Sunday, December 27, 2015

A World of Greys

As a kid, I loved mythological stories. They were so simple and informative. Every story gave you something to learn, something to take home. Every story had a purpose, and it was to highlight the difference between right and wrong. And, incidentally, to show that good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds are punished.

Then I grew up, and all of that went to hell!

Oh, was that a little too radical? I guess it’s all the testosterone and adrenaline that makes me a bit restless. Let us begin again. When we were kids, the world used to be a simple place. There was right, there was wrong, and they were so very easy to distinctly identify. The stories we loved and grew up with were all about happy endings and / or lessons about what happens to people who do malicious and evil deeds.

As we grew up, those stories started to get more twisted and complex. We started to realise that sometimes stories can end up on a bad note, the good guys won't necessarily always win. And then there was always reality, giving us all kinds of twisted stories to observe and experience. We soon found out that darkness and light are not two separate entities that divided men into distinct categories. No, every man held his own share of good and evil, and there was no way to know other than to judge him on the basis of his actions. A clear picture of reality soon started forming in our minds when we secretly (and then rather vocally) started rooting for The Joker as much as we rooted for Batman, when we started to like the bad guys more than the good ones, because let's face it – villains are so very cool. They get to blow up the town, they spend more time with the pretty girls, and they win for the larger portion of the act.

We live in a world where war makes headlines more often than peace, where violence sells more than sensibility (don't even think about mentioning love stories, I know you have all enjoyed the burning cars and flying goons that make up most of the screen time in Rohit Shetty movies), where video games are not complete without murder with no consequences.

But that's all what you already know. The bigger question is, what is right in today's world? There are so many fanatic groups that support the Hindus / Muslims, General Castes / STs / SCs / OBCs, socialists / communists / nationalists, democrats / republicans, seculars / non-seculars, the list has not even begun. According to the pundits of all known truth in the modern world, the media are liars, social-media is paid media, history is all but a lie fabricated around the whims of powerful people, and the law is up for sale, politics is corrupt, governments are all propaganda and bullshit. The question is, if everything is wrong, then what is right?

If you didn't close your browser so far, it means that you want answers rather than an increasing list of problems our society has. To answer your question, actually, there is only one problem. Our wishful desire to divide the world between good and evil, light and dark. We try a very mathematical approach to study humans, which is wrong. And then we extend those studies to cover ideas, which leads us to nowhere but endless discussions. It is said that reality is multifaceted. Then why can't there be several right ideas about how to lead our lives? The point is simple, you might be right about how you want to lead your life, but you have no right to interfere with someone else's lifestyle. Two men falling in love and getting married are not going to call God's wrath upon your house, a couple kissing in public won't destroy your heritage and culture, a Muslim following his traditions in a Hindu colony won't upset Lord Krishna, and a painter who paints naked Goddesses doesn't need to be punished by mortal men.

“Sarve bhavantu sukhinah, sarve santu niramayam, sarve bhadrani pashyanti, ma kaschitt dukhbhag bhavet.”
Let everybody be happy, let everybody be healthy, let everybody be good, let nobody suffer sadness. (That's a rough translation)

This Sanskrit shloka was the gift of our Indian culture to the world, and yet we forget its significance in our daily lives. The world is not made in black and white, so we should stop trying to paint it so. Let people choose their own religion, their own political views, their own choice of food and clothing, as long as they don't interfere with other people's right to freedom. It is that simple. One bad politician doesn't make politics bad, same goes for media, countries, and religions. Judge people on individual ideas, not universal interpretations of them. You will see colour return to this world of greys!