A Queer Study

The cruel teardrop makes a small smile a gifted blessing
A Queer Study
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The individual is a Human Textbook. Research Stuff. Emotional Repertoire. Rational Bank.....and what not! And Life is a colossal composition of all these, fashioning its Thesis Meaning. There is no Summary of this Study. Chapters are alarmingly infinite. Findings are revealingly incalculable. Conclusion is almost impossible. And Recommendations are regrettably rare. It’s a queer study!

That’s why Plato’s Philosopher Kings were expected to finish their apprenticeship with a 15-year sentence in the School of Hard Knocks:

“Let these Ph.D.’s pass down from the heights of philosophy into the “cave” of the world of men and things; generalizations and abstractions are worthless except they be tested by this concrete world; let our students enter that world with no favor shown to them; they shall compete with men of business, with hard-headed grasping individualists, with men of brawn and men of cunning; in this mart of strife they shall learn from the book of life itself; they shall hurt their fingers and scratch their philosophic shins on the crude realities of the world; they shall earn their bread and butter by the sweat of their high brows.”

This kind of education may not be vital for a politician or Phi­philosopher King, but for someone seeking to become the “unac­knowledged legislator” of humankind, it forms the bedrock of the learning journey. For someone whose effort is to re-create life out of life—the multi-layered life, the reality that usually puts itself in ‘appealing robes’ and never surfaces to rudimentary intricacy of the world and its people. It remains an enigma. Unsettled. Unre­solved. Unclear. And if ever one gets to know the actual reality—it comes as a pleasant surprise; not as an atrocious shock at all.

It perhaps takes enough time to understand what actually the World is: its meaning and purpose. It took ample time for Ghalib to declare World as a “child’s playground” (Bazeecha-i-atfaal) with spectacle (tamasha) occurring every so often. The routine tantrums of humdrum life; its changing contours; unpredictable· ways; and fluctuating seasons—it all makes a variegated show. Rather the Grand Show, where now and then the characters change, situations take twists, plots and acts swap, and the storyline is an unending commentary on an unpredictable and uneven drama….

Hota hai nihaan gard main sehra meray hotay

Ghista hai jabeen khaak pay dariya meray aagay

Unevenness aplenty. The cruel teardrop makes a small smile a gifted blessing. The hurting frown highlights the worth of a short grin. The glimpse of death emphasizes the essence of life. Old age stresses the vitality of youth. The darkness underlines the value of light. The night points out the importance of the day. The autumn accentuates the certainty of spring. The thorns play up the aroma of flowers. The nightmares bring out the charm of dreams. The deceit projects the sublime of honesty. The distrust spells the sanctity of trust. The betrayal indicates the strength of loyalty. The weakness suggests the power of vigor. The shakiness reveals the firmness of will.

In fact, it seems that everything in the world complements the opposite. If grief is not tasted, happiness won’t ever be delicious. Separation identifies the magnitude of attachment. Loneliness nar­rates the delight of closeness. If failures are not met, victories won’t be acknowledged. If prestige is not tampered with; disrepute will never be fathomed. If wars are not waged, peace can’t be prized.

Antithesis establishes the canon governing the world. At times, it looks as if there is a contradiction existing everywhere. The world itself has multiple characters. It contains multitudes. So do the hu­man beings. Throughout history, one impression of human nature has been consistent: man has an obscure nature. It has been always seen as a conflict. ‘There are times’, said Somerset Maugham, ‘when I look over the various parts of my character with perplexity, I recognize that I am made up of several persons, and at the moment, the person that has the upper hand will inevitably give place to another. But which is the real one? All of them or none?’

Perhaps that’s the reason for Life producing very few doctor­ates! The subject is not that simple and has, thus very few solemn takers. Moreover, in the era of strife and tumult, slicing up the discourse on life remains the most difficult task. Vision is dying away. Emotion is waning. Reason is fading. Faith is dwindling. In fact, the Space for Life is shrinking. Result: a simmering saga, a seething silence that usually goes unheard.

Life has got estranged with the absurdities of the times—Ineffective institutions; pseudo-intellectuality; feeble role models; perverted revolutions; phony leadership; bogus harangues; sham religiosity; hollow sermons; and mock social rectitude. Slight is left to live and mull over. Scrap is left to cherish and value. Speck is left to kindle and inspire.

Life has changed without warning—and worse yet—without permission. The ground beneath has slipped and shifted, leaving us unprepared for the ‘huge upheaval’, that has left disconcerting marks.

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