It makes all kinds of people to make the world. How true is this adage! One evening long ago, I was strolling on the Marina beach. In passing, I examined the footsteps on the loose sand. There were several footmarks those made my gait difficult. Then a thought flashed across my mind. Wasn’t it hard to guess who walked before me -- from such footprints, a child or adult? Lo, it occurred to me: being far from the original, some impressions we leave on others' mind were far different than the original. Next I went nearer to the waves that broke ceaselessly on the shore. Another gem had occurred to me: didn’t species in sea outnumber those on the land? Underwater, they would live in peace, and worried the least about their differences. In fact, they thrive on them, excepting of course, ‘fish eating fish’ scenarios. Or at best they are bothered about this pollution threat from life on land.
Next, I had wondered: how many from our own kind have been working too hard in this world from the time immemorial, including Swami Vivekananda, to bring some semblance of order in human coexistence. Was not for this knowledge invasion, we would have been a quieter kind after all. When half the world is said to live on a single meal per day, and a minority wallowing in its wealth at the former’s cost, the rest must have only a great trouble with our own differences. This group has to walk on a tightrope, an insecurity thread, that lies always ahead. We suffer the competition which is nowhere perfect in the economics parlance. We, (again, I prefer to include many readers), are driven to play smart, to be one-upping in all the known spheres that have no trappings of a level- playing-field. Coming to physical level, we have to grab a seat in city bus, or economical one -- crave for wage rise/ profit margin that is always perceived to be wanting, or cultural arena -- we need some recognition in our subgroup... so on and so forth. Crossing all these hurdles and divisions supra, there is another thing that would cause the great difference, ego that I consider as common denominator for all our human groups. In fact, it differentiates us from animal world. Most wars are said to be fought, especially the Second World War, thanks to this ego. Right from birth, humans are self-taught to make out the differences in things.
Now, let me narrow down this scope to perception. A just-born looks at anything that moved before its eyes to perceives it as the breast alone. That was its first need to survive. In due course, the baby identifies the correct shape and curve other than touch and feel. At school and in play, the child adapts to a sub-group and the expectations from its elders. Later the society and classes creep in to be coped with, challenging us to find our own mark -- the difference. Each of us will try to make a difference, and at the same time conform too on many standards. During the waking hours, the need is to check whether we are on a firmer ground. We always check ourselves whether Blood Pressure is normal along with our sugar levels, as also if we weigh normal according to the recommended Body Mass Index. All these are routine concerns that are taken for granted that I didn’t deny. What bothered me at the end of the day, meaning that evening on the Marina beach, as the night had set in? Yes, it was an emotional aspect of living in society. Yes, it was a question of our self respect.
Self respect is the unique asset humans possessed and flaunted whether one has anything that matters such us money, health, and what not. It matters most, to recognize our own dignity in this large and intimidating world. Not losing it ought to be our endeavor, till we breathed our last. It is the reason why the majority sees a friend in whosoever would be helping us have, keep and enlarge the same. There is no qualification to merit its ownership. At the same time I wished everyone had kept their self respect intact, being duly obliged to pay back in kind to others. With this resolved question, I boarded a bus to reach my sister’s house. Sooner the bus conductor had asked me if I had any money to buy a ticket, in a language I was unfamiliar with, that I came around. After all, I guessed it was so, from the laughter his query generated from the other passengers.