Unity in Diversity

“The measure of a nation’s true success is the amount of culture it has contributed to the truth, the moral energy and intellectual happiness, the spiritual hope and consolation of mankind.”

                                                                                                     James Russell Lowell

Ram inquired discreetly, “Why are the women from the bride’s family dressed in an orthodox fashion?” I replied in a low voice, “They have been strong and loyal to their culture till today”. This was the conversation which was sparked off between me and Ram when we saw the ladies of the bride’s family during the marriage ceremony of my friend Himanshu. The train of thought started at this juncture when I realized that the youth of today are intrinsically humiliated of their respective cultures. India is a country where we have people belonging to diverse religion, caste and race therefore it has numerous cultures. This has resulted in a mixed response towards the cultural progress of our country occasioned both by riots as well as ethnic cohesion between different communities.

Culture is reflected in many aspects of our daily life and it can be distinguished through humble activities such as eating habits, art, values and traditional wisdom. The fact that this multiplicity of cultural values can lead to a better future has been obscured from the youth of the current era. To incorporate values and ethics from different cultures does not only bring us closer to being a better person but also blends peace between two opposing societies. This aspect of power of culture was made clear to me when some of my friends came over to my house for breakfast. The moment they saw my mother they touched her feet in reverence (called Charansparsh in Hindi) and in return she blessed them all by placing her right hand over their heads one by one as they attended to my mother’s benedictions. Although I appreciated this gesture of respect by my friends I was startled by the happiness on my mother’s face. I enquired her, after my friends took leave, “Mother, Charansparsh is not part of our culture but still you seemed delighted by it. How come?” (It is to be noted here that I am a Christian and we constitute a minority populace in our country whereas my friends belong to majority Hindu). My mother realizing my ignorance said the following lines which will forever be a prized possession in my heart, “Culture knows no boundaries and one should always strive to imbibe the good from every community irrespective of the differences in culture as it is the only path to achieve peace in this world.” Even though I am a law student I couldn’t argue because I knew that there are some universalized truths which cannot be disputed or militated against. Peace was the underlying message. The lesson I learnt that day was that we all belong to wide ranging cultures but the road to achieve peace, harmony and concord in this anarchy-ridden society is only one i.e., through respecting all cultures on an equal footing. It is evident that respecting cultures of people from all walks of life is a difficult task but the idea is, to at least put in an effort, to realize the significance of culture in today’s materialistic world. The mantra of understanding the power of culture can be summed up as follows, ‘One should not form opinions but be opinionated, and one should not be stubborn but be respectful towards other cultures then only will we reach the summit of global peace.’

My petite effort through this essay might not change the world for the way it is but I sincerely hope that it triggers a meaningful insight into the minds of the younger generation to nurture the farm of their respective cultures in order to accomplish fruits of peace, stability and tranquility in our society. The power of culture is immense and since the future of world lies on the shoulders of youth we have to eradicate the differences subsisting amongst us through comprehending that ultimately we all belong to only one culture which is known as humanity.

Advertisements
Unity in Diversity

THE WAR WITHIN

As I sat on her lap I realized that I was living my dream. The green grass and the clear blue sky echoing with the voice of stream intensified my love for my beloved soul mate. As time stood still for me in this enchanting paradise, I tried opening my eyes to come to senses. Wounded, Hurt and Bleeding. I was unable to recapitulate my last engagement as I found myself lying in an abandoned and besmirched street. I could hear the rats calling for more of its friends as I tried to fend them away from my blood stained shirt with the help of pebbles lying nearby. The requiem song played inside my hollow mind with illusory images of angels blistering inside my mind. Zubaida. I had to meet her, she could be in grave danger, as my mind commanded my body to act but the strength inside me dwindled to a void as I got up to walk. With a partially damaged arm and a bruised body I resembled a walking dead. As I tried to blast through the deserted alley, my memory refreshed, I remembered talking on the cell phone to Zubaida. The child weeping as she laid her into the cradle. How I promised her to be home this weekend after a fortnight of stay in Saudi Arabia. Promises are really meant to be broken, I affirmed myself to this truth of life as I hastened my steps. With every stride my limb lambasted the shin-bone tearing away the life inside me in a jiffy. My tear glands ran so dry that they could not even account for some extra water work!!! After walking a few meters the vision became clearer but the biting cold took a toll over me. The danger of succumbing to the Kashmiri winter was even greater than that of facing the fires of hell. The wise sages of India had always considered the atma to be a wanderer in nature and the ultimate peace or trance laid only with the communion of atma with the Supreme Lord. I knew that I was about to reach this abstract realm as life blew farther away from me with every breath. I perceived my sands of time to be ending and that too quickly. Reminiscing my days with Zubaida was the only source of energy for my battered soul. With every step my body felt lighter and my soul seemed to fade into oblivion. The heart pumped only to seek union with Zubaida subsequently shielding me from the continuous chilly winds emanating from the magnanimous Himalayas. Finally, as I proceeded out of the labyrinth of alleys I found myself a few steps away from a house which was dimly lit. It was too late in the night to ascertain at first sight whether anyone occupied the household. As nature released all its fury over my diminishing strength I ultimately surrendered to the will of Allah. The communion achieved but only at the doorstep of Mr. Mehta, Professor of Psychology at Srinagar University. I barely made it to the entrance of the secluded place and thereafter I fell. My collapse resembled the thumping sound of warrior elephants engaging in the battle of the millennium. As the door opened my vision faded into darkness; an infinite tunnel with no light at its end.

As I regained consciousness, I found myself in an unknown precinct. With absolutely no memory of how I ended here, I tried to check for all my valuables. They were missing. Panicking, I almost jumped out of my bed. My bruised arm was bandaged and I found myself in a gown. Reassuring, that I was not made in trouble. As I rested my head against the pillow, I saw an aged man walk towards me from the other end of the room. He brought me green tea and aspirin. Introducing himself as Mr. Mehta, he informed me that I almost died last night due to the injuries and how he found me on his doorstep. As he cared for me I comforted myself in his presence. He also told me that he knew the basics of nursing and therefore was able to provide me with immediate first aid. I was ashamed from within for doubting the malafide intention of Mr. Mehta, I shook my head in shame. I requested him to let me call my wife. Pointing towards the desk I saw a cell phone being charged. After racking my brain, I punched in the phone number. “The number you have dialed is either not reachable or switched off. Please try again later.” All my efforts to call Zubaida were in vain. Being a professor of psychology, he advised me to investigate into the sub-conscious mind to recollect the chain of events prior to the “Great Fall”. Realizing the power of mind to answer the labyrinth of the unknown, I started to recall the happenings one by one. He dragged a chair from across the room and sat down with a pen and paper in his hand just like a psychiatrist.

The flight wasn’t long but the journey seemed tiresome. As the flight landed on the airport I hurried past the security, to reach for the fresh air of my homeland, and I decided to have a walk to the nearby market to get Zubaida some seewanyi from Kamran Bhai’s store which was her one of the favorites. Even great miles seem few steps when you walk with complete devotion of your loved one. Surprisingly, most of the shops were closed but then also I decided to look for the seewanyi. My cognitive faculties intervened through this emotive disposition upon realizing the substantial loss of time and destination. Unable to find the desired shop I tried to rescue myself from the unwanted crowd of people in and around me and subsequently in a fit of anxiety I entered a small pathway which apparently seemed to me as a way out. Seeing a dead end again, I turned back towards the busy market place only to find three tall, dark and rough males staring directly at me and confining my egress. “What is a guy nicely dressed as yourself doing in a grim alley as this?” At that very instant I knew that misfortune is about to visit me and these people wore bandanas with the impression of Jai Mata Di, which is a eulogy for Goddess Durga who is the Destroyer of Evil. The moment I identified myself as Rehan they raged an epic cyclone of anger against me. Thrashing me mercilessly and repeatedly, my cries for mercy fell on deaf ears. I heard them cursing, “You Muslim rascals are polluting our motherland. You don’t deserve a life, in this country. Die you son of a bitch.” Squirming in excruciating agony, I began to lose my consciousness gradually. They picked me up, robbed me of whatever possessions I had and after looting me I heard something which distressed me even before it materialized. I heard one of them saying, “Let’s do him. Teach him a lesson for a lifetime. Sodomize him.” As the other two held me, the leader started unzipping his pants. Scared to the core, I wished for Allah to embrace me in his arms before it is made impure by this gruesome act. Allah-oh-Akbar. As I lost my faith in the Almighty, I closed my eyes to the world around me and surrendered my soul and body to the will of Allah. Suddenly I heard the sirens blazing and the sound came nearer every second. One after the other a conclave of police vehicles passed by and many government vehicles were accompanied by them. The Chief Minister was on his way back to Srinagar from the airport. As a phalanx of soldiers passed along the way at some distance, the thugs decided to leave my mutilated body as it was and decided not to annihilate my remaining spirit and flesh. Devastated and Shattered. Even though the pain was unbearable, I believed myself to reach a stage where I felt absolutely nothing. Consistent branding of a specific emotion makes you immune to it. I was invulnerable to pain, trauma, agony, the perfect stage of what I term as miserable tranquility.

Psychologists listen. And Mr. Mehta stood the test of his profession. Carefully listening to everything he revised all that he had written and revealed something which shattered the ground beneath my feet. Mr. Mehta stood up, lighted his cigarette and informed me of the recent events in Srinagar. Leaning over the window sill the sunlight lit up his ripened face and he began to unfold a story which explained why I was victimized last night. A Muslim peasant family was murdered and burned alive by the thugs of a rich Hindu landlord. The landlord was a Kashmiri Pundit who tendered loans to many and since the debtor, who was a Muslim laborer, could not pay-off the loan on time, he had to pay-off the debt with his life. The Muslim community reacted to the crime, killing a member of the Pundits, sparking off a riot in Srinagar. On learning about the chain of events leading to a riot, I comprehended as to why those three people chose to attack me. I realized how generous he had been by sheltering a Muslim in a Hindu house during the riots. Truly, he was an angel in disguise for me. I was well aware of the consequences which he could have suffered on account of harboring a Muslim during these tumultuous days. Curious to know about his family I enquired about his wife and children. He said that his wife suffered from breast cancer and his son had deserted him after his marriage; the case prevalent with most of the hereditary Kashmiri Pundits. After a brief chat, I asked him if I could call Zubaida. Mr. Mehta told me that the phone lines were dead but he could get me to Zubaida if I could provide him with an address. I wrote the address on a small piece of paper and thereafter, Mr. Mehta gave the chit to his neighbor. Supposedly, the neighbor was a constable in the local police station and he could provide us with an official police vehicle to reach home. Reunion. The very thought of it enthralled my senses and eased away all the pain endured by me. Continuing my conversation with the psychologist he informed me that curfew is usually imposed at dusk and people have to fight for groceries and therefore we had to leave before dusk. Any act which seemed suspicious was punishable with indefinite imprisonment during such days. Atrocities by the fundamentalists as well as the police authorities were on the rise in wake of the killing of people from both the communities. I reassured myself that Zubaida would be alright and the almighty would be looking after her. As the afternoon sky soared, the chit came back to Mr. Mehta and he told me that in about an hour, they would be ready to leave in a police vehicle. The house was on the outskirts of Srinagar and probably it would be late in the evening to reach home. As we prepared ourselves for the journey, I flew into a different world altogether thinking of meeting with Zubaida and the baby, Zafar. The very thought of reunion filled me with exuberant energy and joy. Passing through the streets of Srinagar, all I encountered were policemen and destroyed property; burnt truck tires, remains of explosives and debris. This was the scene of the place so called “Heaven on Earth”. As we proceeded towards the outskirts, the effect of the riots faded into the shade of the trees. Yes, nature accommodates for the violence perpetrated by humans, such is the grace of the unknown. Mr. Mehta, who was seated beside the hefty pot-bellied constable, was a bit distressed by the fact that we ventured to the outskirts of the city with the sun settling down. As we got down from the vehicle the constable informed us that he had to rush back to the police station as the situation in city seemed volatile. Mr. Mehta and I, proceeded towards the house which was nearly 100 meters away from the edge of the road where the constable had left us. As I hastened my steps to meet my family, I saw Mr. Mehta being left way behind. The joy of meeting your loved ones produces an adrenaline rush which cannot be expressed in words. On entering the house, I found the lock on the door broken and the door was left ajar. This was the first time I stumbled upon the thought of losing my family to the hands of communalism. Mr. Mehta sensing my anxiety held me back and silently handed me an iron rod which he found lying in the porch. He also armed himself with my old Windsor cricket bat which reminded me of my days as a young lad playing Cricket in gullies of Srinagar. Stealthily, we moved room to room checking for Zubaida and Zafar. With every footstep I could hear my own heart beating so loudly as if it wanted to burst open from my chest. The rooms were disarranged and the furniture were either broken or destroyed. It was a deliberate attempt of vandalizing my home. As I approached the kitchen, I saw a glimpse of Zubaida’s salwar behind the kitchen platform, she was lying still on the floor. With all my hopes shattering into millions of pieces I rushed towards her. As I held her head in my lap and checked for her breath she was dead. I was late. The corpse did not project any external wounds of signs of struggle but the very fact that she was no more breathing, smiling, laughing, conversing stole the momentary happiness off my face. All I saw was a bluish tint on her face but yet again her death seemed a mystery to me. Mr. Mehta decided to simply witness the scene and did not attempt to pacify or console me, he knew that the sorrow was inconsolable. The moment devastated me into smithereens and I started blaming myself for the loss. Why was I not on time to save her? Mr. Mehta advised me to not let my grief cloud my rational mind as it deepens the trauma. But his words were of no avail to me. Humans do feel for the loss of their loved ones and I was unable to overcome Zubaida’s sudden loss. The very fact that the smile, the touch and the care is no more there rattled my nerves. My eyes were filled with tears but I couldn’t cry. Why I was unable to cry? Maybe I did not want to believe that she was no more.

As I sobbed I heard the voice which re-instilled my faith in the promises of Life. Zafar, moaning and struggling in pain. As I heard this sound a mad adrenaline rush hurried through my senses and I ran arbitrarily to search for the origin of the melody. The kitchen cabinet was half opened with the baby writhing in pain released a sorrowful melancholy. Seeing the beautiful face of Zafar made me realize that I still have reasons to go on with my life amidst all these tragedies. His tender body resembled the gentleness of the Lotus flowers in the middle of the Dal Lake. Trying to capture this perfect moment in my mind, I almost unheard Mr. Mehta’s calling. Mr. Mehta in his rough voice called me into the Kitchen. Zubaida was still lying there on the floor. With Zafar in my arms and Zubaida lying dead on the floor the feelings which visited me were surreal. Both the living and the dead generated inside me an unfathomable sentiment which could not be understood. To be mad or to be calm, to feel elated or depressed, to love or hate such questions boggled my mind as I saw everything around me. The Alpha and the Omega coincided at one juncture of time creating an emotion devoid of an emotive appeal. My mind seemed thoughtless, maybe I was in the perfect state of equanimity. Unable to comprehend the mixed passions Mr. Mehta pointed me out which upturned my calmness into anger. There was a big sign of OM spray painted on the wall in the room adjacent to the Kitchen. Zubaida preferred death by consuming poison than to be victimized but fortunately the baby somehow survived. Hatred for the fundamentalists arose like a strong wave in the ocean inside my heart but then the very sight of Mr. Mehta doused such passions. He helped me throughout the journey regardless of the repercussions which he could face. Not all men are bad but it is our perception about people makes them the way they are. Handing over the child to Mr. Mehta I realized that my Jehad was not far away.

THE WAR WITHIN

I EXIST

I toil everyday as I work for you

Day and night; I work for you

A square meal a day is all I crave

But it costs me all your unwanted filth and dirt

Every day is a struggle and every night a nightmare

Sadly, for me there is no joyous spring after a dark winter

As you sleep in your cozy rooms

Dreary night visits me

I wonder how long will I bear

The exploitation of my own soul by me

Buildings, Railways and Roads are all fruits of my labor

But never have I sought a penny beyond my need

Denied and repelled by all

I stand aside and see

I watch your step down from sedans

With no boots on, I envy, bare feet become my sole carrier

I turn to God

Is this how much my God loves me?

Love for few and none for me

Help, Help, Help

I cry to the angels above

Is my voice heard yet left unheard?

Wondering if there is anything in store for me

How would you know the plight of a laborer?

Remnants is all that I have ever seen

Hatred, stigma and banishment are your kind gifts

Touch me once and I hope you feel

For even I was once a soul in an eternal bliss.

I EXIST

Foundations of Morality

Human beings are endowed with a power to reason and this gives them the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, true and false etc. However, this thought of reason is supplemented by the world of ideas whose being cannot be verified as it is known only to exist in a domain of pan-reality. Humankind has always been driven by this unverifiable realm and it is to be noted here that the greatest of thoughts which ever occurred to humans have emerged from this thought sphere. The enquiry to be made is whether morality has any basis on grounds of reasoning and thereby further deliberating over the fact of existence of a realm of ideas which cannot be empirically proven. Answers to certain questions are beyond the scope of natural sciences but the nature of human beings to gain dominance over every idea is the root cause of absence of absolute knowledge. Morality itself exists in a world where any definite knowledge cannot be said to be known. This world of idealism stems its roots from this mystical notion of morality. It is consistently advocated that human life is basically nihilistic and so is the foundation of morality. Therefore any action based on morality is inconsequential in the factual world and any attempts to authenticate such moral actions are futile.

The fundamental dichotomy is that we cannot know that we actually know about the foundations of morality. Any solid and concrete knowledge with respect to authority of morality is an absurd experiment to be conducted by us. The question can be succinctly put to us as “can the morality of an action be proved?” The truth of the unknown will never be truly known to man as even the known has been obscured from us. The knowledge of anything outside one’s own mind is unsure according to solipsism then isn’t it fruitless to delve into a realm whose foundations we are unaware of. Thus we witness the current surge of realism in the modern technologically advanced world. The parameters of morality are a reflection of the evolutionary process and therefore with the passage of time we observe the change of mind from a moral to realist philosophical foundation. This phenomenal alteration in the gradually developing society has resulted in human unable to appreciate between the moral and immoral preferences. Morality, in scientific terms, can be propounded as a function of anthropological factors. Moral nihilism is true to an extent but when convolution is established between the rules of the society and people’s actions, such an idea should be detested by one and all. The killing of a person in a city is condemned not solely on account of law established by the sovereign but also by virtue of a set of code of conduct imposed by the community at large based on moral reasons.

To reproduce a biblical example, the first murder can be traced to back to killing of Abel by Cain. Murder is a mortal sin and falls within the prohibition limit of God’s ten commandment. Cain justified his murder on account t of jealousy. This act of Cain altered the balance of the existing community. God punished him through exiling him from the Land of God i.e. Eden. This act of Cain was punished solely on grounds of morality and in contravention of God’s law. Absence of any legal rule substantiates morality as an authority for punishment. But still the foundation of morality is esoteric in this case as all the laws of God derived power from morality. Therefore, we observe that morality’s core ground can never be discerned or understood by humankind due to the inclusion of element of mysticism.

The philosophical question remains partially answered or may be the dearth of knowledge capacitated in human mind can never solve this paradox. The question is left open for the reader to demystify the conception of morality as a fact in the objective world or concede to super natural element present in determining the foundations of morality.

Foundations of Morality

AN INCREDIBLE INDIA INDEED

A twenty one year old boy rapes a minor, man beats his wife to death over dowry, baby died due to inadequate facilities in government hospital and so on. This is the news which we see in our newspapers every day. The idea of India Shining has fallen to the grounds and is biting the dust. Successive governments irrespective of their ideologies are unwilling to take blame for any corrupt action pervaded by them resulting in a weak democracy.

The rudimentary problem is that the current legal system is at fault. The democratic setup has led to massive usurpation of powers within the hands of few and the spirit of democracy has been eroded by the formation of a vicious circle between the executive, legislature and judiciary. The only viable option to replace democracy lies in dictatorship as a form of government. Colossal political abuse by a nexus between bureaucrats and politicians can be put to an end through granting of powers in a righteous leader. The collective interest of few leading politicians along with the western corporate houses has resulted into the diminution of “development for the poor”. The dichotomy is not with dictatorship but with conferring power to a leader who can for the sake of people impose limitations on the people. If a leader is virtuous in nature then his decisions will be beneficial to the society as a whole. In the present context I mean dictatorship is to control abuses, not to suppress freedom.

Conception behind dictatorship is to form a positive dictatorship and not to suppress or hamper upon the liberties of the citizens. Such a form of government merely provides with the restrictions upon the citizens. The justice delivery mechanism is at grave fault in the present democracies and any form of redressal is almost next to impossible for a downtrodden man. This is due to absence of any authority or overseer who protects such rights of the citizens equally. With the replacement of democracy a stable form of government will be present to address such issues. Even after sixty six years of an independent India development is virtually absent in the country which clearly reflects the inability of the democratic government to instill a firm and bold economic regime. The crux of the matter lies in the acceptance of dictatorship as a form of government and there have been dictatorial governments which have provided decent lifestyles to its citizens. Let us look at the case of Brunei with Hassanal Bolkiah as their Sultan. Brunei people relish one of the premier standards of living in the world. While on the other hand European countries and US are in the midst of budget deficit.

Democracy has been shredded to tiny pieces and we have to move forward with dictatorship being a feasible solution to rid us of the inequalities prevailing in the society. All in all, it is obvious that dictatorship is not ineludibly malevolent, unethical, and tyrannical in nature.

AN INCREDIBLE INDIA INDEED

“A Just State: Reality or Utopia”

For centuries and innumerable epochs the legal systems of diverse states have cherished the objective of a just state with equality being the backbone of all such societies. However, the idea of a just state cannot be deemed as a far-fetched dream as the social inequalities which are acting against the welfare of people can be eliminated through appropriate distribution of wealth through mandates of law. To borrow the underpinnings from Rawls principles of justice by benefitting the worst off in society through allowing certain social inequalities is justified. An additional qualification is that people have to be truly enlightened in all aspects of social life to attain such a state of just society which is however absent in the present contemporary social structure. Kant provides us with an insight as to this transitional phase of enlightenment through civil freedom granted by the King himself. A just state can be succinctly described as a state where there is absence of unequal distribution of wealth, benefits and to an extent pleasures sought by men. Humans are said to be endowed with a power to reason which points us to the fact that the wisdom to differentiate between moral and immoral preferences is known to him but we observe that through selection of preferences based totally on self-interest has resulted into culmination of an unequal society. Connecting this aspect of rationality to enlightenment, a state can provide for adequate and equal distribution of benefits to all provided the subjects are enlightened through means of freedom. The human life is to be progressive in nature but this categorical delineation of benefits within a group of few individuals on account of convergence of immoral and self-interested penchants has led to widespread inequalities. If a state lives, its people live but if a state dies who shall live? For a state to evolve as a whole the pillars of justice which are erected by the citizens cannot fall in the hands of few individualistic subjects of state. To achieve the idea of a perfect and just state, we have to keep in mind that equal rights are to be conferred only upon the citizens and not upon aliens as they do not participate in contribution of realizing the ideal state in any manner due to absence of active involvement in the development of a State. To accomplish this notion of a perfect state we have to understand that there is an obligation upon the state to epitomize and enforce fundamental ideas of mankind like equality in matters of employment, administration and education through providing for a sanctioning authority implementing these archetypes in a strict manner. The solution is not only providing for institutions for enforcement but providing with certain penal punishments along with stricter implementation. We observe that the bureaucratic officers evade laws through means of constitutional protection which is actually hampering progress towards a just state. However, this so called “utopian state” may not be discernable to us in the modern economy oriented society as we tend to choose immoral preferences despite of possessing the ability through rational reasoning. There is a reciprocal obligation on the state to protect the rights of individuals who have chosen the moral preferences as the state is supposed to be the guardian of fundamental rights. We have to understand that we cannot restrict our thought process to the state and the citizen as it will defeat the very purpose sought to be endorsed by this writing. Inclusion of virtues in acts of officers occupying the important offices through imposing rigorous academic qualification standards should be the criteria of selection for any coveted governmental position. This path of virtue should not be too extreme or too narrow and it should be the mean position which was as espoused by Aristotle. The reality or the circumstances cannot be succumbed by the ruling state and it is imposing upon the state to develop a state of equilibrium within the society. However we can debate that any form of substantive inclusion in achieving virtues is too strict an approach on account of moral obligations being unenforceable. However, the answer to such questions lies within the development of citizens per se. The idea of an informed and virtuous citizen can lead us into this state which might not be perfectly just but it might achieve an outline of the same. Considering the social realities of the modern society it seems virtually impossible for us to believe in the very fact that such a state is even remotely possible but we should bear in mind the thought that there were societies such as the ancient Greek and Roman societies which did emphasized upon the formation of such ideal states. But, such societies and present law need to converge at a certain juncture. Thus, the idea of a just state can be briefly summarized as the function of citizens, who emerge from an amalgamation of rationality and virtue, through imposition of certain obligations by the state itself.

“A Just State: Reality or Utopia”

A FORGOTTEN PARADISE

Mr. Smith… Mr. Smith……. Mr. Smith!!!!…. Mary kept on calling, but I was altogether in a different world. Appreciating the serenity of the uninhabited. Every time I observed a different shape appeared altogether. I thought how amazing life would be if only I was born a bird. Being on the cover page of Forbes, Times and Business World was like a routine exercise for me. I had sky-rocketed and torn past all the others in the race of life. Yes, I was fulfilled. Mary handed me the pen drive I had asked for. I could guess from the gesture on her face that she presumed me to be an idiot of the finest kind looking outside the window and being self-delighted. As I inserted the pen drive into my I-pad, I once more saw the magnificent clouds accompanying me in my lonely journey. As I opened the removable drive I recognized that this wasn’t the pen drive I had asked for. This business deal would fetch me millions and how could Mary act sloppy during such crucial times. But I knew that I was half paralyzed without her assistance and she was my lifeline. Just as I was about to remove the device from the port, I saw a folder named Rosy. The name struck me like an arrow released from the arms of mighty Hercules. My heart paced like a horse galloping on the grasslands of the Savvanah. The name had such an overriding effect on me reminding me of my days with Rosy during my undergraduate years. It had been long since she had left me. The mind said no but the heart screamed for a glimpse of her photograph. More than often, the rational faculty of our mind is dominated by the passions of the heart even though I believed that both are a product of the mind itself. Quivering, I ensued to click on the folder notwithstanding of being conscious that the heart would be broken. Again. Upon opening the folder, I scrolled through the photographs. Carefree days when Rosy and I clicked photographs unnecessarily. Always standing next to her, beside her, for her. We were madly in love with each other and even if we never said it out loud we knew that the air resonated with love as we walked past others. Proceeding with the photographs, I stopped at the one I always loved. The photograph could have easily been the snap of the century if made public. The photograph still reverberated the aura of the love. With her head resting on my shoulder I held her hand and together we viewed the sunset. Paradise.

Good things truly don’t last forever and so did our love. She left me one fine morning saying that I had grown selfish over the years, leaving with me an address of New York which I had by hearted. Reminding myself of how foolish I had acted by browsing through this folder, I decided to shut it down and throw away the pen drive forever. Being a multi-millionaire oil tycoon I could easily afford such acts. But things weren’t the same during college days when I feared lending my pen drive to classmates in case it would be lost or stolen. I got up and decided to flush the drive down the toilet. Suddenly, something inside me stopped me from doing it. Being distressed I called Mary and asked her to set up a drink for me. Whisky with 2 ice cubes along with soda was my preference. Owing a private jet had its perks I thought and again fell into the “Alex World”. The whisky coupled with the tiring journey was my perfect sleeping pill. Upon closing my eyes, it dawned upon me that the deal was scheduled to conclude at New York, my jet was heading for New York and the last known residence of Rosy was also New York!!! I slept not to sleep but to escape the fact that meeting Rosy was now inevitable for me. Waking up after short nap Mary called out to me again but this time I woke up promptly. The drive from airport to Hilton Hotel, where I was accommodated, was a long one and all the time I thought about Rosy despite Mary explaining me the important briefings for the meeting. The sunshine shone through her hair, eyes beautiful as the lotus serenely situated in a still pond and a smile which captivated the sentiment of Cupid himself. When the heart is trembled even the mind seemed unstable. As I rested myself on the couch of the presidential suite I realized that I had come all the way to New York for a business deal and not to reopen the memory box. The callous me rejuvenated and with the board meeting scheduled in an hour I prepared for my presentation.

Why not visit Rosy after the board meeting? Am I scared of her? She left me I didn’t why should I visit her then? All these questions troubled me. So I decided to pay her a visit after the meeting to confront my love. As usual I out performed all the other competitors and snatched the deal. Winning had always been in my blood and this deal added big bucks to the company’s treasury. I was delighted with myself as always.

Some people could never be forgotten from your memory lane no matter how hard you try. I still remembered her address somehow. The driver told me that the house was on the second building across the street and since the road was a bit narrow the luxury sedan couldn’t pass through. It was still easier for me to walk a few steps for Rosy as I had walked miles with her earlier. The building seemed almost a century old with a dilapidated architecture. As I knocked on the door I shivered thoroughly, the heart seemed to burst out and time almost stopped for me. She opened the door standing with a baby in her hand. As we looked into each other’s eyes the moment froze and our eyes needed no introduction. Our love never faded; it couldn’t have. She also stood still with the baby unable to utter a word. Gathering all the courage I spoke. Hello Rosy, I am Alex your long lost acquaintance. She snapped out of the dream saying she knew who I was and silently invited me inside the shabby lodge. As I stealthily proceeded, the room seemed to be more distorted than an unruly traffic of vehicles on a busy street. She kept down the baby and placed her gently in the cradle in the other room. I sat in the sofa which was beside the window trying to absorb the reality in the midst of my surreal meeting with Rosy. Rosy had not changed a bit, her eyes reflected the tranquility of the ocean and the lips kept up to her name. Age had taken a toll over her but it never over shadowed the charm within. All I could manage was to ask her how she had been all this while. She told me that she married and was living happily with her kids Noel and Jesse, how much her husband loved her despite of the financial mess they were in. My eyes were filled with tears but I drowned my tears into the darkness of my heart. The happiness I saw in her eyes was more than enough to finally satiate the years of heartache I had suffered. I told her about my professional success, flaunted to her all my wealth and informed her how I was living a King sized life. Rosy smirked and said that I was still the same over ambitious Alex. She said that she did not leave me because she did not love me anymore. She left me because I had always been worried about my career and all I ever thought about was being positioned highly in the world. She also told me that all the years she had been with me in college she had only seen me grow from bad to worse as a person. The Alex she loved was a very different person and she knew that a ruthless Alex had replaced the kind warm hearted fellow she loved. For the first time in my life all the wealth did not matter to me and I cried. The words struck me like lighting. She came and sat next to me. As tears welled down my eyes I held her hand and she held mine too. After years of yearning I felt human. Clearing my eyes I realized what I had lost and I was still a prisoner in her love. Looking into her eyes filled with love I came forward to kiss her, for the last time. She knew she could not do so being a married woman. When there is a union of souls from heaven above no force of societal impositions could impede it. She succumbed and kissed me. Holding her close to me; our lips met, they reveled in each other’s amorous splendor like the couple swan in the pond. Our love was like the gush of wind, it comes and goes but never dies. If only I could seize the moment forever reminiscing the days when we used to sit together watching the sun go down. As I detracted, she said that we could not proceed. I knew that I had to curb my passions and with a heavy heart I had to let go of her. Standing up I rushed towards the door. Before leaving she said the words I always craved for in all my lonesome years. I always loved you Alex. Walking out of the front door I knew that I had achieved my Paradise.

A FORGOTTEN PARADISE