Saturday, August 15, 2009

Interlude :: Chapter 4

In Search of Good Samaritan

“In order to truly enjoy the gifts of nature We need to be in sync with it , We need to look around us and understand that Evolution, the prime mover of life on earth is everywhere around us . If there is one thing I want you to take home with you tonight , its this . We are Free and We are in control of our life . We don’t need an god up there to govern our life . With that I would like to thank you for your Time and attention .” Professor Dawkins concluded his speech .

There was a brief silence ,when crowd was too spell bound to react . A huge sound erupted from Siri Fort Auditorium after that. people were clapping vigorously, their heart thumping and palms sweating. Glow on their faces was telling that after a long time someone has restored their sense of child like wonder ,their curiosity , their sense of self worth. They knew that this euphoria is temporary and it will vanish with the first brush of reality outside of this auditorium . That made them clap hard to feel it more intensely, to savor it while it last .

Professor Dawkins bowed , requested them to settle down . after a minute or two when audience was settled HE invited questions. He always hated that part .his aversion was for many reason . He had delivered the same lecture at more that 50 places in last 3 months. Answering same set of question. More than the redundancy he was annoyed with the superfluous-ness of questions. For a thinker- author like him , questions were not just an opportunity to clear any possible doubt or ambiguity in reader’s mind .for him at least the real joy of answering comes from the sort of vindictive pleasure It offers. The joy of knowing that there are people who think about what he write and try to implement it in their life . To know that he is not alone . that feeling of intellectual stimulation was the only high known to him . But sadly such question were few and far in between. His book has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide but He knew that most of them were gathering dust of shelves. They never got read .

such is the nature of this business sir” his agent told him long back “ they buy your book based of review in some paper but chances are that they won’t be reading it beyond first few chapters. unless they are stuck in some godforsaken trans Atlantic flight and have nothing else to do. Most of your books will end up on a book shelve next to some hardcover binding of Shakespeare .”

“Is it a good thing?? “ he asked, amused .

“ are you sure you want to hear my honest reply “ His agent asked him

“I would like to do that very much indeed . Why are you even asking ?” his eyes were focused on his face .

“you might not agree or you might dislike them” he replied

“ I am well accustomed to both of the situations . so you can feel free to speak your mind “

” Well, in a way good and in a way bad . Good because you are respected like them, you have secured your name in history. Bad because your respect comes from the very fact of being like a person who didn’t belong to our time . Long since dead or born ahead of its time . it doesn’t matter which way . What matter is that you are labeled “Not One of Us” and that will fail the very purpose you write .because that “not one of us” label is a guarantee that your writing will fail to bring any significant change in world “.

Professor Dwakins nodded in agreement

“is there any way to bring that change ? for real “

“I don’t know , but I know that if there is a way than its not based on logic . people don’t want to think logically as you want them to . its way to hard for them . Specially when they have an easy alternative at their disposal “

“and what is that ?”

“GOD ,Religion and Mysticism. These constructs Shift reason –cause-accountability to God. You see, God might not be a best solution but it work in most cases “

“Like a Dope. A sedative Keeping you in ignorance .In denial “

“So is your work. Prey tell me Sir , how does reading your book will help me worry less about the mortgage I have to pay next month , my son’s college Fee next year or the Annual vacation which I am missing for past three years? They won’t.”

“And church can ?”

“Church will tell me that “Its god’s will . I have no control over it “ so I will give up . once you admit that you don’t have control on your life . you seize to be responsible for it . your work try to instill that sense of control thus make them responsible for their own life .That’s why they are uncomfortable .they won’t have any one to blame. To put it logically they choose Fate inflicted pain over choice inflicted responsibility “

“so you suggest that any change in society can be bought only by mean of a sedative ignorant faith not by an informed logic”

“ There are audience for both. but sadly for you, the size of former is way too large than the later . you see its human nature to choose path of least resistance. when you are fighting an adversary who thrive on faith . Logic should not be your weapon of choice”

“hmm it makes sense ..but that what should I do “

“ Wait…OR Ask Pope to endorse your views” agent said in sarcastic humor

“ I will prefer to wait “ Professor Dawkins replied smiling .

For some reason Dawkins was thinking of his conversation today . May be because he was too tired after a long haul flight . the conversation remind him about the futility of upcoming Q&A session so he was not very inclined . He has to do it any way. He sighed silently and invited question.

Rahul was first one to raise his hand . A volunteer brought a microphone to him . He cleared his throat and spoke . His question was related to the last line of lecture “

‘Toward the end of your speech you mentioned that Evolution is the driving force of Life in planet .and as we all know that since every species which has existed will be extinct sooner or later . so what kind of evolutionary challenge do you see human race will be facing in next 50 , 100 or 500 years”

Professor Dawkins was somewhat intrigued by his question .

“ How is this related to my talk ?”

“Well . In a way it is Sir . Because As we are making more and more progress we are more and more in control of our environment . its very unlikely that Like Dinosurous of Jurassic era we will be face any existent threatening Evolutionary challenge in the form of physical danger . My thinking is that our next evolutionary obstacle will be in our head . We will be needed to undergo a mental or psychological adaptation. At that time religion can come handy . we can fall back on it .Since Religion has a track record of being far more efficient in controlling the mental behavior of masses. Don’t that validate the need of religion “

Very few people in audience understood the question but those who did .they looked at Rahul with an appreciative glance . Now their eyes were fixed on the man on stage . stakes were high.

IT was a good question . The one which he has never faced before . He wasn’t expecting it here . not tonight when he was tired .There was a pause. He tried to think but he was unable to do so He looked Rahul from the dais. He can make out that Rahul was a young man of medium built . with a denim trouser and green sweater . He thought of his agent and the conversation he had with him . than He spoke

“ It’s a very good question young man, I m impressed . Anything which survived for centuries must be having some value .I agree. However if you are trying to make a point that need of religion is validated because of its efficiency in controlling our independent autonomous mind. Than so is true for things like Hypnotism.” He took a pause , catching up on his breath and collecting his thought than he started again

“You are right .Evolution is a strange game . it never finishes , some species looses it but no one ever win and no one is ever evolved enough that they can be exempted from playing the next level . But Ladies and gentlemen, more strange than the dynamics of evolution is our approach to it . Human race is the only race who is aware of the game and its rules but time and again we fool our self by believing that we are evolved, We are arrived, our struggle is over. Time and again we are in for a rude shock of reality check .We will not be here forever. we will vanish someday in future. How will this happen I don’t know . Will it be a failure to adjust to a mental adaptation which will bring us down ? May be .But relying on religion to save us doesen’t sound like a good plan to me . I guess we will have to live with the uncertainty that When our time will be up we will be extinct. “ Proff .Dawkins stopped.

Who decide when is the time ?” Rahul asked

No one .

No One ?? really ?

What do you want me to say ?? God ? “ Professor Dawkins joked

No . I thought you would say Pope Jhon Paul II . that would have been more like you “ Rahul Replied

There was a roar of laughter on stage followed by a laughter in audience . Many of them didn’t get the joke but laughed anyway. Proving once again that Professor Dawkin’s agent was right about them.

§§ §§ ----------------- §§ §§

It was only 7 :00 PM on a cold winter evening but a blanket of fog had already started taking Delhi in its fold .Streets were full of people stumbling over each other on zebra crossing , stepping on fellow commuter’s toes on pavements, Riding bikes while talking something inconsequential on their cell phone tucked between their head and shoulders , Crammed in buses , stretching lazily in their cars. Honking aimlessly at red lights just to remind themselves that they are alive. There were all sort of people . But in spite of their superficial differences these people were similar in one respect . they were clockwork robots . Drifting through their lives mechanically. Most of them were rushing home. Where a hot cup of tea will be awaiting them to help them fight the menace of winter. This cup of tea will be followed by a god hot meal and when all that fail to help they will resort to the oldest method of fighting cold known to man . the way of flesh . they will hump, they will sweat, they will exhaust ,they will sleep. Only to wake up to yet another day of aimless drifting . Never in their life they will realize what they are missing and it won’t bother them . Rahul didn’t wanted to be one of them. He didn’t hated them but He hated the fact that he was, in spite of his ambition still one of them. An Inconsequential cog in the machinery . He always believed that he was different .He was special. He was here to do something . To accomplish something which has not been done by anyone before him. His problem was he didn’t knew what it was . with every passing day he used to think that he has lost 24 hours . He has lost 24 hours and he was still not any better than men on street. He wanted to rise above them. This inertia was something which used to make him restless in evening and keep him awake in night .

“But today I might be able to sleep peacefully . Today is a special day . I had made some definite progress. I have got validation “ Rahul thought as he looked down from Banquet hall on the 7th floor of Hotel Hyatt Regency .

Banquet hall was bustling with activity . Hotel staff was busy serving its guests. And they were very special guests. Party was full of VIPs from all walk of society. Everyone from Academicians to bureaucrats , and Politicians to industrialists were their .Rahul Knew most of them and if they talked he would have shocked them with his knowledge about their life . But contrary to his usual out going talkative nature He was standing quietly in a corner today. He was enjoying this moment . He was thinking about the funny event of the evening which brought him here. He remembered how when he was on his way out after Proff. Dawkin’s speech. He was approach by a bloke named Lawrence who told him that that Dr .Dawkins wanted to have a word with him and invited him to a cocktail party which some academics from India were giving in his honor.

Rahul Agreed …He was elated to know that his intellectual hero whose work gave him much needed intellectual friction wanted to meet him . He never thot of himself important enough. He was happy to see him from a distance , ask a question . But never in his wildest imagination he had thought that he will be guest of Dawkins. He was special tonite ,

"Would you like to have a beer sir a young girl from hotel staff asked him . She was of medium built , her delicate frame was wrapped in a in starched saari , uniform of hotel staff. She looked at her for a sec. She was pretty . more charming than most of the girls in room . If it was not for the obvious truth that she was a hotel employee . perhaps he would have loved to talk to her. But somehow she wasn’t seemed like a worthy conquest . All Thanks to her uniform. But He kept on looking .

“A beer sir ?? “ She asked again smiling

Yes , Of course “ Rahul said with a casual air and picked up the glass with a smooth swing of his hand .

He didn’t looked at her. He acted as if its just another day for him , that he is totally at home at the most expensive hotel in NCR. And his new found validation gave him confidence to put up a realistic fa├žade to his eagerness. Many people passed by him , some smiled to him some nodded . some shook hand with him , congratulated him for a good question . But he sensed they were fake. It was not his question or the quality of question that was making them talk to him . He knew that they were talking to him because He was there , He was different from them . Standing alone , confident in a dirty jeans and sweater . That confident aloofness was something which was attracting people to him . but he knew that this was kind of confidence was not his intrinsic , default state of mind . On any ordinary day he was a ordinary guy with some extraordinary thoughts . full of self doubt and uncertainty. Every single one of the people who talked to him would not have given him a second glance .

they can identify the effect not the cause . they are here for result not for potential .only a wise man can identify the potential and respect it He said to himself and mentally thanked Dr Dawkins. He knew he won’t be meeting many people like him .

“But isn’t the same thing YOU did sometime back” Faint little voice said in a sarcastic tone.

“You mean that waitress ? “ Rahul said

Yes. You dismissed him . inspite of witnessing the same flare in her which the Proff saw in you .You failed to pay back Rahul faint little voice said .

Pay back ?? what should I have done ? ask her out for date ? “ Rahul replied defensively

No . but you shouldn’t have projected your self as someone different from her . You are not Faint little voice said .

You know you are actually right .I will try to correct my mistake tonite if she come across again .Happy ??“ Rahul said

“ You better “ faint little voice said as she trailed off

Rahul started looking for the girl again . very soon he found her . His eyes were locked at her as he navigated his way toward her .He noticed that Her hairs were neatly tied ,not a strand was out of place .Her lipstick was neatly done not a stroke was flowing out from liner . Lines of her eye brow were making a perfect arch . She moved in measured steps . On his way he passed by a giant mirror . He looked at him self . he was looking like a de shelved student . his hairs flowing in different direction . his shirt un tucked . he hasn’t even shaved his beard for two days.

The stark contrast made it clear to him . “ She always color with in the line , she always try to live up to the expectations bestowed upon her by her surrounding .In my office I am not very different from her . I can afford to color out of line here because over here my stakes are low , she can’t because she do a job here

He understood the nature of her existence which was not very different from his own. Once he figure out the essence of people they don’t interest him anymore . walked past her. He abandoned his plan to give her the ray of hope , her validation .

He stood behind the pillar and looked at her “ I know you need that validation . I know you need it badly to reinforce your believe that you are special . but I won’t be giving it to you . I am not good enough to live up to the role. May be I will be doing it someday , for someone else . But not today not for you . I hope you find someone better to reinforce your confidence. Till than good luck my friend . you have a tough battle ahead .”

“Mr.Rahul . Proff Dawkins , is waiting for you at coffee shop .” Lawrence said breaking his chain of thought .

“Thanks .I will go at once “ Rahul said .

He looked at her for one more time and headed toward Coffee shop . Expecting to see Proff. Dawkins , looking forward to a good intellectually stimulating conversation. Not knowing that there was something else in store for him .