My annual birthday piece on `Mitti Pao!’ has almost become like the Pope’s Christmas message, or Bal Thackrey’s Dusshera diatribe. So how can I disappoint the millions (ok 47, give or take) who hang on to my every word? So here goes.
Yesterday, Wasim Akram, or rather the Mercedes he was travelling in, in Karachi, was shot at by an idiot in an apparent act of road rage. Thankfully, the Sultan of Swing was unhurt.
But what sort of an idiot would want to shoot at Wasim Akram? Wouldn’t you rather shake his hand, ask for an autograph, maybe even plead that he take over as India’s bowling coach. Please, Wasim bhai??
But the world is full of idiots.
In the 2004 US Presidential debates, Senator John Kerry faced the incumbent US President George W `Dubya’ Bush. Kerry was erudite, lucid and succinct, whereas Bush was his bumbling, incoherent self.
Yet, the polls continued to show Bush ahead. In spite of Kerry’s brilliance and his eloquence, he continued to trail Bush in the ratings. “I can’t understand it,” Kerry wondered, “I’m losing to an idiot!”
Anybody who has had occasion to argue with an obdurate traffic cop, or a dim witted booking clerk, or even a swarthy jat driving an SUV along Karol Bagh’s congested streets, will readily empathise with Kerry’s plight.
The world, of course, is full of idiots! And they’re everywhere, including, sadly, the cyber world, where I mostly reside.
So, I recently decided to give myself (and the world) a birthday treat by going off social media completely! I de-activated my Facebook account, went off Twitter, even gave `Mitti Pao!’ a much needed break. I thought I’d connect with the real world for a change!
I felt free! In the first few weeks of being `liberated’, I managed to read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, scale Mount Kilimanjaro, straddle the Great Barrier Reef and trek through the great Inca trails at Machu Pichu!
Well, not exactly. All I actually managed was to get into flaming rows with my course mates (over OROP, what else?) convince my kids that I was finally `losing it’, and generally piss off anyone who came within pissing off range.
My last post `The Hen in My Backyard’ upset a lot of people, including the hen in my backyard, and everyone I had mentioned in the post, including the descendants of Graham Bell, Edison, Einstien and Bhimsen Joshi! So here’s an unqualified apology to all those illustrious folk, along with a single word of advice – Chill!
My `Parenting 2.0’ post rendered me persona non grata to that venerable establishment and its global ambassador. Once more, an unqualified apology, once more the advice to simply Chill!
We are simply too old to carry grudges..
All that I’ve learnt of life, said Robert Frost, can be summed up in just three words – it goes on.
Any sage words of advice on turning 64? I’m hardly qualified to deliver any homilies, except to say, just count your blessings.
Don’t rock the boat. Unless, like the legendary Ship of Theseus, it needs to be restored, plank by rotten plank. And after every plank has thus been replaced, it no longer remains the same vessel to mourn, does it? So learn to let go.
Don’t get too bogged down with outward impressions, or what people might think. Stop trying to prop up facades that cannot or will not stand up on their own.
When one is young, the opinion of ones peers, of the `world' at large, of what that amorphous entity called `they' will say, matters a great deal, and even dictates ones behaviour and ones reactions to situations.
But as one grows older, the wheat begins to separate from the chaff, we begin to recognise and isolate people whose opinions really matter to us. The old adage reveals its innate wisdom - those that matter don't mind, those that mind don't matter!
And know this - even an ageing heart will not be denied its dreams, so dare to dream, look ahead, for even for us sexagenarians, there is a future out there, and the future is, who else, US!
As only the great Faiz Ahmed Faiz could have put it,
Nahin nigaah mein manzil, toh justaju hi sahi
Nahin visaal mayaasar, toh aarzoo hi sahi..
Cheers folks, and a here’s wishing me a Happy 64th!!