“We want likes from girls, from boys from people in positions of power, from any random person we come in contact with. It is normal human nature. But somewhere in that race for likes we completely lose our fundamental values. We begin choosing to do the wrong thing if that brings us likes in life rather than do the right thing which might bore people and they might stop liking our lifebook pages. It’s all about cheap popularity, about attractive advertising, about letting people know that you are something, attracting them, making them like you and then ensuring that they hang on and God forbid, don’t press the unlike button.”~Shuntoo
“The freedom to choose; the opportunity to become a better person every day is a blessing. Our continuous aversion to the responsibility attached with choice and our vain attempts to prove that we already are better is a curse.”-Shuntoo
I got a weird feeling when I heard that Shuntoo was ill. When I reached the hospital, this is what I found written on the sheet. The words within brackets are my own.
Dear Friend, Relative, Colleague or Whoever you are
If you have not come to visit me and have been handed this sheet by mistake, please return it and go ahead with your own business. (Not falling in this category, I read on).
If you have come to ask me what happened, I came down with a serious stomach virus, the result of something I ate from a roadside stall. I kept vomiting and shitting for three days after which I was brought to this hospital suffering from severe dehydration.
If you are interested in my present condition and my future, I feel much better now and the doctors say I will be discharged in the next couple of days.
If you intend to give me some crappy advice, I already know that roadside stalls are a risk and I am not interested in any frigging medicine or desi totka or a better doctor or hospital or Hakim that you know.
If you have come to cheer me up, you can do that best by returning. I am in a pretty cheerful mood and seeing you will probably ruin it.
If you have brought fruit or flowers or something of the sort take it back and give it to someone who gives a shit. Or leave it at the reception and I will make sure it gets to such a person.
If you have just come to fulfill your obligation as a good human being, relax. Your greatness has been noted and will be duly forgotten and ignored as most such actions are.
If you have come for any other purpose, please note that I don’t care and will highly appreciate if you leave me alone.
And finally, if you have some extremely urgent business (which I seriously doubt) you can call me on my cell. In case you don’t have my number, it shows that you are not very close to me and hence should mind your own frigging business. And please remember, if you call me and your business does not turn out to be extremely urgent, I might lose my temper and will not be responsible for the consequences.
It is not normal, I tell you, not one bit. You step out of your house, and all you see around you are starecases. No, I did not spell that wrong, that’s what you see, STAREcases. Whether you are on foot or in your car, you notice so many people staring at you that it is enough to give you the creeps. At first I thought that it was just me, and I learned to live with it. I thought that a six and a half foot beauty on a wheelchair must be worth a stare or two, so why not enjoy it. But this is the pseudo-philosophical comment I got when I mentioned it to Shuntoo.
“Ha! You wish bachhay. It is not your beauty or attraction; we are a nation of starers. We love to stare. We stare at everyone, man or woman, pretty or ugly, interesting or boring, everyone. We stare with the most moronic expressions on our faces and a look in our eyes that shows that we have absolutely no purpose, in the staring, or in our lives. We just have too much time, nothing to do. When we are in public we stare, when we are in private we complain. But no matter where we are, we just cannot do anything that means anything. No thinking, no action, no innovation, no nothing. We just stare in the hope of seeing something unusual that we can concoct into an interesting story to gain some cheap popularity and silly leverage among our peers who are just as farigh as we are. We just cannot mind our own business, because we appear to lack both, a mind and a business.”
Pseudo-philosophical, but…….I wonder.
Like almost all other concepts, we don’t seem to understand optimism at all. Optimism does not mean that you completely ignore the negative side of things; such an attitude would be denial. You’ll be much better off understanding both the positives and the negatives of a situation and then analyzing it to find the best way forward. People who try to convince themselves there is nothing evil or wrong with the world are likely to keep trying or go crazy. Let me tell you a story bacchay! There was a man who always looked at the bright side of things, even though this habit gave him frequent headaches, he did not give up. He believed that such an approach somehow made him a better person. Gradually, he went a step further and started choosing the brightest side out of the many bright sides. Eventually……..he went blind. But he looked at the bright side of that too. At least he did not have to look at bright sides anymore.
Here’s a small part of a conversation I had with Shuntoo the other day. I don’t feel I have the energy to write the full conversation, but I just have to share a part of it.
Me: If you are hungry, I have a delicious cake in my fridge.
Shuntoo: And what if I am not hungry?
M: Well, then don’t eat it.
S: But would you still have the cake in your fridge?
M: Of course, what kind of a silly question is that?
S: Well, you said that IF I am hungry, you have a delicious cake in your fridge. I think that logically means that if I am not hungry, you don’t have it.
I felt like throwing the cake at his face. But he went on to explain why I, and not he, was being silly. And as I said earlier, I don’t feel I have the energy to write the whole conversation.
“People might not realize this for a long long time, but I see you as one of the great philosophers of our time,” said the fan.
The fan was a guy who was meeting Shuntoo for the second time and was an ardent reader of my blogs about him. In the process, he had fallen in love with Shuntoo and his way of looking at things.
I couldn’t help smiling at his comment and became interested in what Shuntoo had to say about it. The son of a bitch responded in his customary irritating fashion, and scoffed. He scoffed, without even taking his eyes off the book he was looking at.
Undeterred by Shuntoo’s reaction, or the lack of it, the fan persisted. “No sir, I mean it. Your brain is an amazing piece of work and you certainly possess one the greatest minds produced by this country.” Shuntoo gave a little “huh!” and seemed to ignore him.
“Shuntoo! Don’t be so arrogant. At least thank the guy for such a huge compliment.” I said, feeling an obligation to make Shuntoo act decently.
When Shuntoo closed the book and lit a Marlboro, I knew we were in trouble. The fan, however, looked at him expectantly, no doubt sensing another philosophical treatise.
“Why thank you kid!” Shuntoo said, “Thank you for showing me that you are no different from the rest of the pathetic lot around.”
“What?” I exclaimed. “You can’t be serious Shuntoo.”
“On the contrary, bachhay, I am as serious as I always am. You have become a pathetic bunch of people. So desperate for greatness that you want to imagine it into mere mortals who are mostly as pathetic as you are. You have spent all your lives waiting for great people and messiahs to put you out of all your self-created troubles and now instead of realizing your folly, you try to forcibly make people great by calling them so.”
“Shuntoo, I….” I tried to intervene but to no avail.
“You see a Maulana claiming to receive messages from the heavens to rid you of your troubles and you begin to follow him like a herd of cattle. You see a judge take a so-called stand and you ignore everything else and take to the streets imagining yourself to be fighting for a messiah. You see a novice politician make promises to large gatherings in jalsa-cum-concerts and you throng to vote for him without taking a moment to realize his weaknesses and the slimness of any possibility that he could fulfill his promises. And I don’t even want to get started on how our history books exaggerate the achievements of anyone that we want to prove great.”
“What’s wrong with that? You…..” the bastard didn’t let me finish, as usual.
“Everything is wrong with that. You look at all these people who you have decided are great with so much admiration and end up believing that these greats are from another world, that they are something else. You need to stop this nonsense and start using your minds. Stop waiting for greatness to descend from other places, find it in yourself.”
The fan looked extremely impressed by this ‘philosophy’. “That is a great ……” was all he could say.
“You are hopeless kid,” Shuntoo continued. “This is nothing great. I am nothing great. And if I had any illusion that I was, it would have vanished after hearing you say it. Will you people never start living and thinking and working? Will you always wait for greatness, create artificial greats and thrust greatness upon idiot.”
“Wow!” the fan said.
“Hopeless!” Shuntoo said opening his book again, “Just hopeless.”
I couldn’t help smiling.