“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.” ― J.K. Rowling
I was living and failing at it deeply in the days when I read J.K Rowling's first Harry Potter book. J was with my parents in India and had at the point not seen me in months. My life was consumed in trying to settle into a stable situation so she could come live with me. Every day of uncertainty was another day that I had failed J as a mother - and yet when I picked up The Sorcerer's Stone during my daily commute, my escape from reality was complete.
At that point, seeing a mother and child seated across from me would not cause a wrenching pain my heart. I would have been transported to the world Rowling had created. I read every book in the series that had been published at the time mainly because the escape was so profound. Until then my closest brush with fantasy genre had been Yargo and The Lost Horizon - it was not a genre I fully understood but maybe there had not been such a need to escape the here and now till then.
In the years that followed, I failed in many other ways but was always able to rebound. I learned to throw caution to the winds because my survival depended upon being able to do that.Once failure became inevitable, it was easier to breathe and live.Recently, I asked J if she remembered about the time when she and I lived by ourselves and she was able to recall some snippets from memory - a tiny fraction of the eight years of her life. The years that I worried may leave inedible scars because I was never fully present for her. She talked about mundane and happy events for the most part - some that spoke of boredom but none of any real sadness. Maybe it is a testament to having lived well inspite of and because of many failures.
And here are J's thoughts on the same quote