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I felt the hard blow on the left side of my jaw and I collapsed. As I fell towards the ground, time seemed to slow down. I could hear the crowd screaming and the bright flashes of light, from the cameras around the boxing ring, half blinded me. I could hear how heavy my breathing was and shortly I felt the hard padding of the floor rush up against my face. I lay there, badly bruised and gasping for more air. I could hear the referee above me begin his countdown, “1…2…3…” But his voice began to become more like an echo. A sound that belonged to another time and space. My eyes were stinging and the sweat burned my skin as it flowed over my body.
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However, the only thing I was thinking of was how everything seemed to come to a complete stop. I could hear the buzzing of a fly from somewhere above me. “A fly? How can I hear a fly?” I asked myself. I turned my head and felt the throbbing pain rush through my neck. I winced a bit and then began to look around. Everything seemed frozen, from the crowd, the referee, to my opponent, to the camera flashes. Nothing seemed to move. I raised myself up and looked around again. As my gaze took in the scene before me, my eyes soon fell upon my old friend standing by the side of the ring. Ali Mehdi looked at me with his deep penetrating eyes and smiled very slowly. “So, you didn’t see that one coming did you Rohan?” he said in a mocking tone. “I got caught off guard” I said. I brush my glove against my forehead and sighed heavily. “Anyway, what does it matter? I’m going to lose this fight anyhow” I said at last, feeling my shoulders sag a bit. “Giving up are we?” he asked. “Ali I gave it my all. I trained myself to be the best I could be but even that isn’t matching up. My opponent is stronger than me” I said. “Indeed! Well maybe you should look at your opponent again and tell me if you recognize him” he gestured. I looked perplexed and then turned only to find another version of myself standing with the referee with both arms raised in triumph. “You know that at this point you’re experiencing something above realty. Look! You can still see yourself lying on the ground” he said as he made his way into the ring.
“You want to give up” he said very slowly. He came close to me, glanced down and then turned to face me. “You may do so but you have got to realize Rohan that the only enemy you have to defeat is the lesser self that lies within you. For it will always give you a valid and terrific reason why you can’t make it. You know in regular life what battles you have to fight but nothing is more gut wrenching than trying to defeat the darkened elements of your own soul that continually strive to take you down. They constantly nag and find opportunities as to why you can’t win, why you should fear rejection and not even try, why you should accept what life has given you and why you have no right to claim what should be yours” he said as he looked down on my body lying on the floor once again. He walked towards the other side of the ring turned to me with glint in his eyes. “You’ve got to want something bad enough and know that there are no limits towards what you wish to do” he said. “You could hear the fly buzzing above you and see everyone frozen because now all your distractions are gone. You’re here in the present and in the ‘now.’ Your opponent only looks like you at this point in time because you’ve got to know that there’s more to you than you give yourself credit for. No matter how tired, broken, spent and exhausted you are, you have to command the universe within you to give you the infinite power that it’s holding. It was always yours to ask for, so now ask for it and never look back” he said and smiled again.
I looked down and began to ask something but he was gone. I turned frantically to each side but there was no sign of Ali. I felt frustrated and bitter at knowing my own resolve to win was weakening rapidly. But just as I reflected on that, a new set of thoughts flowed through my mind. “Only people with a deep hunger to keep trying, no matter how many failures they may have had, are the ones who do succeed. More so, only those you never allow themselves to become jaded and continue to polish their lives shine the brightest.” I looked down at myself. I wanted to win this fight and I knew this victory was rightfully mine.
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The next instant I opened my eyes and sprang up. The referee, who had reached the count of 9 was shocked to see me rise up again. Even more surprised was my opponent, for he saw in my eyes a burning fire and knew what was coming to him… Next Take please!