In the quest of last victory: Book Review

In the quest of last victory

In the quest of last victory

In Quest of the Last Victory is an inspirational story of the Navin Gulia’s perseverance, fighting spirit and persistent efforts to achieve higher goals by stretching beyond what his physical abilities seemed to permit him. Despite complete paralysis of the body, Navin Gulia continued to have aspirations and made every effort to accomplish them. With a single-minded focus and determination, he turned his disability into a life-affirming force. He mastered chess, studied computer science, flew hang gliders and microlight aircraft, and went on to become the first Indian to drive non-stop to the highest motorable mountain pass in the world, the forbidding Marsimik La in Ladakh.With a lifetime of severe setbacks behind him and an impossibly steep mountain incline in front, Navin Gulia knew that if he failed this day life probable would never give him this chance again. The words he had always believed in rang in his ears:

Our body and mind have infinite ability, our ability never restricts us, our thoughts do. If we think we can, we can; if we think we cannot, we cannot.

This is a captivating tale of grit and determination that will inspire and motivate people of all ages.

About the Author
Navin Gulia, adventurer, writer, social worker and motivational speaker, holds a world record for being the first person to drive non-stop to Marsimik La, which at 18,632 feet is the highest mountain pass in the world. In 2007, he founded, and now runs, the Apni Duniya Apna Ashiyana Welfare Society, which works towards the interests of underprivileged children.

Gulia was honoured with the President’s National Role Model Award by Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2006. He has received several other awards and honours, including the Godfrey Phillips Mind of Steel Award (2010), Karmaveer Puraskar from iCongo (2009), Cavinkare Ability Mastery Award (2006), Chief of Army Staff Commendation (2005), The Times of India Global Indian for the Year (2005), Limca Book People of the Year (2005) and State Award for Adventure Sports (2004).

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Jamsetji Tata — Visionary and dreamer of the century.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Paulo Coelho

Jamasetji Tata

Jamasetji Tata pursued three dreams in his lifetime:

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Dr. Abhay Bang — Man with Indomitable Spirit.

In 1950, Dr Abhay was born to parents who believed in the Gandhian welfare movement known as Sarvodaya. “I spent my early childhood in Gandhi’s Sevagram ashram, in the company of luminaries like Acharya Vinoba Bhave,” says Dr Abhay, referring to the man who is considered the spiritual successor of Gandhi. “These influences have shaped me to a large extent.”
One of his earliest defining moments was a conversation with his elder brother Ashok as they cycled through the countryside in Wardha. “We have to decide what we want to do with our lives,” Ashok said.
After a 10-minute discussi-on, the two concluded that the country’s main needs were food and health care—and chose their vocations accordingly. While the older brother went on to study agricultural sciences, Dr Abhay took up medicine.

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Live the Life You’ve Imagined — Henry David Thoreau

English: crayon portrait of Henry David Thorea...

English: crayon portrait of Henry David Thoreau as a young man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Henry David Thoreau was a complex man of many talents who worked hard to shape his craft and his life, seeing little difference between them. Born in 1817, one of his first memories was of staying awake at night “looking through the stars to see if I could see God behind them.” One might say he never stopped looking into nature for ultimate Truth.

Thoreau is sometimes cited as an individualist anarchist as well as an inspiration to anarchists. Though Civil Disobedience calls for improving rather than abolishing government — “I ask for, not at

once no government, but at once a better government” — the direction of this improvement aims at anarchism: “‘That government is best which governs not at all;’ and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.”

Thoreau’s books available in India

Henry read a small book by his Concord neighbor in his childhood, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, and in a sense he never finished exploring its ideas — although always definitely on his own terms, just as he explored everything!

He worked for several years as a surveyor and making pencils with his father, but at the age of 28 in 1845, wanting to write his first book, he went to Walden pond and built his cabin on land owned by Emerson.

Thoreau did an incredible amount of reading and writing at Walden, yet he also spent much time “sauntering” in nature. He gave a lecture and was imprisoned briefly for not paying his poll tax, but mostly he wrote a book as a memorial to a river trip he had taken with his brother, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Continue reading →

Mark Shuttleworth — Spreading humanity through Ubuntu Linux

Mark Shuttleworth is a South African entrepreneur who was the second self-funded space tourist and first African in space. He is now best known as founder of Canonical Ltd. and for his leadership of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, an enterprise Linux distribution that is freely available worldwide and has both cutting-edge desktop and enterprise server editions, and has become very popular. He currently lives in London and holds dual citizenship of South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Mark was born in the town of Welkom in South Africa, and grew up in Cape Town. While studying towards a Business Science degree in Finance and Information Systems at the University of Cape Town (UCT) he first encountered the Internet, and quickly became intrigued by the changes it would bring in business and society.

In 1995, his final year at UCT, Mark founded Thawte, as an Internet consulting business. The main focus of the company was Internet security for electronic commerce. Thawte is the first company to produce a full-security encrypted e-commerce web server that was commercially available outside the United States. This brought Thawte to the world of public key infrastructure, which is the basis for all encrypted and authenticated Internet transactions. Thawte was recognized by both Netscape and Microsoft as a trusted third party for web site certification, and it quickly established a leadership position helping businesses around the world accept secure transactions over the web. By 1999, when it was acquired by VeriSign, Thawte was fastest-growing internet certificate authority worldwide, and was the leading certificate authority outside of the USA.

In April 2002 Mark realized a lifelong dream to fly in space. Shuttleworth gained worldwide fame on 25 April 2002 as a spaceflight participant aboard the Russian Soyuz TM-34 mission, paying approximately US$ 20 million. Two days later, the Soyuz spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station, where he spent eight days participating in experiments related to AIDS and genome research. On 5 May 2002, he returned to Earth. In order to participate on the flight, Shuttleworth had to undergo one year of training and preparation, including seven months spent in Star City, Russia.

While in space he had a radio conversation with Nelson Mandela and a 14 year old South African girl, Michelle Foster, who asked him to marry her. He politely dodged the question, stating that he was “very honored at the question” before moving the conversation on. The terminally ill Miss Foster’s conversation was enabled by the Reach for a Dream foundation.

He spent a year working on the project, including seven months of formal training at Star City in Russia, and almost as much time in medical testing, science program development and negotiations. The First African in Space project was without doubt the most challenging and exciting project any geek could wish for. Continue reading →

I too had a dream. — Dr. Verghese Kurien


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It’s Not about the bike, it’s all about the Life.

Lance Armstrong

I WANT TO DIE AT A HUNDRED YEARS OLD WITH an American flag on my back and the star of Texas on my helmet, after screaming down an Alpine descent on a bicycle at 75 miles per hour. I want to cross one last finish line as my stud wife and my ten children applaud, and then I want to lie down in a field of those famous French sunflowers and gracefully expire, the perfect contradiction to my once-anticipated poignant early demise.

These are the lines taken directly from Lance Armstrong’s biography – “It’s not about the bike”.

Lance Armstrong is famous for his courage. The professional cyclist fought off a life-threatening disease and graced the front page of many newspaper sports sections. He hasn’t merely returned from an illness to win the Tour de France; he fought off cancer to become one of the best athletes ever.

There is no one else quite like him. And there probably never will be. The best cyclist ever, Lance Armstrong won the sport’s premier event, the Tour de France, an almost incomprehensible seven times from 1999 to 2005. But before he could do that, in 1996 he had to beat back a cancer that was supposed to take his life. Testicular cancer had spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain. Grim-faced doctors told him he had no chance. But no chance were not words that had meaning for Lance.

He spearheaded the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which made a yellow plastic loop a statement of resistance and strength across the entire planet. Like Lance himself, his foundation looks for the next horizon. It advocates for those living with cancer, funds research, inspires the cancer community to support each other and is collectively stronger than any one of us could be alone. Maybe team cycling taught him this, or maybe Lance, 36, is what you see.

Lance took a minor sport in America and turned it into a great national passion and a great national pride. And he did it by struggling for years, alone on a bike often in unforgiving weather, over terrain that most of us would view as hostile, when no one was watching, no one was cheering.

He inspired all of us who face a cancer diagnosis to search out the doctors who believe that we can live, to hold on to those friends and family who stand beside our bed—and then to fight to prove the faith of those friends and the beliefs of those doctors well founded. After Lance, no one of us could ever again say it was too hard, the odds stacked against us were too high, the fight already lost. The fight I fight is for me and my family, but the power to fight belongs in good measure to Lance.

Lance Armstrong’s books:

It’s Not About The Bike: My Journey Back To Life
Every Second Counts
Some Links which you may be interested in

  1. Lance’s Home Page
  2. Wikipedia Article
  3. Lance Armstrong Foundation: Home
  4. A special report by National Geographic team on Lance – The Science of Lance Armstrong: Born, and Built, to Win
  5. Ask Men article
  6. Lance’s Autobiography It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life
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