If the characters, places and events of this allegorical short story remind you of real life people and happenings, let me assure you, dear reader, they were meant to.
First there was intrusion by treachery by a savage warmonger of the wilderness (hereinafter known as Ughs for his savagery and ugly ways), followed by breaking into the estate and a body blow which stunned the pious object of attack (Goody) who was not in the least prepared for it, having never even dreamt that such barbarism existed on earth. Then slow poison was injected for long periods of time with alarming regularity. Self esteem was sought to be crushed by brutal dishonoring of all that was loved and worshipped; demolition and desecration of symbols of faith; terror struck at noble hearts pining for spiritual solace … Ughs captured some children on the estate and gave them his own identity just as he would brand cattle and appropriate them as his own property. After a long period of life in captivity, the children soon forgot their original identity and began identifying themselves with Ughs.
One day Ughs was joined in his black deeds by a rival philanderer (Baddy) from the same wilderness as the former, with a different shade of the same kill-and-loot culture. Being, however, more organized in his sinister deeds, Baddy subjugated not only Goody but also Ughs, and proclaimed himself the lord and master of the estate which he systematically stripped off its fabulous riches. With Goody still reeling under the body blow from Ughs, Baddy took upon himself the onerous task of teaching the former how to save his soul by a mere switching of faith, calling him all the while a sinner.
One day Baddy received devastating news from home about his own house being set upon fire by a much bigger thug. Before rushing home to save his house, he decided to widen the gulf between Goody and Ughs lest they should come together and gang up against him some day in the future.
Then came the unkindest cut of them all. In a classic case of the burglar crying blue murder on being caught, Ughs donned the mantle of the innocent victim and charged Goody of planning to persecute him and demanded his “due share” of the estate. Baddy was only happy to oblige. With Baddy gone after the deed was done as a parting shot, never to return, the other two started living as neighbors. But not in peace.
Once gangrene had set in, the affected limb had to be amputated. The performing surgeon was a quack and his scalpel a rusty knife. The surgery over, the patient picked up the threads and moved on to lead a normal life, well, as normal a life as one could after a part of one dies. Time and faith helped in the healing of the wound. Ughs could not bear to see peace and tranquility in the neighbor’s estate and tried hard to spoil it all by spitting on the face of Goody off and on, and breaking his window panes, crying “foul” all the time. Nor would he agree to return the precious silver stolen by him while going away to live on his own. To make matters worse, he kept company with the local hoodlums with whom he shared the booty of the stolen silver.
On his part, Goody never went beyond stopping the hand that rose to strike him. After waiting for long in futility for Ughs to have a change of heart, it dawned on the peace loving Goody that installation of additional locks and bolts on the door and strengthening of the fence were not adequate to have lasting peace. He patiently waited on and on and then, in a swift move, punished the villain by forcefully effecting a divide of the latter’s house when an appropriate opportunity presented itself, in sweet revenge. Having been foolish enough to shoot himself in the foot, the smarting villain now goes about beating his wife and children in impotent rage and is threatening to set his own house on fire, hoping that the fire would spread and devour Goody’s house as well.
Goody is pushed to investing precious resources and time in fighting battles that he is not interested in, being preoccupied with the developing of his estate, what with it having fallen in a bad way with its forceful occupation and crying for elaborate renovations. Such is his predicament. The Evil Empire of Ughs is bound to perish under the collective weight of its own sins when nemesis comes calling. All the same, the peace loving Goody has a lot of fire fighting to do. In the meanwhile, the quack that performed a shoddy job of surgery had been thrown out and his rusty knife broken and buried. Wistful memories of a huge undivided estate which has now shrunk in size still flood Goody’s mind and haunt him like ghosts that refuse to go away even after the purge. But doesn’t mooning over a lost limb only bring more misery by making one feel the imaginary itchings and pains of a ghost organ?
What does Goody do? Forget it all? No way. Forgive, maybe. Forget, definitely not. He realises that forgetting would lull him into a self-induced coma of complacency and render his estate vulnerable to poaching by intruders yet again. Eternal vigilance, the price of liberty! Learn the lessons of history and watch out for the vermins on the premises lest they should grow into monsters, the estate having been barely exorcised of fading ghosts. Help the new generation of rightful inheritors of the estate build, beside strong fences, an equally strong moral fibre and tap the inexhaustible and inestimable reserves of self esteem at their command, long forgotten. Teach them an unvarnished account of the glorious past of the estate, without omitting its dark chapters. For to hide or obfuscate is to be ashamed. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Most importantly, beware of quacks and their rusty knives of the pseudo Secularism brand.
Powered by Facebook Comments