ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
There is so much injustice in the world. A selfish few and millions are dying. Thousands die because of the greed of others. Because of the lust for power. Because of unkindness. Sometimes I feel helpless. What am I going to do now? Where will I go when college is over and I have to confront this desolate, barren world of ours? What will I do that will make a difference?
I don’t know. I thought it would come easy but it never does. Patriotism is misplaced. There is no Nepal, no Kathmandu, no Asia. There is only the world. Boundaries and borders are man-made, created out of nothing by people who only wished to divide and conquer. More important than the boundaries that appear on the map are those that exist in the mind. Maps change, countries grow and shrink with the coming and passing of leaders. But the barriers in the mind, they stay the same. So many people I know, still think in terms of us and them, the haves and the have-nots, the poor and the rich, India and Nepal. What we don’t realise is that these lines that we draw impede us. We spend so much time trying to cross these lines that we have little time left for what really needs to be done.
Just a few days ago, I had a long conversation with Shweta about Nepal, and its pitiful state. She was almost hysterical, telling me about how no one wanted to go back to Nepal. I explained to her that it was their own choice. That people have the freedom to choose, what they want to do and where they want to do it. It is not up to us to pass judgment. It doesn’t matter where you stay and what you do. What matters is that you do something worthwhile. That sometimes, it doesn’t have to be often, you think about someone other than yourself. It doesn’t take much to help and usually, you can always find something you can do, no matter what your skill is. If you’re a doctor, give free (or cheap) examinations to poor people like Sanduk Ruit does, if you’re an engineer, work for Habitat for Humanity for free, designing and building cheap housing, if you’re a writer, write about injustice and be the microphone through which blares the voices of the voiceless (like Arundhati Roy), if you’re a businessman, give money to worthy causes, set up businesses for poor people, loan out money at low-interest (like the Grameen bank). There are so many things you can do. You only need to think.
So Shweta, its not about where you do it, its about what you do. Take heart. Its not all lost. There will always be people who care, always people who want to help. And I know you’re one of them. Its a dystopian world, a failure of a world, but all we can do is try.
So here’s what I want to do. I want to go where I haven’t been before. I want to see all that I can of the pain and suffering that people go through. Not just in Nepal, everywhere. If you think that pain exists only in “third-world” countries, think again and look harder. And I’ll write, because I think its the one skill I have, the one thing I can do reasonably well. I’ll write for them and about them. And I’ll go back out before the rain starts a-fallin.
Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’,
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’,
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’,
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard,
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.
– A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Bob Dylan
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