Really! What do you mean?

Letter from New Delhi

When you speak the word ‘really’ it can mean different things. Depending on how you say it, the word can express surprise, shock or ask a question.

When you write down this word by itself, it can mean any of these expressions because it is flat. This shows the power and the significance of the spoken word that is much superior to the written word.

Since writing was invented many millennia after man learnt to speak, the spoken word came much later. And it has also survived longer. The written word is carved on stone, metal or wood and all of these keep decaying. Later, it was written down on early paper or papyrus with ink; and most of these scrolls have decomposed or destroyed. A few are preserved in museums.

Then the book arrived. Again, a book deteriorates with time. Even a book printed on good quality paper with good quality ink and with good binding will decay after a few decades, if not earlier. The latest technique to share the written word is by eBooks. In this digital age, the manuscript is an electronic file subject to accidental deletion or a virus attack. In any case, it is not solid and so it is no wonder that printed books are called ‘hard copy’.

Despite all these advances in sharing information, knowledge and wisdom, the spoken word remains firmly in place. The religious scriptures are memorized studiously, recited correctly and handed down from generation to generation. The meaning can never change. The interpretation does.

Thus the great religious scriptures have survived despite the march or the so-called progress of civilization. Why? Because they are the spoken word. The so-called bestsellers come and go like leaves in the wind leaving hardly any tracks.

There are books of the minute on some immediate topic or happening; books of the hour on some trend or fad and then there are books of the year that survive for their contributions. But the eternal books are religious books that remain even beyond the classics.

Osho’s books are all spoken as they are direct dialogues between the master and his disciples. They are living, breathing words pulsating with life and about his ultimate experience. To read an Osho book is to be impressed by his vision and unlimited horizon. To hear Osho is to establish a direct contact with him through his seductive voice that changes all the time and adds new meanings with his intonation, stress and, most significantly, his pauses. All these add new and deeper meanings to his words that can be missed in cold print.

And finally, watching him on the screen brings him a whole lot closer to you. As you gaze and get lost into his eyes, marvel at his expressions and enchanted by his gestures, and finally, become awed by his fluency, you are present real close to him.

So you can read Osho for his thoughts, listen to Osho for his meanings and watch Osho for the total experience. You still prefer his books… really?

Kul Bhushan worked as a newspaper editor in Nairobi for over three decades and now lives in New Delhi

* * *

Ant and Grosshopper – The Indian Version

Original Story: The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer, building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs, dances, plays the summer away. Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

Indian Version: The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer, building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs, dances, plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

NDTV, BBC, CNN, Asianet show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The world is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant’s house.

Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter.

Mayawati states this as ‘injustice’ done on Minorities.

Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Indian government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper.

The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support for the Grasshopper (many promising Heaven & Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance).

Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for ‘Bengal Bandh’ in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.

CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers.

Railway minister allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the ‘Grasshopper Rath’.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act’ (POTAGA), with effect from the beginning of the winter.

Education minister makes ‘Special Reservation’ for Grasshoppers in educational institutions in government services.

The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, its home is confiscated by the government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV, BBC, CNN.

Arundhati Roy calls it ‘A Triumph of Justice’.

Railway minister calls it ‘Socialistic Justice’.

CPM calls it the ‘Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden’.

Koffi Annan invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Many years later…

The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar

company in Silicon Valley. Hundreds of Grasshoppers still die of starvation (despite reservation) somewhere in India… and as a result of losing lot of hardworking Ants and feeding the Grasshoppers, India is still a developing country…!!


* Published in print edition on 7 February 2014

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