Moments Winging By...|Sep 27, 2004 12:48 PM| by:

Looking the other Way

How often do you catch yourself saying something like this:

“Oh… so and so is to blame – he gave me the infection” or “I got the infection from x when she came into the room”.

Honestly? All – the – time.

I have successfully executed thirty years passing the buck onto someone else, pointing fingers, finding anything and anyone to hold responsible for everything from a common cold to chesty bouts of asthma or deep-sea diving levels of blood pressure. I even blamed my opponent in badminton for the pain in my knee!

It’s the stress, it’s the smoke, it’s the weather, its those angry vibrations, it’s the daily news… excuses, accusations. No end to them. In fact one would imagine finding a scapegoat is the first step towards recovery.

And so not surprisingly as I am currently weighed down with a case of the flu, I start thinking of a way to lighten the load on my suffering body, by naturally thinking of whom I can play the blame game with. There are already five people who come to mind who could have been the potential offenders. I do the usual… grumble in my mind and vow not to speak to any for a week. Which by the way is a very clever thing to do for I can’t speak as it is… my vocal chords having completely lost all power of self-assertion are quite in a state of sulk right now, leaving me at the behest of sign language and attempted ESP.

And then something strange happens – I begin reflecting a little… reflection seems to be a direct consequence of being vocally impaired in my case, since there is little else to do. Its another matter that I don’t talk to people very much, but the endless conversations with my several thousand personalities, aloud as well as in the secret chambers of my head, also seems to be suffering from this involuntary state of imposed silence.

Right, so as I was saying, I began doing that rarity called ‘thinking’, which in some cultures is known as ‘introspecting’, while in some others it is also pompously called  “meditative contemplation”… gosh, there’s no end to how important we make ourselves to be. Anyhow, the process began quite spontaneously, sort of sneaking into my scheme of things quietly by the backdoor. It was a few moments before I even realized that I was caught in the trap and compelled to follow it through… just wasn’t turning out to be my kind of day now, was it!

The initial blanks that one draws as the process of thinking commences is astounding… there are large blanks, interspersed with smaller ones. And once in a very exceptional while, there is a break point… a word that begins falteringly, stuttering into existence, stumbling upon its own impudent appearance in this world of utter blanks. But I attribute that to simply a case of stage fright. I mean, here we are, religiously, fanatically following the dictates of normal humanhood by never trying to think thoughtful thoughts and then this happens… a rare species actually tries to brave its way into the inner courtyard.

So after the initial hiccups of those few words, they managed to push and shove the small and big blanks out of the way and stumble into line. There were a few misplaced positions, for instance a word which was meant to be here but ended up standing on the far right, which as always, I was expected to put in order… a clear indication that humans are truly indispensable… but at the end of an exhausting session, everything seemed to be in place, just as man intended, which in some cultures by the way, is a miracle also attributed to God.

Cultural idiosyncrasies aside, the fact of the matter is that here I was saddled on the one hand with this rotten flu and a voice that is under some delusion of being a shy bride and hence staying in its quarters for the day, (which is for the best actually since if it were to emerge, it would be far from the sweet sounds of a lute under a pale moon and perhaps be more like a frog using the trunk of an elephant for a loud speaker) and on the other hand I now had to cope with the overwhelming possibility that this audacious stranger of a thought that had cropped up against my will, in my own turf, was quite possibly going to deal a sorry hand of cards.

Why sorry you ask?

Well, its like this – you remember that thing about ignorance being bliss and all that? If wise men were given medals, then the fellow who devised this one deserved the gold, no doubt about it.

My world of bliss was soon to be shattered as my gorgeously cocooned, nourished, nurtured state of ignorance was being hammered by those soldier-like words, totally disrespectful of my stooped, fever ridden appearance as they stood with their own chests out, oh so importantly. Manners are just so rare these days!

And, as I write this, woebegone though I am, incapable of speech as well, my comrades in ignorance, I must share with you the news that from now on, I shan’t be able to have the pleasure of tea on a sunny afternoon at our favourite village “Blameville”. For, no longer can I say that it was because of this or that that I am in a state of discomfort. All fingers seem to point in the direction of the north and dash it all, it seems I am the confounded north. There’s really no escaping it, and if the truth turns out to be that five potential offenders are culpable for passing on this wretched bagful of germs to the innocent me, then the larger truth is that the innocent me, was just too dim-witted to protect myself, too blind to see it coming, too arrogant to acknowledge its entry, too steeped in self-denial to effect any chance of recovery. In short, what the soldiers of truth had to say as they stood to attention, was this –  “Don’t Look the Other Way”.

No sir. Don’t look the other way, and you’ll see the whizzing microbes in time, enough to wipe that cheeky smirk off their faces. That’s what its all about. To be in a constant state of protection. To be in a state of purity that can only repel the ugly insolence of disease, not attract it… for didn’t the winner of the silver medal say, “Like attracts Like”?

Don’t look the other way… is what they shouted out in unison. And just when I started to get interested in what they were saying, for you see, I had some questions already chalked out and raised my hand to ask the first… who should come sweeping in but a blank… a big one followed by a confused entourage of small and medium sized ones and as I stood there and shouted my question in complete disbelief and desperation, all I heard was its echo as it resounded from the impact of falling on the soft blanks… “ But- how- do- you- know- which- “way”- is- the- “other”- wayyyyyy????

  • http://Website Kshitija Bhatt

    Thanks indeed for making me “see” the other way. Enjoyed the lanes and by-lanes of your thought process.

  • http://Website krishna

    As I read about the blame game (Looking the Other Way), I realized it was timely and I needed to read it in order to put some things in perspective.

  • http://Website Vaishali Lall

    We all are ever ready to blame the other and never accept the fact or see that even we stand somewhere on the same lines.