An Idiot's Tale

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An Idiot's Tale

Cacography of a madcap story teller, JAYEETA GHORAI

Will March steal by wordless?

I’ve had two concerned enquiries about this continuous invisibility. A gentle nagging lies submerged inside my forever policing brain, too.

Happiness and busy-ness are not conducive to my creative muse, I have long found. The former distracts my mind and the latter, littering my cranial appointment diary, adds to my physical exhaustion, which in turn, again, distracts my mind. Only the absolute inactive bodily state allows for the subtle breeze of thought to flow freely through my permeable being.

I had read an intriguing book by Lobsang Rampa some twenty two years ago, in which he explained the porosity of our physical self. His first name, Tuesday, had filled me with wonderous glee. His hypothesis, presented in logical layers of persuasiveness, backed by examples of the molecular laws from physics, had set me thinking, semi-convinced.

So what have I been up to this long month?

What have I achieved in the meanwhile?

For achievement and utility is the sacrosanct of modern existence. Aldous Huxley’s ‘Benaras’ propounds time wastage as a common practice albeit an un-admirably evil one. Various present day thought-leaders, in their self-help books worth million dollar turnovers, reinstate the need for well synchronized daily and mental motions – mere breathing isn’t sufficiently meritorious. Efficient time management, every management pundit will avow, has to be learnt and practiced, it seemingly is the most important life skill on twenty-second century earth.

They have me bewildered, this chain of one guru after another. Like the flavours of Paris fashion, popular demand for new voices keeps them coming and going. Almost as soon as one hits the headline and bookshelves, comfortably relaxing into his nest egg, another begins his sure ascendance to usurping limelight. Philosophies have seasonal shelf life in this age, no longer the omniscience or constancy of universal truths. Every voice insists on being heard, with their rehashed two bit wisdoms. The only time I read Shiv Khera, at the height of his popularity, I was astonished to realize how much plagiary was garnished as ‘inspiration’ and ‘illustrations’. He imported quotations in bulk; I failed to and gave up searching for one original whisper.

I also happened to read The Monk who sold his Ferrari and Who will Cry for You when you Die? They remain in my bookcase, I can right now spot them from where I sit, as testament between my desire to donate them for charity – to vex some unsuspecting soul towards his own private perjury – and my inability to part with anything book-like.

My monetary resources are precariously low at all times and I criminally expended some hard earned ones, piqued by the catchy titles and the on-going Robin Sharma craze (the guy invaded my alphabet-with-tea practically every morning.) Five winters and two unfinished volumes later, they remain my perennial moral dilemma between necessary de-cluttering and possessiveness.

I couldn’t complete the first, still haven’t worked up the courage, and the second, though far more sensible in bite-size pragmatisms, found no lasting ripple, thanks to my inherent lack of discipline. I never cared to be cried for, merely wanted to know what arguments he had laid against me so I may avoid the trap; in that sense the book has achieved its purpose, I practice none of its prescriptions.

While I find life altering epiphanies in the proverbial grain of sand, being force fed other people’s enlightenment gives me indigestion.

For me the original Enlightened One appeared in the 6th century BC. History text books lessened my exam-time woes by not caring to remember the names before him, and I, though impressed by several later ones, will uphold Buddha’s chronological primacy. Make no mistake, I have my own customized grouch against the Gautami-putra. But, perhaps by some celestial conspiracy, he was the first born to this path.

Interpreters and re-tellers have made epochs through time, not always in a strictly religious context, sprouting in surprising geographies, in the form of writers, poets, painters, minstrels, agriculturists, mathematicians, scientists or plain garrulous old geeks in love with their voices and visions.

What leaves me gutted is how many self-appointed avatars chose the twenty first century to make their appearance!

What visibly defines a leader but a flock to lead? What can be more fashionable than to appear in pearl and silk by the elbow of the latest headline? This is a captivating symbiotic relationship.

That in an age of packaged breakfast, nirvana comes relatively hassle-free, picked off someone else’s word processor instead of the centuries of hard meditation recommended in Indic theology has obviously found approval. The 2-minute-noodle generation has no time for carefully ruminated self-learning. Someone else chewing and spewing and helping them to swallow adoptive life lessons is jolly fine. Mohammed didn’t have centuries. Swami Vivekananda, Sri Chaitanya, Jesus all died young.

This factory of guru-production would have us believe it can be done in increasingly shortened durations and how!

I will never question where your life lessons come from – whatever works for you, mate. But from my distance perch, I can see the entire multitude running to the bank. ‘Self-help’ is a misnomer when it doesn’t ferment within yourself but in essence is a borrowed philosophy. The only self it is clearly helping is the writer.

I am yet to decide which dearth of original idea pains me more – the tearing hurry to guide by an ambitious handful or this mass hysteria to be guided.




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