SP Kachru

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Fated OR Faulted

by S.P. Kachru  

No sooner has one fallen foul of a stroke of fate, the know-alls are at hand. Comments rain down on the unfortunate victim from every quarter, all basically confirming that he has only himself to blame. A Heart attack - a clear case of bad food habits or too little exercise or too much of work. Has someoneís husband been cheating on her ? Then she must have been neglecting him. Thatís always a safe assumption. Or she has pampered and spoiled him so much that itís no wonder that he got into mischief. And why did she marry him anyway ? That was where she went wrong in the first place.

Oh, yes, I do believe in the good in man. That is precisely why I cannot believe that mere spite could be the root of all his abject behaviour. Surely not! Quite the contrary, it must be deeply engrained feeling of being no more than a pawn in the hands of the powers of fate and fortune. This feeling needs to be countered most resolutely.

We will be subject to blind and savage fate if we behave correctly. I, for one, most certainly wonít. Nothing can happen to me. After all, I am reasonable and sensible at all times and therefore perfectly safe. Alas! If only it were just that easy! That really would be fine. But who on earth has prophetic vision of all possible risks and opportunities ? And even if we did, and carefully looked right, who is to say that fate wouldnít take the opportunity and strike from the left at that very moment? Thatís the way it works. Of course, I shouldnít have pulled the steering wheel around so abruptly. But what can I do about it, if a big fat spider suddenly decides to crawl across my neck ? My own fault ? Yes, of course. But no one is immune to losing face to some extent, now and again. And what sort of life would we lead if we were determined to eliminate each and every risk ? After all, fate leaves thousands of culprits unchallenged, only to strike out so much harder against a single unfortunate individual. Certainly, not an ideal occasion to relish such a mean form of satisfaction.

Nevertheless, many other reasons can be found to counter such superficial judgement of fate, fault and fortune. At the end of the day, are not our own character, our power of judgement, our upbringing and our personal history Ė in short all that allthat brought us to do all that we have unfortunately done Ė all an integral part of our fate? Or do all these aspects no longer matter to us? Are we in a position to make independent decisions at any given point in time? Hard to say but one thing is certain; one is always wiser after the event. It is completely pointless to shout after a child has just fallen down a well "I told you so". I mean of what use is that ? Why bother to talk about it, now that is so obvious ly too late ? It is just as bad as decrying the dead.

Destiny on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish altogether. As is our attitude now towards any misfortune that we suffered in the past. We could claim that the ability to feel self-pity is one of characteristics distinguishing man from beast. But whose merit is that? One could be inclined to cite an animalís behaviour as a role model for man. But then one is quickly forced to reconsider. After all, the beast is too dumb to understand. Nevertheless, self-pity is a powerful temptation for mankind, and it takes plenty of energy to counteract it. It may be a pleasant sensation for a fleeting moment but believe me, I have tried it. It doesnít work.

By the way, compassion, the milder sister of self-pity, is something completely different. Quite often, this is the only thing able to soothe the pain. Let us all be gallant enough to hold back from our inclination towards arrogance the next time fate strikes one of our acquaintances. Let others make their piercing remarks, we want to try our hand at understanding and compassion. Let us not befool ourselves. We donít control our fate; it controls us. We must realize that it is the Fate that deals the cards and we have to play the hand.

Source: Milchar



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