There is an invisible thin line between what we know as superstition, myth, belief, faith and truth! Such is the strangeness in these subtle sentiments that they define the manner in which we react so uniquely at times! It reminds me of the fabled TARANTULA’S VENOM!
Ram Ratan Yadav, our Dhobiwho takes care of all our laundry, sat at the foot of the dining table and discoursed, “Today, in our village colony, the feared TARANTULA was finally caught! Many had seen its feared web across trees and hedges and we knew that he was around. However, the ultimate victory came today morning!”
“What are you saying?” exclaimed Aunt Padma. “Did it kill anybody in the recent time?”
I turned towards the two of them from my sofa and listened. Ran Charan continued, “Last fortnight, the old priest got bit by this dangerous creature and he breathed his last! The venom is merciless! Everybody in our village colony was scared after that! Every time we saw its web somewhere, we used to shudder!”
I wanted to interrupt and explain some basic facts about Tarantula and the myths associated with it but refrained from doing so. I didn’t want to begin a lecture to educate Ram Ratan Singh. However, the subject of his discussion remained crouched up in my fantasy.
I got up and stood at the balcony. Down in the street, a man was taking his son to school. The little child seemed quite mischievous and his father struggled to manage his tantrums. The man expressed his discomfort and then said, “The angry demon with red eyes is watching you! He will come at night to catch you… Listen to me and behave yourself!”
The child paid some heed to whatever he just heard and then decided to obey his father. I smiled at the sight of this little drama and came inside. I was getting late for office and quickly got inside to get dressed. Today being a weekday, I had to follow my usual routine and Aunt Padma became busy in her work.
As I came out and woe my shoes, Aunt Padma approached me with her usual copper-worship-plate and its contents. She sprinkled some of her holy-water on me and muttered, “Don’t worry Pravin. Soon, god will wipe away this disease of yours! Soon you would become shielded by the holy powers!”
I didn’t want to say anything in reply and simply smiled and went out. There was something brewing up inside my subconscious mind. However, I couldn’t understand what it was. I thought it best not to nudge it further unless the cocktail ejects itself into my conscious mind.
As I reached office, I completed my usual tasks and then sat inside a conference to listen to a presentation. Mr. Atul Bhaskar had come from Delhi for this special meeting. Along with the rest of the team, I listened to whatever he had to say. Atul spoke relentlessly about the future of Telecom Industry and how it was all set to revolutionize the entire world in the next decade. He spoke about networks and platforms that would build a web of information around us. He spoke about how telecom technology would impair many devices as redundant. I was enthralled but felt disturbed with something. However, I again refrained from nudging my sentiments.
Rajesh accompanied me during my return journey. As we stood inside the bus, Rajesh asked anxiously, “Are we going to lose our jobs? Are many people going to become jobless due to this disruptive revolution in telecom?”
I replied with a smile, “No. The threat is somewhere else… A Tarantula’s venom cannot kill you.”
The spontaneity of my words amazed me and I kept silent for the rest of the journey. The strange feeling was slowly seeping out from my subconscious mind into the conscious one. Rajesh obviously got bowled out by my answer and became more confused. Even he became silent and got lost in his confusion.
As I sit inside my room, at my writing desk, and document this journal, the bigger picture is clear in front of my eyes. From morning, this thought had been cooking inside me…. The thought about TARANTULA’S VEMON! It is strange but is relevant. A Tarantula onslaught is not life threatening, but is often feared due to its external appearance. It definitely doesn’t use its venom to kill its prey. However, a myth is prevalent about how innocent creatures are killed by it. Everything about it is so similar to many experiences that we, humans, have in our lives!
Life itself is like a Tarantula’s Venom! It is a concoction of myth, fable, superstition, faith and truth! Ram Ratan Singh and the residents of his colony believe in a myth that is really a fable but not the real truth. However, the myth is what remains prevalent.
Aunt Padma’s intense faith in the almighty makes her believe that the holy-water would eradicate my amnesia, but the fact is something else! However, it is a belief that keeps her alive and I don’t want to change that. This is again so similar to the Tarantula’s Venom… it just cannot kill a real prey! Yet, it is revered for a characteristic it doesn’t possess.
Finally, the debates about the future prospects of telecom technology, how it will shape our future, how it will disrupt the job market etc. are making ripples across our minds. However, we are not thinking about the fact that it will change us, the human beings forever! It will lead us one more step closer to being mechanized and become slaves to gadgets! Again, it’s the Tarantula’s Venom that is getting an unnecessary hype as we human beings become more and more illiterate with our I.Q. becoming sharper by the day.
Tonight’s journal here is not about a feeling, it is about a realization that I want to remember the existence of the invisible thin line, so that I can distinguish between superstition, myth, belief faith, and truth and never fall prey to the TARANTULA’S VENOM.