November 28, 2012 – Pitch and Toss

IF – by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

The poem was printed, framed and fixed to the wall in front of the study desk in the officer cadets cabins at the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Pune India. The poem’s line, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same” is written on the wall of the Centre Court players’ entrance at the British tennis tournament Wimbledon.

This poem inspired me so much in my growing years – got me through some rough patches so I imitated Kipling and wrote IF2


If you are a person blessed with visions
And strive to achieve them as your life’s missions
If you have the ability to inspire
And lead the haggards to build an empire
If you can mingle among the noisy crowd
And yet able to watch yourself from above the cloud
If you can see a person not for who the person be
But for the potential the person may be
If you don’t have the answers for questions asked
And not be ashamed to admit it and to ask
If you have been foolish anmd made your share of mistakes
And yet admit it despite all the stakes,

If you are a person who always questions “the rules”
And yet not just blunder like the fools
A person who had faced tough moments and losses
And yet rise triumphantly from the ashes
A person who never submit to the term “impossible”
And treat the “improbable” as just another buble
If you can have all the power in the world
And yet be modest to everyone as you could
Then, I will grant this word to you forever
That you have made yourself worthy of a great leader
Who will never say die and surrender

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