Saturday, October 17, 2015

Much Better

In my favorite TV sitcom 'Frasier', Niles asks his brother,"What happened to 'less is more'?"
Frasier responds with- "Ah, but if less is more, just think how much more 'more' would be."

That's what makes the world spin isn't it - the desire to have more, to do more, to be more, to be... better?
I assume that the common answer to that question would be yes. Make the bitter butter better, to quote. But when one has achieved a decent level of goodness, one must not answer hastily. Things could get uncomfortable for the overly zealous. For example, what if a vegetarian decided to take the penultimate plunge and vow he would never kill mosquitoes again? He'd say, "The blood of the Universe and all its creatures flows through my veins. Let my mosquito brothers and sisters partake of it freely." Death by malaria would follow quickly. Even if it didn't, he'd probably go mad and end up killing all his adoring disciples (because we all know a person can't talk like that and not attract worshipers).

There seems to be a cut off point for goodness when it comes to those who want to embrace everyday life, as opposed to those retire to the mountains for some heavy-duty meditation. The latter can 'go good' all the way. The rest of us have to hold back to survive each other.

I was driving along a road near my house on my Scooty when I noticed an old, bent woman shuffling along in the hot sun. I usually stop and offer a ride to the elderly, so I pulled up beside her and asked her. She was a bit deaf, so the conversation quickly became a shouting match. She also appeared to be partly blind; the cataracts in her eyes were severe. She said she didn't need a ride as she lived nearby, but she could use Rs.10. I silently gave it to her. That's when her brain kicked in with a vengeance. Through her milky orbs, she recognized a compassionate cash cow. All she needed to know was where I lived, and so she proceeded to interrogate me. I tried pointing vaguely, but she kept at it till I smiled, said goodbye and drove away, shaking my head in amusement. Easily 80 years old, multiple sensory organs on the fritz, and yet this woman responded to goodness with greed. I don't blame her completely; the sum of her life experiences have led her to learn that lesson and live by it. Even if she is one out of ten who reacted that way, with the others being nothing but grateful, she still reiterates what I'm saying- I held back, because I knew that if that I'd been purely kind and showed her to my home, she would have made me regret it. Even our acts of kindness have to be tamed by caution.

So, if I met Betty of the limerick- the one who tries desperately to make her bitter butter better, I'd tell Betty to embrace the bitter instead. Like good, decent folk, maybe that butter shouldn't be made any better!

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