He had always been so very careful with his steps. From very early on, he had decided one can’t be too careful as one walks to one’s destination, for one can so easily fall – a momentary carelessness was all that was needed to fall on these rocky terrains. And so many people had told him that they didn’t manage to reach the destination in time because they had fallen. Because, and it is a well-known fact, how people, once fallen, may not rise again for years or, at times, ever.
Too scared of the answer they may give him, he didn’t ask anyone what it was like down there where they fell. But one could easily imagine how much they were suffering even now when they had finally picked themselves up. A single look on their face would tell you as much. Something in the very corner of their eyes sang the saddest songs he had heard. One could see scars all over their body and, so often they would moan of that pain in the left side of their chest, a pain that was quite well known. And he was sure he couldn’t stand that. Though he pretended to be strong, he knew deep in his heart that he was fragile and weak. And he knew he won’t be able to bear it.
It shocked him how people were too careless about this – how come they weren’t afraid of falling? So full of mirth and laughter – constantly talking about trifles as they walked. Some of them, in fact, seemed to be giving the impression that they were trying to fall. If he wasn’t too careful with his own steps to have any energy left to care for those of others or anything else, he would have advised them to be careful. As it is, he found it a hard job to avoid falling himself.
It was so easy to fall you know – one could fall by mistake or one might lose oneself to the beautiful sights on either side of tracks. The land itself was so slippery. The whole arena conspired to make you fall – and after all, that is what the game is about. Isn’t it? Arena shall try to make you fall and suffer and you must stay focused and reach your destination – whatever it was and whatsoever waits for one there, as quickly as possible. Of course, one can’t run there. The test seemed to him that of steadfastness – the more steadfast one was, the better was one’s chance to win.
But was winning really worth the effort? What if he didn’t win despite all the effort? Won’t he be a real loser then? Far worse than those others around him – who at least were careless and enjoying the sights. They didn’t get too invested in results anyway, so results couldn’t hurt them. And what if winners had already been chosen? Such were doubts that haunted him of late.
And then, there is Vertigo that he had now started feeling – occasionally at first but which was getting more and more frequent. A wish to fall consciously. Such a temptation would visit him all of sudden – or no good reason and would send a shiver down his spine. It was difficult, so very difficult to control himself in those moments and it consumed all his energies. And he would come out tired of all the effort.
One day, perhaps because he was already too tired, he couldn’t keep himself from giving in to this temptation. He failed to make himself fall – despite making a conscious effort. Maybe, he thought, the arena resists any conscious efforts at falling. After that, he never tried to avoid the temptation – gave himself up to it each time when it suggested itself in order to confirm this idea – and each time failed to bring himself to fall. Instead, he discovered that by giving himself up to the temptation, he came out relaxed and with a certain sense of internal peace. It was as if he had been carrying a load on himself and now that he had given himself up to the temptation of throwing it, he was feeling light.