Land of the free, home of the grave

I read what people have to say about national politics on Twitter. During lunchtime, I browse through newsfeeds that unattractively hog TV screens. That’s as politically-inclined as I can be. But I pay my taxes. And I form opinions. I don’t have kids. So I tend to take things personally. Especially, my ideologies.

Some nights I stay awake because of them. Thankfully, I don’t have to wipe their butts or pay for their education.

Since yesterday, I have been hearing about the recent India-Pakistan conflict from different sources. I wanted to offer an elaborate view on an age-old rivalry. Then, I realized that Edwin Starr had already sung, “War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing”.

So, there you go, dear reader. I saved you from my half-baked perspective on national security. It’s my gift to you. You have been kind to me during this strange and wonderful journey of ours. Take it, please. Starting today, I want you to believe in miracles, okay?

Earlier this year, I wrote about violence in the birding kingdom. How birds resort to bloodshed to survive. And when their homes are threatened. The perplexing thing is that when people do so – I am judgemental about it. Maybe, it sounds evil. Because we have the mental faculties to band together despite our self-preservation instincts. Yet we don’t when it hits too close to home.

I am unable to tell if it’s the right thing to do.

Sometimes, I think I am a nihilist. Thinking about the decay of civilization can be an exhausting experience. But it gives me a lot of topics to write about. I can also be that guy who shoves a flower into the mouth of a gun. With a stupid smile on my face. Then, the gun goes off. The bullet makes an unevenly-shaped hole on my forehead.

I collapse to the floor, mouthing “but why?” as Jimmi Hendrix sings in the background, “There must be some way out of here, said the joker to the thief”.

Nothing will be engraved on my gravestone. Because the ground I tread upon – today – is built on the absence of war, not the presence of peace.

Goodbye cruel world,
I am not leaving you today.
But I am changing the channel.
So, goodbye
until you have
something else
to say.

Coppersmith Barbet, Vedanthangal

(Photographs: Chennai, Kanchipuram, Kodaikanal & Valparai)

Advertisements

13 comments

  1. “How birds resort to bloodshed to survive. And when their homes are threatened. The perplexing thing is that when people do so – I am judgemental about it. ”

    How interesting….I too have Jekyll and Hyde moments and was thinking of it today morning. Sometimes, my opinions are so extreme depending upon my ‘interest’ in the situation.
    Scary!

    No one wants a war, ideally,and I don’t want your comment stream to become an opinionated piece on who is right and who is wrong,

    so the best is as you say….the ground we all tread today and our next breath perhaps is defined by absence of war, not presence of peace….
    so profound!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So many of us sway like mad dandelions in a storm, depending upon our “own interests” as you said, Viv. Sadly, I think it makes us all the more interesting too hehe.

      Also, the envisioning of the absence of war being irrelevant to the presence of peace has many variations. I remember I had read it once in some quotations site.

      Thank you muchly, Viv. Always such a pleasure to have you herd your verses here.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Not surprised at all, LG. In fact, it doesn’t take breaking news for any of us to realize that the pillars of most nations are built on bloodshed.

      My only point of contention is that I am unable to tell the difference when it’s an abuse of power as opposed to a display of it.

      Like

  2. I always try to avoid commenting on the political situations in other people’s countries as I haven’t had, and can’t have – unless I go there – first hand experience of them. I can’t see them or feel them through the eyes or senses of either warring side or nation. But what I do know is if there is any such thing as universal right or wrong (which I doubt), each side believes it is right. And I think that is where birds and other animals’ behaviour comes from , too: they do what they biologically ‘believe’ (feel) is right, because ultimately a belief system is simply a type of survival instinct wrapped in symbolism. Birds don’t (as far as we know) have a system of symbolism that their brains can access in any analytical sense, and that’s great for them as they have to act quickly and instinctively, but we don’t need to do that. We have both the ability and the time to mull things over, think beyond the first thought. In a war situation, though, that time factor is rarely present. So then warring humans become like birds.

    Your other post about the seemingly murderous shikra and other predator-birds is a side of this, as you say. But having watched how sparrowhawks act, they seem like they are thinking carefully about what they are going to do, but in fact what they are doing is watching carefully and patiently waiting for an opportunity to strike. What you and I generally see, are the end result – the swift attack, the bloodfest end result. They have to do that to live, and to our human eyes it’s never pretty, but they’re feeding themselves and their young. In war… well, I guess the human participants’ attitude is that in the long-term they are doing the same.

    We’re none of us very different, I suspect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderfully summarized, Val. Long-term sustenance is a good enough reason for the threat of violence. I am just unsure whether or not sustenance, in these times, refers to being alive and content. Perhaps, it is becoming more about meeting certain standards. I doubt if sparrowhawks or any other bird of prey kill just to prove a point. But then again, alpha mammals do so, and I don’t find that to be in bad taste at all.

      I wonder, if some amount of bias creeps in just because humans are known for being suspiciously bloodthirsty at the drop of a hat.

      Thank you again for your insights, Val.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘Alive’ and ‘content’ generally only go together when there is enough peace and calm to enjoy what one has. For instance, for people living in ghettos, many people are alive (just) but that narrow-edge of survival doesn’t make for contentedness.

        And I think humans’ bloodthirst is just that technology has so far overtaken our evolution that we haven’t caught up with it and we are still, at the base of things, animals. Some of us more so, some of us less so.

        It’s all rather sad, really.

        Liked by 1 person

Tell me about it

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s