Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The thing about "cowards"

There is this definition of cowardice:
"The past is for cowards. You live in the past, you die in the past"
At least thats what Coach Ditka says in a Coors' Light advertisement.

There are a lot of famous cowards that fit this definition. Like a lot of southerners in the American Classic "Gone with the Wind". People who sink into themselves and slowly implode unable to adapt to a new world, that is not as beautiful as the old one.

There is a similar group of cowards. These people blessed with a great imagination, or creativity, or just a beautiful heart, form a very beautiful view of the world from what they see and experience in their childhood. These childhood fuel can be a great culture they are born in to, or a set of great people they were with, or a great system that surrounded them etc.

I have a friend Madan, or Maddy as we call him, in spite of his requests not to. After all, Maddy sounds softer if not cooler than Madan, which has an abrupt and unfriendly end.

This chap is one of those guys who can not survive in a practical word. He has major issues with 'The Man'. To better understand the man, here is Jack Black's description in the great classic 'School of Rock'; if you did not see the movie you should. Maddy saw it a twenty times at least.

This chap has a problem with everything from 'Shamu in a Chlorine tank' to 'burning up the ozone' and even infomercials.

But unlike great people like Bruce Springsteen, Maddy does not have a channel to express all his pent up anger in a divine way. Forget Rock and Roll Maddy does not even know SaReGaMa.

Maddy and a lot of his friends live in this world afraid to really think about all thats going on. They repress; some of them implode. Some of them get used to it (a euphemism for suffering silently). Some of them try to do their part; some of them even emigrate, but you can not run from yourself can you? These 'cowards' have their own way of dealing with this crisis. These ways are so ingenious; well after all the cowardice is born from beauty, remember?

Maddy has his own way of dealing with it. He uses love to fight the ugliness. He is constantly in love with someone or the other. Sometimes with an imaginary woman, sometimes with Kali, sometimes with Norah Jones, sometimes with his statistics teacher, sometimes with Emily Dickenson, sometimes with Sita, sometimes with Sharapova, sometimes with Kajol, sometimes with Nicole Kidman, sometimes with his friend - with whom he never confesses for what ever reasons, sometimes with Bangalore, sometimes with Santa Barbara - Maddy went to UCSB, sometimes with a Jane Austen heroine, sometimes with his other friend who is as strong as a rock, sometimes with Mongoloid girls, sometimes with Blondes, somtimes with girls from Africa, sometimes with brunettes from Persia, somtimes with Lata Mangeshkar, sometimes with Mother Nature, sometimes with his Grandmother and all the great tradition and ideals she represents, sometimes with India. Oh I almost forgot, sometimes with the Past.

Like Paulina in Dostoevsky's 'The Gambler', Maddy is a passionate person; very unlike people like us, I mean gamblers like us, who are so addicted to glory.

What does Maddy have to say about all this?
He simply quotes 'Gone with the Wind'
"A Glamor to life, a Completeness, a Perfection and a Symmetry ... like Carnatic Music".
(Maddy sometimes weeps when listening to Tyagaraja or Annamayya Kritis)


sp said...

Hmmm...People living in self-denial, who refuse to embrace reality. Do we term them cowards? For they ARE probably afraid to accept and DEAL with reality. But maybe its an unconscious choice they make. They make a choice between grappling with the harsher realities and living in a utopian world. But their escapism, the avenues that they seek (like your friend Maddy) is just something to drive them and keep them interested in life. "Non-cowards" or realists instead seek "glory" in the real world, like you said. To each his own pot of manna. But yes, if you define cowards as people who take the easier path, then it is probably the apt tag. And who is a bigger coward in GWTW - Ashley Wiles who unwillingly shrugged off his happy world and went into a war he didnt believe in or the rest of the southerners who stayed rooted in the past and welcomed & marched into battle?

Btw, how is cowardice born from beauty?

Good post. Set me thinking....

Rupak said...

ayn rand wrote two beautiful novels..fountainhead and atlas shrugged..why doesnt ur friend maddy follow either of the two paths..