On 14th Jan 2001, as the Police Chief at Sabarimala, one of India's largest pilgrimages, I was managing a million pilgrims jampacked in a small hilly area. My bosses were worried sick since 52 people had died there in a stampede just two years ago.
However, with some planning and luck, the event went without any problem. But our nightmare had just begun.
The pilgrimage ends at 6:30 pm when people sight a ‘divine light’. This means, a million people try to leave that small hillock, literally in one go.
That resulted in the worst traffic jam I have ever seen - almost 10-15 km long. All my plans failed. It was a disaster.
Feeling defeated, I was expecting to be excoriated the next day for my 'failure'. Nothing seemed to be working but we kept trying to release the traffic as best as we could.
At around 2 am, unknowingly, I fell asleep next to the wireless set. When I woke up at 6 am, I was in a minor panic. However, instead of hearing about a nightmare, my team reported that the traffic had eased and was almost normal.
In life, most insurmountable problems are like this. We look for magical solutions but the real magic is already in front of us - ‘Consistency.’
As long as we get started and keep chipping away, nothing is insurmountable.