Monday, March 29, 2010

What villainy is this!

We all love our villains. Because if it was not for them, we would never have our heroes to worship.

Today morning two young boys landed at my doorstep asking that I grant them a hearing. And so I did. I did not invite them inside because you see, I do not have any furniture in the living room to make them sit on. Embarrassing? Yeah, well... but I did hear them out.

They went on for a good two to five minutes. In crisp, clear Hindi explaining to me how the moral fabric of society is in tatters today and how the world needs a change from the ground up. A revolution fueled by young blood that will let "the people" have power over "the people's" lives. In the end, they handed me a pamphlet which they claim has their thoughts laid out in more detail. Their demand - volunteer for the revolution or pay-up for the cause. I told them I'll read the piece of paper they had given me and if I am convinced then I'll contribute. But you already know me, don't you? It is not that easy to convince me of anything - even of my own sanity - and especially if I am given time to think about it.

So I turned my rusting thinking apparatus, and came up with this suggestion: "Read History!" For history serves us well. What did these kids say that has never been said before - the moral fibre of society, if we believe any provable historical account, has been in decay for as long as we have known morality and society. Power to the people has been a idea that the people themselves have chewed, savoured and spitted out - only for it to grow back as some new variant. And that is how we as a race have grown in time. Does that mean that there should be no revolution? Of course not. But it certainly does not and will not need me to spur it on. It will happen when the time comes, because what is a revolution if not coming around of a newer time, once again.

Ah, but we started off with villains, didn't we? And how we all love them. We make them in the image of our worst fears and erect heroes to fight our wars against them - and call this process a revolution. (Oh boy! Am I or am I good at this. Ok .. here it comes...) Every second that we breathe on this planet, we stand at the edge of an immense reservoir of knowledge that mankind has assimilated as a race - we stand with the hand of God just an arms reach away. But do we reach out? No sir! That would be no fun at all. It is much better to beat down (up?) each other rather than learn from each other. After all, the world is a jungle and it is the "survival of the fittest" that dictates who wins. Right?

If that had been right, Darwin would have thrown a fit. Or had one. Maybe he did. But that is beside the point here. Why must people, and I mean people around me mostly, for I cannot really speak for people not around me, ... Why must people be so stubborn about what they want to see in all that can be seen? What is the use of all the learning, the education, the knowledge, the faith in the world - if not for a simple moment we will not appreciate the beauty that is man. If we will not acknowledge the wonders that our minds are capable of.

Of seeing the world in grain of sand, even quite literally. And equally significantly, of seeing a grain of sand in the palm of our hand.

Chenashonar kon baire,
Jekhane poth naayi naayire,
Shekhane okarone jai choote.

You, darkness, that I come from
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes a circle of light for everyone
and then no one outside learns of you.

Ghorer mookhe aar ki re.
kono she jaabe phire.
Jaabe na jaabe na --
Deyal joto shob gaelo toote.

But the darkness pulls in everything-
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them! -
powers and people-

Ja na chaibaar taayi aaji chayi go,
Ja na paibaar taayi kotha payi go.
Pabo na, pabo na --
Mori ashombhober paaye maatha khoonte.

and it is possible a great presence is moving near me.

Pagla hawaar badol-dine,
Pagol amaar mon jege othe.

I have faith in nights.

Tagore and Rilke. Villains and heroes. Me? I am just the postscript.

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