Friday, October 21, 2005

The Grass is greener on the other side.

One of the best short stories I have ever read is Jeffrey Archer's "The Grass is greener on the other side" (I am not very sure about the name of the story, however I can assure you its from one of his collection of short stories; A Quiver full of arrows.twelve Red herrings or to cut a long story short). To cut a long story short : A beggar sleeps every night outside a big Bank, and every morning, waking up, looks at the guard, and feels that it would be so much better if he could become a guard. The guard, on the other hand, sees the clerk, and feels that a clerk's job is the best. The Clerk wants the accountant's job, the accountant that of the manager, the manager that of the Deputy Chairman, and the Deputy Chairman that of the Chairman himself. And the Chairman has his own set of problems and tensions, and every night, looks at the beggar, sleeping peacefully, and wonders, maybe it would be better if he also could sleep like the beggar did.
Which just brings me to the point, nobody is ever happy or contented in the state that he is. There is always something else that we want, something that we know we are never going to get it, or is it because we know we are not going to get it which makes it that desirable. And unfulfilled desires make us pine and suffer, plunging us deep into sorrow. So,as Gautam Buddha says, the way to end sorrow is to end desires. No desires means no suffering. But is it as simple as that? Doesnt the end of desire imply an end of ambition. And where can a man without ambition go, can he be ever successful? Now again, successful like happiness, is an arbitary concept. It is a state of mind more than anything else. If someone feels that he is successful, then he is, irrespective of what other do or say. So a man can be successful even by cutting short all his ambition.
I think I am being too much idealistic here. In the practical world, none of what I have said probably means anything (pretty much like everything I write here: its all utopian). In real life you have a set of people along with you whose purpose in life is to dissuade you from finding peace and happiness. These people (your family, your friends) tie you down to this materialistic world, where success and happiness and measured by the amount of money you have and by nothing else. I just want to drift away. I am happy the way I am. People tell me a hundred things and I am compelled to listen to them because I cant say no to anybody. Remember Rachel's dialogue in Episode 101 of friends "Father, all my life, its like I have been told by people around me "you are a shoe,a shoe, a shoe." I believe that holds true for all of us. We are characterised not by what we are, but by what people around us want us to be seen as in public. And we, mortal and relationship-abiding as we are, are comfortably able to make it a simple transition without feeling any guilt. We lose our true self, and become part of the general crowd. What we do is not for our own pleasure but for the contentment of our near and dear ones.We
lose our own identity and become part of a worn out crowd.
I am probably contracting myself here, but I feel that desires are not so much a man's creation as it is of the society around him. It is the society which forces a person to have any goals, which compels him to be successful. And well, that success compels him to further success, and as his desires increase so does his sorrow. Eliminate society, make every man an island, and there had be no society. Like Paul Simon says, "And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries."
But no, I am not the one to go away from society. I am far too social for that. I cant live without my friends and my family, and so I am again one of those parts of the crowd I talked about. But then again is some hope, that you will be able to come out of this cycle, and attain Nirvana. But till then, well, I will listen to some rock music. including Nirvana. Who knows when I am up in office next?