Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Geography : Disrupted...


The very sound of the words “Geographical boundaries” inflicts a pain so sharp in my soul and will do so as long as I remember the meaning of those words in any language. How can two simple words inflict so much pain to a soul that believes in free spiritedness? Free spirits are everywhere…but what happens when they are sucked in a system that runs only on laws and rules of the so-called world made by Man? Man made such a system thinking that it would in turn help get him organized and civilized. But in the process he has made things worse for nature, other living species and himself. Wanting so much to educate himself and become civilized as a natural consequence, Man has not even come to that state of mind, where he can comprehend that being educated is far from being civilized and to be actually civilized is within his reach if only he realized the difference.

Well, let me share something I recently experienced. I had to cross a border of a country to get into another. And I did get all the necessary papers that were needed in a human system of rules and regulations to cross the border. And you want to know why I did that? Well, I did not want anything that trivial to stop me from doing what I wanted. And when you have a higher purpose to accomplish, you do not want to be pinned down by simple hurdles. But what might sound trivial to certain people might be a Herculean task for many. And for some, such hurdles would not even matter and yet for some others, it would be the only thing they struggle to overcome all their lives.

When I was approaching the man made border between the two countries, I could see how breath-taking the scenery was. The mountain ranges and the clouds seemed to unite the heavens and the earth. The green trees seemed to reach out to the skies and they were filled with love. The surrounding air, sun, water from the rivers, and the skies seemed so connected to each other. When I was almost at the so-called border, I saw the immigration and customs office building and I had to walk into it. Apart from the presence of the building in that beautiful landscape, there was no other difference on the other side of the so-called border. And I saw all kinds of posts that gave names to those countries on either side of the Immigration office building. Does it make any sense, I asked myself. Well, what do you think?

I heaved a big sigh trying to release the frustration my soul felt every time I thought about the geographical boundaries and then, took my papers inside so that the officers could let me into the country on the other side of the border. The building represented a boundary - a border which screamed of differences from every angle. It disrupted the natural harmony that was present in the surrounding backdrop. I tried to ignore the screaming building and wanted to get my work done as soon as possible so I could get back to the harmony that was waiting for me to return and take me in.

The peace I felt with the nature outside turned into absolute chaos when I walked in. They say that feeling at peace or chaos is all in the mind but when encounters of this kind come your way, the chaos creeps in with the energy and leaves you questioning everything around, including your very own existence. And since I am no great exception, I felt the chaos disturb me so much within but the outside had to be faked and pretentious in order to get through with the crossing.

My papers were taken by an officer who had no time to even wish me and in the process of giving her the benefit of doubt; I assumed she must have had a long hard day and was probably worried about her children at home. For all I knew, she could have just been so preoccupied with everything around her. Or maybe even the daily routine at the man made geographical border was bothering her. I did all this assuming while waiting for my turn to get my papers back.

While I was waiting, I saw this man walk through the door with a police officer. This man, who looked like he was in his early fifties, had an absolute serene face. He was so calm and kept staring at the police officer as he questioned him while walking him in. It was obvious that the man did not understand a word of what the officer was saying. Maybe he just spoke a different language I thought. And it took a while for the police officer to realize that this man spoke a different language and that he did not understand even a word of English. English had become such an international language I used to think. But it made me wonder as to how many people still do not feel the necessity to learn other languages since they take language speaking and mostly English speaking for granted. The police officer then asked this man to wait and called another officer who seemed to speak the same language as the man. As the other officer came by, she passed me and gave me a cold stare. (When you are face to face with someone, and you do not know them, you tend to force a smile and divert your eyes elsewhere. That was the case here.) I did come face to face with this other officer and when I forced a smile in her way, she looked at me so coldly that I wish I did not understand the eye language. Sometimes even being able to understand the body language pains me because the hostility comes right through to you. Maybe she had a long, hard day too?

After giving me the cold stare, she walked up to the man and spoke in a language which he could probably understand. Though I did not understand that language, I realized that the man was as quiet as he was before and answered only in mono syllables. And whatever the man told the second officer, she translated it to the first officer who was beginning to get impatient. She told him that the man did not have a passport and did not have any other papers on him too. I could see the impatience piling in layers within their bodies and trying to create an explosion on the outside. But they still tried to control themselves giving the man a chance to explain his situation. I wish I knew what they were speaking then. The very thought of a language posing such a barrier to my understanding of this world, inspired me to make a resolution with myself to learn as many languages as possible in this present lifetime. After around half an hour of impatient questioning with the quiet man, the officers led him to a glass room around the corner of the hall and asked him to stay in with many more people. My eyes followed the quiet man and the two officers who led him to that open glass room and noticed there were around twenty people in it already. There were four children who were clinging to their parents’ side inside the room. I noticed the thickness of the glass and immediately recognized it was bullet proof. What was the reason behind that?? I cannot even begin to comprehend… The officers locked the glass room.

I can bet on the fact that the calmness I witnessed in that man’s face can never be replicated by any actor or actress. It reminded me of the scenery outside the building. There wasn’t any difference between the peace I felt outside in the landscape and on the man’s face. As I was scanning the people inside of the glass room, I wondered what the authorities would do with them later. The man sat by the glass wall and stared out at the landscape. I felt he yearned to get back to the serenity outside but how, I had no clue.

He looked like he had given up all material comforts and was in search of that peace beyond all the rules and regulations and laws of Mankind. He seemed oblivious to the consequences and the possibility of his freedom being curtailed. I suddenly felt the power of his soul which was ignoring the man made laws. What happens when man tries to break free from the system in an attempt to find salvation from its chaos? Is he chained by the very own system he is trying to escape from? What significance did the geographical boundary have for him? Or was he even aware of the rules of this system? Or maybe he tried to change the system and failed and gave up on everything and lived a renounced life? Or maybe he meant some harm even? I could not assume anything nor could I even get any close because the serene expression in his face remained the same throughout.

The system also bothered me a lot but I tried not to let it in and always focused in the bigger purpose. I want to be able create a change in this system and so I could not afford to let these things become a hurdle. Was I being a hypocrite and was that man living up to his convictions? I did not know…and will never know what went on his mind.

Then, when my name was called, I collected my papers and left the building. I was finally given permission to get to the other side, which otherwise was in no way different than the former.

Before stepping out, I looked back at the glass room and saw the man sitting in the same position and staring out. The two police officers then got back to their discussions and I could see that they were referring to someone in the glass room. As I walked out, there was this one moment when my eyes met with the quiet man inside the glass room and before I could bring out a smile, he smiled at me. A smile that inspired me to go back and create a change in the man made system! (All the while I thought he was having a long, hard day!)

Back to the scenery and awe-inspiring landscape I found myself looking for alternatives to bring a positive change and erase the “geographical boundaries” made by man. I hope to live in a world with no geographical boundaries and whenever I hear those words, I will tell myself that I should do something to lead them to obscurity. After all, I still have the smile to give me the courage to take the world single-handedly.

Here I am, writing about my experience and having a positive feeling about it. I am confident that there are like minded individuals in the face of this planet who would join me in this journey to erase all the existing differences!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a bigger problem than we think? These things are imbedded in our mind right from our childhood, to have things of our own. My book, my pen, my pencil, my house, my shirt, my town, my city, my state, mine… mine, and finally my county. What do we do with the stuff we own? Protect it. Protect it from others who can possibly break it or take it away from us. That is what the Nation does. Protecting themselves from possible treats that can take their nation away from them. The more powerful and more valuables you have, the more you want to protect.
But by keeping something closed we invite more trouble. That is what Countries fail to understand. Now the World started to realize that the more open things are, the more the people benefit out of it like blogs, open-source, open trade. As a citizen of this Earth we all are entitled to see the wonders around the World. Just like freedom of speech we all should have the freedom to travel around the World as and when we want.
The more we travel around, the more people we meet, more people we meet more we get to know each other. More we know each other we become friends. Why would someone hurt his or her own friend? And hence we all become a part of a Unified Nation. Earth.

Packiyanath said...

“Geographical boundaries”
Yes! This is a hard truth to be accepted. There are hell lots of people in this world affected by this so called boundaries which are the foremost barriers for mankind. The worst part as you mentioned is, these barriers were laid by humankind and now it’s a threat to humankind from every aspect.

Do you think this is an Impossible Dream to remove these boundaries...? I don’t think so.
If you see major barriers to peace that are prevailing in this world…

The first one… Racism. We can overcome this only when we try to bring in oneness in humankind. If you see the bottom line of this… this again leads to “Geographical boundaries”

Another major barrier to peace - inequality of rich and poor. In some part of the world there are people who have handled this issue so well and tried to bring in equilibrium between these divisions. But I believe this is not enough… people should open up their mind see the person next to him as a person rather than see him to be rich or poor. This I believe can be put in place only when we break the so called Geographical Boundaries… People who handled this situation well should break open these boundaries and open produce their thoughts to the world.’

These issues go on... For every issue you take this is the base problem.

Technically we can call this…Fanatical nationalism. I remember in some book… some person who was talking about this issue... the books says

“We need to translate the words, ‘the earth is but one country and mankind its citizens’ into concrete reality.
I would like to change one thing in the above statement. Rather than mankind, I would prefer to say "humakind"...‘The earth is but one country and humankind its citizens’

We live in a world of interdependence – no nation; no people can prosper on its own. We need to foster a concept of world citizenship in the minds and hearts of our children.”

Acchorian, that was truth combined with experience well formed and put in electronic form.

Let’s hope, some time…some day the impossible dream will become possible. :)

RR said...

Now ...the word freedom has only limited _expression ! so as that of boundary / Rules etc.,
Same as the word Love -!
When some one says "Love* is unconditional" and we can see that the banner which hold these lines have an start as super-script to the word love and at the bottom of the banner it says super-script star = "Conditions apply" in a very small characters...! is this what we need ?

This is just an _expression which I says how those unconditional ABCD turns to Conditional XYZ...

Every thing starting from a personal to social reforms are possible only when an individual realise that he is no more an individual he is responsible for each and every action to his associated members of this world.

Solution:

A group of people (of similar idea/desire) forms an entity - the entity becomes an architecture - the architecture become a design and the design synchronises to say "we all are one single being.. and we need to live.." It's possible and it has to happen like that.... we name it as revolution / activity/ freedom movement etc., but it says only one thing ... " we are more that what we appear to be..." we have the courage, passion, love to support us... lets not hope another Buddha / Jesus / Ram / Allah to come down and show the path... The path is clear lets build the way and lead others or to follow the path...

I say:

"For defining boundaries... world is not enough ..."

Kr said...

To tell you a very example, one need not travel all the way to another country, Its happening in here India right here and right now. As I have faced the same situation in India when I came to Mumbai. If you have money you can go & survive anywhere in the world and do whatever you want. Its very difficult to make a person understand, as here IN INDIA, In our State,In Our Family, with our close family people itself we have THOUSANDS of differences, how it will be possible for a person who is geographically located some where & speaks a different language & has a different intensions and coming from a different culture will understand our thoughts & culture??... BUT YES, EVERYBODY UNDERSTANDS these words "LOVE","SMILE","BE POLITE". But If you "LOVE","SMILE","BE POLITE" people always take them for granted & in the other way round, as the eyes are always blocked by either 'money' or 'politics' or 'power'.