So, discern; And hastily, If you might With your stubborn creed Or a plain foresight
One professes to save But you barely know The other one does kill And has proven so
Choose, if you were to Your nemesis with care For both bend your spine And a middle way is rare
Either, Knights of vigilant minds With shiny swords of Science Making all that noise Making you mental and whine Or A miniscule of living strands Wrapped in a shell Creeping ever silently Seeping into human cell
I came across an orange-clad mollusk on my return from the Triund trek. I greeted him and wondered whether he could stay for a while as I had come to a halt for a quick recovery from the mountainous trail.
“I can do that. I’m not in hurry,” he gestured with a slithering movement. I found him amusing and asked about his journey. “So where are you heading?” “I do not know. I am here now and I will be somewhere else and far away after sometime,” he said. “I do not understand. How do you know you have reached?” I further inquired. “There is no destination. There is no stay. Only moving forward through the ups and downs. Battles of life. Frustrating as it may sound – the trick is to face them with unshaken calm and patience. This very process is my destination. This is the crown I wear with grace.” He seemed glowing as the twilight rays penetrated his shell. “I see. I have heard the story about the rabbit and the turtle. The steady one wins the race.” I offered my kindergarten knowledge.
“Persistence is key,” he observed. “Be grounded. Be mobile. But most of all, be at your own pace. This is the moral an infant learns from the story. Interpret it with great care and you will find a disaster sitting at its core. The hare induces a sense of incompetence in the tortoise. And the tortoise decides to compete. It is ludicrous. What triggers a race should be pondered over.”
I did not quite catch the intention he had. ”How do you mean?” I asked.
“The folklore tells beautiful things,” He explained. “But today, a child is being taught to be competitive and superior. That if he wins the race, he will become special. The motive is toxic. It blurs the fine line between being intelligent and being ambitious.
“Everyone is unique. The shell of a tortoise is unique. The ears of a hare are unique. This realization is important. One’s unique actions should resolve the whys and wherefores of one’s journey. But the whole thing comes down with an agenda of winning only. The journey becomes a rivalry – infected with ego and a superiority complex. The idea of a competition is sheer stupidity.”
Before I could come up with another question, he suggested to continue with our respective journeys. “I must proceed now. I hope you find your calling. I wish you well, Stranger!” He started moving on. I saw at the horizon, the mild yellow dwarf burying itself between the valleys. I completely forgot what I was going to ask. Somehow, I was convinced what I had in mind was silently answered. May be it was the very race of life that had rendered me immune to those hidden gems – finding the inherent, the important ones. My energy was restored. I gave way for his tread. “So long, Creature” I bade him farewell. “You are amusing.”Said the tiny one and kept on slugging away at the uneven terrain.
I was astonished at the profound knowledge I had received from a snail. I found myself pondering whether I had understood it. He gave a great insight about something I had known since my childhood. I marched on.
After a few steps I located a tourist playing flute on the porch of a cafe. With her eyes closed and swaying head, she filled the greenwood with her charm. On the backdrop of her melodious tunes, I continued on my way down the lane in a rather sombre settings of McLeod Ganj. I bumped into a monk doing his evening chores. He was smiling for no apparent reason. I also smirked at the thought of me smiling like him and looking like a lunatic. Good vibes! As I was balancing my thoughts with the hunger which had prevailed, it suddenly struck me how there was an eerie resemblance between the monk and the mollusk I had encounter with!
For a moment, everything seemed to come to a standstill. Land of His Holiness!There was no haste. Those words echoed in my mind with great magnitude. Something had made sense. He was indeed a giant inside. I was the tiny one. The sound of flute had faded. I thought I had found my totem.