Leave a trail

George Bernard Shaw famously said, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Drifting along life’s path, floating like a log in the water, is perhaps, the simplest way of reaching our graves. Unfortunately, it is also the dullest and the most wasteful way of getting there.

Immortal and iconic personalities of the past have journeyed through life not by the safest routes but through the most rugged terrains of hardships and resistance.
They travelled the meandering roads that led them to greatness with undivided attention, heart-felt passion, single-minded purpose and hawk-eyed vision on a goal. With these to guide them, they worked towards their mission, fought for the cause, acted as crusaders and left a wonderful trail along the path they trended, for all humanity.

Dr Martin Luther King left his mark as the emancipator of the scores of black slaves living in his time in wretchedness at the hands of their white masters.

Mahatma Gandhi stands tall as the father of the country who freed an entire nation not with swords but with his principles of non-violence and truth.

Mother Teresa’s deeds loom large, years after she passed away, in the many homes she started for the orphans. Baba Amte’s ‘Anandwan,’ the sanctuary for the thousands of people afflicted with leprosy, resonates with his ideology of “work builds” where the ignored members of society use their disabled bodies productively in the pursuit of leading respectable lives.

Nelson Mandela will always embody the ‘end of Apartheid’ in contemporary times.   
These are but a few visionaries who lived and died for a cause larger than life and grander than riches. They represent several other humanitarians, social activists and community reformists who lived a life of purpose. Armed with self-belief and courage, they have left indelible marks on the face of this earth changing it permanently for the better.

Men of such nobility are clearly not common place. Yet, the common man can achieve nobility in small ways, done on a daily basis and towards simple causes. Working sincerely and striving for excellence at the workplace, trying to be loving and forgiving towards the family, being a good and empathetic friend, practising small acts of kindness to strangers, caring for the environment, donating time and resources to charitable organisations and standing up to good community and religious values are all small steps to effective living.

Along with these, paying much attention to life and living by the golden rule of ‘doing for others what we would like others to do for us,’ will etch us out in the minds and hearts of those whose paths we might cross and perhaps leave a trail!

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