Sunday, June 22, 2008


I had always been a great ' एसाप्नीती ' fan - you know the little - 100 or so - word stories which aim at teaching something 'worthwhile' and 'teach lessons of life' and blah blah.... well neway i used to find the stories pretty amusing & without any forwarded emails back then where else would one find short & sweet way to pass time? So the thing is, yesterday, during 'the purge' of my room i came across the book and there was one story, heavily titled 'existential dilemma' (don't even ask what its marathi counterpart - that is the actual title was, i conveniently ignored it ;-) ) So here's the story -

A man is running hard to escape a hungry tiger. He tumbles in panic and rolls off a valley. He is falling to what promises to be a certain death in the gorge below, when he just manages to clutch at a small tree that is growing on the rock face( see even 'original' hindi films have their climaxes copied :-P ). He hangs there for dear life. The choice is a bleak one. Above him is a hungry tiger and below him is a deep gorge. There is death on both sides. Just then, the dangling man’s eyes fall upon an 'abandoned' beehive that is a few feet above the tree that he is frantically hanging on to. There is honey dripping from the beehive. The man shuts his eyes and puts his tongue out to catch the sweet honey. It is his moment of fleeting bliss!

The story ends here! Wow, humans are a contemptible lot, damn it, at least Essop definitely was!

Well ,these days I have lots of time to kill, so you know why not learn something about 'existence' and all , I think there are two basic explanations, pretty obvious ones -

(1) Here is this man facing a certain death and, even then, all he can think of is petty satisfaction of his senses. The story tries to show what trivial levels men can sink to even in the face of worthy challenges.

(2)The other explanation is that the human condition is hopeless anyway. We are caught between the tiger and the gorge. It is the drops of honey that make our lives worth living( full SRK sentiments :-P ).

I favour the second analysis,obviously, though I worry that the first one is correct and I am merely rationalizing - something that that we all do - something which sounds better than compromising.

Also,while imagining the situation I found myself looking ridiculous, you know head extended, mouth open, eyes shut, waiting for honey to fall.Won't it be easy to just let go?

1 comment:

Priyanka Tadipatri said...

Heights of optimism; that 's what the latter interpretetion flaunts. I wonder if there are more possible, rational explanations to the ending, that are left unsuggested. Witty and abstract; Good post. And a wonderful story I must admit.
What is the Marathi title, by the way? :-P