At least two laws of life and death cannot be questioned. One is that human beings come to this world alone (barring cases of twins or more delivered at the same time) and depart alone (barring the now-banned sati). The second law is that death is unavoidable, being a certainty. The journey from the cradle to the grave as it were for every human, short in some cases and lengthy in the rest, is marked by joyful times as well as sad moments, healthy years as well as times of getting battered by various diseases, periods of excitement and moments of depression, days of affluence and those of cash-crunch, riding on hopes and beaten by disappointment, enthusiasm in some moments as well as disinterest at other times and so on. These features of life owe a great deal to many factors listing which is beyond the scope of this column, except to pinpoint the hard-to-accept factor captured in the idiom as you sow, so you reap.
We owe it to the wise fraternity in society for spelling out proverbs and idioms that carry clinching messages that not only portray the many side to human character but also remind us about common human frailties. The idiom Two is company, three is crowd puts paid to the commonly stated gregarious nature of human beings. In the life of those who outlive their spouse, the prospect of living alone looms large. Given reasonably good health, not to be active either physically or mentally or socially results in loneliness and even depression.
The saying that sharing life’s experiences of sadness with others reduces the load on one’s mind by half while sharing experiences of joy doubles the enlivening spirit. Centuries of traditions marked by various festivals of the land and customs of its people bringing together the diverse sections of society have been the hallmark of India’s culture still intact in rural parts but fading in urban spaces. The most visible difference between the urbanites and the rustics is the lack of amity between neighbours in the bustling cities of the country, a familiar scenario in the western countries. The colonial rule of India by the British is often discredited for the divide-n-rule style of governing the land and its people, stoking mutual hatred among the people following different faiths and identified under various ethnicity, resulting in feeling of isolation amidst the masses.
Now, it is the same Britain where the administration has launched an initiative to tackle isolation and loneliness, said to be bugging an estimated nine million people in that country. According to a report published by a widely read daily last week, the British government has appointed its first ever Minister for Loneliness to help address the need of the target sections in the population, particularly the elderly.