What is the purpose of your life?

earth's timeline

Last Sunday, as I was trotting towards the nearest bus stand with two of my friends as we hurried to catch up our show of  Transformers:Revenge of the fallen, we were halted in the middle of the road by three young chaps. They hailed from a Christian society and were very polite. One of them threw a question at us – “What is the purpose of your life?”

Now, imagine yourself in such a situation. You are all excited and ready to see the latest machine war flick and someone pops the “purpose of life” question in front of you. Its like asking a soldier to choose the menu for the dinner while he is busy dodging bullets in the enemy’s firing line.

“Right now, the purpose of my life is to reach IMAX on time.”, I said and smiled.

“Would you like to have a postcard from us which will entitle you to a dvd about Jesus Christ? Its for free.”

“Yes!”

I could not believe this. They were young kids who could be watching a movie or going on a date. Instead, they were stopping people in the middle of the road and asking them the purpose of life!?! I found those guys too spiritual, in the same way in which they would have found me too materialistic.

When Swami Dayanand saw the mouse trampling on the ShivaLingam, he was devastated. He could not understand that how can the Almighty Lord possibly allow a mere mouse to just walk over his statue and eat the offerings? Asked in another way, if God wants Earth to be the Garden on Eden, then why does he allow evil to breed? Yes, we have all heard about the balance between the Good and the Evil, but isn’t that too lame an excuse for God’s incompetency?

Sometimes I feel that we are obsessed with the unknown. Aliens, werewolves, mermaids, witches, vampires, yeti, fairies, dragons, heaven, hell. God. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that I don’t believe in God. I know there is a power which drives us. Its not all about probability, serendipity or theory of randomness. There is something more to it and I am sure that that shall never be revealed to us. That is our destiny. To understand God is to unscramble scrambled eggs.

What I hate is the Glorification, the Spiritualization of the rest of us by a selected few, the sanctification, the cleansing and the conversions. If someone has to come to me and ask me the purpose of my life then either that person is absolutely confused about the purpose of his own life OR my face gives an impression that I am completely purposeless and I am sure that the latter is not true. 🙂

If we have not realized this by now, Religion is a business in modern times. It always was, but now its booming. We have billions riding on it. When a temple can raise a donation of Rs 5 Crores(approximately 1,046, 684 $) in 7 hours, then the sky is the limit. The terrorism industry is an offspring of religion. The politicians use religion to get to the seat of power. We use it as a reason to rape women. We use it to forcibly marry off our children without their consent. Its a way to make instant money on the internet. And if you have no reason to hate your neighbour, religion can be a very tempting bait. And so where is God in all this? Well, maybe he is sitting in a corner and doing this :

LaughingCartoon

I am sure I am born for a purpose but I am also sure that a priest or a spiritual Guru cannot reveal it to me. No one can. I am sure this is something which can’t be revealed. Maybe there is nothing to be revealed, but to understand. I am also sure that chanting a deity’s name or lying in the feet of the lord or donating crores for a yagya cannot be the purpose of my existence.

If you look at the chart of the Earth’s evolution at the top, humans have just appeared. Its amusing how we have pushed the Earth on the brink of collapse in such a short span of time. The rate at which we are going, we will end up being nothing more than a faint flash of existence on the vast timeline of the universe. We can either live for thousands of years in harmony or we can end up like the dinosaurs.

The existence of each generation of humans is a story with a moral at the end. It is us who will be writing the moral for the next generation. Its us who will be deciding whether the next generation will live a life better or worse than us. To give them a better life, all we have to do is to just live our lives without any hatred and everything else will fall into places. Just live.

Now how is that for a purpose?

Mumbai Attacks : The week that was

It has been a week now since the ruthless attacks. Public anger has never been so omnipresent and neither have our politicians come under such a heavy scrutiny(no wonder they have been royally goofing up and giving tactless statements which is doing nothing less than fuelling the fire). Targeting foreign nationals in the attacks was one foolish move by the terrorists because the whole world is now upon them like red ants. Statements which included words like “Stateless actors” which intended on shrugging off the responsibilities were not bought by anyone and laughed at. Incidences like a movie director taking a walk in the burnt down Taj were blown out of proportion by the media while the public gulped the news in disbelief(Sometimes the media do comes handy).

THE GREAT INDIAN FUMBLE

It had been a week of revelations. A coup de theatre beyond an equal. Two days into the ghastly event and three statements made by our politicians were elemental in converting the tide into a tsunami. 
R.R Patil made a juvenile statement about the incident being a “small one” and dug the grave of his political career. 
BJP Vice President Abbas Naqvi puddled in troubled waters when he made the “women wearing powder and lipstick and burning candles” remark. The audacity of it was that he himself was wearing a coat while he defamed the Indians for aping the west and its an entirely different story that he was asked to comment on something else.  
The icing on the cake came from Kerela’s CM V.S. Achuthanandan who ended up making a statement which could be considered the worst insult someone can inflict on a martyr’s family. Of course, a lot of pressure went into making him apologize but the harm was already done. Sample this:

mumbai

On the other hand, the attacks opened up the Pandora’s box and everyone from the Intelligence Agencies to the Maharashtra Government and the Center turned a beetroot red. Our PM mumbled a few inaudible statements about setting up a federal spy agency and creating four NSG hubs while the nation came in terms with the fact that the Navy and the Coast Guard ignored the intercept from RAW that these attacks were expected, that the intelligence agencies had informed a year ago that such an attack was in the pipeline and that the U.S. informed India twice about the upcoming sea attack on Mumbai. The Government gave a jaw dropping performance making the citizens realize that their lives really don’t matter. The word politician ended up becoming a swear word and the nation realized that human life was the cheapest commodity in our country.
The way the whole operation was handled also came under the scanner. A minister taking 90 minutes to respond to such a critical situation, the NSG commandos transported from airport in BEST buses and shoved in the 1500 room Taj without any night vision equipment knowing very well that there was no electricity in the hotel and policemen wearing outdated bullet proof jackets was something which the common man was not ready to watch on live television. The crudity of it all was hard hitting.

THE REACTIONS

Israel offered help but India denied it without a second thought. Pakistan Government and media were busy vehemently denying any connection with the attacks. It was not surprising that Pakistan rejected the list sent by India stating that they wanted more proofs. I am sure that even if we dance in front of them with proof in our hands, they will even go to the extend of putting hot rods in their eyes to ignore us. The main accused of the 1993 blasts is still to be handed to us, even after ample proof of his involvement and whereabouts in his plush bungalow in Pakistan, so we can expect some action on this recent event in another 20 years. Ofcourse, there were some sane people who understood the gravity of the situation. You can read three very balanced articles by eminent Pakistani columnists here.

Although people have been dying left right and center in India since ages, the whole world suddenly woke up to the fact because this time the target were foreign nationals too. Atleast 26 of them lost their lives and although Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmadabad had gone through such similar attacks this year, the repercussion which the Mumbai attacks created were something else. Its good in many ways because this time, the “Rice” boiled with a lot of pressure over Pakistan. Lets just hope that the pressure mounts instead of subsiding.

WE THE PEOPLE

I don’t think India has seen such massive reaction from the citizens since a long time. People flooded the roads and the media projected the anger beautifully. For the first time I thought that they were doing something constructive, no matter how melodramatically. Its not just that we are condemning Pakistan(maybe we are too tired to do that now, because its of no use), but this time we were questioning our own security system. I just saw an operation done by a news channel where they were checking the security at one of the Delhi Railway Stations. Nothing has been done and its as vulnerable as it was earlier and that too when there have been reports that Delhi is the next target. A similar operation was done in Mumbai and the policemen were caught napping as a revolver was taken inside the railway station.

We have been pointing fingers at the politicians about being irresponsible but how much cliched it might sound, we have to be the change we want to see. We, as citizens of this nation, are also irresponsible at the grassroot level. Leave alone taking responsibilities about important issues, how many of us don’t bribe traffic police officers, litter of the road, do illegal constructions and break traffic rules? Did we succeed as a generation who considers themselves as Indians first and then something else? Isn’t it ironical that we need a tragedy of such humongous scale to unite us? Oscillating the Government from BJP to Congress and back to BJP is not going to play the trick and we all know that. Both the parties have an equally bad track record. Its the “people” of this nation who have to change, and those “people” include the “politicians” and “all of us”. 

Lets not become this guy who spit all his venom on a Jet air-hostess. Generalizing and putting a whole community in a box is the last thing which we should indulge in right now. Hats off to all those who stood up and actually did something to help the victims. I know one of them and you can find her here

FINALLY

Even though India has a go ahead for the air attacks in case the Pakistan Government fails to raise the terrorist camps to the ground, I am not sure if the Indian Government might actually take the step. I hope we don’t forget this incidence like so many other and our Government take the necessary steps without wasting ages to ponder over them. We don’t have that liberty left and it definitely doesn’t work when we end up being called “a known softie”.

Some interesting reads:

Dear Mr. Terrorist

Reflecting on Mumbai

For Heroes of Mumbai, Terror was a call to action

[photograph courtesy Times of India]

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