Far Beyond Binary

Two years ago, I would not have written anything remotely close to this. Two years down the line, I may read this and find it confused and juvenile. That space between the age when you are drunk on your own youth, to the age when groceries and car loans become issues of paramount importance to you is a fleetingly small one. Indeed, many people, for better or for worse, jump it entirely. 

Love it or hate it though, you cannot deny that it is enigmatic, this space. The veil of self-importance has just been lifted, opening up a whole new universe of perspectives to you. And the concerns of grihasthashramhaven’t yet descended upon you affecting your vision in that imperceptible way of theirs. 

“You could never truly hate anybody, if you knew their whole story”, I once read somewhere. Somehow, these words have stuck with me, though I never completely understood what they really meant. May be I still don’t. Who’s to say? But what I like about these words, is their all-encompassing acceptance of the uncountable opinions, viewpoints, perspectives across individuals and societies. They embrace every body for being just who they are. No judgments. And that is both beautiful and disturbing at the same time.

If the indecision of this piece bothers you, imagine my plight. All human beings are walking stories to me. I see them all today – with their own personal joys, their own private hells. And a complex concoction of all these elements seems to make them who they are, what they do, how they behave, how they act and react. To make matters worse, we are changing every moment of every day. 

How then, in this universe – forever in flux with its ever-flowing energies, ever-changing thoughts, transitory feelings, and ephemeral emotions – do I pick a side? Or does that childish concept even have any meaning – “picking a side”? But if I don’t, how will I ever “act”? Which brings me to volition – that flirty temptress. Just when I start believing that we are the makers of our own destinies, the newspaper shows me the animal side of humanity. Just when I make up my mind about us all being creatures of hormones and chemical reactions, someone turns around and changes the world and convinces me of the power of human choice. 

I almost long for the simpler times when I had strong opinions about things. That blissful teenage when I “knew” just what or who was right and wrong. When I was ready to get up and fight to the end for these notions of virtue I had in my head. That fire, that anger, that ecstasy of righteousness – those were greener pastures. But then, is this indecision, this ambivalence, a sign of maturity? To understand and accept that we all have our private versions of right and wrong – is that what “growing up” is about? 

Everything I read, see, hear, observe – it inundates me with the myriad of views that is humanity.

Mercifully, overarching my confused evolution, life has one constant axiom. It will stop for nothing. No epiphanies, no amount of musing or mulling, no fearsome darknesses will stop the sun from rising tomorrow. Which shakes me out of my reveries and forces me to act – determinism debates notwithstanding. Tell the truth, be kind, respect your elders, cherish your friends, be nice to other people, smile – the simplicity of kindergarten comes to my rescue and gets me through the days. 

May be doubt is good. May be it is a sign of being alive. Who’s to say? 

Meanwhile, until grocery woes take over, I relish the space where I can sit back in wide-eyed wonder as I watch myself live, act, and evolve.


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