Unforgettable Moments that Subtly Change Your Life

There are 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. No matter how long you live, and how well your ability to remember is, inevitably most days will be forgotten as we move forward in time and rightfully so. Our minds and hearts need to be focussed on the present most of the time with occasional drifts of thought and experience forward into the future or backward into past.

If you have lived long enough to be able to read this then you know what I am talking about and there can be no exceptions, unless you have Hyperthymesia( and even then I understand you will remember most days in your life)

Many days and many more moments will be forgotten but there will be some that will remain forever engraved into our memory for as long as we live. I can pick out a few of those moments which I will never forget.

The Spiritual Bridge

In 2001, I was in India with my family. We went to visit places in North India. Places like New Delhi, the capital of India and Agra, the home of the symbolic Taj Mahal were on the itinerary. One place which was not really on our itinerary, but which later become one of the place that we visited out of being a transit place en route to one of our main destinations was Rishikesh. I can’t remember where we were headed, but in order to be there at a particular time we had to depart from our starting point very early in the morning. We got onto a big open rickshaw at four in the morning with 6 or 5 other tourists. It was a dark and chilly ride to Risikesh. My family huddled together. No one including the other passengers uttered a word. All we could hear was the sound that the rickshaw engine made and the wind that blew on our faces. It was too early for chitchat, everyone was sleepy.

Rishikesh_-_Lakshman_Jhula
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakshman_Jhula

It was still dark when we reached Rishikesh. We visited two very small temples and then were instructed to visit another temple before crossing the famous suspension bridge called the Lakshman Jhula. We were slowly making our way across the bridge when I started to notice something in the water of the Ganges below and the forest on the mountains behind us. At first I thought I was only imagining it, but then it became evident that it was really happening. The colour of the water started to change. It had been hidden by the darkness before and all that was evident was the sound of the water, but now it was displaying a dark shade of green. The trees behind us started to make themselves visible. The cables of the suspension bridge were becoming visibly clear. Then the water below us turned into a slightly brighter shade of green and the sky became brighter. I stopped and stood watching  the water below, the trees behind us and the sky. I then noticed the colour of the water changing. A certain sense of unprecedented awe took over me as I finally saw the sun peek ever so slightly and then I witnessed the colour of the water turn emerald. There were many little temples on the other side of the river which now glistened with gold as they were getting revealed by the sun’s rays.

But the time we were on the other side of the bridge, I knew there was something inside of me that  had just changed. I knew that that moment was going to be special and even today as I write this I am awestruck by its memory.

Standing in the Sky

 If you have never done sky diving or parasailing or paragliding, then you definitely need to do it at least once in your life time. Sky diving was one of the things on my “list”. If you don’t have a “list” I suggest you start building one. It was basically a list of things that you want to do, places that you want to go to, goals that you want to achieve in your life.

I am not going to lie. Sky diving is a scary experience. The fear was there and in huge doses, but I learned to live with the policy ” If you fear it, you must do it” and so I did it. Unlike most people, my real thrill was not jumping from a plane and it was not even falling 200 kms. Don’t get me wrong, those were part of an amazing experience, but for me the moment that I remember best is when the parachute opened and it felt like I had suddenly stopped falling. I looked down and I could see the trees, the runway for the plane from which I jumped from and the sky meeting the horizon. That moment, that sudden change in pace was the moment that I will never forget. It was as if after falling uncontrollably I had suddenly stopped and was standing mid air looking down at the world. It didn’t matter where I was, what had happened yesterday or what was going to happen tomorrow. I was in that moment and that moment only.

The Golden Goal

I have tried to describe this moment many times in the past, but I have yet to come up with the perfect words that really encapsulate this moment. All the times that I have talked about this moment has been around people who experienced it first hand and words don’t need to be used because they know what the moment was and how it felt and an uncontrollable smile of pure joy gets painted on their face.

2010_Winter_Olympics_logo.svgThe 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics was a time when the entire country of Canada was united as one. I remember getting my picture taken with me holding the Olympic Torch when it came to Toronto – it was surreal. As the events progressed, the people who were not fully hooked by such an event an the Olympics started to get engulfed in the spirit of the games and in the spirit of Canada. There are many other memorable moments including the song “I Believe” which did as much as the games itself to bring the nation together.  But the moment that will go down in history is the golden goal of the golden game, the final event of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Men’s Ice Hockey Final between Canada and the USA. Hearts stopped when USA scored an equalizer 25 seconds away from a Canadian victory taking the game into overtime. Then 7 minutes 40 seconds into overtime magic happens and the whole nation all at once jump with arms in the air. If you’re a Canadian you should watch the video above.

Those were my top 3 unforgettable moments yet. What are yours? Please comment below and share if you like or if you have any suggestions.

OH CANADA!

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games had “OH CANADA” written all over it. The color of the olympic flag might be white with different coloured rings on them, but the true colours of these olympics were red, white and a red maple leaf!

We as Canadian set out to own the podium by trying to win the highest total number of medals in these games. That did not happen, however we did win the most number of Gold medals, not only in these games, but in any winter olympic games in history. Canada was all red, white and gold.

I was not born here in Canada; I was nationalized. I got my Canadian citizenship few years ago, but 2010 is the year I truly became Canadian. I always felt a bit of lack, and somewhat at unease knowing that us Canadians although were proud to be Canadians, had a silent pride and were not as outwardly as we truly should be. But from the moment the torch relay across the country began, I started seeing a different part of Canada, a part that I had not seen in close to a decade that I have been here. The momentum grew as the torch went from east to west, from south to north. I went to see the torch arrive in Toronto. It was a proud moment for me. Suddenly people were not just from different backgrounds, they were all Torontonians; they were all Canadians.

But just before the games began, 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili died after losing control of his sled on the final turn at Whistler mountain in his qualifying run. Could that tragedy have been avoided? Maybe. It is sad and nothing really can replace that. But over the course of the 2010 olympics, the games itself did turn out to be a celebration.

So what were my most memorable moments of the Vancouver 2010 winter olympic games?

  • From the opening ceremony, the whales.
  • From the opening ceremony, Shane Koyczan’s poem, “We Are More”
  • The first medal for Canada was not a gold but a silver by Jenn Heil and in her words “Of course, I wanted gold but I won silver”. Yes she didn’t loose the gold, but she wont the silver.”
  • First Gold medal ever for Canada on home soil – This was the true defining moment and this was what being Canadian is all about. When the last competitor finished his run, and points were award, Alexandre Bilodeau knew he had won Gold, and he started celebrating, but then in an instant paused, to congratulate the last competitor to ski down the slopes for his run, by patting him on the shoulder and then went out to celebrate his victory. And little did he know that he had just predicted the outcome of these Games by saying, “”It’s just the beginning, I think”.
  • Joannie Rochette’s courageous first figure skate after her mother passed aware during the Olympic games.
  • Canada’s dominance over Russia in quarter finals of men’s ice hockey with a 7-3 victory.
  • Women’s curling final between Canada and Sweden. Canada deserved to win, leading by 2 points in the later half of the game. Sweden drew in the last round, and then won over Canada in sudden death. But whatever the result, these Canadian women are champions.
  • The equalizer by team USA in men’s hockey final between Canada and USA with only 24 seconds remaining.
  • And finally the golden goal by Sidney Crosby in over time taking the men’s hockey team to victory. This one golden goal had 3 golden moments in it. First is the gold medal in men’s hockey declaring to the world that Hockey truly is Canada’s game. Second, making that one goal resulting in the breaking of the record for the most gold medals won by any country at any single winter olympic games. And third, is the coast to coast celebration in that one moment where people just stood up, jumped around, screamed with joy and more, and as it is said, the rest is history.