Posts Tagged ‘courage’

I’m heart-broken. Alex Trebek, long-time Jeopardy! host, passed away yesterday, November 8th.

Source: jeopardy.com

I knew he was battling cancer—and how! He pitted himself against the disease with infinite courage but also his trademark poise and grace—and it wasn’t looking good, but still news of his death hit me hard.

Trebek has been a steady presence in my life for the past two decades. The minute he walked onto the game show’s set each weeknight, my living room was transformed into an exciting place of learning for the next half hour. And I looked forward to the special tournaments such as the championship week or GOAT with no less anticipation than I would for, say, the Cricket World Cup!

As my family grew, I’d watch the show with my little ones, and with my parents when they visited. The Jeopardy! opening music signaled to me, even if only unconsciously, that it was okay to close the doors on the outside world for the night. That it was now time for family.

And on the days that I struggled to make sense of this world, Trebek’s calm voice would relax my shoulders and the knot in my stomach would loosen a bit.

Trebek hosted the game show for 37 seasons, which amounts to over 8,200 episodes. In fact, he recorded his last episode on October 29th, mere days before his passing. Talk about work ethic, commitment, and strength of character. Fittingly, this episode will air on Christmas Day this year.

I learned only recently that Alex had also hosted National Geographic Bee for kids for 25 years!

Goodbye, Alex Trebek! Thank you for modeling to me how to live life with conviction and grace.

You leave behind millions of people—of many generations—who’ll miss you terribly but are grateful for the time they had to spend with you.

Wherever you are now, I know you are entertaining as well as slyly educating those around you in that gentle and self-effacing manner of yours.

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As much fortitude as it takes to ride into the thick of war to defend one’s cause/nation, it takes as much courage to live through the daily details of one’s life under inhumane conditions. I can only imagine what kind of mettle is required to stand up and fight for what a person believes in, in these situations where hope for the future seems dead.

You may have heard about the 14-year-old Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai and her fight against Taliban’s ban on education for girls in the Swat Valley. On October 9th of this year, Malala was shot in the head and neck by a Taliban gunman attempting to silence her voice forever. She has made a miraculous recovery over the last few weeks, and her father assures the world that she can’t wait to get out of the hospital and resume her activism for women’s education.

I came upon another article recently about three teenage girls in Afghanistan who made a short documentary called Kabul Cards about their everyday lives in the country’s war-torn capital city. Their goal was to show to the word that there’s much more to Afghanistan than constant bombings, warring factions and unsafe living conditions.

When asked why they don’t emigrate to a foreign country where they could aspire for safer lives, 16-year-old Sahar, the youngest of the three girls, had answered without hesitation, “We want to see a changed Kabul. If the youth flees the nation, who is going to bring about that change? We are going to live in a safe Kabul, one that has been transformed by people like us.”

The words and actions of these young girls brought to my mind one word about the future: Hope.

I’ll leave you all with a poem titled “Where the Mind is Without Fear” by famed poet and playwright Rabindranath Tagore:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high 
Where knowledge is free 
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments 
By narrow domestic walls 
Where words come out from the depth of truth 
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection 
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way 
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit 
Where the mind is led forward by thee 
Into ever-widening thought and action 
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

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