Darkness Under Light
The Unseen World
[Author's Note: I wrote this Yesterday night. Everywhere around the mood was festive. But I was feeling somewhat different. So, as you read this, think you are in Yesterday night, seeing people move like swarms of fishes, oblivious of the darkness that surrounds them. Try to see with my eyes. ]
Deepavali celebration is still going on. Yesterday was Bhai Dooj or Bhatri Dwitiya, a day to celebrate the bond between brothers and sisters. The day saw family members meeting, having sumptuous and savoury items on our plates, fun games and a lot of gossip.[Back to Yesterday night]
Now, when the sun has set, people, in their pujo-attires, are pandal-hopping in large numbers, eating delicacies, taking selfies and wishing ‘Happy Deepavali’ to each other. The festive mood is still high!
In this early November cold, amongst the flood of lights and diyas, everyone is feeling warm and nice. It seems the fellow called Suffering is out of town for some days. But, alas, these eyes see everything!
Amongst all these smiles and happiness, there is still the crying and painful heart-wrenching calls of others, everywhere, everytime. All these seem like a facade which hide the bitter realities of life. The dark, the cold, the naked, the lonely, the helpless faces are right beneath all these twinkling lights. Our ears and eyes are, right now, mesmerized by all this glitter. But the realities are never in one corner. Black and white, good and bad, beauty and beast, happiness and suffering—always co-exist. We may choose to see only one side, but that doesn’t make any difference. That’s no better than being the ostrich who puts its head in the sand!
I see many deaths happening round the clock. I see many falling ill. I see tensed and worried faces. I see poor people sitting in their homes and verandas and entrance gates, looking at others who are going about celebrating…but, they themselves are deprived of it. Their children crying to them, wanting things that they can’t give them. I see depressed youths, confined to their ‘mess’, both literally and metaphorically. I see beggars in tattered clothes, bare footed, in hunger and cold, by the dust alongside the roads.
I wish I had not seen all these…
I remember what Yudhisthira said to the Yaksha, who protected a particular lake in the forest, where the Pandavas had taken shelter during their exile. One by one the four brothers succumbed to death, because they disobeyed the Yaksha’s warning. Yudhisthira came in search of them, and when he confronted the Yaksha, a deep conversation followed, which is one of the greatest and deepest conversations on earth. The Yaksha had asked Yudhisthira— (I am paraphrasing)
The Yaksha: “What is the strangest thing in the world?”
Yudhisthira: “The strangest thing is, though everyone is mortal, everyone lives as if they will never die, that they are here forever.”
When I see all these happy faces, and all these ‘always moving’ feets, as if so busy…Yudhisthira’s answer rings in my ears. Everyone seems oblivious to the realities of life. Should I call this ignorance or arrogance? Maturity or foolishness? Why are we so blind?…
Sorry, if I’ve spoiled the festive mood by bringing up these hard realities. But how to shut up even after seeing all these. People seem not at all bothered about any reality. Ignorance is still bliss for the mass. They don’t want any reality. They just want to enjoy, while the enjoyment is there. Beyond that, they are not concerned about anything or anyone. Hard to accept this rude truth, I know. Even for me to say it. But…you know, truth and the sun never keep hidden.
Don’t be blind to life. Don’t be blind to all those who need you. They are all around, maybe waiting for our helping hands. See the world with compassionate eyes, have a heart that feels for them also.
Anyway the sun will come up and wipe away all darkness, but why not be the sun in the nights of others’ lives, while the sun is still lost!
Under the very flame of diya,
Under the sparkling waves,
Under the torch in a temple,
Behind the lightbulb and the lamp post,
On the other side of the road,
Above our heads
In the endless sky,
Deep, cold, merciless, impenetrable…
All these outside lights
Are bound to die.
Light the lamp that’s in the heart
Keep its flame steady.
That’s the only true, darkless, deathless
Image Credit: unsplash