To Be Or Not To Be

Ministhy Dileep | April 08,2010 03:07 pm IST

Another New Year.


Top MBAs are preferring to start lingerie stores to taking up one crore packets and are getting featured in the face covers of magazines.

Doctors who gave up multi-lakh packages to serve the rural poor are appearing on face covers too.


Child abuse and more horror tales stare at us from everywhere. Truth is stranger and much more brutal and terrible than fiction. Fingers burn as we take in stories of what the orcs with the human faces commit on innocents. One just doesn't feel like turning the next page or switching on the news channel. It sorts of takes away one's belief in the human race. But the next second one reads about a 'Dayavan' in reality, who rescues a 14-year old from prostitution and helps her back into sunlight. A police constable who takes care of a bewildered 5-year old, thrown away by kidnappers who assumed she was dead. Hope trickles back again.


Blogs reveal intimate bedtime stories and 'Big Brother' and 'Big Boss' show us privileged non-entities wasting their time and ours. Apparently they are the heroes and heroines of the present time. And a scandalized and traumatized face of a woman caught between apocalypse and vacuum stares at us from the background of the Asiad 800 metres track. Heroine or hero? No pun intended, just a brutal reality.


Fashionistas discuss whether the hemline should go up or down and whether the smoky eyes are "in" this season. Designers needle each other with intricate delicacy over designs and drapes. Skinny models still sashay around with boobs looking far too siliconed for their bony frames.


The search for the "perfect figure" traumatizes impressionable teenagers as the media overloads them with false impressions of what it takes to be successful in the world. Put a lot of goo on your face, starve yourself, get into designer jeans, have an attitude that reeks of arrogance, materialism... myself, myself and myself. On the other hand, religious channels are on an overdrive with what one is supposed to do with one's spirituality. Preaching continues as a desperate generation tries to hold onto something in a world of information overload.


Murders happen at the slightest provocation as learning centers become breeding grounds for criminal elements. But someone stands up and says, "No". He will not tolerate this inhuman pressure to succumb to silence and acquiescence. A hundred candles lit up by ordinary citizens quicken the delivery of justice. 'Gandhigiri' blossoms again in the form of red roses and brotherhood. But somewhere, a buffoon aims for trash popularity by making 'Bapuji' do a pole dance.

Cultivable land gets acquired for commercial purposes somewhere. Farmers commit suicides elsewhere. India shines bright in Davos as she speaks a corporate language of acquisitions, mergers and economic leadership. Childen statistically referred to as "child labour" spend 24 hours bent over leather and metal, making two ends meet everyday.

Athletes and top models turn out to be dopeheads. Skeletons tumble out from the so-called-role models' cubicles in politics, corporatedom and society.


What a world!


How does one find a sense of balance in these difficult times? Without getting too holy and overboard and also without slipping too down in the morass? Without getting too upbeat and superfluous and without degenerating into self-destroying cynicism and hopelessness?


We do tend to get too complacent and confident in our little cocoons of immunity. No wonder that Yudhishthir1 said that the funniest thing in human existence is that a person never realizes he is mortal even though death occurs in front of him.


The world can do with a little more silence, a little more laughter, a little less evil, a little more aspiration and a lot more beautiful dreams. All of which can start from us.


Perhaps it starts by being less petty everyday. May not petty things like the amount and size of metal that shines and hangs from someone's throat and hands preoccupy one's precious life force all day? May not the colour and cost of another's dress or the layers of paint and grease in another's face deviate one's attention from the important aspirations in one's life. May not the fight for monopoly over someone's affections denude our homes from the bliss of harmony and sharing?


Perhaps it starts by being less self-centered everyday. While one is busy as a frog in one's little well, human beings are climbing mountains, reaching out to frontiers in space, discovering nuances in gene technology, connecting lives, making the entire human race grow a little bigger. May one's thoughts go a little beyond oneself and stray everyday on the multifarious delights of this change that are wholesome and inspiring.


Perhaps it starts by finding joy in small things everyday. Although often laughed at as routine clichés, the simple things of life are its most delightful. Like the smoke of fine tobacco Gandalf enjoyed with his friend, Hobbit Bilbo2, the fragrance of roasted rabbit and wild thyme Sam cooked as the Nazgulls flew above,
the sweet love between the Lady of Rohan and the braveheart of Gordor, the courage of following one's dreams and destiny like Aragorn, the genuine friendship between Sam and Frodo.


Perhaps it starts by making small and meaningful changes in one's life everyday. Like doing an extra push up, finding time for reading a classic, developing that yen to doodle, writing that dream book, daring to love and hope, just sitting quietly.


Perhaps it starts by being a little thankful everyday. That one is alive and well, one's dear-ones are alive and well, and no unearthly horror of what one reads about daily has happened in one's life.


Gratitude to some force or divine energy far beyond and at the same time omnipresent - which is true and pure, colourful, full of love, fun and joy, laughter and dance, taste and fragrance, melody and art, knowledge and wisdom, magic and drama, bursting with creativity, dynamic energy and goodness, full of values and cheer.


Ministhy S. is PG (PM&IR) from XLRI-Jamshedpur, and currently, an IAS officer working in the UP cadre. She has written five books - 'Unequal Equations', 'Learning with Tippy Tortoise: Tales for Kids', 'Happy Birthday: Poems for Kids' and a novel published by Dronequill Publishers, Bangalore....