FLIGHT WITH EGRETS
It is raining outside. I look out of the window. I see the wet green of the tree and many white dabs on the green and the peeping grey-blue spots of the sky through the green as well. It has stopped raining. But life on the tree is still and motionless. Maybe there’s a puff of breeze, now and then, and the green sways a bit to the right then it sways back, again it moves to the right, and again it comes back, now it sways to the left a bit. This little dance to the tune of the breeze is in keeping with the puffs of breeze. With this the blue peeks of the sky also choose to peep through different peep-holes. Some of the white dabs take to wings only to take the shortest of short flights to perch beside another white dab still unmoved. These white dabs are, in fact, egrets which we call bagula. Again I see some of them take a short flight to come back and sit either alone or by the side of another egret.
My mind takes a flight.
How peaceful is the life of birds! Why birds alone, why not the life of all the animals? And trees? The entire animal kingdom and the plant kingdom are peacefully and beautifully organized. And mind you, these kingdoms conduct themselves so well even without kings or governments. They follow the rule of life from Nature so well. And, when they do that they do not need countless support of numberless institutions that the so called superior species, the homo-sapiens, now so helplessly need.
Let’s have a look at the support systems the human beings need. Can they live without medical system? They can’t, because they’ve lost on the way, how to live naturally and die naturally, like the birds and other animals, and of course, the trees and plants.
While the other life-forms live naturally, they don’t need clothes. Their natural clothing: skin, hide, feather, fur for animals and birds and bark for trees, is all they have and all they need to protect their bodies in all weathers. In contrast, Man needs clothing and different clothing for changing seasons and different places. In addition, Man needs clothes not only for just needs but also for luxury and fashion. Perhaps the most basic requirement for Man besides these improved modifications of human-attire, was the primordial fig leaf to hide shame, unlike the other life-forms.
I suspect, when Man found fig leaf to ‘hide’, both Adam and Eve, learnt their primary lessons in hypocrisy.
The wisest among the wise men, then, must have thought of fortifying the grains of honesty by introducing religion and the religious laws. But alas! The clever men (and women) have always found ways and means to dodge these rules.
Like the system of religion, over historical periods of time, different sets of wise men must have come with similar support systems, like education, medicine, judiciary, governance, architecture and so on.
Within the system of religion, they must have thought of the institution of marriage and within the system of education they must have thought of economics and consequently money and property. Thus must have come into existence the concepts of relationships like husband and wife, mother and father and families. Thus must have come into existence the concept of ownership of money and land. Other institutions, in the same way, must have taken shape and thus they must have come to stay.
Man, thus, had, and still has, to follow two sets of rules: the rule of life and the rule of law. The rule of law includes all laws, like religious laws, judicial laws, social and cultural laws, conventions and traditions. Compared to Man, other life-forms are perhaps better off; they have to follow only one set of rules: the rule of life, whereas Man has to live and struggle under the tension between the rule of life and the rule of law. In the process, hasn’t Man denaturalized himself and euphemistically uses the words ‘civilization’ or even ‘sophistication’ for denaturalization?
Man, like a river, needs embankments of strong sets of discipline, to become human and even super human, just as a river does to become ‘sea’.
Stagnated water, on the other hand, struggles to break free and in process, makes a few mischievous let outs, eroding the rocks and leaking through the crevices. Confused human mind, similarly, craves for freedoms that invariably lead to erosion of values set up through rules of law.
When I hit the solid earth after this flight with the egrets, I wholeheartedly adore the egrets: they don’t smoke, they don’t drink, they don’t ‘hide’ and they don’t lie!
Thank you, egrets, for this loose sally of mind!
First published in Daily Times
(From my recently published book LEARN ENGLISH & FOLLOW UP ESSAYS)