The blah blah white sheep

 

The world’s biggest lies are the quotes of famous people. These phrases, immortalised by repetition, are usually picked and chopped from a great speech, statement or remark, to fit into next day’s newspaper headline. What they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is far relevant and could’ve, in some cases, changed the history of the world.

So when Gandhi said, ‘Hey Ram!’ he was not calling out to his God. He was summoning his friend, Ram Mohan.

‘Hey Ram! Ram! Stop panicking and listen carefully. Such an end is going to make for a terrific blockbuster. Ensure we have the rights for it. My last wish is that an Indian directs this film, understand?’

Similarly, when Armstrong stepped on to the moon, he said, ‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’

NASA ensured we didn’t hear the rest, which went like this: ‘If what I’m seeing is what it’s going to be, then let me tell you that this is a fucking crater-filled hellhole. A colossal waste of money and a lifetime’s work.’

The world is full of such examples, but I’ll quickly jump to the one this post is about.

It’s a quote that turned an ordinary sheep into a celebrity overnight, and made him the world’s official ambassador of envy. It says: ‘The grass is greener on the other side.’

But the fact is that there was a lot more blah blah after this baa baa. ‘The fruits are sweeter, the stream is fuller and the air is fresher. But let me tell you, that sheep ain’t better than me no day. He ain’t as deserving of all that as I am.’

More than envy, it’s a comment on the state of mankind itself. It tells us that all our differences in caste, colour, creed, religion, nationality, etc., can be attributed to the biggest divide of them all- the one between you and me, the one between us and them. That’s the only divide that actually exists. The huge wall that divides the two doesn’t exist in any geographical space that Google can find, but in the deep, dark crevices of our minds.

It isn’t made of brick and mortar like Berlin’s, but is a virtual one that’s almost impossible to bring down.

The two sides are perpetually at war. There’s a no deuce. It is mostly Advantage Us (By virtue of our talent and effort) and sometimes, Advantage Them (Unfair, undeserving, just plain lucky, obviously).

So for Whites, the rest are slaves. For Blacks, the rest are racists.

For Hindus, others are terrorists. For Muslims, others are sinners.

For the polished, the rest are crass. For the unpolished, the rest are fake.

It’s a battle between the good and the evil, the right and the wrong- where the good and the right are Us, the Evil and the wrong are Them.

But what I ask is, who’s to decide? Who’s to say what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong?

Is it possible, I ask, that what’s good is actually evil, and what’s evil is actually good? 

I can see you are vehemently protesting.

Look, all I’m saying is that the world has not had a healthy debate on this. It hasn’t given evil a chance to even explain.

Take a look at our bookstores, for instance. So many books on goodness, and almost nothing to counter it. I mean, are we in China or what?

Maybe the time has come to understand the evil a little better. In a world where even terrorists are given a chance to argue out, the evil surely deserves its Ram Jethmalani, too. Don’t you think?

I know there would be no takers.

That’s why, I volunteer.

So, coming up is the case of The Good vs. The Evil. The Good represented by you. The Evil represented by me. Okay? Here we go.

Let me start by taking on one of the bestselling titles on Goodness- Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Chicken Soup? For the Soul?

Find anything incongruous?

No?

Okay, let me tell you how it sounds to the vegetarians: Human kebabs for Nirvana!

Sounds cannibalistic, doesn’t it?

One man’s food, another man’s poison. Cool for some, blasphemy for the others. A funny cartoon for others, fatwa-deserving for the others. Broadminded for some, immoral for the others.

That’s my point. The Good and the Evil are one and the same. It’s all just a matter of perspective.

Don’t agree?

Okay, let me try a second line of argument.

Have you seen God?

Thank you, but sorry, bumping into me doesn’t count as a yes.

So, let’s take that as a no. Good.

Have you seen God in idols, paintings and other man-made avatars?

Great. But have you seen God laughing in any of them?

Benevolent smiles, yes. But laughing aloud with teeth seen?

No, Laughing Buddha isn’t Buddha.

You say never?

You’re right. Never will you see God’s teeth anywhere. That’s because Gods have no teeth. They have fangs. Yes, fangs.

(It’s a complex way of saying that there’s a lot of Evil in every Good, and a lot of Good in every Evil.)

Now that even Gods have said it, do you agree that you are partly Evil?

No?

Okay, give me 30 seconds. I’ll turn your Goodness into Evil.

Here comes my third line of offence.

Would you steal Rs.100 from someone?

No?

Good.

Would you steal it, if it was $100 million?

Still a no?

Great.

What if I told you that the $100 million is like Rs.100 for the billionaire?

No again?

Okay, would you take that money if it was not for yourself, but to save an entire village full of starving farmer families who are about to kill themselves?

Oh, that’s heartless. But terrific values, must say.

What if I told you that the billionaire is Dawood Ibrahim?

Still a no? Tough nut you are turning out to be, eh?

Okay, what if that money is meant for bomb blasts in a city? You are the only one who knows it and the only way to prevent it is by stealing it. No other choice.

What? I don’t believe this. You say that your values are greater than innocent people’s lives?

In that case, let me read out tomorrow’s newspaper headline: Man arrested for refusing to prevent Dawood’s bomb blasts that killed thousands yesterday

Congratulations! To the world you’ve just become the most Evil man on earth.

See how values have nothing to do with perceptions of Good and Evil?

Okay, let’s say you are given a second chance to avoid becoming Evil. What would you do?

So finally, you say you’ll steal it and give it to the farmers! Fantastic!

Dying to see tomorrow’s headlines?

Here it is: Man steals from Dubai-based billionaire to invest in benami farmlands, duping poor starving farmers

Sorry, my friend, it’s a lose-lose situation for you. See? That’s how easy it’s to turn Good into Evil.

Ah, makes for a good book title: How To Become Evil In 6 Easy Steps.

Maybe it will correct that imbalanced bookrack of self-help books. While I do that, you look into that mirror again and laugh out aloud.

Yes, Gods have fangs, don’t they?

Psst…The only crime Ravan, the embodiment of all evil in this world, committed was abducting Sita. If only he had turned that abduction into seduction, Ramayan would have been less blood and more flesh.

But how could Ravan ever have done that, you ask. Think, I say.

Answers in the next post- Abduction To Seduction In One Easy Step. (Evil is getting simpler, it seems.)

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