Monthly Archives: May 2008
Shuddhartha or Lord Shuddha as now he is respectfully called was born on the 29th of February ,1935. He passed away today peacefully in his sleep after 73 glorious years spent in the service, enlightenment and enrichment of the people. Devotees across the country mourn this great loss to the nation in particular and to the world in general. At the moment there seems to be no one who is not singing paeans to this Great Sage ,as he was called with reverence. Some have even gone so far as to call him the 10098th avatar of Lord Vishnu. Some devotees do scoff at this notion , but that’s not the point. But however divided the views on this avatar stuff , people in general seemed to agree that there was no greater personification of sacrifice and abstinence , love and compassion. Perhaps this would be the right time to look back at this great man’s life and reflect on how it all came to be.
Lord Shuddha was born as Shuddhartha , to a father who was a multi millionare and whose zest for business could only be matched to his desire to have children. Lord Shuddha was born after his father had been in despair for a long time that he never might have children. As soon as he was born , the family Astrologer had proclaimed ..”This dude would turn out to be a complete loser or a total winner …..most probably the former ” . The last part was a totally unnecessary addition. A more worldly wise astrologer would have said “hmmm” and nodded his head approvingly . No body has seen that astrologer ever since.
Though he did make the astrologer disappear , the father had taken his prediction seriously. So he set about making his son a total winner. Unfortunately he thought the best way of doing it would be by not denying his son anything he might ask for. So the son grew up , as the cliché goes , in the lap of luxury. He had more pocket money in a day to spend than what most families made in an year. He had servants ready to serve him at his slightest signal . he had friends fawning on him . He had girls plotting against each other for him. And most importantly he had his father doting over him. The son grew up to be a spoilt rich kid ,infamous for his behavior and notorious for his pranks.
When he was 25 his father married him off to a beautiful girl who came from another multi millionaire family. After an year they had a son. The father having painfully noted the lack of talent of any sort in the son , made sure that he never had to run the business and worked the rest of his life ensuring that the his father in laws businesses were also integrated with his and that they would run themselves. After having done all this , as befits a dutiful and doting father , he passed away , leaving Shuddha a little sad but still a multi millionaire atleast two times over. Shuddha got over this soon and started living life as before. Anyone who would look at Shuddha and his family couldn’t help remarking on how lucky some dogs can get .
But something was not feeling right for Shuddha . Though he had everything , he felt a strange vaccum. A gap which he could not quite either place or touch , but it was there , growing everyday and demanding to be filled. Shuddha was perplexed by this. I mean he was really happy mooching off on his father ,he didn’t need that shit right now. But still , the harder he tried to ignore it , the more persistent in its demands it became. And it kept gnawing at him. Then suddenly it dawned on him one day ….”THE WORLD IS EVIL AND IT IS FULL OF GRIEF” ..thats it that was the epiphany.
Yes the world is evil, he thought . I mean , it was only the other day that he had given his wife a beating for something he could not remember. She was really hurt and bleeding . He had been evil but later he was overcome by grief for not having a reason to hit her. Isnt this enough proof , he thought, to prove that the world is evil and full of grief.?
Once , when he was a teenager , he had beaten this guy up black and blue for eyeing the same girl that he had his eyes on. He thought that was evil. But later he was overcome by grief because the sex hadn’t been as great as he had thought it would be. Isnt this enough proof , he thought, to prove that the world is evil and full of grief.?
Very recently , he had squished a bug in his drawing room . He thought this was evil. But he had felt grief later on that it had made a mess all over his expensive carpet. Isnt this enough proof , he thought, to prove that the world is evil and full of grief.?
It was only yesterday , that he had slapped his butler , for not keeping his coffee warm enough . But he was overcome by grief when the butler made the same mistake a second time around , how many times do I have to slap this moron ,,he had thought. Isnt this enough proof , he thought, to prove that the world is evil and full of grief.?
So after this epiphany , he decided . “I shall relinquish the world” he told himself
And relinquish he did . He gave up everything he had.
He wrote off all his properties to charitable organizations. All in one night .
And of course , he had overlooked to inform his wife of his decision or his actions.
Wasn’t he relinquishing the world after all?/ He reasoned . And whenever he felt a little guilty about doing this, he construed it as a further proof of the world being evil and full of grief.
He wanted to become a sanyasi and a sanyasi he would become , he told himself.
People welcomed him with , again as another cliché goes , open arms. They had known him as a glamorous heir to millions , they had known his notorious exploits , so popularity was never a problem for Shuddha.
First they had loved him for his glamour and his millions . Now they loved him for his glamour and lack of millions.
First they glanced over his fashionably dressed photos in page 3 , now they worshipped him in his saffron clad new avatar.
First they had called him a talentless moocher. Now they called him a great sacrificer.
“Oh what a great sacrifice..” ,they all said , “and what a bold decision . Even His wife did not know” , they all admiringly said.
In very little time , Shuddha had a huge following of disciples. He established an ashram and several charitable institutions . A lot of his time was spent administering these. He also traveled a lot rendering discourses.
People came in troves to listen to his speeches on family values , and respecting other human beings and love and compassion for all living things.
They said he was a great soul. Soon he became Lord Shuddha . – the Great Sage.
The one who had relinquished his property ,left his wife and would have nothing to do with his son but had brought so much joy and enlightenment to the world . And the world needed it . If anyone asked why , they would say , “because the world is full of evil and grief”
Obviously when such a great man passes away , there would be an outpouring of grief. People all over the nation mourned his death. They said that a greater man , would never walk the earth for a long time to come.
Of course , everybody forgot to ask about the wife and the kid.
But by a freaky coincidence of nature , the date of his death was the same as the date when the wife had turned insane 10 years ago due to poverty and the sheer strain of living life and when the kid had died in a mob fight 15 years ago.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome you into this organization. We take this opportunity to both apprise you of your duties to the organization and also to tell you of the duties that the organization realizes that it has towards you. We also ……..”
The speaker continued as all of us listened in rapt attention. That was the director of the organization speaking to us on our first day at the office. I was particularly attentive and was craning forwards in my seat. I did not want to miss a single word of what he was saying. And the speaker was doing a great job of holding my attention. He was experienced – he had worked in the organization for just slightly under a billion years now – so I figured if anyone could talk with any authority and conviction about the organization I was going to work for , it was this guy. And he was a very good orator. And ofcourse it helped that he was peppering his speech with a lot of suggestively lewd jokes.
“ So rememeber guys and pretty girls …” , the director concluded , “the organization is like your family. It will nurture you, protect you and be with you in your times of need, but you also need to realize your duties towards the family. Then it will be one big happy family, growing bigger and happier because of the likes of you…”
The hall came down in thundering applause.
“Wow”, I thought, “what other fitting description of the organization than this. In fact I am sure the organization is actually a family.”
I was convinced actually because it was rumored that only the director of the organization and a select lucky few regularly conferred with the organization in a very secret corner room at the top of a very tall ivory tower situated on an unknown and normally inaccessible island on an otherwise uninhabited planet beyond the outer reaches of the Andromeda galaxy.
“I want to be among that lucky few one day”, I resolved to myself. So what if it had taken the director of the organization a billion years to do that . What with the attrition nowadays it might actually come down to three quarters of a billion years for me.
(Sorry I forgot to tell you that we are a very long lived race. Similar to the human beings in every respect but very long lived. That makes our lives fractionally more interesting. Ten raised to the power of negative 25 to be exact)
Thus started my stint with the organization. Determined in actions and clear in resolve.
First came the training period. It was stipulated to be upto half a century but in some cases it could be as long as a century. It was rumored that there were a few who had trained for a couple of centuries, but I had never met them, so I decided to treat them like I treated any other rumor – very seriously.
During this period , I attended a strategy session. It was called “Competition and how to ignore it” . I just loved it. Not the least because it was being presided upon by the deputy associate assistant vice director of the organization (four levels below the director). This guy knew what he was talking about. He concluded his talk thus, “ remember pretty guys and girls (did I tell you this guy was gay?). The organization does not tolerate competition. ”
I loved it . “Wow”, I thought, “ I guess the organization is like a warrior. A knight clad in shining black armor , riding a blacker horse , swinging a huge 7 feet sword( the warrior was 14 ft tall) and mercilessly hacking away at anyone who dared to stand in his way”
The more I thought about it , the more appropriate it sounded and the more I wanted to meet this warrior.
My training concluded , I took up my responsibilities. I worked very hard , my only aim in my professional life to be among the lucky few to meet the organization.
Five centuries passed thus.
At around the middle of the sixth century , there was a case of huge number of layoffs in the organization. I was among the lucky ones to be spared.
I attended a meeting after this case of layoffs which was presided by the both the President of Human resources and the president of Non Human resources of our organization. (It was rumored that the latter held far more power in the organization. I believed this , because this guy was rumored to be among the lucky few to meet the organization).
“ Remember pretty guys and pretty girls” , they concluded, (they were bi sexual) , “the organization clearly recognizes what elements to weed out”
“Wow” , I thought , “ the organization is like a gardener after all, carefully and lovingly nurturing the flowers in his garden and hacking of the weeds.”
The more I thought about it, the more it sounded appropriate.
After around 2 million years with the company , I was yet to be promoted. For the first time in my stint with the organization , I felt a little insecure and disappointed. I felt like quitting. But decided to talk to my boss. He succeeded in talking me out of it.
“The organization has it’s own accumulated wisdom and experience to decide what is good for you and what you need. Don’t worry , your time will come.” , he told me.
“wow”, I thought, “ the organization is really like a very wise ,very old man with a flowing white beard and a equally flowing white robes. It will definitely take care of me”
The more I thought about it, the more appropriate it sounded.
Fifty million years later, I had become the associate assistant deputy vice director (thrice removed) of the organization.
I attended another strategy session , which was called “WE ROCK – THEY SUCK”
I was excited. I always wanted to attend these sessions ,but it was possible only now as I attained this level in the organization. It was presided by the director of the organization.
“So remember guys and girls” (he was too old to be anything by then) ,he concluded, “the organization just tramples anyone in it’s path”
“Wow” , I thought , “ the organization really is like a fire breathing dragon. It just swoops in and occupies any territory that it wants , anyone in it’s way would just be turned into a tiny wisp of smoke”
The more I thought about it, the more appropriate it sounded.
Quarter of a billion years later….
I had arrived. I had become the second to second vice director of the organization( once removed). I was to be among the select lucky few to meet the organization. The director had just told me that.
I was thrilled.
I was excited. Finally , the day I had been looking forward to for so many days , was becoming a reality.
This was what I had been living for, this was what I had been working for.
To meet the organization, to confer with it, take it’s blessings and advice.
But most of all , I wanted to see how the organization looked. What it actually was.
I had imagined it to be so many things , in so many different forms and doing so many different things.
But what was it in reality? Was it one of these things , none of these things , or all of these things or did it simply changed form according to the situation? If it was the last was it really possible for the organization to be in so many forms in so many different situations.
These were the questions that were plaguing my mind. And I kept asking my director about it. He just smiled and said , “you will see for yourself”
Finally, the big day.
We traveled to the end of the Andromeda galaxy , reached the island and went up to the top of the ivory tower. I was beside myself with excitement and tension.
There was the final door. Beyond it was the organization. One more step and there was it.
I was very nervous as the door was being opened.
The door opened and there was it was . The organization!!!!! Right in the middle of the room.
The director immediately fell to his knees on seeing it. So did all the others.
As I also tried to kneel, I felt a very sharp pain in my left hand , which very swiftly traveled to my heart.
I was falling down clutching my heart. I was dying of cardiac arrest. I guess the shock was too much for me.
As my eyes were closing, in my final moment, I heard the squeak of the mouse in the center of the room.