Today is August 15th, 2016. India, the country, celebrates her 70th birthday. Of course, it is my firm (uneducated, uninformed, bigoted – to use the terms en vogue for folks such as ourselves) belief that India the civilisation can’t be dated.
Anyway, each year on this day, everyone and their uncles start harping about the “dreams” of a billion Indians. Right from the nation’s political leaders, the media, and increasingly, brands. What space you can find is plastered with proclamations of fulfilling said dreams, in whatever manner they can, by each of these entities.
And I have a problem with this…
You see, for far too long, this country (I suspect many others as well) has been fed fables of someone working for them to fulfill their dreams, aspirations. To help them rise from poverty, social or societal oppression, or whatever else it was that needs rising from. We’ve been taught, nay conditioned, to believe in messianic figures and saviours. And as long as this remains the case, we’ll always remain waiting for them – for if there’s one thing that messiahs are good at, it is never turning up (and if ever they do, then doing so on time)!
Instead, I seek a move to action. Of course, you need to think and dream to be able to act, but while we do that fairly often, we stop there. We need to move that little bit and that large tract ahead. As individuals, as a people, as a nation – and in the fulfillment of that action, shall we find a better, more complete world.
Upon Dreams and Thoughts
Come and lie down with me,
Let us bury our thoughts in the sand,
And dreams throw in the river,
Neither are very welcome in our fates,
Thus forsaken, they shall find a home,
And become tree shall give fruit,
Become current feed the fisherfolk,
What use are they to us, thoughts and dreams?
What beauty do they give the dreary everyday?
What colour to the lifelessness of life?
What songs or tunes, what melody,
To the cacophony of a thousand drowning souls,
Who sink everyday in the courts and the malls,
In offices and parks, in trains and highways,
Deeper into the mire of more,
Bring these thoughts, these fabulous dreams?
No, our loftiness only chokes us from within,
Lets slip a snake in our bloodstream and,
A torrent in our breaths, and both only rise,
And grow regardless of space and time,
For ambition and desire know no end,
They have everything and want everything more,
And these snakes and storms slowly suppress us,
Churn us from within, extract every ruddy drop,
And swallowing from us our base, simple joys,
Leave us as stretched and withered as kites,
Who take to skies having not the breadth for it,
Are propelled only by flimsy strings and,
Controlled by those who have never known flight,
But once airborne do feel the majesty of it,
Declare themselves rulers of winds forgetting,
That they reside on the ground, are made of dust,
So let’s keep aside these thoughts, these dreams,
See instead the Truth that resides in every breath,
That rises with the sun each morning and,
Guides us through nighttime as the stars,
Which is in the wind and water, ablaze as fire,
Rooted in the depth of the earth,
Which is alive and present, yea, and awake,
The Truth that this is the only reality we have,
That this Time is our only strength and comfort,
The ethers of the past, the vapours of the future,
Are all born of the flow of life that is now,
Pumped by your heart, pulsing in your veins,
Made concrete by the grime of your actions,
Shaped by the hammer of your arm,
Refined by the chisel of your voice,
And made immortal by the sweat of your actions.
Stand then, women and men, take charge,
Grab hold of your time, command your senses,
Waste not time in dreaming, what joy lies in thinking?
Stand erect, walk fast, hold, carve, embellish,
Do what you can with your breath and your fate,
Both are controlled by the vigour of your hands,
Not in the lines there, but in their depths and callousness,
In the roughing you’ll give them, in the support they will give you,
In the storms you’ll weather, in the worries you’ll fight,
But mostly in the things you’ll do – not just dream –
In the lives you’ll touch, in the stories you’ll collect,
And in the future you’ll create out of it…