The newspaper is a very important component of most households. I always claim that my spouse has three wives. His job, the newspaper and then poor soul – he decided to marry me! J ! The order of importance keeps changing depending on the time of the day and the mood he is in.
Disturb him on a Sunday morning when he is reading the paper – and he will literally turn a deaf ear. Call him up when he is working – and he will not take your call – literally turn a deaf ear – again! J ! Remind him that he is married to a human being – and sometimes he will pay so much total attention to you – that you will fall in love with him all over again – never mind the third degree torture! J !
Jokes apart – both of are truly avid readers of the newspaper – though we read completely different sections of it. I am more interested in the human aspect of it and men being men will read up the economy, currency, inflation, petrol prices and stock and share markets apart from the sports section.
We need to acknowledge and applaud the effort that goes into creating a newspaper – every day of the week! It makes us think and wonder apart from keeping us aware about the happenings around the world. It is such a strong passive means of communication – unlike the TV or the internet which forces its opinion down our brains and throats – a newspaper and the news written in it makes us think for a long long while.
As I read columns like ‘The speaking tree’ or the supplement that comes every Sunday – I will reflect about the essence of life. Why are we born? What is our purpose on earth? How can we go about maintaining a sense of balance in our lives etc.
Unfailingly we will invariably come across news reports that talk about honour killing or a child being raped or a suicide or an accident or some murder taking place in some part of the city, country or the world. Terror attacks, forgery, fudged accounts, scams……..most things involving money, a false sense of prestige and power and a selfish interest in getting something at any cost.
No one will ever condone something that is grossly wrong at a core level.
Yet, as an ordinary middle class Indian citizen, we will be able to relate to the real life challenges that plague most of us. Some challenges are truly so overwhelming that it can suck and bleed the goodness out of us. They can drive the sanest of people crazy. An abundance of money can solve most problems that plague such ordinary humble folks.
Escalate the financial strata – and many problems are solved even before they become problems.
A phone call here, a good word dropped in there, some money to ensure the seat in that reputed college is assured, some gift that gets us the job of our choice in a company of our convenience…..things move as smoothly as silk when relationships are buttered with money.
Yet, I salute the spirit of the common man! Thanks to Mr. Laxman – he continues to thrive in the hearts of all the middle class people of India.
The common man is stronger at a moral and ethical level. Just look around – that old man selling first rate mangoes will call you even as you are starting your two wheeler and tell you to take the extra 50 rupee note that you gave him by mistake. A farmer may have a huge debt to pay off – but he will host his daughter’s wedding with a warm and genuine smile.
His faith in a higher force is so deep that it helps him overcome all the challenges in his life – stoically and with a smile.
His conscience is clear. His sleep is deep and refreshing.
He believes in his work and in his ability. He knows that there are no free lunches waiting for him around the corner – neither does he expect it.
The other end of the financial spectrum may have been through all these crests and troughs of life – and may have emerged victorious. Good for them.
But instead of remembering the tough times that they faced and helping others who are undergoing a similar predicament –they get carried away by the euphoria of fame, name, glory and money.
It is a heady combination – and one that has the ability to push people over the edge and become self centred to a great extent.
Like the other extreme – abject poverty – this too is a classic case of an abundance of too much driving people over the edge.
Hit and run cases where film stars are involved, wives committing suicide under mysterious circumstances, daughters being murdered over solvable problems ………you name it – and you will find all of this and more in the newspaper.
Tom, Dick and Harry’s murder in some corner of the middle pages –successful people will hog the limelight in the front pages – even here they demand and command more attention.
- Do they seek attention because they are essentially insecure?
- Is their insecurity the reason for their insanity?
- Can money buy us deep refreshing sleep?
- Is there any substitute for a clear conscience?
- Can good connections, a good reputation and a sound social standing – buy us our freedom?
- Can we then get away with anything?
Gandhi was jailed – physically. Yet he used the freedom of his mind to set the country free from the physical presence of the British.
What a sad sad paradox – that we may even be able to buy our way out of the judicial system – we can be physically free – but our minds and hearts will always haunt us and taunt us and remain caged in guilt.
A beautiful Whats app message that I got a couple of days back wraps up the central idea neatly:
In the Satya Yug – the fight was between the Devalok and Asuralok – two different worlds.
In the Treta Yug – the fight was between Rama and Ravana – people belonging to two different countries.
In the Dwapara Yug – the fight was between Pandavas and Kauravas – people belonging to the same family.
And in the Kaliyug – the constant fight is between the good and the evil that resides WITHIN us.
Our culture, our traditions and our norms may be outdated – and difficult to follow or maintain. But even just touching base with such value systems – will keep us on an even keel throughout our lives.
Every one of us out here on this planet – will face a set of challenges on a daily basis. We need to delve into our innermost reserves of faith to plod on with goodness prevailing in our hearts and minds.
If we feed the devils within our minds and hearts – we will end up doing things that uncontrollable and impulsive.
We need to nurture the goodness within ourselves in order to move ahead with our lives with a clear conscience.
At the end of the day – all our challenges will pale into insignificance and look so silly and materialistic and trivial –
And a clear conscience will lead to bliss, peace and ultimately it will lead to our salvation.
The choice is ours – always ours! We choose and create and craft our own destiny and then blame a higher force residing above when things go wrong! Again a choice – depends on how well we want to shoulder the responsibility of our actions! That’s it – that is about it! Think about it!