In November 1993, I was appointed an observer of the Election Commission for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. The duty was in Mandi District. I had to go there three times. For going there I used to fly to Kullu from Delhi and then drive by road. The first visit was a short one, during my second visit I toured the Mandi District extensively as it was during the polling period. The third visit was during the period of counting towards the end of November. Since no trouble was expected during counting, I decided to stay at Manali for a day during the last visit. Being the end of November, the place had become quite cold by that time. There was one more officer staying at Manali, who was also an observer of the Commission.
I was alone during this visit and it was quite cold. After a walk about the town, I returned to the Circuit House in the evening and took to reading. After dinner, I had a long chat with the other officer who had been a keen student of History. He told me several things which I was eager to know. Thereafter I went to sleep. By that time, it had become very cold. In the inspection houses of Himachal Pradesh, quite thick quilts are provided in addition to blankets. They are also maintained well particularly those in the VIP rooms. I am normally not in the habit of using a room-heater during winters as I cannot sleep while the heater is on. Since good quilts were provided, I went to bed after putting off the heater and had a very sound sleep. As usual I woke up in the morning at about 6.00 a.m.
While waiting for bed-tea, a feeling of gratitude towards the quilt came to my mind which kept me warm in such a cold weather. Also came to my mind the scientific analysis of this warmth. I thought about the source of the heat and arrived at the conclusion that it was my own body’s heat which had kept me warm. The quilt provided the warmth by merely stopping it from dissipating. It had no role except that of an insulator. From this I derived a very important lesson in life. I thought that if just by insulating the body, I could keep my body warm in such a cold weather; it should be possible to face any adverse situation in life by insulating myself from it. However insulations may be of different types. At times we may have to insulate from bad company, bad thoughts, worldly pleasures and similar other things. The idea is to convey that the potential to face any situation lies within us only. External supports are only tools and if we can use them properly, we can face all situations. In a nutshell, we can say that the heat is within us, we have to protect it from dissipating.