Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Editing the Noise

'War is the last resort of desperate and foolish kings' Dasaratha's message to his sons, quoted by Lakshmana in Ashok Banker's 'Bridge of Rama'.

But it is not just the war in the battle field that I think of. People speak freely, uttering all nonsense that comes to them in a moment of despair and anger. They speak ill of others.

And the person being spoken of hears of this. Does he discard it as nothing? No! It takes root in his or her heart and starts becoming a poisonous tree. She awaits an opportunity to vilify the person who spoke ill, whatever the trigger, or confront and punch holes, leaving a crack that can never quite heal.

And this vicious circle goes on unabated, spreading unhappiness, not just among these two but everybody connected with them. Battle lines get formed, loyalties are sworn. With time, the original charge is forgotten, only the feeling of resentment prevails.

War mongers have field day, carrying tales, twisting words and adding spices to even inane statements. The ear still does not know how to filter out the noise and the brain laps up everything the ears hear to relish the moment, anticipate the 'enemy's downfall and somewhere feel triumphant for no rhyme or reason.

'How much is price of that reparation? When will our honour be sufficiently redeemed?' Rama demands of Lakshmana a few lines later. 'At what point does the cycle of revenge end?'

Never, unless we develop selective hearing, understand ourselves well and are beyond the touch of mere words. To gossip can be fun and entertaining, but like a movie or a game, should follow codes and have an end. Or else, like a serial, it will simply stretch, running into years! And you know how mindless that can be!
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