The other day, over breakfast in office, we were talking about human beheading. Yes, extremely gross a topic to talk about over hot and gooey sabudana vada, and I did my best to resist throwing up. We were talking about how human beheading existed in parts of India as a means of worship and how it does exist in other parts of the world under various pretexts even today.  A few more points and arguments later, we totally digressed from the point which was…ummm…I’m not sure what the point was! My breakfast group is a fast-growing one (for some unknown reasons) with people hailing from all across the country viz. the north-east, the north-west, west, south-west so on and so forth. So, what generally happens is that we have a lot of stories to tell that relate to cultures from various parts of our country. And all of us have a different take on any one topic that is generally our breakfast banter, and we did have different views in the case of human beheading too.

By the end of the discussion, as far as I recollect, I spent a major reserve of my energy in trying to explain to my colleague that just because he hasn’t seen human beheading that doesn’t mean it didn’t/doesn’t exist. (I must add that I’m not sure why we reached that stage of discussion. There was just a lot of talk so much so that the whole point, if there was any, got lost!) My colleague wanted proof of the fact that it used to happen. He wanted me to bring him “a history text”. He wanted me to bring him an “authentic history textbook and not the kinds that are not real”. The only thing I said was, “Do you really think history has not been tampered with?” But as adamant as nature has made him to be, he wanted “solid proof and data”. I could satiate his give-me-statistics thirst by doing a quick Google search and send him half a dozen links (another colleague sent him 19 links!) but I did not do so. I do not believe in History books. I don’t.

I think History is misleading and apart from handing us down some lessons, it does nothing much. That reminds me of a book I once read, The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. In that book, Mr. Taleb has said that we cannot predict the future based on our past. He says that the past has absolutely no information that is useful. I most definitely agree. At the risk of digression, I’d recommend this book to everyone. Read it! It’s an eye-opener, if you have an open mind. Coming back to history, I have a very simple reason for not giving it enough credit. Only because, if two people look at the same thing, I’m sure that they will see very different things based on where they come from, how they think and how they recount it. They look at something and narrate what they think happened & not what actually happened. But then again, there is nothing such as “what ACTUALLY happened”. There is nothing such that “this is what REALLY happened that night”. Why? Allow me to explain.

I think where you live, is your reality. What you do, what you see and where you hail from, is your reality. It may be in total contradiction with my “reality” and that is totally fine. Dowry may be real for you and unreal for me, but that does not negate either of us. Atheism may be real for you and unreal for me, but that does not affirm any of us. A person may be genial to you and the same person maybe antagonistic to me, but that does not make “that person” an angel or a beast. Simply, the point is none of us can be claimed to be right and none of us may be wrong. All of us have our own reasons. REASONS. We have our reasons to be right. We have our reasons to be wrong. We have our reasons to lie. We have our reasons to love. We have our reasons to suffer. We have our reasons to run. We do.

That reminds me of something my closest friend once told me, “There is nothing such as a lie, just an appropriate thing to be told at that instance of time. What may be appropriate to you, may not be appropriate to me.”

There is no such thing as an absolute reality. And just because a tossed coin results in head that doesn’t mean there’s no tail.

– Sameen