Thursday, April 2, 2009
Hey Jack, Back Off!!!
I first heard of Jack, of the beanstalk fame, as a toddler, on my mother's knee.
Amma, you see, often, told me tales from far and wide.
Not to stamp values & principles, on my young, impressionable psyche, as one may imagine.
She did it, because, we both enjoyed it.
There were no morals to the stories, she told.
Nor, lessons to be learnt.
It was a fun 'mother-daughter' activity.
And, the most enjoyable way of getting through the hot, dusty afternoons in Dubai.
Coming back to Jack.
My baby mind was quite intrigued, by this tale of a young lad, who clambered up the beanstalk, robbed the blood-thirsty giant of his treasures, and eventually, killed him.
Giants, are, ugly, mean and stupid.
Plus, they ate humans too.
So, I thought Jack was quite justified.
I chortled with joy, and, clapped my chubby hands in glee, when amma, with a flourish, narrated, how Jack chopped the beanstalk, bringing the giant crashing down, to his death.
And, for days after, I went about, trashing imaginary beanstalks about the house.
Sometimes, it was amma's saris hung out to dry.
At other times, it was the floor lamp, or the sofa, which bore the brunt of my attacks.
I was not allowed to handle the sharp implements required for chopping, and, therefore, had to content myself with trashing!
I cannot remember, how, amma viewed my assaults on her possessions.
But, I imagine, she, probably was, all too used, to my excited role playing.
And, must have laughed it off, indulgently.
Today, I have a whole different perspective.
I am not entirely sure, if I had judged the Giant too harshly.
Or, Jack, too kindly.
For, it seems to me, that, the story, narrated Jack's perspective only.
Come to think of it, it, probably was, written by Jack himself!
Which, explains, why, the world, has never had, the opportunity of hearing, the other side of the story.
That, the Giant was huge and strong, is a given.
But, to assume, that, he was stupid and mean.
To take his Fee Fi Fo Fum, all too literally.
And, applaud Jack's thefts, and, the Giant's demise.
Well, my reactions,now, strike me, as being a wee bit extreme.
After all, Jack, did, rob the giant, of his most prized possessions.
An act, which, would have had, the most reasonable amongst us, baying for the offender's blood.
So, why fault the giant for threatening to bake his bread with Jack's bones?
I guess, personal experience, does have a way of tipping the scales to evenness.
My new found sympathies for the giant, stems from the fact, that, there seems to be an abundance of Jacks, and Janes, in the modern world.
I speak not of the petty thieves, and rogues, who lurk in the dark alleys, in search of hapless prey.
Or, those, who break into houses, to stealthily make off with treasures.
I speak of the lazy, unscrupulous vultures, of our world, who, unabashedly, claim for their own, the creations of others.
The shameless takers of the world!
Their audacity amazes me.
Especially, when they claim to be 'inspired'.
Or, maintain, that, they have merely 'borrowed', or, adapted' ideas, designs, words,whatever, without asking if they can.
When, they, deliberately, attempt, to pass off as their own, what they have shamelessly stolen.
And, especially, when they, nonchalantly, shrug aside their theft, either, as a non-issue, or, with defiant belligerence.
Perhaps, it is that, they aspire, to a few stolen moments of glory.
Perhaps, it is that, they assume, their limited intelligence, entitles them, to take what is not rightly theirs, without, as much as a 'May I ?' or, a 'Thank you'
Perhaps, it is that, they are just plain lazy.
Like, our good friend Jack.
Jack, was a smart, able-bodied lad.
He should have sought his fortune, the honest way.
As Dick Whittington did.
I,often, wonder, how Jack's 'happily ever after' worked out?
After all, it was founded on ill-gotten wealth.
Something, that no self-respecting person can be proud of.
Jack, may have, never known want again.
But, did he, live out the rest of his days in peace?
Or, with pride and dignity?
Did, his spirit revel, at having attained his goals, through hard work & honesty?
Somehow, I doubt it.
I think, deep down, Jack must have known, he was nothing, but a lazy, thieving bum.
He may have fooled the world around him.
But, there is no escaping the voice of one's conscience.