The World is Ending and That’s Alright
Seven years old, small and seated at the dining table, I made a guileless remark to my mother.
“ When I turn 10, there will be toothbrushes that can work for themselves”.
A week later, as I tune into the Mr.Bean show, I see Mister Bean using what seemed to be a toothbrush that worked for itself.
“ It’s an electric toothbrush”. My brother and my TV companion tells me.
The world was several steps ahead of me than I liked to believe. It left no room for more inventions. Anything marvelous that could exist already did. Every week at the supermarket, I would see something new. Condensed Milk in toothpaste tubes, green, blue and red straws shaped to look more thrilling than a roller coaster, fruit flavoured erasers that looked like different candies, and much more. And I wanted all of it.
This was almost a decade back. Young and naive, what did I know then of the buildings that grew and the rivers that dried. I was content with the world I created with lollipop erasers and ridiculous straws. In fact, many of my fondest memories of childhood have these two in scene. I grew up with promises of a beautiful world that waited for me. The future is fantastic. Science has conquered God.
When we grow up, we do not realise that we will never grow as much as the buildings that make our world. As children, we are let into the world , screened from the reality of things. News is news. That’s how things are in the news. As a kid, I believed that news was simply fiction or the bad side of the world. Murders, rapes and disasters are doomed for that unfortunate part of the world. They live separately and far far away from us. We are the lucky ones. Born with a husk that kept away these nightmares. Then, we grow a little and all it takes is one epiphany of a day to grasp the truth. Something happens to us and our husk peels off . This is the end. Evil lives among us. In the here. In the now. The world is thinning down to dust around us. It gets harder to breathe, coming home is an achievement enough, leaders no longer lead and there is a war brewing in the cities and in our minds. It’s easy to play the victim here, point fingers at anyone else but ourselves. Oh no, not ourselves. We have been good. We tossed money to beggars everyday. We helped our friend and made sure the whole world knew. We raised our children well and put them in institutions that practically broke our whole family. We regularly went to temples, mosques and churches. We were religious. Oh, so religious! Good god! What did we do to deserve this? But ah, as much as we would love to play the victim here, we are the villains. Cruel and competitive. For every “good” we did, we have been doing something bad for millenia. Nothing that we truly enjoyed came from a place of safety and love. There was a history of bloodshed to anything we enjoyed--- from our meals to our favorite governments . When ruthlessness was inherited, goodness had to be taught. We consumed and consumed and made palaces with plastic. It doesn’t matter if one of us rehabilitates and decides to become good, the trapping of our evils never leaves. They were here to stay. Plagues and viruses that we cannot fit into our mouths are out to get us. Needless to say, things are bad and we are responsible for it.
But I still believe that happiness has hope. Even in the bleakest of realities, we can find happiness in something or the other. We made each other’s lives worse. And we owe each other this much. The promise of happiness even when the worse comes to worst. When the world crumbles around us, I hope we have it in us to say a little sorry, hold each other’s hands, laugh at a silly inside joke and share the last sunset. Sure, nothing has meaning anymore. But it never did, to begin with. We are just another speck of stage that goes back over a billion years. This ancient universe is cold and unbothered by our existence. Nothing matters. Not really. Scary and freeing. What truly matters then is our own lives. We can make an honest commitment to people that make us want to keep living. Make them a little bit happier. This is our one shot at life and we get to decide how we want to live it. So, why not have some fun while we are at it?
“When the sky falls, when it crumbles, we will stand tall and face it all together”- Adele