Magic: (noun) the use of special powers to make things happen that would usually be impossible, Cambridge English dictionary
I was privy to some ordinary magic yesterday.
I saw a band of men, who have chosen to live away from their loved ones, so that we may bask in the warmth and security of our family. Family for them is a bundle of letters, bursting at the seam, with words weighed down by unexpressed emotions, smudged at the edges by hastily wiped away tears. It is a photograph, dog eared from constant touching, of a little baby girl, with eyes just like her mother, he assures his buddies. It is the voice of a mother, heard after weeks, slightly cracked and husky in the effort to hold back her tears; she is making a fresh batch of his favorite pickle she tells him, to take back with him. Yes, enough to share with his buddies too. It is the shaky image of a new bride, who appears like a dream on his phone when the network is good. Later, he would wonder if he really did see that deep dimple that darted down her left cheek, when she smiled coyly at the camera or was that a figment of his imagination.
Now, as they lie in their caskets, cocooned in the tricolor, I see no shrouds of caste or sheaths of creed or the state from which they hail. I see Indian soldiers whose lives were nothing short of ordinary magic. Delicate magic swathed in layers of the mundane, so thick that you may have to scratch at the crusts of quotidian discipline and rigorous routines. A group of men who stay awake in conditions glacial enough to freeze your very soul, so that we may sleep, lulled by the comfort this security offers. A sense of security that that is so taken for granted, that we rarely notice it, much like our breathing.
I was privy to some ordinary magic yesterday
I saw a little girl all of eleven years, standing before her martyred father’s remains. I saw her little hand shake, as she struggled to raise it in a final salute. I watched her choke back tears as she shouted out the old battle cry of her father’s regiment, her voice splintering into tiny shards yet never once breaking the tempo.
If this isn’t magic, then what is? The magic of the indestructible human spirit and courage. The purest form of courage as we all know is not the absence of fear but the will to do the right thing, in spite of the fear.
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There’s a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in”
These poignant lines from Leonard Cohen’s famous song, ‘Anthem’ holds a special significance in these troubled times.
They remind us to have the courage to make contributions of our own, however small or trivial they might seem. After all it is the little drops that make up the mightiest of oceans. One more way for the light to come in.
Let us notice these acts of ordinary magic happening around us and strive to pool in little offerings of our own; a sort of potluck of small, imperfect, courageous deeds.
Let us honor these heroes by becoming worthy of being defended by them.
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