“Okay, so despite all my requests to stay over for some more time, you have finally decided to call it quits?”
“What do I do, my dear Vishal, I was longing to live a life much more peaceful than I had done all these years, and thus I had to go.”
“Yes, yes, I understand that…but you see, I can’t say how easy or difficult it would be for me to live with the thought that you are not anymore by my side.
“But you see, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never see you again. You have been an inspiration for me, one of the greatest teachers I ever had, and now it would be incredibly difficult to reconcile my desire to see you again, living and speaking, hale and hearty.”
“I do not feel happy leaving this place as well, but you see dear Vishal, there’s no other path I could have chosen.
“And by the way, I am already leaving with you a lot of my memories and thoughts that would stand by your side whenever you need them.”
“Yeah, I know that. I know how you have inspired me to make a difference in others’ lives, and stand up to the challenges.
“I know how you have inspired me to judge myself not by how many times I fall, but by how many times I get back up again.
“I am also thankful to you for helping me realize the importance of having a good head and a good heart.
“I am grateful to you for leading me to live a life of no regrets. I know if I had my time over I would do the same things again that I am doing now.
“You also forced me to learn to not be resentful, for it’s such a waste of my time and energy. In fact, all your life, you showed me how not to be angry and bitter towards anyone.
“Then, you taught me by your actions how to have courage. It was from you that I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. You told me why the brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
“Hey Vishal, I think you have praised me more than I deserved!”
“Not really! Now that’s another lesson I learned from you and your life – be humble.
“And yes, how could I forget this…your most important lesson that has completely changed my life.”
“And what was that, Vishal?”
“It was that if I did not require my journey to be easy or comfortable or safe, I had the powers in me to change the world.
“Wait! Why have you gone silent?”
“Because Vishal, you have been speaking all this while!”
“Oh sorry, I give you a chance to speak now.”
“But it’s time for me to say you goodbye, for I have a long journey ahead of me.”
“Yes, you must not get late here. I will allow you to leave now, but with a promise that you will try to come back soon, and till then, will always remain in my thoughts.”
“Of course, I will Vishal. I am always there with you.”
“Thank you, my dear friend. It pains me to admit that I think about you more now when you are leaving, than I did when you were at my side.
“I never would have asked for it to be this way, but if this is what I must take, I will.
“Dear Nelson, you may go now, but I’ll always keep you in my thoughts.”
P.S. Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday, was one of the greatest teachers and inspirations in my life. His life, his work, and his words have inspired me with his message of strength, dignity, leadership, survival and courage. RIP Nelson Mandela.