These are strange times to be in. The times when fiction is entering the realm of reality. Readers may have lost the count of the number of Hollywood flicks portraying the world coming to an end only to be redeemed by an unlikely saviour. Yes, today ‘saviour’ is the holy word and we are all wondering where it is going to come from. Or, whether it is going to come at all? The world has suddenly condensed into a shrinking island. Remember Gumnaam, the Bollywood flick from the time of our parents in which a group of travellers struck in an island were getting murdered one by one. The subtle realization about the fragility of life suddenly becomes apparent. The haunting title song in the background sung by Lata reiterates the fact about being grateful for being alive today while proselytizing to pray for being alive tomorrow. Any déjà vu is not coincidental.
The fact that death is lurking around is an eternal truth. Yet, seemingly, it is as unreal as it is factually real. Till it overcomes an individual, the individual perceives it to be a distant occurrence. The great mystic Kabir had prophetically remarked in this context to consider the happening at your neighbour’s place as your own. With the times that we are passing through, it is not very difficult to understand this fact. While death remains as eternal a fact as ever, we mortals are shaken to look at things with a completely fresh perspective. While scriptures professed to its primary acceptance before the humdrum of life, we often lost track.
As over last few days we have seen people going gaga over the clear blue skies because of a total shutdown, it is somewhat even more fascinating to see the disappearance of all sort of chasms in our society. It has been reiterated that ‘Sceptre and crown’ is as vulnerable as the ‘scythe and spade.’ The hegemonic nations, with all their hubris, deep down have had a sense of realization. The social fault lines of religion and caste have been relegated to the backburner and so have been the geographical fault lines.
The epiphany of realizations of all sorts of trivia is actually a reiteration of all sorts of trivia. The nukes were never the answer to the woes of humanity. They are an absolute naught vis-à-vis absolutely non lethal weapons of love and compassion not only for these times but since eternity. It seems humans were prescient about the wars but were caught procrastinating as far as making preparations to counter a pandemic were concerned.
These are the times for expressing reverential gratitude for your existence as well everybody else’. These are the times to shun all forms of prejudice and look above them. These are not the times to be judgmental. Let the egos sublimate, chasms fill and enmities dissolve. This very moment is the moment of our coexistence. I will let this Faiz Ahmed Faiz couplet once again express reverential gratitude of our coexistence sans any prejudice:
‘faiz’ zinda raheñ vo haiñ to sahī
kyā huā gar vafā-shi.ār nahīñ
( O Faiz, Be grateful for their existence/ that they are of disloyal bent is inconsequential)