I thought I was going to be late, by ten minutes at least. As I got off the Tube, I considered running up the escalator. Looked at the watch. 8:10. Twenty more minutes. Not bad, wonder why I was getting the being late feeling. Ah, just stand at the right. Let the escalator take me up. Green Park Tube Station. Even when you are being yourself, quietly being carried up on the escalator, the advertisements don’t leave you. They are 45 degree-angled by your position.
That’s when I saw the sign. It said:
change your life
you want to
Or at least, something to that effect. (Update: I saw the sign again. Photo below) Was it a new musical? Clothes, perhaps?
My instant response to the advert was: No, Thank you.
Life is being. You can’t change being. You see, be-ing is binary. like, “To be or not to be.” The only way you can change being (and therefore life) is death, or “not to be”. Life, if you ask me, (and I know you are not) is binary. There aren’t multiple choices that you can click and make yours. If at all, I want to change the people in my life or the events of the recent past. I may not cherish all the events that have occurred in my life, but please, I don’t want to change my life.
It is not exactly like changing a jacket or an iPod with a friend: Hey, I think you have a better life, can I have yours?
When I speak about life, be prepared for a long post. This post, for one, is not the that will garner comments like “wow”, “wonderful”, “great post” with my many ‘thank yous’ to each one of them. This is the one that goes into the Better Said page and is deemed: yet another diligent step-child.
Take an ordinary human being from here or take one from there, or if it works for you, take one from where you are. Take one who has attained a divine status. (Whether in your mind or someone else’s) My life, it seems, will only be redeemed by spiritual salvation; that they offer. But, only if, I succumb to “their way of living.”
Sir, I have a question: If I like the way I live, nay, if I love they way I live, am I less spiritual, less likely to attain salvation that we all apparently seek? I have refused to don any of the offered templates; though not yet an outcast, I am close to being one. My way of life almost nearly and truly threatens the templates that you seek to bind me (and others) into.
Most of all what these templates seek, is to obliterate my identity. It is, a management problem. As many identities as there are individuals in this world. And a small minority, like me, deny the template-application. When I choose to deny your template, I am a rogue identity. A misfit; anti-social; delinquent.
Life, but, is binary! If you change the “state”, it is death!
What you want to change, if at all, is events, people, emotions, situations, circumstances, status, bank-balance and a career. That is not life. Those are the components of how you live a life. What is forgotten is being alive — and that is a chance to change anything that you can possibly conceive of!
I have refrained from making political comments on this blog, and because I felt compelled, I started another blog, where I expressed my thoughts on social and political issues. The poster at Green Park Tube Station, however, is what I feel should be the banner for the recent Marathi Resurgence that is making the headlines in recent times.
change your life
you want to
A huge rant starts here. You may feel a bit lost of you don’t have context. Your options: (a) Wikipedia, (b) Comment Conversations (c) None.
Some of you may be aware, I have blog, where I write about History; primarily Maratha History. Late in life (after school) I learned that the Marathas ruled the country for about a hundred years. My History textbook did not mention it, and most “concise” histories of India fail to mention it too. Most of them conveniently said: Mughals -> British. A hundred years were easily forgotten. Convenience, I understand, is a necessary tool of abstraction. Fear not, for I shall not give you a detailed account of what our history books missed. But because I am proud of it, I will talk of the pride that swelled my chest when I was exposed to this relegated chapter of history. Pride because I belong to the land where this history occurred; pride because I realised I am some-what a descendant of a proud people.
In my life and times this pride has been trampled upon. That, a political leader is easily able to make a genetically-proud people believe that they have the right to start the 100m race ten-seconds before the others. That they, apparently are supposed to have an advantage. When the greatest of all kings of this land started his campaign, he started with zero advantage. Instead of reminding the feats of the idols who have become their emblems, they mock their courage under the stoic photos of those that they worship. Imagine, if, once upon a time, when this land was ruled by “foreigners”, the architects of this land had asked for this advantage. “Dear Mr. Aurangzeb, this is my land, kindly go back to Delhi or somewhere up north”. Don’t ask me, but I would have laughed.
As much as my heart bleeds for my people, it cries tears of shame. Today, people who should have been proud, are suffering a severe victim complex. Unfortunately, the victim complex shrouds their pride.
See, we confuse certain issues. And we allow some people to do it for us. Imagine our laziness — we won’t even confuse ourselves. We allow others to do it for us.
We come back to Life.
Our lives will always change. We can’t change it. For, each breath is an extension of the current moment. It is a change in itself. To walk to a saffron clad guru or a white-kurta clad politician who apes an erstwhile political relative, is to seek one of the limited templates that they can offer us. If we live that template, our life will never be our own. It becomes a slave to that template
Then, there is nothing to change. Be content with the template that you have chosen.
Be your own. Be the last bastion. Be proud; never let your pride be splattered by alms of void aggression.
Be the one that may break, but will never bend.