet? Why are you in such tumult over him? Concentrate on your goal, let him go. His situation is now beyond cure.
“What? Put him to sleep?” I was in complete shock.
Their scathing remarks were trying to ridicule my faith.
Vehement criticism came my way like an impetuous wave engulfing my self-belief. And I said,
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh Nagarkoti
“What about his trust in me that I will make him alright? What about his unconditional love for his master; staying up all night, walking the deserted dark road to be with his master? His swinging swaying rides in my car?
How could I leave him like that, alone to die?
Would he have, ever?”
In such sadness like a brave soldier he never forgot to wag his tail, his heart was still beating in love. I decided I won’t let this break me down or let him surrender to his disease.
I suddenly turned a deaf ear to all the non-believers.
My silence got louder, my weaknesses got stronger, my tears started drying up and my will was becoming unswerving.
I believed and I had faith.
I saw my Max walk; I saw my Max run. Every time I called him, I visualised him come running wagging in joyous delight.
But right now every time I told him, “Max, come on! Get up! You can do it.”
He would take my command to heart but crumble in his efforts.
I embraced the situation with belief and hope. My fight to make him walk again became my other purpose of living. Eight weeks had passed by and the verdict of doctors that he will never walk again…well never bothered me.
I knew, just one day he would.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiIt’s not about whom we love, it’s about how passionately we love and what would we do or how far would we go for that love in our hearts pumping like faith and belief. And Max was and is my family. His love, his affection and his complete trust in me, gave me all the strength to carry on. I needed to guard and protect his dignity and his right to live a happy, complete, fulfilling chasing life.
Four months had passed by. I rescheduled my training timings so I could spend time with him on his physiotherapy and positive affirmations.
My training had a call and I had plans of travelling to higher altitudes. I was seeking a ground, a place where silence could come about through my determination. Where there was freedom from conflicts of naysayers and negative thinking. Only complete silence can bring about a total revolution of the psyche.
I chose Kaza, situated at the height of 3, 700 meters(nearly 12,200 ft) settled in Spiti Valley in Lahol Spiti district, Himachal Pradesh. Kaza is considered to be amongst the highest village in this world.
But I decided not to travel alone. I just didn’t want to leave him behind in that condition, though it was a tough call as driving with him to that height and altitude was a challenge.
I strongly believe that if we love someone, we never leave them behind. We forever carry them in our being, our heart and our soul; in our love. I decided to take Max with me and away from all the non-believers, away from doubtful minds, shallow empty talks and those resentful eyes looking at him as a burden. So I packed for him too.
I set out on my journey of belief, faith, trust; with a prayer on my lips and a smile in my heart. When I set my hands on the steering wheel, that wasn’t my car I was driving. I was driving my force, my will, my courage. Seated on the seats of faith and God’s grace, I left Delhi on the 6th of June 2015. First, I reached Manali and there I spent almost 8 days. Max loved being in the mountains. He seemed a little more active and attentive.
I left for Kaza on the 15th of June and I drove nearly 600 km from Manali as I had to go via Rampur as the direct route to Kaza was closed that time. The journey from Delhi to Kaza for me was more than 1200kms but it was worth it.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh Nagarkoti
The long drive, the broken roads with twists and turns just like life at times, the landslides like obstacles we face but crossing those gave me enormous might and Max on the rear seat as my companion. It was like a great adventure on a roller coaster. A journey of belief and my path of that’s what my purpose of living is. I drove and I drove. Soon, the dark clouds of anxiousness started disappearing, the path seemed smoother; the sky was so beautifully blue, clear; spread in its vastness like my clear mind. I had reached the highest village in this world and probably the highest awakening of sorts in my being, where I had my determination as my backpack and my faith, my companion; My Max, in my arms.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiI found Kaza a beautiful place with beautiful warm people beauty of that place is its altitude, the never-ending horizon, elated solitary ranges and peaks, majestic monasteries and eloquent monks, a faraway land scattered in the blissful silence of peace.
Kaza invigorated my energies, the place my soul was seeking.
The crispy fresh air, the sublime spiritual energy as I felt it. I think Max felt it too.
I found a beautiful place to stay and I am forever thankful for all the love and trust I received there. People were welcoming, loving; living another life away from the chaos of a metropolitan city. A simple easy way of living in the lap of eternal beauty; so close to the skies.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiSoon thereafter, I started my training routine and my walks and routine with Max. I took him everywhere with me- to the highest peaks, the restaurants, outer steps of the monastery and mostly everywhere, even to the highest post office of this world. He seemed to understand everything. We got into the routine. He made a lot of friends there. Even children from the neighbourhood would come and play with him. They would all talk to him sweetly and ask me questions like why doesn’t he walk? Why do I always carry him in my arms? Many a time their innocent questions would give tears in my eyes but I always told them,” He will soon.”
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh Nagarkoti
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh Nagarkoti
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiEvery day we would have our interactive session of motivation. At times I would coax him gently, lure him to get up and walk. Sometimes commandingly I would say,” Get up Max, let’s go!”; hoping every time that yes, this time he will get up and walk. But I knew in my heart that the moment I have been waiting for was not far.
And there I was right.
After our 15 days of stay in Kaza, one day after I was back from my training and I opened the door calling Max, I was completely stunned. For the first time, I saw Max standing on his all fours.
Max welcomed me standing on his legs!
Unbelievable was that sight!
Like new dawn after the darkest night of long wait, like the first ray of hope in sheer delight.
I saw it happening!
That day was our first step to victory. I bowed in my gratitude and my belief, my faith, my hopes touched the highest of skies. Max was barking and expressing his glorious achievement and wagging his tail. He told me that he can! And I told him, yes, you can, my Braveheart!
Though that moment was short-lived as after a few minutes, he again surrendered to the numbness.
But, that day, I was so proud. I closed my eyes and hugged him deeply and told him,” My boy, soon you will.”
That was our bonding and mutual trust which we had on each other.
I guess, we all need to hear that; yes, yes we can! No words of discouragement, No negative talks. Here no one doubted or questioned his ability or received unconditional love, care and trust.
Yes! He was recovering!
He was pushing boundaries, to live.
10th of July 2015, will always be my most inspiring and memorable day. I had just finished my breakfast after my training and it was time to take Max for a walk. Usually, I always carried him in my arms and then gently made him sit on the soft grass.
I witnessed a miracle.
After a little rest and my usual commands to Max, I was relaxed and generally looking around.
To my utmost belief, I would say,(not disbelief)
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiI witnessed a brave commando as if rising from slumber,
Taking those haggard steps but with his strength of might, his commitment to life, his steps were wavering but were full of courage, valour and grit!
That was my Max.
His walk that day was my belief and his courage. Yes, I witnessed belief, hope, faith and blessings from God; walking.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiMax took steps and he walked a few. He fell down but I felt elated; he walked!
Exuberance rushed in my being, it was like euphoria in motion, like Magic!
I couldn’t stop the tears of happiness and immense pride. Like my baby, he took his first steps. His every step was my belief and his courage. My heart was galloping in joy. I simply fell on my knees, thanking God for every second of the strength, courage, belief and his mercy he bestowed on us. All-mighty, the supreme blessed a true, sincere heart and granted a wish for all the sincere faithful efforts.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiI recorded his walk and shared it with all, even with those who had asked me to put his life to an end.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiHere, was an exceptional walking belief to make everything possible.
It was heroic.
Nothing is impossible.
It is our mind, which lays boundaries and limits. And it is the same mind which inspires us to push, cross, go beyond limits. To overcome our disbelief in our own capabilities. Sometimes no sword, but some words and thoughts can leave us paralysed in our hearts, souls and our being.
To be defeated by one’s own fearful mind is the biggest defeat.
Brave is the one who masters his mind to be focused and disciplined.
Brave is the one whose strength is the belief in the power of prayers, whose shining armour is his faith.
My Max gave me my biggest reward, that unbreakable, unshakable faith.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiHe accompanied me to many schools in Kaza, where I gave motivational talks to children. He became a hero.
He inspires has inspired me to study to be a veterinary surgeon, sometime in my life and work for the cause of abandoned, injured animals.
Max, can walk slowly now. He tries to run, he falls but he gets up and tries to run again. Recently, he tried chasing some female dogs too.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh Nagarkoti
Those slow walk on the hilly paths of Kaza, sometimes in rain and at times on sunny days, us together on the steps of the monastery under the stars lit sky, and those breezy evenings will always make eternal memories in the sky of my heart.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh NagarkotiTo be a warrior in your soul.
Believe! Believe in the power of prayers.
Believe in your dreams.
Believe in your strengths.
Belong and conquer your quest, where one falters, fails, falls but never gives up; only to rise, run and race.
Sometimes I think, what if I had given up?
What, if I had no belief?
Well, I know for sure now; unbreakable belief and unshakable faith are always triumphant.
Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh Nagarkoti