We have a long history of a really active and action-packed existence where the most respected and admired was the person who had the most courage, a trait depicted by excellence on the battlefield, or when made to survive in adverse circumstances. In a world where we are no longer threatened by wild animals, violent attacks from other tribes, getting lost in the wilderness, being stranded in a desert or anything like that, the meaning of courage has changed. Now courage means
- Disagreeing with your Boss.
- Stopping at a Red Light when there’s no policeman around.
- Farting in public when you have diarrhea.
- Discussing something other than politics and making others listen.
- Speaking to a large audience and giving views that they will probably not like.
- Pointing out some absurd misconception about religion.
- Admitting that you are not always right.
- Pursuing an intellectual career when you have the option of making money instead.
- Not giving a bribe even when it means delays and inconvenience.
- Telling the truth.
Obviously, courage no longer commands the same admiration anymore. Maybe because it is not the domain of superhuman heroes now, but something every single one of us can achieve, and any exhibition of courage from someone is a slap on the face of all those who cannot do these things. Now, courage is not admired, it is ridiculed.
Probably the most annoying are the stupid questions people keep asking.
- They call you in the middle of the night and then ask “Did I disturb you?” For heaven’s sake man, even if I was not sleeping, you should be very sure that whatever I was doing, a call at that hour is disturbing.
- You enter your house or office all drenched and they inquire “Is it raining?” What else did you think, Einstein? That I took a shower in my car?
- Sitting in a restaurant, they would conveniently point to a dish on the menu and ask the waiter “Is this good?” What response do they expect from an employee of the same restaurant? He won’t say “No sir! That’s awful, the cook spits in it” even if that were the truth.
- A friend of theirs is sobbing in a corner, and they would ask “Is something wrong?” I wonder if they ever hear a reply like “No no! I am just doing tear Yoga as part of my Kung Fu training.”
- And their favourite seems to be the question they keep asking every kid they meet. “Mama acchhi hain ya Baba?” Give the kid a break man, I know there are too many dysfunctional families around but you don’t have to mess up the kid’s mind just because you don’t have anything more sensible to ask.
And then there are the completely unnecessary statements of the obvious.
- “Ohh! It’s ten p.m.” Yes sir I am not blind and I can tell the time from a clock.
- “It is so hot today.” Hmm! Really? I wouldn’t know, since I live in an air-conditioned hole in the ground.
- “Light aa gayee” or even more irritating “Light chalee gayee!” I have not come from the Stone Age, I know what it means when the room suddenly goes dark or is lit up.
And Finally the totally illogical ways to start a sentence that are too common to tolerate now.
- “I don’t think I should say this…” Then don’t say it na! Why can’t you trust your own thinking?
- “Promise me you won’t mind” Now how can I make such a promise without knowing what you have to say. You could be about to say something indecent about my mother for all I know. Do you really think I decide to mind or not mind something before hearing it?
Everyone is free to destroy themselves if they want. Can animals commit suicide? I don’t think so. And if they cannot, maybe that is one of the most fundamental differences between us and them. We are free to harm ourselves, free to live surrounded by our own illusions and fantasies, free.
Sounds weird? Well, it is not. Because success, greatness, glory, illumination, elevation, everything good about this life comes at a price. You just cannot live without choosing; simply because you have been bestowed with the faculty of choice. You must choose. And if you refuse to choose; well you are still making choices, you are just too ignorant to know it or too cowardly to face up to the results.
The price of the freedom to become great is that you also get a freedom to become small. Unlike animals, we cannot go through life on the same plain. We rise, or we are made to fall. Every moment is a choice and every moment changes you. Since you are not likely to even remember most of these moments, it makes a case for giving each one all the more importance; because once it is gone, it is gone; gone from the world, gone even from your memory. What remains is just the effect, which could be destruction or elevation to another level.
Fretting too much about what you cannot do is the worst way to spend a life. It takes one’s mind away from what actually can be done. Why should I care about what I cannot do? Frankly, it does not make any sense at all. But then again, what does!
1. The chronically starved individuals whose sole aim is to eat as much as they possibly can without any care for decency, manners or their own digestive systems. These people’s time at the wedding is divided into the waiting-for-the-meal and eating-like-animals phases.
2. The incurable tharkis who are just there to check out the girls and try their luck.
3. The girls who are just there waiting to be noticed by the incurable tharkis.
4. The older people who want one more moment in the beautiful sunshine of importance.
5. The kids who could not care less if it were a funeral instead of a wedding and who spend their whole time running around aimlessly and continuously.
6. The baradari who are there primarily in the hope that something would go drastically wrong and they would have a ball telling the story to everyone who didn’t attend. If nothing goes drastically wrong, they do not lose heart and make up some story worth being told.
7. The women who don’t give half as much importance to the occasion as they do to their ambition of looking better than every other woman, including the bride.
8. The mothers who come with only one thing on their minds, a bride for their eligible sons.
9. Those who did not want to come but were forced to by the fact that the parents of the groom / bride attended the wedding of their son / daughter.
10. The poor creatures who don’t even know who is getting married, and had to come just because there was no one else to take their grandpa or chacha or mama to the wedding.
Forget the corruption, the vested interests, the undue influences etc. Imagine a justice system free of all these vices where the judges are honest, honorable and virtuous. Even in such utopian circumstances, certain facts still don’t change,
- Judges are not present when crimes or injustices are committed, when contracts are signed and commitments made.
- Courts cannot tell the truth automatically and have to rely on evidence and witnesses.
- Evidence can be concocted and witnesses can be bought.
- The wisest and most honest of judges cannot differentiate between a lie and a truth that is not backed by evidence. Similarly there is no way to distinguish between a truth and a lie that is backed by apparently sound evidence (even if it is actually false).
- Hence, nobody would believe someone telling the truth without evidence or witnesses. So, in a situation where both are absent, even a truthful person may have to forge evidence and produce false witnesses, an act that puts him almost on the same level as a liar.
- You cannot blame the judges for this since they are helpless without proof.
Now consider all these facts in the light of the following.
- God has not found it prudent to provide mankind with any incontrovertible evidence of His own existence.
- Most of the crimes are committed in secrecy and there are hardly ever any real witnesses who can truthfully and under oath, testify exactly to any crime.
- Mostly the evidence for crimes is circumstantial and any documentary evidence that exists can be as easily forged.
- Needless to say, people do lie. If they stop doing that, Courts won’t be needed.
What’s the point of all this? Nothing. Everything. I don’t know. I just wanted to put this plainly because….sometimes I wonder!
There are leaders and there are followers. Both of them are great human beings filled with compassion and love for humanity. They all have a great life some lounge by the pool, some travel the world, some have too many gadgets and some are madly in love. And yes there are thinkers and philosophers too, who at times say something so deep that you cannot help but feel that if Nietzsche were alive he would have said the same thing.
Everyone abide by the rules, those who do not are reported to the authorities and thrown out. There is an ethical code, respect is highly encouraged. People are proactive in helping each other by sharing information, news and business ideas. Creativity is the key to success, change is always welcome, integration of different cultures (platforms) is preferred. All love their creator, some may not agree with him completely but still follow his code. Everyone is good looking. And there are no taxes to pay.
I wonder how narcissism can achieve so much
Little Red Riding Hood was a kid, but you have to remember that after all, she was going to her Grandma’s house all alone, so it is normal to expect her to have some common sense. Sadly, she appears to be stupider than a normal child. What else can one assume from the fact that she could not instantly recognize a wolf just because he was wearing her Grandma’s clothes and was in her bed? I mean give me a break yar. There are only two logical explanations. Either Red Riding Hood was really really stupid or her Grandma was really really ugly. And I doubt that any Grandma could be so ugly that she and a wolf were indistinguishable. So Red must have been a total moron to ask silly questions like O Grandma! What big eyes you have or What big ears you have and so on.
Having said that, I guess I have been a little unfair to Red Riding Hood. What she did was not all that unusual. Just look at ourselves, the people of Pakistan asking O! What a lot of loadshedding we have! Or What high prices we have! Or What little energy we have! We are also Little Red Riding Hoods, wondering what’s wrong with our Governma and not seeing the big ugly wolf.
There is hardly anyone who has not heard this story before since it is told almost invariably whenever there is a discussion on optimism and pessimism. It is about two guys who looked out of the same window, one saw the filth on the ground while the other saw stars in the sky. I have always found it unconvincing. The major reason is that I think this story is incomplete. I mean what the hell does it even mean that the two saw different things. What matters is what happened afterwards. So, I have tried to complete the story here.
The guy who saw stars dreamt of somehow getting to them and seeing the fascinating worlds hidden in them. The other one, however, simply thought “My God! What a load of crap!” So the next day, the so-called pessimist went down and cleaned up the whole place, turning it into a pretty garden, and just as he was admiring the new beauty of the place, the so-called optimist tried to get to the stars by flying and fell from the high window from where the two had looked out the previous night. The so-called pessimist looked at his shattered bones, spilled blood and guts, and cracked skull and thought “My God! What a load of crap!”
“The world does not understand me.” I have heard this complaint so many times, I just might throw up the next time someone utters this vulgarity. Why should the world or anyone in the world understand me? Conversely, why should I, since I am a part of this world, be obligated to understand anyone? It is unfair. Such an exercise is a direct challenge to the fundamental human right of not having to get off my butt if I don’t want to.
Isn’t it infinitely more important for me to understand myself? And I don’t even try to do that. Firstly, because it is a very difficult and secondly because of the fundamental right I just mentioned. Why do we even need to understand anyone, even ourselves? Aren’t we comfortable with our false egos, our misconceptions, our baseless assumptions, our whimsical ideas and our false beliefs? Anyone who tries to change this beautiful structure of reputations, impressions and characters that stands in the air without any foundation; anyone who tries to replace it with a perception based on truth; anyone who challenges the comfort zone of people even though it might be a recipe for eternal damnation; anyone who attempts any of these is risking loss of every illusory asset he has.
I do not want to be a part of the problem. Any interest in any truth will cause huge non-existent problems for the whole false edifice where we thrive in imaginary comforts. Why cause such illusive hardships for everyone? Why not just live our lives in the falsity we like, since such a life contains the delusion of eternal bliss. We have always preferred false hope to real threats, why change now?