Sunday, August 12, 2012

There are no fairy tales

There are no fairy tales. The fact about four-leafed cloves or that elusive pot of gold at the end of a rainbow is as sad as drunken homeless man getting mauled over by a car on the highway; it doesn’t matter. Countless brave hearts have pondered over fighting dragons and innumerable girls have lost sleep instead of their shoe. The fact of the matter is that the world of make-belief is as real as air: feel it, breathe it but don’t dare define its colour or the next time you will be tagged as “lunatic” on Facebook.
The world was a cruel place, even before Adam ate that forsaken apple. It took millions of years for the atmospheric dust clouds to condense and take shape into an ugly orb. Pressurized gases accumulated into one giant solid shape and thus the Earth formed. No, this is not another history lessons on how the dinosaurs had breakfast and died or how the mammoth managed to befriend a sloth and a sabre-tooth, making merry in the ice. All another story that one. What I intend to picture, is reality as a person. You see, if Reality had a job, he would probably work for Fate. Now, these two guys would start up a business venture, luring man into their inescapable web. A person dreams of a house, nice place to work at, a content family and easy retirement. That will inevitably be your fate if, and only if you have a good deal with M/S Reality and Fate Associates. “LOL!” as many silly girls would giggle. “Can we bargain there too?” Well my friends, it’s not just Janpath or Sarojini that you can bargain, it’s with Fate too, and Reality is too busy messing everyone’s dreams. How? Look at yourselves people! Haven’t you had any dreams or ambitions, where you had everything coming through? And then stray back into your lives, have a peep and tell me, has everything been that way? Only a foolish man would say yes. Economics say human wants are insatiable; they can never be met, for one satisfaction leads invariably to another desire. That’s where Reality kicks you in the arse. 

But what about Fate? Is he the good guy, misunderstood like Harvey Dent, who thinks that the world is a bad place because of its inhabitants and what they make you do. All the blame lifts off your shagging shoulders in an instance if so be the case. But it won’t. Each and every person has a Fate bound to him or her decided by every action or reaction that he or she commits. I writing this article will, too, have new path-ways laid down by Fate. She is the architect in our ever bulging city of Life. Every decision has a yes and no. Good and bad. Two roads and you can drive on anyone of them, the only check-post being death where a person inevitably gets penalized for over speeding. We all want to fly away, don’t we? Become an astronaut or a pilot if that is what you want, your destiny, your fate and then soar over the countless others, who can look up and only gaze in awe. Don’t be a super-hero and try to jump off your balcony. If it’s a floor you will break your legs; two and you might fracture your spine and paralyse yourself; three floors and you’ve won yourself a one way ticket to paradise. That’s reality. 

So the next time you have dreams make sure you do everything in your power to grasp them with both your hands and never let go. Reality will follow; not with a chainsaw, waiting to cut down your tree of hope and ambition, but with a cushion: in case you fall. Fairy tales aren’t true, they were never meant to be, because each of us has our very own fairy tale to complete within a said time period. Let stories entertain you, not guide. Draw inspiration from your family, friends, idols and teachers. Once you have learnt everyone’s mystical story, I’m sure you will have gathered all the magic required in conjuring the perfect spell or potion in your very own cauldron. Or else you could just end up like me, telling everyone what is needed to be done and be told that you have done nothing.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The road less travelled, the road not taken

Humankind’s will to survive, to live has always provided instances of exemplary determination to continue.

History has often recorded such events. Against all odds, Hannibal crossed the Alps with dreams of victory in his eyes and elephants and scantily warmed foot-soldiers for an army. He achieved this mammoth feat just to prove the world that the Romans could be conquered and that Carthage had a will to survive, a will which was far greater than any other Mediterranean kingdom at that age. He was successful, briefly. The Romans eventually captured the Carthagean capital and rounded Hannibal off, cut his supplies, leading him to an eventual defeat. His loss was testimony for Rome to use and dominate the world for centuries to come. 

Hannibal’s story is far more than a history lesson. His expedition, though classified as a failure, had a strong moral takeaway. We all have our Rome and we all, ironically, possess a Carthage too. We have our dreams and ambitions, a place in the future where we would want to be, and then there is the realization of where we actually are. That realization sometimes gets too big for us. Weighed down by the enormous task, we shrink ourselves in small crumbles of hopelessness and gaze into solitude. We first distance ourselves from our friends, then family and finally our own being. Logic, reasoning, argument: vague properties of a fruitless mind. We shut the door too hard and cry out loud when the pain stings our feet; we had left a toe in, just enough for a beam of light to scrape through. This is where our Carthage falls. This is where the Roman chivalry of despair ransacks our present and leaves us stranded on the road with no origin and a very foggy destination. 

Recuperation is a Herculean task, but no an impossible one. As we tread on the road less travelled, we accept that we cannot hitchhike nor piggyback. Help is necessary just to stand up, and not to provide a shoulder to walk. Hannibal fought on until the very end, when only a few of his commanders were all that was left of the might Carthagean army. Even without almost any artillery to defend themselves, he never gave up. Sure, it sounded ridiculously easy to walk out of that old warehouse and surrender to the enemy. It would have ensured that he lived; Rome took pride in showcasing defeated leaders to its people, restoring confidence within them. But Hannibal took the road not taken. 

Realization often lands a punch to the gut that knocks us down. We try to get up and it shoves us back down again. And again, and again, till we ourselves notice that the punches get weaker, get slower. Our oppressor grows tired. We could then duck the next blow and land one back, knocking the fangs out of it. We look down at the fallen terrorist, grin a bloody smile and walk past over its body, our hands still stinging from the blow.
Hannibal’s road may have been too extreme. He claimed his own life. But that was his road. Each of us is the designers, contractors as well as labourers of the roads, the paths of life we choose to travel on. In the end we have to decide – is it a highway to hell, or a stairway to heaven?