The peak beckons
February 7, 2018 | 5:37 PM
by Siddhant Suri Dhawan

I stand at the foothills of Mount Olympus and behold the wonders of its lofty peaks, laden with thick, white snow. I gaze at its ascensions in admiration and utter reverence, for perched on its pristine slopes are my sentinels, my guardians. They stare into the crevices of my mind and impart the wisdom they have attained through the tests of their experiences, nourishing my mind and grooming the thoughts that emerge from it. To them, I am forever grateful, for their watchful eyes and careful supervision have illuminated the path before me like a lodestar.

I yearn to climb the steep slopes of Mount Olympus, the peak beckons me, my sentinels urge me. Yet it is reserved for the exceptional few whose achievements merit the pedestal they have been placed on and the immortality conferred on them through the brown and stained pages of history.

The Mount Olympus I have so metaphorically described is none other than a seven foot by seven foot, pure-white bookshelf, the wooden platforms of which hold the crème de la crème of personalities that once traversed the Earth. At the peak of Olympus sits the Bard of Avon. With an unwieldly hardback of his complete works in hand and spectacles perched on his nose, he gazes wistfully upon the world’s stage.

Armed with extended metaphors and beautiful lyricism, he preaches the triviality of human existence, the pettiness of human action and eternality of time. I listen, absorb and reflect on his words with a sense of veneration, for the true connotations of his writing will forever remain beyond the capacities of even the most adroit literary prodigy. Beneath him sit the great thinkers, their works being the sole remnants of an age long gone and forgotten.

They sit in pensive mood as they ponder over the very foundations of human beliefs and actions; the metaphysical realm is their playground and rational argument is their game. The staunch relativist Aristotle sermonises political theory and morality, enunciating seemingly abstruse concepts with clarity and poeticism. His fiery passion moves me, inspires my intellect and bolsters my thirst for the knowledge he encapsulates. On the shelf below them sit Churchill and Gandhi. Churchill reminisces about his political and military triumphs, his grandiose notions and immodesty stand in stark contrast to Gandhi’s humility.

Yet his wit, humour, and acumen are unmatched. They speak of similar events but offer contrarian perspectives; I accept some, reject others but am in perpetual awe of the place they have carved for themselves in the annals of history. Beside and beneath them lie Parks, Mandela and Malala, men and women whose grit, conviction and raw intellect have moulded the course of civilisation and dispelled the ignominious darkness with the illumination of knowledge and tolerance. They tell tales of hardship and discrimination, courage, and triumph and remind me that the path to greatness is not one of resting, but of incessant and relentless striving, and unfettered determination.

I yearn to reach the summits they have surmounted, to hoist my flag besides theirs and to leave an indelible mark on the canvas of humanity. For now, I am content with my small laurels but my ascent has begun and as I fall down the slippery slopes of Olympus from time to time, I shall look up to my sentinels, gain my footing and carry on relentlessly. —[email protected]

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