Sunday, November 2, 2008

The missing rib

In the world today, all of us work hard, to stay alive, to secure our jobs, panic at the slightest mention of "lay-offs", cannot afford to waste time recreating, it doesn't matter how much we give our best, all that matters is, our best should be better than somebody else's best.

Somewhere in all the tension and stress, our personal life takes a back seat. We seldom realize how miserable we make people around us feel with our behavior. Here is a story, very close to me, which has always helped me to keep a check on my attitude and behavior and to never cross my limit, for I know it might be very late to feel sorry later.

A girl in love asked her boyfriend.
Girl: Tell me… who do you love most in this world?
Boy: You, of course!
Girl: In your heart, what am I to you?
Boy: The boy thought for a moment and looked intently in her eyes and said, "You are my rib. In the Bible, it was said that God saw that Adam was lonely, during his sleep; God took one of Adam's rib and created Eve. Every man has been searching for his missing rib, only when you find the woman of your life; you'll no longer feel the lingering ache in your heart."

After their wedding, the couple had a sweet and happy life for a while.However, the youthful couple began to drift apart due to the busy schedule of life and the never-ending worries of daily problems. Their life became mundane. All the challenges posed by the harsh realities of life began to gnaw away their dreams and love for each other. The couple began to have more quarrels and each quarrel became more heated.

One day, after the quarrel, the girl ran out of the house. At the opposite side of the road, she shouted, "You don't love me!" The boy hated her childishness and out of impulse, retorted,"Maybe, it was a mistake for us to be together! You were never my missing rib!"Suddenly, she turned quiet and stood there for along while. He regretted what he said but words spoken are like thrown away water, you can never take it back. With tears, she went home to pack her things and was determined in breaking-up.

Before she left the house, "If I'm really not your missing rib, please let me go.She continued, "It is less painful this way, let us go on our separate ways and search for our ownpartners…"

Five years went by…. He never remarried but he had tried to find out about her life indirectly. She had left the country and back she had married a foreigner and divorced. He felt anguished that she never waited for him. In the dark and lonely night,he lit his cigarette and felt the lingering ache in his heart. He couldn't bring himself to admit that he was missing her.

One day, they finally met. At the airport, a place where there were many reunions and good-byes. He was going away on a business trip. She was standing there alone, with just the security door separating them. She smiled at him gently.

Boy: How are you?
Girl: I'm fine. How about you. Have you found your missing rib?
Boy: No.
Girl: I'll be flying to New York in the next flight.
Boy: I'll be back in 2 weeks time. Give me a call when you are back.You know my number. Nothing has changed.
With a smile, she turned around and waved good-bye."Good-bye."One week later, he heard of her death. She had perished in New York. In the event that shocked the world.

Midnight, once again, he lit his cigarette. And like before, he felt the lingering ache in his heart. He finally knew, she was the missing rib that he had so carelessly broken.

Sometimes, people say things out of moments of fury. Most often than not, the outcome could be disastrous and detrimental.We vent our frustrations 99% at our loved ones. And eventhough we know that we ought to "think twice and act wisely" , it's often easier said than done. Things happen each day, many of which are beyond our control. Let us treasure every moment and everyone in our lives.

Tomorrow may never come; give and accept what you have today. Hope you all find your right missing ribs and when you find them, don't forget to tell them what they are for you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Closest to facts

I still remember my life as a student. Just like most of the children of my age, I was very self-conscious, dealing all the time with peer pressure, pressure to make my parents proud when they see my report card in other words, devote my entire time into studying.

My funda in life was simple, sleep as little as possible (I considered sleeping, a waste of time), no watching TV (even if it meant daily news), never eat too much (because food makes you sleepy) and utilize all the time I had saved from not recreating into studying.

It had its own pros and cons, although it made my report card very attractive to my parent's delight but it also drifted me from reality. In other words, my world was limited to my study room, forget about the outside world, I dint know who my neighbors were.

Until one day I came shockingly close to reality.

It was an internal elocution competition which was conducted once a year in my school, I had been winning it for 3 years in a row and this one was my last competition ( I was in my 12th grade).
This was more of a prestige issue than just participation. I promised myself, no matter what, I am gonna win this.

The topic given to us this year, unlike the previous years were more socially relevant. And the topic given to me was " AFTERMATH OF THE GODHRA VIOLENCE".

My confidence smashed into pieces, I knew that there was some violence in Gujarat, lot of people died, something to do with Hindu-Muslim clash but what exactly happened, how did the incident start, what fueled it, I knew nothing about it. Nevertheless, we were given 4 days to prepare, and somewhere, I knew I could do it.

The same day, I started my research. What caught my attention was, "1044 people were killed in the violence - 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus including those killed in the Godhra train fire. Another 223 people were reported missing, 2,548 injured, 919 women widowed and 606 children orphaned".

My jaw dropped, what the hell was I doing when all this was happening in my own country, not that I could do anything about it but atleast I had known. What came next was more disgusting and shocking, it was about a minor family, the head of the family was brutally mutilated in front of his wife and 5 children ( all girls between 6-14 years) and each of them were raped and set on fire alive. Hundreds of other family suffered the same fate.

This was just the beginning, as I read on, never in my imagination I knew this coming, a high profile case involved an Ex-Congress Ehsan Jafri, who was surrounded by Hindu mobs, 2000 of them while many other Muslim residents in the area took shelter in his compound. Jafri was believed to have contacted the local police stations, MPs of the area as well as the Chief Minister to save the people from the ever increasing mob. However, no police reinforcement had reached his place and the few policemen present were ineffective and unwilling to control the violent mob. What came next was, the mob chopped off his hand and legs with the sword and burnt him with 50 other Muslims.

The Aftermath of the Godhra violence was just an eye wash, BJP-led central government demanded the dismissal of Gujarat Chief Minister for failing to contain the violence, who got re-elected later. Followed by atleast 29 people getting killed when Islamic fundamentalist gunmen engaged in the Akshardham Temple attack in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

My eyes grew faint as my heart sank, there is so much of filthiness in the world that sometimes you are bound to think, what is the purpose of my life. What is that I am going to achieve by studying which will make the world a better place to live. Somehow that day, I realized the most effective learning comes form the world outside and not from the textbooks. It is not important to be a scholar, but it is more important to be a good human.

I won my last competition in school but more than that I was happy to have learnt how valuable FORGIVENESS is. I knew how resentment and hatred can cruely exploit human mind.

It has been over 6 yrs now, but the entire incident is as fresh as ever.....

History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men, real, living, who do all this. --- KARL MARX