Navin is very intelligent though he wish us to believe in the contrary, at least in his autobiography. He offered to send the PDF of his book FREE to whosoever request for. I an avid book worm couldn’t resist the offer. And lo promptly the PDF arrived at my email. But the first few lines were enough read for me to order for the hard copy of the book. From the first paragraph I was smitten. After long I was reading poetic pose.
Like many other autobiographical books, this one also starts with author’s birth. Slowly, timeline moves forward and we reach his school days. Author, just like most of us when we were kids, describe himself as a youngster longed for love, praise, affection and attention. Did he have all those things? No. His inability to finish in first place in many sporting events was too much disappointing for him.
As happens with many successful persons a setback of having failed in mathematics in the final year transformed Navin Gulia. He not only cracks NDA but successfully tries to excel. He describes in details the life in NDA and how the institution helped him to focus more on life and values. Or as he writes – understood the key to success – ‘working meticulously towards it’.
Then come IMA, here Navin suffers the biggest setback of his life. An adventurous life involving Rock Climbing, Parachute Jumping etc came to a halt when he suffered an accident which results in Paralysis.
However Navin was not a person to be disappointed by life, hibernate and spend rest of his life with memories from old days. He tried hard to go forward and leave the bad memories behind. Finished graduation from Symbiosis, got driving license, tried flying a glider, spend long hours in driving, two failed attempts to Khardung La (second attempt reached very close to the top), world’s highest motor-able road.
Then comes the third attempt to highest roads in the world – this time to Marsimik La. No. It’s more of some dirty tracks.
His journeys to Marsimik La not only send a message of hope but also show how nothing can create roadblocks in front of a fully committed individual.
An interesting feature of this book is frequent motivational lines coming in every other page. At some times, you may feel – isn’t it going over the head? Sometimes these lines are not in sync with progress of the story and get repeated.
In Quest of the Last Victory is an inspirational story of the author’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, NavinGulia 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. This is a captivating tale of grit and determination that will inspire and motivate people of all ages.
First paragraph of the book which captivated me and compelled me to order for a hard copy:
The day is breaking over the freshly whitewashed, pale–yellow-coloured structures with loose reddish-brown tiled roofs, half covered and camouflaged by huge trees. The smell of smoke from the chimneys of coal stoves in soldiers’ cookhouses (kitchens) rises and permeates gently through the freshness of the morning air. The chirping of birds which began by dominating the day break, after seeming to fight with it for a while, gradually succumbs to mingle with the noise and the light of the day. A loud siren goes off somewhere in the distance, indicating the beginning of the working hours. A cloud of dust rises as the sweeper, dressed in khaki-coloured overalls, uses a big-handled bamboo broom in a rhythmic, continuous, rowing motion to sweep the mud and dry leaves off the road. A few soldiers, wearing khaki shorts and white vests, are jogging and a few are walking around engaged in some maintenance work here and there. It a routine day at the army hospital in the Delhi Cantonment.