I started my life with the biggest mistake I could possibly make. My grandfather was an excellent oil and canvas painter and my earliest memories are of him creating his exquisite paintings. I picked up the painting brush when I was a year-and-a-half old.
Grandpa lost both his eyes to cataract when I was three. I decided not to learn painting from anyone else or hold the brush again.
As years rolled by, I became the most misunderstood person anyone could ever become, in my family and in school. I was raised up by my grandmother who was very strict, even when it came to my going out and talking to people. Being good in studies and not talkative was a deadly concoction – something I realised only a few years ago. My schoolmates used to think that I wanted to keep myself as unapproachable as possible and distance myself from everyone else.
Grandpa was my only friend and companion during those years and when he left the world suddenly, what followed were years of loneliness and emotional upheavals. What I couldn’t find in those first 30 odd years of my life was a way to express myself. That’s when the enormity of giving up on painting dawned on me.
Fortunately, I realised that I was a decent writer after a spell as a business correspondent and caption writer with an advertising company. A busy career kept me pinned down and gave me no time to pursue anything else. Finally, I was in the middle of a one year MBA programme when I got the news of the passing of a teacher who was a true inspiration to thousands and whom I will forever revere. The grief was too much to bear and all of my emotions tumbled out onto my first blog.
After that, I used to write about whatever I wanted to for some time. Simply put, writing was my way to think aloud and empty my mind. In between, I started reading a lot as well and it must have been the combination of reading and expressing my thoughts through writing that opened my mind.
I write now because of three reasons.
1. The darkness of ignorance in the world is growing and rather than maturing, we are slipping further into its depths with time.
2. We are not using our logic and common sense to ask questions and by not doing so we are dumbing ourselves down and becoming less intelligent with time.
3) We are all following our natural instinct of getting stuck with talking about problems without thinking ahead and talking about the solutions to those problems.
Let me illustrate with a couple of examples.
Both the Ramayana and Mahabharata talk about catastrophic wars and the use of highly destructive weapons such as the Brahmastra and Vajrayudha which could supposedly annihilate millions of people every time they were used. And all these weapons are illustrated as bows and arrows. I have seen people glued to their TV sets watching serialised versions of these epics and these weapons were shown as arrows with dazzling colours.
I have never come across anyone till now who has questioned the logic of mere arrows being such catastrophic weapons. It could be possible that the original authors of the epics did not understand the technology behind these weapons. But another reason, one of far greater significance, could also be possible. The objective was to illustrate weapons that caused massive destruction. Perhaps the reader would find a more technology-oriented explanation hard to grasp. These stories were meant to endure and live on through time, so the best way to do that was a simple illustration with bows and arrows with brief descriptions.
What we need to consider here is that these are possibly nuclear or even more powerful weapons that were used with hand-held devices. What’s more, of all the destructive weapons, only the Brahmastra could not be stopped by the user from causing destruction once it was used. This means other weapons could be stopped by the user after they were used. We still have no understanding or knowledge of such advanced technologies. What cannot be explained either rationally or with technology, we attribute it to the Gods. As we learn and understand more about technology, our understanding of the almighty will also become simpler.
This country has been rocked by the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl. A child, mind you. I would like to know how many readers of this article can think about raping and murdering an eight-year-old child? Suddenly, there is a religious angle to it. The girl was from one community and the crime was executed by people of another community in one of their places of worship.
But see how it is getting reported, how news channels are projecting it for boosting their TRP and how people are reacting. No common sense, no rationale, simply following whatever they are reading and hearing like robots. What happened to our critical thinking ability? Why can’t we just treat every such incident as what it is and not allow anyone to sway and influence our thoughts? Why is no one talking about stopping such incidents once and for all?
There is a fundamental problem with the law and justice in our society. Law punishes criminals to deter them from committing crimes. Punishment should rather be given to ensure that those crimes are not committed again by anyone. The question is for law and order to prevail, what is more important – the criminals or the crime itself? Punish the criminals and the demon of crime will continue to live amongst us. Punish the crime and no one will want to be branded as a criminal.
We need courts to determine the heinousness of each crime and pronounce the quantum of punishment accordingly. So the more heinous the crime, the more severe the punishment.
I am hoping that everything I am writing will help people understand the superficial lives they are living now and start looking beyond it. We were given intelligence and the ability to speak so that we could be better than the beings in the animal world. Yet, we have descended into destruction and cause cruelty to our own kind in ways that put the animals to shame.
We have been raping and killing our own kind for thousands of years and as time passes by, we are finding new reasons to continue the atrocities. What we need are not laws, regulations, police and courts but knowledge, enlightenment and a better and higher purpose for our existence. What we need is a world devoid of money, religion, race, caste and skin colour and the collective resolve to agree to disagree and live together. What we need is to feel blessed for getting the privilege of living in this beautiful world. We should not try to own anything here because we know we are all going to die and leave some day and we take nothing with us except our memories and experiences.
These are the reasons why I am using YKA’s platform – to ensure that my voice reaches out to as many people out there as possible.