A distant dream
The distant moon is the epitome of serene resplendent beauty and the shimmering light of a fading star across the galaxy is more dazzling than a Kohinoor diamond. The haunting melody of a long forgotten past still lingers on while the valleys and hills of distant lands are always the enchanting backdrops of many a folk tale. The lands of opportunities and of good life are essentially across the seas and the rich bounties are only for the few willing to drip their sweat on alien soils! We are perpetually fascinated by the distant, the bygone and by the splendid imagery of an unheralded future that we fail to appreciate the joy of the immediate, the worthiness of the near or the beauty of the now.
There is something about the distant that bestows it with an aura of mystique. Perhaps it is essentially the undefined nature of its elements that affords one the freedom to romanticise with it breaking free from the limiting and the restricting shackles of the known and the structured. A suggestion that it could be beyond the grasp makes it all the more attractive and that which is not readily attainable has a seductive captivation on all of us. And in this obsession for that elusive ethereal, we become inert to the joys of the present and the cosiness of the close and take flight away from the realms of the real. Thus the life style of an alien land is more adventurous, its taste, sight and smell more exotic and its permissive culture immensely liberating to the one swayed away by its influence. A quixotic engagement with the far removed is only matched with the absolute contempt for all that is familiar, all that is life sustaining and all that could truly be claimed as one’s heritage. This negation and the dereliction are not limited merely to the social and cultural environments but extend to communities, peoples and neighbourhoods that are inextricably part of one’s upbringing, a contempt not confined to the familiar that is proverbial, but to ones’ own true identity.
This contempt of the closest is no more well pronounced than in our dealings with our neighbours. It is easier to shed a tear for the suffering millions of the sub-Saharan desert than to sympathise with an ailing neighbour and provide her a little moral succour. We can, at the most, tolerate our neighbours but can never really care for them; for they are our pitted enemies that the destiny has forced us to live in close proximity. A neighbour is a moron, unaccommodating and an unavoidable nuisance while a morphing facebook contact is the one we are willing to vouch our lives on. We could chat on for hours with our virtual pals but can’t stop to exchange pleasantries with the soul next door. Disdain for the real leads to escapism from it with the virtual world providing the perfect cover.
But just as individuals are guilty of contempt for their next door kith and kin, nations are equally at fault in not being able to conduct their affairs honourably with their neighbouring ones. Countries wax eloquent on their quest for lasting peace and harmony among the comity of nations while they scheme the next assault on their immediate neighbours. Though they share a common history, mostly a common language and culture and are invariably from the common stock of human race, yet neighbouring nations are the fiercest when it comes running down each other. They form alliances and even military pacts with distant nations with the sole purpose to checkmate each other. In international real politic, you cannot be neighbours and yet remain friends!
Even religions which have identical lineage and are descendance of a common philosophical viewpoint are today at draggers drawn at one another. Christianity and Islam, though emanated from identical cultural milieus, having common geographical roots in the desert sands of West Asia and propagating similar egalitarian religious faiths are never as alienated from one another as they are now, threatening global peace. The fight for supremacy between the Cross and the Crescent is a painful reminder of how similar doctrines could be divergently interpreted to cause fiction and animosity among its followers.
Only when we attempt to live in the present, see the goodness of the people we are surrounded with and strengthen the threads that inter-wove us as custodians of a common heritage, would we begin to lead a life of blessedness.
Entry filed under: To reflect.