The Inconvenience of Truth!

 “It’s mercy, compassion, and forgiveness I lack. Not rationality.”                  The Bride in  Kill Bill – Vol.1 

The Inconvenience of Truth 1:
Firstly, apologies that I’m a day late on my writing schedule. The ‘silver lining’ way to look at it? Thank God, just a day late and I’ve got something to say :). My mother and I went to see this Hindi movie called ‘City Lights’ on Sunday last. The movie had got great reviews and the actor is from among a new breed of actors in the Bollywood pantheon who’s a find, a bundle of skill and talent, he’s the reel and real deal – Rajkumar Rao, take a bow. The movie lived up to some of the reviews and I liked it. Gritty and real with some extremely fine acting.

The long and short of the storyline – a young man, his wife and his young daughter leave their village in Rajasthan, a state in North Western India, come to Mumbai seeking hope, love, dreams and fulfillment – trying to live an honest dream. What the city does to them as a family in search of living, is the crux of the movie. The movie held me in thrall, most movies do as I’m a lover of movies and if a movie doesn’t hold me in the vortex of its storytelling then it’s a truly truly truly awful film. Because I can sit through almost any film, barring horror. That’s a genre that I abhor and have stayed away from. I value my sleep and I don’t need horror films to teach me about  beauty and love and gratitude and forgiveness and I don’t need arguments that without darkness there can be no light. Thank you, but no, thank you! Aah, I digress, woe be me! :). Blame it on the lure of the words and the seduction by the keyboard :).

So to get back to the movie ‘City Lights’, the movie asked me a few questions to which I honestly had no answers:

a) What is it to be homeless and would I be able to sleep on a pavement besides a garbage dump with my mother if I ever found myself to be in a situation like that? {she’s the only immediate family though my close knit and extended family of aunts and cousins might take umbrage to that statement, but you know what I mean – like I have no siblings or a father (at least I don’t know if he’s alive and I’m hoping if he is that he’s fine, God bless his soul!)}

b) What kind of person does it take to cheat a naive, simple, poor soul of all his monies and leave him and his family dejected, homeless and bereft of hope or belief in the goodness of humanity? What would I do in circumstances like that?

c) Would I be able to dance in a strip club and have men leching, lunging and lusting after my body and objectifying me as a pure sex object? So what if the money’s showered on and over my titillating body? Would my pride, ego, intrinsic cultural ethos and conditioning prevent me from doing what it takes to survive especially if I was a mother with a young child?

d) Why do we teach “honesty” as a value? Why don’t we temper these values with riders and caveats with a dose of practical reality? It’d be so much more easy to live down our own truths. I mean, really, how honest can a person be in this world that we’ve ensured is dishonest? And then to seek honesty and goodness and spirituality in the Himalayas or Hawaii by doing yoga or becoming a monk or whatever else that you’ve identified is food for your soul, isn’t going to cut it is it? if it does, why are we all always seeking? I’m not deriding seekers, no, not by a long shot. Please continue to ask, seek, search and find whatever it is you are seeking to give you peace, purpose and pleasure and make the world a better place. I’m a seeker too for cyring out loud and it is in that seeking that these questions emerge. Why don’t we teach our children therefore, that be ‘as honest as you can by weighing the circumstances and the context’?
Because let’s face it, there are no absolutes, are there? We’ve all cheated, lied, and been dishonest at some time in our lives, white lies et al. So who are we kidding when we say, ‘be honest, don’t cheat, be good’. Really?

e)  Would you make peace quickly (I dare not say easily), with your spouse’s death even after realising that it was a deliberate sacrifice on his/her part, so that you could live with dignity and purpose, with the monies that can afford you those twin attributes? In fact would it be okay to live on the monies that are in effect ill begotten wealth so to speak, and on the memories of a sacrificed, tarnished life?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. The world we live in is the same. But it isn’t right? Because the prisms through which each of us lives it is so different. Therefore there are a billion plus realities, not just one. Your reality is different from mine. And yet, we come up with a Standard of Values, that’s supposed to be the underpinning of societal mores and values that drives us, helps us (supposedly) live civilised lives. Hrmph!!! What baloney! That’s why perhaps it’s liberating when we ‘break the shackles’, ‘break the rules’, and ‘do your own thing’ and sing ‘it’s my life’! And yet without rules and values where would we be? Still bludgeoning women with a stony club or a hand axe I guess and have incestuous lives or adulterous lives and run amok looting and plundering and not adhering to any rules I guess. Hmm…come to think  of it, put like that, it sounds terribly akin to 21st century no? Oh the conundrum of being human!

The Inconvenience of Truth 2
During my morning perambulations yesterday and my usual routine of listening to a podcast, I had an epiphany. The podcast I was listening to was The Unmistakable Creative’s interview with this amazing modern-day monk called Dandapani. During that interview, he asked a simple, oft-asked question: what do I really want? It’s not something that I hadn’t asked myself before, but there’s always something about the timing, the place, the context, the mood, that all adds up to a connection and a sudden burst of clarity – in short, an epiphany. What did I really want? The answer was: to know if I mattered!

——————————————————————————————————— Truth is inconvenient. Truth gives us an ulcer which no amount of Eno or other antacids can assuage. Truth is a tool for manipulation. Truth is malleable. Truth is bitter. Truth hurts. But in the end…

The truth always sets you free.

And while you mull that, here’s a query that can perhaps help you in that quest of the Truth.