Running a scam


A disclaimer – all those who believe in religion should not be reading this post. You have your own thing and I have my own and I don’t intend to disrespect your views. Also it is a lot of rambling. So if you don’t want to read too many words (the 140 character addicted), this post is not for you.

So yet again I am reading a Stephen King book. Regular readers of my blog will know I am a big fan of his books. The book am reading is called Revival. While I will not get into the plot, there is something I read which I will quote here. It’s a longish passage:

They don’t deserve the truth. You call them rubes, and how right you are. They have set aside what brains they have – and many of them have quite a lot – and put faith in that gigantic and fraudulent insurance company called religion. It promises them an eternity of joy in the next life if they live according to rules in this one, and many of them try, but that’s not enough. When the pain comes, they want miracles. To them I’m nothing but a witch doctor who touches them with magic rings instead of shaking a bone rattle over them”

This passage perhaps best represents how we look at religion and how we look at faith. I remember I had written something similar a while back.

This is how an average person looks at religion. Atonement of sins in this life so that next life (if there is such a concept) will be better. We remember the entity the most when we are in trouble. Even the atheist fall for it. So a question, why don’t we remember this entity when things are rocking good? Or do we think that what we are getting is what we deserve and it has been ordained. And if good life is what is ordained, why do bad times happen? Should it be taken care of by this insurance company? Our life itself is a miracle so why do we seek miracles??

You believe in religion, you believe in faith and at the same time believe in destiny. Aren’t they working at cross purposes? If you have faith and believe in God, then destiny should be taken care of.

So this scam has been going on for centuries. Perpetuated by those who become the proponents of faith… and we fall for it and send our love to them in the form of huge donations. Money that could have been well spent somewhere else. The coffers of various godmen and institutions reflect what suckers we are for this scam.

The fact is we don’t believe in ourselves. We don’t have a belief in what we are capable of. We want a crutch (will not call it a guiding light) on which we will walk through this life. And we spend money on this crutch. We invest time. And then expect an ROI. When this ROI doesn’t happen, we question the entity. We demand an ROI. We seek a miracle. And when nothing happens, we call it bad luck. We blame fate and destiny.

I know of enough and more people who are very religious but they are not great human beings. Compassion and empathy is furthest from their mind. Wonder why? Don’t all religions teach these two? 

I am perhaps rambling and have my thoughts all over but the point is, to be a better human being, do we need religion, faith or spirituality? To make a difference, do we need to be part of this scam? Because the moment you are part of something that is a scam, you are a hustler. You have a selfish motive (of next life being better).

I was told by someone the other day that their son knows intricate instances from Ramayana that most kids his age won’t even know. They took pride in that. Yet they wonder why their kid is so aggressive and they constantly have to control him hitting other kids. What gives?? How about teaching that value system? Perhaps they are focusing too much on the so called values from the epics (will he also at some point of time expect his wife to walk the fire to prove her fidelity?)

My life hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses but the good the bad and the ugly that has happened, it is all me. What I have today or don’t have, it is all my effort or lack of it (if I don’t have). And that is how life should be. The ROI has to be from our efforts. And not depending on that so called power that drives our destiny.

Turning on a dime


So ‘life turns on a dime’ is a phrase I have read often in the kind of books I read.

But perhaps most succinctly put in 11.22.63 by Stephen King:

“Life turns on a dime. Sometimes towards us, but more often it spins away, flirting and flashing as it goes: so long, honey, it was good while it lasted, wasn’t it?”

It’s the spinning away that takes us by surprise… a nasty one at that. Because when it spins toward us, we take it for granted. We do not pay too much attention to it. But when it spins away and flashes, is when we wonder.

You never get an advance notice that it is going to happen. But hey, we didn’t get advance notice about demonetisation either. For a larger mass of people (in spite of the trouble we have in getting our own money), it has been good. But we would rather crib and moan about it than to wait and see how it will make things better.

But coming back to it spinning away. What do we usually do? We let our negative mind take over. We start talking about destiny and karma. We think that it is the end of the world for us. The human mind is conditionedto thinking the worst.

What if we flipped our finger to it as it is flashing us? What if we had our own “it was good while it lasted but it’s time for me to find something better”. It is your “screw you”. It is you saying that dime is too small. I would rather that my life turns on a dollar. 🙂

We need to learn perhaps to treat the so called nasty surprise as an opportunity. The life that was turning away on a dime was not worth it. This is an opportunity for something better. Yeah the cynics will say it is a case of sour grapes but hey, you are a cynic for a reason coz you can’t see anything good around you and we don’t care.

So the next time it spins away, flip the bird!

Escape Hatch


11.22.63

Been reading 11.22.63 by Stephen King for past month or so. Its over 700 pages.

Unlike all the other books I read, I go real slow with Stephen King books. As I have said in the past, his books are a totally immersive experience. One needs to savour every word.

Won’t write a review of the book, in case there are people out there who are still reading it or planning to read it. But whats available as back cover, Jake Epping travels back in time to stop the assassination of Kennedy.

It’s a portal in a diner that allows him to time travel. It is his escape hatch. One he can use to escape the past. Or he can use when his job is done.

Made me think. What if we also had an escape hatch. A portal that will allow us to travel back and forth in time. Something that will help us escape to safety. Something that will let us escape, come back in a different time period and change things for the better. Wishful thinking.

I bet all of us would love to have this escape hatch. Though am not very sure how many of us would want to use it all the time. As the books says, past will try its level best to stop us from changing it. There is a reason for it. Things were meant to happen in a certain way and to go back and change things, we are probably messing with the reality of our lives.

All of us have those instances in the past that we so wish we could change. And those changes could make our lives different from what it is now.

Sometime back I had written a post about what if we could go back in time. Premonition perhaps that I was going to read this book.

And here is another kicker. I have said you don’t pick up a Stephen King book on a whim or a fancy. You buy them when it is time. This book was published in 2011 I think. I had seen it on stands. I had skimmed through it. But I never bought it till a month back. Perhaps, in my head there were thoughts about hoping to go back in time and changing things. I don’t know. Maybe I am looking for that escape hatch…

I am sure many of us want that hatch…

Bazaar Of Bad Dreams


Ok so the title of the post sounds weird as hell right?

It is courtesy the new book by Stephen King I picked up last evening at Kolkata airport.

After a long time I picked up a book by him. And here is to add to the weirdness quotient further. And I would like to check with other fans of his if this is true.

I have never bought his book just because I saw it on the shelf. Sure that was the case with the first book that I bought but never after that.

I see his new book, I do go through the cover, open random pages and keep it back. There is something in my mind that needs to connect, the longing needs to happen. And when it does, I buy. Till then, they keep beckoning you… The title and the cover keeps playing in your head.. Till the mind decides that it is ready to get immersed… Some kind of deep intervention that happens and you are drawn in…

His books are like that… Word by word..page by page they pull you in.. Away from reality and yet very real… They play with your head at multiple levels…it happens to me with every book. They are not page turners like normal thrillers.. You turn the page because you turn into the protagonist..and it is your life unfolding with every page you turn…

Most of his books have pages… Hundreds of them… Because life does not get over in just one hundred pages…

I have lived through many of his books… Many of his characters.. There are times when I pull out one of his books again..to find myself…

People who have picked up his books on a whim have either found them scary or didn’t have patience to be drawn in. Well they were not meant for you then.. The darkness that engulfs you through his books, you are not ready for that darkness yet.

I don’t know how many of his fans will agree with me… But in all of his books.. The scare and the horror is just a track playing on the surface… Deep down, his books are about melancholy, a loss, a longing, unrequited love… Of course all of it was explicit and gripping in “Hearts in Atlantis” but in all the other books… You can feel it if you become the character…

His books have never scared me (and no its not because boys and men are never supposed to be scared) but they have always left me with an ache… They have taken me back in the past or connected with something in the present.. A sense of deep loss… And I have a feeling that I buy his books when at a sub conscious level am feeling that… That’s when the connect between me and the book is the strongest. I gravitate towards darkness…or its the darkness that calls me…

I think I was not ready for the “Bazaar of Bad Dreams” yet.. Because it got left behind on the aircraft… Had read only two stories… Probably in the collection there were a few that I wasn’t meant to read right now…

I have not mentioned pretty much all the books that I have read by Stephen King because this post is not about mentioning that.. This post is about what he does to you with his books…

For the people who haven’t read his books, this post will sound banal and boring… But to those who connect the way I do, they will know…