Thursday, November 24, 2011

Myth Mashing

There are words we hear and nod assent to, without thinking. They are so much a part of our fibre and form that they flow unchallenged around and inside of us. The veracity of these pronouncements is a given. They have been repeated so often that they ring true as testimonials.

No one knows, by whom or when these myths were manufactured? Going by their omnipresence, they certainly seem cast in stone? Are they genuine, indisputable, verified gyan or were these perhaps mere self-defense theories, cooked up by creative minds bent upon keeping things smooth. Or worse, a way to dodge responsibility, an excuse to sit on the hind legs and not have to lift a finger.

Everything happens for the best, is a common assurance. I have had occasions to differ! If that be so, why does the best come so loaded with pain and a sense of such acute loss?  

How can a death in the family, an unexpected displacement or a traumatic personal event qualify as the best that could possibly happen to the hapless? People miss out on their dream colleges, their first loves, their grand plans but it is all for the best eventually, we tell each other. We are too weak to be able to bear the harsh reality and this is possibly one way to accept the hurtful truth that we got shortchanged by destiny.

God has a plan for everybody, is another one of the omniscient pearls. Does He? Based on Karma, we tell ourselves. And we watch this grand plan unfold, leaving people torn and bleeding and crying and hurting? If my life is going to follow a path defined by my Karma, where is His design, His contribution, His master stroke, I have wondered? It has to be one hell of a plan that leaves me with a bashed up vehicle in the parking, for instance. To add insult to injury, I am told to count my blessing, it could have been worse! I am sorry but try as I might, I just can’t bring myself to be thankful for the dented and beaten up car.

Dialogue is the only way forward, more so in a democracy, we are told. But how can that be when all everyone wants is to be right? Who is going to be doing the listening while all the shouting down is going on? Switch on any TV channel today. Communications, negotiations, exchanges mostly occur along two separate music scores, each intent upon their own tune. The communicators invariably end up where they started. Certainly, dialogue helps to keep up the pretence of human engagement, that it does !

There are countless more edicts: annoying, untrue and patronizing at worst. Parents always want the best for their children. Well, the best is sometimes also the most convenient for them! Many hands make light work. Some are best kept out of the broth, in fact !You were lucky. You could have been dead, in other words !It was meant to be. Accept it and stop whining ! They also serve who only stand and wait. You will have to wait longer, is the translation !

Do these myths then, serve any purpose? Yes, they do. They are designed and floated to maintain a modicum of social control and calm or there would be anarchy.

To be honest, and there I go, this is another though to say I was lying all this while...the only one that I permit in is, “An apple a day, really keeps the doctor away!”

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