The Brown Man’s Burden

By Sunil Kumar

Sometimes; life can be best experienced through inspiring silence. Having experienced Vipassana; just a little transcendence. As I make my way through the meandering lanes of the national capital; the futility of pretentious existence hits me hard. Rich or poor; there seems to be an aspiration for a better life; yet human nature is strange; a veritable criss-crossing of contradictory impulses, real happiness and absolute nothingness.

Central Secretariat Delhi Metro

Visit  Delhi Metro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now for the pretense of the lit fest. Inexorably drawn to a number of people smug in their own lives; yet with a certain degree of humility(real or assumed). The venue is beautiful; colonial architecture reminding me of a time when it must have been very different. Not that we have graduated to an utterly different level; there seems to be subservience but not absolute freedom. It’s the social media talk show; no a lot of sounds from everywhere. Yes; the brown men speak; a lot; but with a burden.

A business author tells the audience about caravans across the silk route; a union minister talks about legal drivel; fawning crowds eager to hang on to every word. I listen intently; hoping to find some pearls in this rather strange world. Walking outside made me realize the political heart of the capital is alive and kicking; another element of the circus of Indian life. The huge Delhi metro seems to be a reflection of the city; some wise author said that the best study of man(or woman) is in the train. Teeming millions; no billions; define the soul of our country.

The seven cities of Delhi were a talking point for three elderly matrons; their sneering self-absorption made me recoil momentarily; but snippets of knowledge filtered though my consciousness. Blood; sweat and tears; literally millions of them have flown through the Yamuna and other rivers in this country; but we have the same show repeated endlessly. So; I put an oblique question to a panelist on the middle class; the existence of perennial joy and angst. Yes; I know the poor and the rich have their own issues; but then life is experienced from your own standpoint. Unless; cosmic bliss envelops us; but then that is also so self-centred; the realization of the whole.

Cynicism is often a window-dressing; life seldom give you opportunities to stand and stare; and maybe what you see is not what you want. Soothing classical music; and old portraits enchant me in the Imperial; the sound around me back to mundane reality. Is there is wisdom in crowds or crassness? It’s like the eternal dilemma; is the glass half-full or half-empty? To the next tryst with my blog!







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