“I know what I have given you, I do not know what you have received.”
If God were generous enough to tell us what lay in store for us in the future, most of us would probably not undertake the journey. Would you study as hard for an exam if you were told that you would not clear the interview? Would you scrape together every last penny to buy a house if you knew that this is where you would lose a dear one? Would you allow your heart to go aflutter at the first sight of a special someone if you knew that you would have to part after a few years? In most cases, the answer would not be in the affirmative.
Yet, we live and get bruised and battered. And if given a chance, would not think twice about living it all over again. Strange, but true. We are, after all, the only species that brings home another species just for the pleasure of their company! For that seems to be the exact purpose why man has been made in this fashion. To bring into manifest the most noble emotions- love, sacrifice, courage, honour and civility. These are what separate us from the others and make us true masters of our destiny.
And the bedrock of every human endeavour is the need for acknowledgement. Even the humblest or the most severe of individuals revel in being appreciated for what they do for others. The irony, however, is that very often the sincerest of intentions unfolds in a manner that may well be misinterpreted. You do the correct thing but in the wrong way. As the poet said, “Kehtein to hain achchey ki, lekin buri tarah”. And far from being acknowledged, every successive attempt to undo the misgivings of the past snowballs into a quagmire of blunders.
But the fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose. And the efforts continue ceaselessly, with an ardent intensity and the fervent belief that the ends will justify the means. This is why we succumb to irrational lying, to recurrent anger, to inversions of the self, for we consider all of it as almost essential to preserve the greater good. I remember here this brief aside in the movie Casablanca where a young woman approaches the cynical protagonist and asks him if she would be justified in doing “a bad, a very bad thing” if it would allow her to secure happiness for the man she loves. Although the movie furnishes no definite vocal response for this moral dilemma, it nonetheless provides the issue with a treatment similar to that accorded to a white lie-if a wrong can lead to a right, then the wrong itself is not far from being a right.
And that is the very embodiment of the enigma we call life. That there is no right or wrong, that there is nothing and nobody more important than life itself, that the only time we go wrong is when we go against our inherent inclinations. For each and every one of us knows what the right thing to do is. Without exception, we know. Problem is, it is tough to do so. And therein, within the sliver delineating “should” and “can”, lie the plethora of choices that determine our destiny.
“There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”