Old Man and the World
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns, Top Stories

Old Man and the World

April 4, 2022

As a very senior citizen of this country, I have seen stray cases of violence, for various reasons, among individuals and communities. This is not as disturbing, repulsive and mind-numbing as what I had read about the violence that was accompanied with brutal killings, rape, arson and looting of innocent men, women and children, mainly for the reason of religion. And yet “we” affirm our faith in religion as one that brings peace.

Right now a war is raging in Ukraine. Wonder what would be the fate of the near and dear ones; wives, children, parents, et al, of those soldiers and even civilians killed, in this mindless violence, war.

Think of those who abandon their homes and property, where their forefathers lived, and leave the country hoping to save their lives and to begin, hopefully, a new life. Like our own Kashmiri Pandits. Over 100 crore fellow Indians and their leaders could not protect them. Why? No religion, nor the Gods of the many religions we have, could protect them.

It is while ruminating about this kind of happenings in our world that I was made to wonder why only they suffered in this violence and not I or the remaining people? Probably, myself and others were lucky NOT to be in those zones of violence. Did I say luck? It is also called destiny. Or fate. Think of our students caught in the raging war in Ukraine!  Lucky we have a Prime Minister who ‘delivers’ and they returned home safe except for one Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagoudar, the unlucky.  Well, he might be asking the God the question: O, God Why Me? .

I guess, life treats every individual differently at different stages of his life — child, student, professional, old man and death — some have painful death of long suffering while some others have peaceful death, like Khushwant Singh who died at age 99 in his sleep.

This was the reason why the Old Testament had declared, “I came, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

Well, the sad part is this favourable “time and chance” does not in real life happen to “them all.” Think of Ukraine people and Kashmiri Pandits of recent 32 years old. A few days back I read a WhatsApp message. Let me reproduce it as I read it:

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CCTV footage of Vinayak Hospital, Mumbai

Dr. Sunitha, a Specialist Cardiologist, died due to a massive heart attack while on rounds, leaving no time even for her staff to do anything. Nothing in life is certain.

I don’t think anyone can get more immediate medical attention than this doctor and being a Cardiologist, one would assume she was getting all medical tests done… Looking at these visuals, one realises that no matter what, when the time comes, no one can save you…So friends, let’s live an honest, healthy and life full of gratitude with friends and family… When the time comes, we all have to go…

Let’s train our minds to be happy, healthy and stress-free under all circumstances…”

The last para is well-written but is it possible to follow these precepts in our daily life of drudgery, the rat-race to earn a living despite odds?

And what would one do when circumstances change as in Ukraine or Kashmir? I am not sure.

Another WhatsApp I read is about the famous actor Will Smith and connected to the unpleasant incident that happened on the day of the Oscar Award presentation in LA, America. Will Smith repents and deeply regrets his violent act of slapping the anchor Chris on stage. He says:

Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behaviour at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.

I would like to publicly apologise to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

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Look at the last sentence that says, “There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

I think there is also another world in the world we live where there is NO “love and kindness.”

Now the question is how to abjure hatred, violence? The question is how to teach love to the people who live in another world of violence? I thought religions would help. But looking at the world in all these over 80 years, I doubt.

But there is hope. Another WhatsApp rings in my phone: It says:

You are the only one in charge of your destiny. Unfair things may happen to you, unfortunate times may come to you, but you always get to choose how you respond. You can live in frustration and bitterness, or you can be the bigger person and just play the hell out of the cards you are dealt. The truth is that not a single person can choose the cards they receive, but everyone chooses how they play their cards.

Yes Sir, everyone chooses how they play the cards they receive. The mention of cards reminds me of what our Philosopher-President Dr. S. Radhakrishnan had written in one of his books:

Life is a game of Bridge. We did not invent the game nor design the cards; we did not frame the rules and we cannot control the dealing. The cards are dealt out to us whether they be good or bad. But, we can play the game well or play it badly. A skilful player may have a poor hand and yet win the game. A bad player may have a good hand and yet make a mess of it.

Our life is a mixture of necessity and freedom, chance and choice. We may not change events, but we can change our approach to event.”

Now then, what beneficial role religion has in our life?

Om Sat Chit Ananda

Enough for this evening.

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4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Old Man and the World”

  1. Chamanlal Maneklal Ghia says:

    Mr Ganapathy, as the war is raging in Ukraine, what your wonderful Pm Mdi, who you admire so much, can do is to bring ALL Indian students home who went to study there, because all Indians quote Indian philosophy and Old Testament, India in reality is a cesspit of sins, of which nepotism, casteism and corruption figure prominently. These students went there, because these 3 sins that every indian institutions and those in power suffer from, denied them a meritorious admission route.

  2. Howdy, Modi! says:

    Hello Mr Ganapathy
    Your favourite PM Modi, who you consider as the PM India has produced, in supporting Putin for this Ukraine atrocity, has not airlifted all the Indian students in Ukraine, leaving a few thousands there, who are begging every Western journalist, to help them to get out. Nouse in shedding crocodile tears lamenting about the situation there.
    “Dr. Sunitha, a Specialist Cardiologist, died due to a massive heart attack while on rounds, leaving no time even for her staff to do anything”
    Very sad. But, a specialist cardiologist drops dead with a massive heart attack while on duty? Only in India this happens, as these Indian doctors consume fatty meals, and do little exercise. Indian doctors, particularly cardiologists look obese.
    Your columnist Javeed Nayeem, who boasts about his credential as a cardiologist through articles and anecdotes, was rushed to hospital with chest pains and underwent angioplasty to unblock his clogged artery, a few years ago! He still looks sill. But he has never stopped writing about how certain famous person-whenever this person appears in the news, saying that he invited that person to enjoy a plate full of kebabs and samosas, over a cup of tea! That kind of consumption of food, no wonder clogged his arteries.
    These are the cardiologists that India has!!

  3. boregowda says:

    So over 1.4 billion plus Indians only ONE person can change India while the rest will keep twiddling their thumbs shabaash!

  4. Questo says:

    Mr Ganapathy
    Only Yanks use the term: ” senior citizen’.
    Best to describe yourself or any one of your age as ‘old man’ or ‘elderly person’, which the rest of the World uses. Hence, drop this term.
    Yanks do not hesitate to use the term’ young guy’ not ‘ junior citizen’ to describe some one in their early 20s for example, then what is the problem of merely referring an old male as ”old man” ?
    I think when it comes to elderly Americans, the US do not treat them well at all, say in the case of healthcare.
    Americans work well into their 80s, because of the health insurance, which is employer-driven. Their Medicare for the elderly is hardly adequate. In Europe , for example, where the term ‘elderly’ or ‘old’ is used, the older citizens get free prescriptions, free travel around the city by bus or metro, and other benefits too. Hence, they retire in their 60s.

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