To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles,”
– William Shakespeare: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Not that these lines need any introduction.
Over the last week or so since I posted it, ‘Of Ol’ Calcutta and the Alphabet‘ has gotten me a lot of attention, positive comments, and, most importantly, visitors. Before I proceed, I must thank those who greatly engaged in promotion – through, tweets, Facebook updates, and even word-of-mouth. Most of the responses – verbal or written – were positive. One, however, was rather unusual. And so because it cannot really, at least in my mind, be distinguished as either good or bad. What the person in question said was that while the post was a total gas, it was fun to read such stuff once in a while, not regularly. I ought to rather stick to the stuff (shit?) I write.
So, without further ado, here’s starting off in that direction. I’ll, once again, say thanks to verbose witches and soft-spoken angels (sorry, couldn’t come up with a better word – hope this doesn’t scandalise you), who, I’m sure, have recognised themselves in these words.
Here’s going back to Hamlet, and that quote with which I started things.
Recently, I had a dream. One that almost veered into qualifying as a nightmare. I don’t want to get into the details of what happened in it – for I have forgotten most of it myself – but it did leave me in deep shit. Shit of the questioning, self-doubting, self-deprecating variety. I began to really question whether the goals and desires I hold are ever going to be achieved. Actually no, more than that, I began to question the meaning of and the sense in having those goals. For even before I had tried attempting them, I had this dream which boldly, and precisely, declared that no matter what I tried, I wouldn’t succeed. It was almost that I was ‘destined’ to fail – before I had even tried trying to begin!
Think of it. The minute we’re born, our parents scamper over to some pandit (astrologist) to draft our ‘kundli’ (birth chart). And that’s it. The sealing of our fate, our life, our loves and desires – all done. Because some sheet of paper declares that Shani (Saturn) had no other bloody business, with all due respect to Shani, than hang around this particular ‘ghar’ (house) and screw the rest of my life. The smart thing is that, at that point, or even later, we aren’t certain how is he going to unleash his diabolical plan to terrorise us for the rest of our lives. And, even stranger, what joy will he derive in doing the same. But he will. There’s an absolute certainty in the pandit’s reading of a piece of paper – one that totally assuages the uncertainty that is the very definition of life. And that’s why we will believe in it. Believe in at all costs, believe it because then, we won’t make mistakes. We will lead a cautious, controlled and safe existence – crushing what we want and feel, if it is so demanded – because there’s Shani brewing just around the corner, and he’s a bad guy!
And that, precisely, was what I thought. In a moment of great character and certainty, or so I would love to believe, I stood up against the stupid dream after having shuddered at the thought of losing my love. Even if what I am, or am about to be, doing is a mistake, what’s the fuss about? Why is it that we are so addicted to being “right”? What’s wrong with being wrong? Why is it that we choose to wait days and days in agony and anguish than just do whatever it is and suffer the consequences – good or bad – right away? If I am going to end up screwed due by the angst of Shani, or whoever else it is “predicted” will be the villain in my life, I might as well as do so having a good time of it. Do it by giving flight to my thoughts and direction to my dreams. Do it by enjoying whatever I can before inevitably heading to doom.
I seriously hope we end this culture of Caution. A little injury never hurt us so much that we stopped trying to walk. But it was because we fell countless times, that we stood again. And walked. And will run. And will fly.
Yes, it is nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of Fortune. They may scald my skin, but they can’t pierce my heart.
Yes, I will be.
(P.S. Since this is very close to my heart, I still feel it a little incomplete. Do you find it so too – even if the length feels otherwise?)