Fuel your flame!

By Suma Varughese

January 2017

Passion is the petrol that keeps the engine of your life running. Its powerful energy is the secret behind success, achievement, and a joyous life. Suma Varughese explores how to achieve and retain this eminently desirable quality

Fire flames collection isolated on black background

In March 2012, I went for a holiday to Kashmir, with two of my close friends, Harvinder Kaur and GL Sampoorna. We stayed with another close friend, Chitra Jha, one of Life Positive’s prolific writers. One afternoon, we went to Dachigam, a national park situated in the midst of Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, perhaps after Mumbai, the only city in India to host a national park.

As Harvinder was unwell, only Sampoorna and I went, armed with an introduction to the director of the National Park, Naseer Ahmed. We caught him at a busy moment, and he sent us on our way to explore the beautiful park, which had a sanctuary for animals so tame that leopards would playfully nuzzle the hands of their keeper, or flop on the ground with their bellies exposed and paws dangling like giant tabbys, while massive Himalaya bears would rise on their hind legs, press themselves against the fence and grin at us.

It was nearing dusk when Sampoorna and I returned and found Mr Ahmed free to attend to us. He was a slender man of average height, whose appearance I can’t quite recall. What I can recall though, and vividly at that, was the incandescent passion that gripped him when he mentioned his beloved national park. The man was familiar with every flora and fauna in the park. He took us in an open-air electric cart (the kind that you find in airports to drive you to the gates) all the way to a hilltop to show us not just the most staggering view of the city, but also some lichen that grew only when pollution was absolutely nil. He identified every leaf and blade of grass, and kept us enthralled with his stories of cavorting with Himalayan bears and other wildlife. He laughed and shared that he never, if he could help it, left his park and went into the city. But once his wife forced him to go to the dentist and there he was, a helpless babe, having to dodge traffic! By the time we tore ourselves away and were embarking on our return to the park office, night had fallen. Mr Ahmed continued to identify all sort of night sounds, when suddenly he paused and stopped the vehicle. Turning to us with his eyes afire, he said, “A langur is signalling that he is trapped on a tree with a leopard below. Shall we go and see?”

Sampoorna and I blanched. Go
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