On Being a Ghost

“All the world’s a stage….. And one man in his time plays many parts….”  says melancholy Jacques in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. This is, no doubt, true for all who have spent some time on this planet, but then there are those “fortunate” few whose career and spectrum of roles far outspan the seven roles identified by Jacques – which do last the man’s age, or for that matter, Zimri, in Dryden’s Absalom and Architopel, who was “Stiff in his opinions, always in the wrong/Everything by fits and starts, and nothing long, But in the course of one revolving moon/Was fiddler, statesman, alchemist and buffoon”.  (I do hope that I have remembered it right…its been ages since I read it).

I am one of the few.

It can also fall to the lot of quite a few people that they can, at one time, be for some people, The Great White Hope (or The Angel or The Saviour and the like, and then sometime afterwards, The Bane of (their) Life (or something else which I would not like to name)for the same people, but then, that is the intrinsic fickleness of the human nature. Or at least, a major part of it.

History is replete with many examples of people hailed, then derided – and some of these again eagerly sought, when it was realised that they were the only ones who could handle the situation, or fix the problem – and it goes to the eternal credit of our ilk that despite the indignities heaped on us, very few have said no, or voiced some other pungent or earthy expression). Then there are those, who will be judged or dealt with under different parameters, or deemed to be fair game for cadging off or breaking promises to.  But again, this is an issue I don’t want to go into – at this moment in time. I think I have acquainted you all with the soldier/policeman hypothesis of mine, about a certain class of people eagerly sought in times of trouble or crisis, and after that, again relegated to obscurity or marked slights, as an expression of gratitude.

Then there is the role of the wise, all-knowing oracle – when the only time your existence is noted is when a question is posed to you. This is also the preserve of a select few, and needless to say, I am one of this band.

But there is one role, far above the one then just being the receptacle for ingratitude, broken promises, someone not entitled to reciprocity let alone consideration, a lighting rod for venting of frustrations – that I can lay claim to…. and I think I am singular enough in essaying it.

Not many can lay claim to, while present corporally in this plane of existence, being considered a part of the unseen world and one who whose very being is denied – not even doubted, but denied emphatically, in the belief he is no longer in a position to retaliate. Yes, that is what I have lately become – a ghost!

What else would you term someone whose existence is seemingly not believed by a few, whose salutation seems to be like a gentle and inaudible whisper of eternity in a barren desert, whose queries go unheeded like they have faded out of reality? Or for that matter, someone who is never addressed, in his turn? One can understand it from one or two, but when almost everyone does it, then it does It may well be that this is due to preoccupation, but courtesy – the barest minimum – would hold that a reply be furnished whenever convenient, if not within a decent time? But then who knows what goes in someone’s heart? Well, I do, or at least, have suspicions that may turn out to be correct.

What can be done? Paying them back in their coin, when the opportunity arises? Resource to the DTD (sorry, can’t be revealed) Massive retaliation? What the Italians call vendetta?No, it is again that sterling attribute, that matchless action, which may appear a pusillanimous gesture but is the hallmark of the strongest and most self-assured man. And there is no way I am going to tell you in straight words…. oracle, you see, and they were well known to be mysteriously obtuse….


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