Being human

When you climb the stairs and stand on a pedestal, it becomes easy to look down upon others.

For you it is a natural progression. Your new rightful place from where everyone else may look smaller and definitely ‘below’ you. You would rather talk to the masses, lecture them even issue sermons from those dizzying heights than going down occasionally and interacting with the lowly at their level. After all you cannot stoop down and they don’t deserve that privilege any more.

It does not matter whether you reached the top through hard work or intelligence or family fortunes or plain luck or even the support of the very people you now look down upon. It only matters now that you are up and they are low, very low!

And guess what? When you reach the top, from being differently able, you become disabled. In the true sense of the word. You become deaf, mute and blind, all in one stroke.

You become blind to truth and cannot see it any more. The realities of life, the truth that is out in the open in the real world, everything becomes invisible. You cannot look outside but only look inside and believe in only ‘your’ perception of the truth as your ‘id’ tells you. Your perception and your judgements are now the gospel truth and the only reality. Everything else is fake. Ask a certain Mr. Trump and in his ‘intelligent and stable self’, he may not only agree with this but also  tweet this verbatim, the very next minute!

You become deaf to the cries of distress of others. You cannot hear those voices of ordinary souls talking about their ordinary lives in their ordinary ways any more. They are boring, lousy and so boorish! Blitter-blatter of losers who cannot achieve great success! Oh the world was an open platform for all to achieve and you did that and they did not. And now you have and they have not! You now enjoy the ninety nine percent luxuries of life while those ninety nine percenters are doomed to the rest one percent that you leave for them. They are fit only to suffer their drudgery, their lowly lives and cry about it all the time. “Howl, howl, you lowly people and  I shall not listen as your voices do not cross my ear lobes and touch my soul!” Ask the owners of Walmart or that of most large corporations (including the friendly neighborhood Tim Hortons) who make millions and billions of dollars every year from the same lowly people who cannot but shop at such stores to save their few pennies and yet chose to find ways to reduce/ penalise their front end minimum wage earners who work for them to deliver those riches. After all these people are not more than ‘Payroll expenses’ and eat into the profits that are to be delivered to them as their right! An idea is more powerful than the execution, right?

You become mute to your own God inside- your soul and its voice. You know what is happening is wrong and that your actions are only aiding to the calamities people are facing and yet you chose to do nothing about it. Your so called short term gains and profits are paramount and important even if that is at the cost of others. Your morals, ideals and the North values have been silenced forever and what matters is only how you can manage and maintain your status. And upgrade it in every single hour of the day. Ask Mr. Modi in India who remains mute when members of a certain community are targeted in the name of propagating the cause of Hindutava or protecting the Holy cow!

We see people like these not just among the very top or leaders of nations and corporations. Reaching any position of power and strength makes a person feel special about himself while  being unable to relate to others.

A good example is film industry where the powerful film production houses and companies target the lowest paid performers, background or otherwise and try and develop ways and means to avoid paying them their dues while at the same time paying astronomical sums to the people at the top. And treat these background performers as dirt. After all they are nobody. In New York they say that there are more than 50,000 homeless people and almost equal number of actors (read background or small time performers) and that many are common in these two categories. Toronto, Los Angles, Mumbai, Shanghai, would be no different. Film industry worldwide is full of agents, production houses and large corporations whose successes and riches are built by fleecing the lowly wage earners who work long hours in the hope of surviving for another day.

Or be it hundreds and thousands of corporations and rich individuals who use any technique available to make millions and billions for themselves while designing ingenious techniques to not pay back from the very communities they earn by parking their tax dollars in tax havens. Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank, Apple, Adanis,… , the list is endless of large reputable corporations who have used all possible ways to move their riches to tax havens and not contribute to the economies of their respective nations while fattening their balance sheets. Panama Papers, Oh that was a story which will be as short lived as the outcry of people who are appalled with it.

In my long journey of half a century, I have seen the world up, close and personal and like most others, have seen the highs and lows of life. It has been saddening but a real experience to see people gaining disabilities as described above in varying proportions when they have reached any amount of success. The hallmark of success is a sign of becoming distant, aloof and above all the Guru with the right sermons for the lowly to follow. Even people who emerge from dark dungeons and slums shun their ex-neighbors, friends and colleagues while hating anyone who resides there and throws a stare at their rich glass houses above.

In many countries and communities, the class differences are widening and these are becoming more rigid as money and power become the basic barometers of success for the modern man.

I always believed that the richest is the person who needs the least but realize that the world connects riches with material wealth itself.

But my friend when you sit at that high pedestal, do remember that not everything is permanent. Ultimately one day, you will go up and beyond from there to perhaps a new world and start all over again. Or be forced to come down and meet the lowly due to a turn of fortune.

Change will happen one day and it may be a good idea to stay differently able and use your riches to develop empathy than to become disabled and develop apathy! The choice is yours.

While history is full of people who have got drunk in their own success and morally corrupted themselves and their societies, there are also many exceptions who have changed the world from the vision they gathered from those new horizons. Gandhi, Krishna, Jesus, Obama, Pierre Trudeau, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Bill Clinton,…. and many like them have developed a greater insight from the very platform that they reached and brought positive change. They have come down and sat and mingled with the lowly, empathized with them, cried with them, spent their riches with them and become more understanding of their needs.

You my friend, whom I admire while you smile high from the clouds above can also be one. You too can become a Messiah of happiness and do not need to grab the robe of a Gandhi or Jesus to be one.

Being human could just be enough! Enough to enlighten this world and yourself. Amen!

Posted in Times of India on 8th January 2018. Link below-


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