“Why?”, in the context of Life, is a wasted question!

Life knows no fair play or foul play. Life is simply in an eternal state of play!
As I write this The Hindu’s website is breaking news that there has allegedly been a rape on the Pune campus of IT major Infosys (Infy). My first reaction, that I even tweeted (@AVISViswanathan), was “Gosh! There must be a way to end all this!” Earlier this morning in The Hindu’s Open Page, Rya Sanovar asks a very pertinent, albeit disturbing, question: “Why do I get and they don’t? Is this world we live in so unfair that it can’t provide its people the basic amenities of Life?”
The word ‘amenities’ can be replaced with ‘security’, or with ‘dignity’, and Sanovar’s question will still ring true. Yet there’s no point asking that question. Life never promised anything, least of all fairness, to anyone. Fairness and unfairness are social labels. They expectations that are born from within us humans. Life is simply at play. Life keeps on happening: one event after another. And each event, each happening in Life, is an experience for sure, and, if you care to pause and reflect, it can be a learning too. To crave for fair play from Life is to invite misery. Period.
In the film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Zoya Akhtar, 2011), Farhan Akhtar recites his father Javed Akhtar’s poetry. One of the poems is this one:
Dil Aakhir Tu Kyun Rota Hai?
Jab jab dard ka baadal chhaya

Jab gham ka saya lehraaya

Jab aansoo palkon tak aaya

Jab yeh tanha dil ghabraaya

Hum ne dil ko yeh samjhaya

Dil aakhir tu kyun rota hai?

Duniya mein yun hi hota hai

Yeh jo gehre sannate hain

Waqt ne sabko hi baante hain
Thoda gham hai sabka qissa
Thodi dhoop hai sabka hissa

Aankh teri bekaar hi nam hai

Har pal ek naya mausam hai

Kyun tu aise pal khota hai

Dil aakhir tu kyun rota hai

Listen to/watch the original poem here

The poem so beautifully captures the essence of what I am trying to say here – that Life distributes sunshine and sorrow equally. Yet, it appears unequal to us because we compare. When you compare your home with Mukesh and Nita Ambani’s Antilia, you may feel, in real estate terms, poorer, less endowed. But when you see what you have compared to the person who seeks your attention – and alms – at a traffic signal, and who sleeps on the pavement, you feel so much more blessed. The truth is all our lives are perfect – yours, mine, Mukesh’s and Nita’s, and the pavement dweller’s. Each of us has what we need and gets what is due to us. Comparisons, therefore, serve no purpose. They simply ruin your inner peace. Besides, there’s no point in asking why is Life unfair or why is there inequality, why is there hunger, why is there rape and so on. “Why?”, in the context of Life, is a wasted question! Instead ask yourself how you can contribute to make this world better – how you can bridge the inequality gap, how you can feed someone today, how you can touch a Life and make a difference?

Life may not have promised fair play. But Life’s always open to you playing along. Will you?

Life doesn’t bother what you feel about it

Understand that Life may sometimes appear to be unfair. But there’s no point fighting Life. It’s an exercise in futility.   
Rajesh and Nupur Talwar
Picture Source: Internet/Financial Express
I am still to come out of the shock of watching Meghna Gulzar’s “Talvar”. Based on the sensational double-murder of Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj, “Talvar” is very, very, very disturbing. Like journalist Avirook Sen’s book on the murder case and trial, the film too points to the injustice against the dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur. The film just corroborates something we all know about our system in India – that it is apathetic, inefficient and in several ways, dysfunctional! There is absolutely no prima-facie evidence that the couple killed their daughter. In fact, all evidence in the case is purely circumstantial and whatever is has been badly collected, analyzed or documented – either by the UP Police, who first investigated the crime and later by the two CBI teams. If anyone got close to solving the murder mystery, it was an upright CBI officer, but he was side-lined when a new CBI Director took over. So, nett nett, the two possible culprits roam free while Rajesh and Nupur are serving a prison sentence, having been convicted by a Special CBI Court, in Dasna jail in UP. They are accused of murdering their only child – only because, of the four people who were (ostensibly) in the apartment that night in May 2008, two are dead and the other two are them!
The more I think of it, the more the unfairness of it all rankles me. But there’s no point in feeling so. The truth is Life never promised any of us any fair-play. You are created without your asking for it. Things happen to you. And you must take each even as it comes in your Life, as it happens, accept what is, and simply move on. This way, while you cannot prevent what happens to you, you can at least choose not to suffer. This doesn’t mean you should not fight injustice. Of course, the Talwar couple are moving the High Court in Allahabad seeking a review of their sentence. But given the long list of pending cases and appeals in that court (like in most other courts in India), it may be some more time (read years) before they get a hearing and a review. When you read Avirook Sen’s “Aarushi”, you will discover that the Talwars have adopted an accept-what-is while being-at-the-problem-to-fight-the-injustice stance.
That can be your learning too. So, while you fight the injustice in any context, make a choice not to be bitter. Bitterness will only cause you suffering. When you suffer you cannot focus on and deal with a situation. You will feel drained and defeated. So, in your own interest, in order that you fight the good fight, you simply must first accept a reality – any reality – for what it is, the way it is. When you accept a reality, you can understand its ramifications better. When you understand something well, you can deal with it wholesomely.
Life is inscrutable no doubt. But it is also a series of happenings. To label any happening or event in your Life as good or bad or ugly or fair or unfair is of no use. Life doesn’t bother what you feel about it. So, when you can’t enjoy a situation, don’t fight it or resist it either. Simply endure it. This is the only way you can be at peace – despite your circumstances.   

Don’t expect fair-play in Life – it was never promised

Life never promised to be fair. So, don’t complain. Just go with what is.
Neelam Krishnamoorthy: Picture Courtesy – Internet
Last week a major news story, which had been engaging much of India for 18 years, made headlines yet again. But like most other stories in today’s hyper-reactive, and insensitive, televised media world, it too appears to have died a sad death. This was the story of the Supreme Court “letting off” the two prime accused for the Uphaar cinema fire tragedy (of 1997 in which 59 people had died in New Delhi), famous builders Sushil and Gopal Ansal (who owned the cinema), with a fine of Rs.60 crore, but without a jail term. Neelam Krishnamoorthy, who lost her two young children in the fire, has been spearheading the legal battle on behalf of all the victims’ families for 18 years now. She broke down on hearing the verdict and said: “I am angry and disappointed. I’ve been let down very badly.” She later told NDTV in a late evening show, “I have not been able to go into my kids’ room. I can’t face them. This is just not fair…” She choked as she spoke and buried her face in her hands.
The pain of Neelam and Shekar Krishnamoorthy, and that of the other families who lost their loved ones in the gruesome tragedy, which was caused by the sheer negligence of the owners of the cinema, is palpable. Most people in India believe that the verdict has not been a fair one. Yet, a verdict is a verdict. And that too it is from the highest court in the land. At best, a review petition may be filed – with no guarantees that the verdict will be revisited, let alone revoked.

So, all that anyone affected by such a consequence can do is to accept what is, live with it and move on. This is not just true and valid for a legal situation where there isn’t an opportunity to appeal any higher. This applies to all contexts in Life too. The simple truth is that Life did not and does not promise any fair-play. To expect Life to be fair, therefore, is sure to cause agony. All that Life does is that it keeps on happening. There are no explanations, no justifications, to what happens in Life. All that we can do is take it as it comes. If we fight Life we will suffer. If we accept Life for what it is, we can’t change what happens to us, we can’t ever avoid pain, but we can certainly do away with the suffering.