“Never hate your enemies… It affects your judgment.”
When I was a little boy in my village, Cassius Clay – who later became the famous Muhammad Ali – ruled the boxing world. “I am the Greatest”. Yes, this was how he loved to thump his champion-chest. He was my dad’s favorite… My dad, you know, was a young-and-dashing man, too, at that time!
Some fifteen years later, when I migrated to Mumbai, I was a young-and-dashing man, now. My dad wasn’t… Ali was a spent force, by now… Moreover, the years of head and chest punches – and the ranting and swearing - had taken a big time toll on him. He suffered from Parkinson’s and found it difficult to speak clearly… he walked like a little baby… and, certainly, he no longer spoke like a World Heavy-weight champ of the boxing ring… We never heard him say – ‘I am the Greatest’
In fact, what we began to hear from Muhammad Ali was this:
“Ali is not the Greatest… Allah is!”
Yesterday, someone had shared the video of Billy Graham’s (Once a dynamic electrifying Christian evangelist) 95th birthday celebration. An august audience had assembled to shower its love and wishes on the mighty preacher, who, for decades, by his charismatic power had touched millions of lives world over… But, when I saw the images last afternoon, where, this darling of Jesus confined to his wheel-chair, speaking with a slur, unable to move his legs and hands … eyes looking resigned… yes, when I saw this man, I could realize why he kept telling the masses to repent, let go, surrender, forgive, love, live and laugh all through the years when he preached God’s message. I realized how age and death would not spare anyone… how beauty and youth, wealth and health, even every worldly relationship, had all come to us with an ‘expiry date’ written on them!
I see the videos in which how Donald Trump looked once… and how he looks now…
I see the images of Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, Bal Thackeray, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Dhirubhai Ambani…
I see he images of Vijay Mallya and Subrata Roy…
I see the images of Vito Corleone, Haji Mastan, Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan…
I see my own images… How I looked and sounded when I was in my twenties and thirties… and, how I look and sound now… Importantly, how I would look and sound some twenty years or so from now… Yes, if I am lucky to live that long!
“None of us has come into this world consuming nectar,” this is what one of my friends keeps reminding whenever he hears any of us using a language of arrogance and vengeance. “Our tongue may not be able to utter a word and our feet may not be able to take even a baby step, mind you.”
Do you still think you are the ‘Greatest’? Do you still thirst for you enemy’s blood?
God save you!
Pic.: Khushboo Gulrajani