So, I just finished watching the movie – ‘The Judge’ on Netflix. At a high level, it’s a very simple story about a son who returns to a small town from where he ran away but comes back to defend his father, who is the judge. But what stood out to me was the human drama and emotions that go with it. The actors and the director did a brilliant job showing it and not telling it. In the end, the father died. And what came to my mind was – ‘Death or dying is one experience that we all will go through but cannot tell a soul about it.’
We all play out the stories in our heads as life, and surprisingly enough, the world still seems to make sense. We are a bunch of contradictions, and life still makes sense. In the movie, there is a scene where one actor says to another, ‘I love how you are simultaneously the most selfish and the most generous person at the same time. I love how you hate a bully while being one.’ Isn’t that true for all of us? We are all our heroes and anti-heroes. If we were not that, life would be very dull.
This grey line is most evident in India, where if things go as planned, you are very lucky. Here we have people who refuse to take medicines because they believe in God, and we also have hospitals known for providing world-class care. Most of the big technology companies have Indian-born CEOs, and a large part of India still believes in some supernatural. In India, you live in a world where your pizza bill is more than what you pay your maid monthly. People approach you randomly to ask for money for the bus fare, and you have people who give away money for free food. You have big mansions overlooking slums. You have people with prestigious degrees but drink the soup made of sacrificial goat or chicken because they do not want to risk angering the gods. Here you have loudspeakers blaring above the sign, which states, ‘ No horn zone.’ You have youngsters who go to the most expensive restaurant but will still eat from the street side stops when the craving hits. The contradictions never stop. Even geographically, we are a country of extremes – from snow to hot plains, sea to the desert. The diversity in this tiny mass of land is unbelievable.
We have people who commit atrocious crimes, and we have had enlightened beings like Ramana maharishi and countless others. And that means that Indians can recognize an enlightened being – it is difficult to understand enlightenment because you need to go beyond logic to believe in that. In most western countries, if you had somebody like Ramana Maharishi, would they have gotten the same kind of reverence as they did in India? A person who does not do anything but sits all day long – that’s in essence at an outer level what Ramana Maharishi did.
My good friend Ranjani and I talked about it once – that we are both MBA graduates, but we believe there is something to be said about the supernatural (or something that our senses cannot understand) in India. As an example, my parents built a new house in our village. And on the day of the housewarming, an eagle dropped a snake in our courtyard. My grandmom immediately took my mom to see a spiritual priest see what it means, and do the needful.
You may pass it on as coincidence or ignore it as superstition or believe this is a sign from the universe. The question here is not what is the right thing, but do you have enough wisdom to let it be without judgement.
Are you able to let others’ opinions, however contrary they may be to yours still – BE?