Life? Or back to our reality?


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Category: Trinidad Society Date: 09 Oct 05


“I had a personal epiphany,” said a friend. I tried to persuade him to tell me about it. “What’s the point of an epiphany, a tremendous insight, if you don’t share it, add it to the unending bowl of human knowledge?”


He wasn’t convinced.


But for me, it was enough to remember that people have intense, complex lives going on inside them, lives made up of private histories and public incidents, that each of us has the capacity to unravel some mystery of life. Everyone has a theory about everything from cricket to God, to Life.


Ever notice the rapidity with which Sunday tumbles into Monday, which shoves into Tuesday, which inches into Wednesday and before you know it, the week is out, the month is gone and the year ripping away precious time on earth before we, too, atrophy, mingle with ashes and earth, become the mourned before being gently forgotten?


The saddest part about living in a non-warring democratic country, which has the second highest murder rate in the world is that, we have spent so much time sitting on the edge of our seats watching the blood bath around us, anxiously wiping off a fleck of blood that touches us here (a friend of a friend who was murdered), a wound that gnashes at us there (a near kidnapping, a robbery, a brutish driving death).


All that time we could have spent examining the world, being continually astonished at small and big discoveries, looking at crabs crawling under rocks, at the endless colours of light and tones of music, at the speed with which science has overtaken our lives, at art, human behaviour, at the unbreakable human spirit, we have been cowering, bracing for blows or handing them out.


In this gnarled new world, its landscape matted with drying blood, where is the space to do that?


Every now and then, I forget and life and happiness butt in. Even in the jungle of cars and roads, where aggression and dominion are displayed like a video game in which the goal is to get from A to B no matter what the cost in human life or laws. Even here, in our society filled with rage where a “bad drive” is a victory, big and bad vehicles intimidate smaller cars or lawful drivers, unexpectedly there is happiness: a truck driver smiles charmingly through his gapped teeth and lets me pass.


A small miracle of human behaviour. What made goodness enter his heart at the height of battle? What made him courteous? Who knows? But it was good. It made me want to do the same for someone else. Life.


When I briefly let go of the horror of watching this little society fizz away into nothing as people run away with their savings and put their homes up for sale, I had a mini epiphany, more like an observation.


I was thinking of how fabulous life is between the ages of 30 to 35. Any younger, and inexperience and fearlessness make you wild and free. Any older, and life gets richer and wiser. But nothing can beat your early 30s. You are old enough to know what you want and still foolish enough to go for it.


People dig deep at that age. Throw up stale jobs for travel, or work all day and night, have babies, run marathons, or change their profession. It’s the age of curiosity and inquiry when the world is a box of unearthed treasures, mysteries and horrors. Rich. You can freeze that age in your head. Life.


Sorry. What did you say? Another shooting? An old woman pumped with four bullets? She was being used as a human shield? More blood on the pavement in broad daylight.


I’m alert again. In flight or fright mode. No time for ruminations. For epiphanies. For Life.


The questions I want to ask are: “Can a State by its actions, by creating dependent, illiterate, unproductive, angry citizens who will kill and die without thinking, like a poisonous rat gnaw away at the very liberties, whims, questions and epiphanies that separate us from the animals?”


“Is the State now depriving us of our human core?”


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur