MIDWAY: Life lesson

I never believed in utopian ideals that I thought were only figments of imagination. I deemed the concepts of ideal states postulated by the likes of Marx, Plato and Manu as bogus, if not downright ridiculous. For human life is far from a utopian ideal. During their short lifespan, human beings endured countless hours of suffering and sadness. But preferring to turn a blind eye to this simple fact, their curiosity for an ideal life never seemed to abate. Wasn’t this damning curiosity what led Adam to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden and condemned humans to life of misery and hardships?

Compare this to the lives of a pair of sparrows nestled atop a mango tree right next to my bedroom. The eggs have recently hatched and I can make out two hatchlings through my half-drawn curtains. I have made it a routine to watch the two babies being fed by the male when he returns to the nest after a tough day spent searching for food for the whole family.

Every evening, on quenching their hunger, the hatchlings pull themselves inside the nest. Now is the time for the parents to make merry. They join their beaks and caress each other’s nape tenderly. They fly from one tree to another, chirping and twittering. And they gossip with their friends, perhaps about an intrusive spectator who tries to spoil their fun. The two seem perfectly happy in each other’s company, at peace with the rest of the world.

Enlightenment. As I watch the duo, I keep recalling John Keats’ poem, An Ode to a Nightingale. It presents a cruel world where people die young against the ideal utopia of the nightingales... so many similarities with what I now behold. I no longer think that building of an ideal world is impossible. I rather question why that beautiful pair outside my window is so content. Certainly not because they have amassed a fortune or plundered someone to make themselves happy.

The most important thing to realise is that they get their basics right. Immune from lofty philosophy, they do the simple things the simple way. Yet humans don’t seem to see through their folly in trying to unearth meanings in the heap of incomprehensible, ignoring the most basic elements that constitute happiness.