Thursday, October 2, 2008

Yes, violence. Seriously? On a day like today?


It's Gandhi Jayanti. Happy birthday, Bapu, but can you, like, send a message to the guys up there that we, like, really don't like working on your birthday... we sometimes don't like working on other days as well, but it's, like, your birthday today and all that, man! Makes me kinda all violency about it, this violent assault on our freedom to stay at home on a national holiday. They call this a "free" media! hah!

Gandhi said "Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy." So, i agree that it ain't a day to be lyin' around doin' nothin'. I mean i do want to, like, get up late from my extremely non-violent Caribbean dreams and eat some, like, organic cereal from the Khadi Gram Udyog and stuff, and then, like, meditate, ruminate and pontificate on loftier things... and languidly debate the merits of freedom (of sexual orientation), non-violence (when faced a sub that was delivered 15 minutes too late), khadi (of the non-scratchy variety) and purposeful walking (to the drinks cabinet), while trying very hard not to swat at the pesky fly that seems to be seeking refuge in my living room. All in the spirit of the day, of course.

While driving to work today, i noticed that even the doggies are off the streets, let alone patriotic Indians, who are probably ringing in the occasion with home brews on a dry dry day like today. D' ya think they'll really care if they don't get their newspaper tomorrow, groggy as they'd be from partying on a mid-week day off? But then with a sinking heart i remember what Gandhi had said once "I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers", and i know where the discrimination stems from.

But then my spirits lift a little when i recall what Gandhiji also once said "Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.". So here i am honestly differing with the management. Shall i expect a healthy bonus in the next paycheck? Oh, i'm inspired by his words: "You must be the change you want to see in the world.", so here i am putting my head on the block, all in the interest of the greater good, and asking the powers that be to please re-consider the six-day week! Just in case you were thinking it's all about personal gain, shame on you, you... you... non-believer!

Now i have come to the worrying conclusion that a lot of what the Great Man said can be misconstrued and applied to furthering personal gain. Like if we were to interpret "Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it" to mean that stealing petty cash from a US investment bank predictably almost going under in a couple of weeks might be an insignificant folly in the large scheme of things, but that it becomes absolutely imperative for the employees to salvage all they can. Or, that when Bapu said "As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it", was not an endorsement for shoplifting Victoria's Secret innerwear!

But then, following some of his pearls of wisdom ad verbatim might just cost us more than a loss of personal pleasures. Like when he said that "I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life", he definitely did not mean that Vijender Singh stand tall and exposed against his most ferocious Cuban opponent in his Olympic boxing bout.

And then when he said that "Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right", he certainly forgot to add the caveat that the management might not be so tolerant of your expression of freedom. Err too often and they'll... errr... kick your butt! My defense against my various indiscretions at work is another one from his collection "Hate the sin, love the sinner".

Now this brings me to one that i use to sum up my life's failure to reconcile my existence with my destined place in the world, something that causes me eternal grief: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony". I think i can do with a little more of god's attention, but i say i'm content with what i have, and i do all i can to stay afloat. And then the trusty old man offers me a clue to express what it is i really want: " I want freedom for the full expression of my personality. "

But then at times when i am expressing a murderous thought, through the full force of my personality, to someone who has just appeared from nowhere, going the wrong way, in a one-way street, I recall his words decrying vengeance "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." To which he provides the answer "I think it would be a good idea. "

.... and THAT'S Gandhigiri for ya'!

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