Goodbye 2009

Goodbye 2009 – it ends none too soon and I will have no regrets whatsover. This year – annus horibilis as I have referred to it several times in recent days – will long persist in my memory and mostly for all the wrong reasons – a long array of broken promises, protestations of preoccupations that turned out to be dubious at the best and downright mendacious mostly, marked and rank indifference and ingratitude that defied conjecture and finally, the treachery and the ultimate betrayal – including from one quarter where I never expected given all I had done including a frenzied and gloriously uncertain trip to make good a commitment just because it had to be done – that were the most common feature.

In one sense, the fault was mine too. There were indications on an occasion on the same day as this last year but I let them go and then in the course of the year, there were enough signals – enough to change the course of a major fleet – but I ignored them. It was a marked analysis failure and I paid a lot for it.

And this was despite all that I had sought to do …… but then these are – unfortunately no doubt but still  – the inescapable and inexorable constants of life and it is only the supremely optimistic, who, despite all evidence to the contrary, claim otherwise.

I will just remind of them of two quatrains of Omar Khayyam, as rendered by Edward Fitzgerald. This are two of his most famous – and now readers of previous posts will understand why I did not include them in the posts I had written on the Persian polymath. I learnt their truth from bitter experience. I hope the same doesn’t come true for anyone well……

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coopt we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to It for help – for It
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

However, in spite of all these reverses,  I claim my ultimate victory in the fact that I did not – and will not – let me swerve for the course I had consciously and with great introspection set for myself, even and specially after knowing what the consequences are. It is this aspect which I hold the most important to remain what I am – for good or worse. As I told my friend – my oldest and closest friend – there are certain things you have to do in order to retain your identity and self-respect. The day that anyone with their callous disregard, lack of consideration and lack of mann… – well I will forego the option of being blunt – succeed in this, will be the day when I will know I have most ignominiously failed.

This course is not easy to follow, requiring a special resilience of spirit and a high degree of self control – which only comes after studying classics like Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations and Boethius’ The Consolations of Philosophy and finding its finest manifestation in Rudyard Kipling’s immortal ode If. In short, will I abandon a lifetime of intense and ultimately rewarding study to get perturbed over a few individuals’ proclivities to act in a manner contravening basic courtesies, leave alone protestations of faith and gratitude they made at one time. I would be lying if I don’t say how difficult this course was even as I grappled with disappointment after disappointment at seeing what the ultimate value of fine words was but for two things – the oft-quoted words of the “Little Monk”, who told he was embarking on a difficult road, said: Hier stehe ich nicht; ich kann nicht anders. Or better still, the wry but equally iconic comment of Captain Benjamin Franklin ‘Haweye’ Pierce, who noted it was good that he thrived on rejection. I might rise again but will never forget all those who abandoned me when I needed them by my side the most. 

But as they say, there is hope, signalled by the presence of a handful including my best and longest-known friend, my Ustaad, another graceful friend and some more. But as I was saying, anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of  Greek mythology  knows that when the evils that were trapped in a box opened by Pandora had escaped to wreak their havoc in the world, there remained Hope. Even for those not familiar with this episode, must have read Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo – No, cause for worry by all those referred to here, though obliquely, that I will emulate Edmond Dantes . Just remember the words in the last communciation from the Count: “……..never forget that until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words, — ‘Wait and hope’.'” To add effect, these words are reiterated in the last words of the work : “……..has not the Count just told us that all human wisdom is summed up in two words? — ‘ Wait and hope.'”

I just have one more thing to say to all these people I will not deign to name : Remember I will rise again but will never forget how they let me down, in a time when I needed them most. It was a most sobering thought to know that there was a time – and still is – that I had more friends from foreign climes than my ‘own’ countrymen. Here apart from those I have listed above, I must include my ‘PER’ friends, who were pillars of support, and a number of booksellers who were the only ones happy to see me at anytime of the year, and with whom I spent a happy time, especially Khusro sahab of Jamia and Kidwai sahab in Lucknow.

And then this was this blog, which was a pleasure to develop and a outlet for me in saying a lot of things I could not anywhere else. I will end at this point , with (as usual) a few lines form one of my favourite poets…. the celebrated Maulana of Mohan, Hasrat Mohani himself…..

Apna sa shauq auron mein laaye kaha se ham
Ghabra gaye hai bedili hamr haan se ham
Kuch aisi door bhi nahi manzil-e-murad
Lekin ye jab ke choot chalen karvaan se ham
Hain intehai yaas bhi ek ibtidaai shauq
Phir aa gaye vahan pe chale the jahan se ham



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