I really think God has been very remiss. He sent me down on Earth but neglected to put in an appropriate instruction manual on how to lead a life - more specifically, how to deal with my fellow-man. It really would have been helpful to know, say, that if a man has green eyes and long sideburns, he should be trusted; if a woman had long tapering fingers, she would be compassionate etc. etc. I mean, if you knew where you stood with people you could live an easier life. Like, when you have money to invest, you could just scroll through your list of friends for one with a wide forehead and prematurely graying hair, and if you wanted great company, you could look for one with a bulbous nose and bloated belly...things like that.
It is all very fine to say that you have brains to judge people with...the thing is that YOU may be equipped with a Quadcore processor and all that; what if all there is in my head is only data storage. Shouldn't I be equipped with at least a minimal app that has clear guidelines about how to select from a given set of options?
Thankfully, this unpardonable omission by God has been rectified by some great people, who may or may not claim to be speaking for Him. I learnt of how useful they can be, along with the reassuring fact that I was not alone in my predicament, when I was at a friend's house and his sis, who was then a House Surgeon at AIIMS, came in distressed.
"What a dismal day! There was this man from Haryana, who was operated upon today and we had put in tubes to evacuate his urine and feces. When he learnt that I had done the surgery on him, he yanked out the tubes before anyone could intervene. When I told him how dangerous it was, he casually says 'Put it in'. Had I been a man, he probably would have taken me seriously. Now, he is unlikely to survive"
Clause 23 A, Chapter 3 of the instruction manual provided to the man must have said, "Women belong in the kitchen and can do nothing worthwhile in the outside world." I envied him his confidence in dealing with women - a confidence that could not even be touched, leave alone shaken, by any of the stupid fears of personal safety that afflicts the bravest of us in hospitals. See, how confident the existence of an instruction manual made him? True, his confidence, probably, cost him his life but that was not the fault of the manual - it is the fault of people who had failed to live by it - the women who stepped out of home, the hospitals that employed them etc.
I ached to get some instruction manual that would rid me of all need to worry about people. Something that said in clause 27 E, Chapter 3, that women who dressed in anything other than a sari, were promiscuous; in clause 14 A, Chapter 5, that people born black could not understand physics; in clause 6 F, Chapter 8, people who could not speak English in YOUR accent had no brains - things like that. I am not too nitpicking about the clause numbers OR the chapter numbers OR even the nature of guidelines - as long as there were some.
I was still searching. Though I did not find the manual for myself, I did find a lot of people who had found it and were living by it. AND, by God, the confidence it gave them! The unshaken sense of superiority with which they could deal with people, who had not had the brains to choose to eat 'Makki da roti and Sarson da saag', and had settled for stupid things like idlis and dosas - or the vice versa; the sense of deference for people who had invented the fork and the knife and taught them the best way to eat their aloo paranthas - or their masala dosas; the obdurate belief that women existed to serve men; the inviolable feeling of superiority by way of being born in a 'superior' caste - I was missing out on a whole lot by not having laid my hands on THE instruction manual.
You see, things would have been easier for me if I had known of only ONE instruction manual. The problem is that I knew that God, in His wisdom - if indeed it was He who sent out ALL those messengers - seems to have couriered different manuals by different messengers. NOW therein lies a problem. Were ALL of them messengers and were ALL those messages properly transcribed? Could it be possible, horror of horrors, that some of them were NOT His messengers and, even where the concerned people believed that it was a TRUE messenger, could they differ on what is the proper transcript of the message?
Confusion! Some of the followers of messengers claimed that ALL others were spurious messengers; within followers, there were differences on what the right transcript of the message was. Some instruction manuals were modified to suit the modern world, and others disputed the modifications. People went to war, set off bombs and threatened non-believers with Hell and damnation, if THEIR instruction manual was not adopted and followed.
The choice of the right instruction manual became SO vexing that it seemed easier to figure out how to act with people on a case-by-case basis. There were less people in my life than there were instruction manuals, after all.
I cannot help regretting the fact that I read too much and came to know about all the varieties of instruction manuals in the world. I should have kept my reading to just one. I would have been a far more confident person. It is easier to be confident when you are following a clear guideline than when you follow your own uncertain judgment. It also helps to just stop your brain from thinking.
Unfortunately, I seem to have a processor fitted in, after all, and cannot avoid thinking. Any guidelines on how to shut it up and fit in THAT minimal app?