THE GREAT TIGER SAFARI...
It is one of the brilliantly shot chase scenes of Indian cinema.
The honest and tough Super Cop is chasing the most wanted Don. Someone has tipped the Super Cop that the Don will be at the airport … and the Don has been tipped by someone that his nemesis, (his rival Don) would be at the airport trying to flee the country. So, the Don is after his nemesis… and the Super Cop is after the Don. In those last some minutes, the Don manages to hoodwink the Cop… shoots down his nemesis in one of the most inspiring scenes…
And, now, it is Don's turn to be on the run… He runs into the runway… towards the aircraft which is all set to take off… and, there, we hear the Cop shouting… warning the Don, “Stop… Else, I will shoot you down,”… “I will shoot you down.”
Then, he does.
The Don falls… and, the Cop has him….
But, strangely, the Cop has him in his arms!
“No, Vijay…No…,” “Kuch nahin hogo tuje… Nahin. Nahin..,Vijay.”
“Dad, magar… Nahin dad…” the Don is dying…
“Nahin, Vijay...” The dad does not want his son to die… “I have always loved you, my son,” the dad cries his heart out!
“But, dad, why didn’t you tell me that, before?” the son asks.
And, then, the son dies. In his father’s arms.
The plane takes off!
If you have not seen the Hindi movie – ‘Shakti’, please do it, now. The dad, the brutally honest and steel-tough Cop, is Dilip Kumar. The intense and angry son, the Don on the run, is Amitabh Bachchan. I do not wish to tell you the full story… Why the father was so adamant to shoot is son down, and now, why is he so desperate to see his son live… and why did the son ask his dad that last question: “But, dad, why didn’t you tell me that, before?”
Yes, that you always loved me!
I have seen this movie many, many times. It simply leaves me speechless. Inspired!
I have also recounted this scene graphically many times over in our training sessions, and seen that silence descending on the hearts of all our young ones. I have already posted a blog on this subject, almost two years ago… and, now, I am doing it, here, once again.
This time around, I want to make this point:
Never, ever go on an ego-trip. It may take you to a point of no return!
Ego-trip, always, reminds me
of a ride sitting on a Tiger’s back.
You can manage to sit on him…
Yes, often, you can.
But, once you are on his back: you have had it!
You won’t be able to climb down.
You want to… But, you can’t.
If you do, he will have you.
If you don’t, your misery will have you.
Either way, you are doomed!
An ego-trip is a free ticket to a hell called ‘misery’!
And, yes, this hell is, always – yes, yes, yes, always – self-created!
I was very small. Too small to understand this word called ‘Ego’. My dad was illiterate and simple. We had our humble house on a small piece of land. Our immediate neighbor was a very literate man and his family was very elite, wealthy and wielded a great deal of clout. Their house was huge and they had land almost four times the size of our land. This man filed a suit in the court claiming that almost half the chunk of our land belonged to him. My dad knew it was simply harassment. So, he tried to involve many respected people in the village to mediate and convince this man to be fair. But, the man was adamant. He wanted his land, come what may. Now, there was no option left for my dad but to defend his position. We were very small to understand all these things. But, I remember this very, very clearly:
The man and his wife lived alone in their mansion. They had two sons, who had long migrated to Mumbai (then, Bombay) and they were least interested in their father’s property… They were also heavy drunkards. The court case kept getting dragged… for years on… In the mean time, this man had a massive paralytic attack… and spent close to five years on his wheelchair… unable to even lift his finger… leave alone speak a word… and leave alone attending the court. He would still try to scream at the little children who threw stones at their mango tree… Then, one day, he died. I remember, my dad and mom were the first ones to reach. Then, his wife, a highly qualified lady, kept the legacy of her husband on: she wanted the land…. She wanted the case. Another couple of years; this lady turned senile…almost hysterical. So often, she would call my mom from her window and ask her to check why the Dosas were not coming off the pan. And, my mom would go to her kitchen and find why: How could the Dosas come, if you try them with Vim?!
This lady died a lonely death… Before that, she kept harassing not only my parents, but all her tenants, as well. Again, when she died, the first ones to reach there were my parents!
After fourteen years, the court case was thrown out by the judges from their windows. Yes, the case too died.
The property has gone to dogs, now!
A friend of mine had invited me to his place for a dinner, sometime back. He has a lovely wife and a son who is just going to be a teen. That night, he recounted his story: his wife came from a North Indian Brahmin family and my friend was not a Brahmin. But, both hailed from the same town, spoke the same language, did qualify themselves with fantastic degrees … belonged to the same religion. But, my friend was not a Brahmin. So, my friend’s wife was disowned by her father, who was also a highly educated ‘gentleman’! Not only my friend’s wife and her family, her father had also disowned her elder sister, a doctor. Her sin? She had married a smart doctor-friend who hailed from a Rajastani community! It was against this upright man’s will and wishes. He disowned two of his beautiful, highly-educated daughters and their fantastic families. T
This self-righteous man lives in his hometown… and hasn’t still melted. Every effort, by every possible soul around, to mellow him down, to soften his stand, has failed… No, this man cannot forgive his two daughters… nor their families… No, not even the innocent, little grandchildren!
The Great Tiger Safari is still on…!
And, I know of another man. He has crossed 75. He is a Doctorate. In his Society, he lives like an island… for the last fifteen years. He always had, and is still having, issues with every Managing Committee of his Society. He knows every Provision of the Society law, by heart... He can draft letters and put any top lawyer to shame... He has taken his Society to Court on petty matters and won, too. Presently he is hell-bent to get some of his Society’s Committee members jailed... He has filed criminal complaints, defamation cases… and, he is unwilling to listen to anyone, heed to any mediation. He wants to fight it out… He wants to win… He wants to prove he is right…
And, he is past 75!
I pray for this man. Daily!
In the Hindi film, ‘Munnabai MBBS’, there is this scene. Every time I see it, it takes my breath away. Munna is hell-bent in trying to teach ‘Maamu’, Dr. Dastana, a lesson of his life. “Vaat lagayega teri,” Munna throws the gauntlet at Maamu. ‘Vaat’ is his Life-mission! And our ‘Maamu’ is hell-bent in flushing out this ‘criminal dirt’ – this tapori - from his Medical College. “Vaat lagahunga main, teri,” , Maamu picks the gauntlet. And, a dozen people – rather the whole College – wants Munna in the College; they want him to win – defeat Maamu.. Prove Maamu wrong. So, there is this question-and-answer scene - the interview - in front of the whole College… A panel is shooting questions at Munna; he has ‘swallowed’ some readymade answers and come to field the questions… Munna is pretty successful, so far… and, it is just a matter of time, another two questions, probably, he is all set to make Maamu bite the dust. All are thrilled that their adorable Munna is going to pass, win the test… and walk away victorious, crushing Maamu down. And, there, the images of the futility of all this mind game – come before Munna… just in a flash and begin to haunt him… And, there, he rises, all of a sudden, from his chair and yells, “To hell with all this,” “The truth is: I am a ‘goonda’ from the local streets!”
There is a stony silence! I am choked!
What happened to this ‘tapori’? Why did he get up and shout – “Enough”?
Well, strange it may sound. But, it is true… and I will tell you this really strange coincidence. With this, I wish to end this Great Tiger Safari.
Over two months ago, I had asked my student Dhiksha*, “What has happened to you?” She looked down and depressed. After some coaxing, Dhiksha opened up. She had a ‘big fight’ with her fast, fast friend, Ranjeeta*… and, now they were not in talking terms. When I met Dhiksha, she was so upset at the incident that it had affected her health. She couldn’t believe that with Ranjeeta she could have a fall out – and a ‘war’ – like this. She did not know what to do!
Well, I smiled in my mind. It was ‘silly’ for me… not for Dhiksha. I allowed her to voice her feelings and in the end told, “Don’t worry; you both will come together… Just don’t to be too stubborn; okay?”
“Okay, sir,” Dhiksha promised me.
Today, just while I was half-way through this post, there appeared Dhiksha!
“Sir, we have started talking again! Yey!!!” She jumped in the air!
“Fantastic!” I congratulated our Dhiksha. “So, feeling great… Aren’t you, Dhiksha?” I asked.
“Yes sir, on the top of the world,” Dhiksha screamed, “We will be fast friends, once again.”
Dhiksha and Ranjeeta are just teens. But, probably, that is when we learn to realize the danger of our Great Tiger Safaries, I thought.
Probably, even much before that!
* Not real names
The brilliant images used in this Post are by Ashok Ahuja. He is a professional Photographer and a very dear friend of mine. He is also one of the founder members of The Dawn Club, and, along with his gifted-artist wife, Sudha, has been helping me, and the Club, right from its inception.