Escape To Gratitude

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Jul 2018 10:57:31


Mae Sai (Thailand) July 10 (AFP): The final five members of a young football team were rescued from a flooded Thai cave on Tuesday after spending 18 harrowing days trapped deep inside, completing an astonishing against-the-odds rescue mission that captivated the world.

Elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALS extracted the final batch of four boys, plus the 25-year-old coach, on Tuesday afternoon via a treacherous escape route that required them to squeeze through narrow, water-filled tunnels in darkness.

“All 12 ‘Wild Boars’ and Coach have been extracted from the cave,” the SEALs said in ‘Facebook’ post, referring to the boys by the name of their football team. The last four Thai Navy divers, including a doctor, who had been with the boys emerged safe from the cave late on Tuesday, rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorl said.

THAT it was a fantastic, real-life rescue story that can be part of any fiction, is only a small part of reality. The bigger -- and greater -- part of an unstated reality is that those trapped youngsters and their coach and their families and their friends and the larger Thai society and the still larger global human family had a glorious opportunity to renew their faith in ultimate human goodness. For, when they were trapped in an impossible-looking condition, all the members of the football team and their coach must have courted all dark thoughts. They must have almost concluded without hope that they were doomed to die trapped in that dark cave filled with flood water. And then came this massive and daring effort to rescue them from hell’s bottom. In the process, one diver lost his life, too, adding to the trauma of one and all. Yet, through an entirely new and terribly dangerous and suffocating route, the resecures went in and brought out all the trapped persons in an almost miraculous manner. And the moment that great rescue act was complete and all the trapped persons were sent to hospitals for recuperation, the world heaved a sigh of relief and restored its belief in ultimate human goodness.

By any standard, this is a greater gain of this episode whose importance can never be under-estimated. For, when the trapped persons with no hope of survival were brought out, they found their faith in goodness of humanity and purposefulness of human life got re-affirmed, rekindled, renewed. For them, the world is a beautiful place, and all of them and their families and friends must have resolved to make the world a still better place -- to be lived with gusto and grit and gratitude. From now on, each one of them would make every possible effort to make the world a happy place by making positive contribution to the bigger human story that ultimately becomes ‘history’.

Of course, countless such acts of human togetherness often come in evidence every now and then. Good samaritans often extend themselves to help others, to be of some good use to the others, make seriously positive contribution to the greater gains of the larger human community -- beyond confines of smaller considerations. The world’s history is also full of examples of how men of character have shown extraordinary courage and conviction in helping even the enemies. And on most occasions when such goodness is in evidence, the faith -- in human goodness -- of those involved in the episode gets enhanced and endorsed once again. Such people, ultimately, make the world a better place.

But when chips are down and everything is engulfed in darkness, when there is no hope in the vicinity, when there is every possibility that the episode may signal the end of the world for those involved, an act of kind courage makes all the difference. It gives rise to a great sense of gratitude making the world beautiful. Late on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, such a sense of gratitude must have effervesced wordlessly from the rescued footballers and their coach. The coach proved himself to be a man of courage. For, after rescue, he is reported to have apologised to the families of the boys for having led them to the inner parts of the rapidly flooding cave in the hope of a safer perch. But when he said that, the families also reportedly pardoned him. Or, in other words, the families meant to say, in effect, ‘Never worry. We know, you did that in best interest of everybody’.

This extension of goodness, this expansion of human togetherness, this weaving of the web of the larger and happier human family is actually the treasure trove of the global civlisation. If the world’s knowledge has stemmed from multitude of experiences and learnings, good and bad, the world’s wisdom has emerged from the universal experience of goodness and greatness. Outside that flooded cave, on Tuesday, the larger human family got the opportunity to rebuild its faith in itself and its own goodness.

This is the actual gain of the Mae Sai episode. Now, the world has those footballers added to the army of do-gooders forever. In future, they will be the soldiers on the side of goodness whenever the human faith will get shaken, whenever some humans will question if there is any goodness left in the world or not. They will present themselves as living endorsement of human faith in fundamental and universal goodness.

Of course, negativism is one of the dirty attributes of the mundane world. There are quite many people who are made to believe that the world is a bloody, bad, and blighted place. These are the people -- who are in overwhelming numbers, though -- who spread negativism and darkness. Such tendencies need a befitting reply from others.  That reply came in the form of the great act of kind courage that resulted in a great escape to gratitude.