Out of all my friends, I am the only one who is ok with how things are now. You see, I have the experience of withstanding years, no wait, centuries of inattention and neglect. My friends, on the contrary, have had colourful, all-important years. They were being praised and extolled in superlatives! People wrote poems, sang songs, and made extravagant movies about them. And sometimes when their adulation got out of hand, they even fought and killed for my stupid friends. Can’t really blame my pals for oozing with overconfidence!
Then suddenly, people went all quiet. They completely stopped caring about my friends. Completely. To be honest, it did not happen “suddenly”. There were signs of people changing; slowly but surely, they were starting to ask questions. And one question loomed larger than the others.
Was it worth believing in any or all of the lot?
(They meant my friends.)
I saw the signs. My friends remained blind. And complacent. You may ask why I did not point it out to my friends. The risk of losing it all.
Well, why would I? There was nothing in it for me.
Anyway, then finally, one day, it happened.
The entire human race turned atheistic.
You should have seen how much it bothered Jesus, Durga, Allah, Shiva, Susanoo, and the rest of my friends! I think they were being silly. And egoistic. And pathetic. What did they honestly expect? To remain important always? Like always? Great expectations, I would say.
Me, I kept to myself and minded my own business. Like I always have. Which brings us to the point where I should probably explain who I am.
I am Mitra, a forgotten god. Long back in the past, I have had my moment of glory. I rose to great heights and had my share of worshippers and devotees. And then I was decommissioned. Some new gods appeared; some old gods persisted. Long story short, I sank into anonymity while others of my ilk continued to thrive on human insecurity.
Now that my friends, the other extant gods, are no longer worshipped, they are not happy! If it bothers them so much, why can’t they destroy this world and conjure a new one filled with new fools to worship them? I frankly do not see a point in moping about something you can fix.
But enough about us. Allow me to devote a few sentences or paragraphs to dissecting those human beings. Those, stupid worthless beings, whose attention my friends are now craving for.
See, I am not even getting into the who created whom business. Humans created gods. Or, gods created humans. It is like that chicken and egg question. It is confusing, loopy, and pointless.
Anyway, as I was saying, after giving the gods unnecessary and unwarranted attention for centuries the human race decided to unite under the umbrella of atheism. This was an iconic moment for the world. All hell was supposed to break loose. Literally. But nothing happened.
The idiots ran the world, as sloppily as before. They made a mess of everything and tried to clear up the mess. Sometimes they ended up creating more mess in the process. But somehow life went on. More or less, as before.
This infuriated the gods. But they did nothing now. Just like they did nothing before. It takes no genius to conclude that there will be no impact.
It has been like this for a pretty long time. A few centuries to be exact. And now the humans think that they might need us one more time. This got my friends so worked up. A whiff of attention from the stupid human beings and there they go salivating at the prospect of getting more prayers, eulogies, and what-nots!
I am not falling for this.
A tiny bit of me hurts but I have long stopped admitting that even to myself. So do not expect me to elaborate on it.
So, why do human beings think that they might need the gods?
For you to understand that, I must tell you the story of Shakahari and Masahari. If you think that these two are Japanese fellows then you are mistaken. The global populace is now comprised of mixed-race humans. It is impossible to tell the ethnicity from their colour, build, or disposition. So, don’t expect mere placeholder values like names to give any clue whatsoever about their backgrounds.
Shakahari and Masahari are global citizens. They are best friends for all practical purposes. On a beautiful Saturday night, Shakahari and Masahari decided to play a game of chess. So far it sounds good. But that is because I have not told you about the presence of around a thousand other people around them. They were at a party. So, the media as well as the bootlickers from Shaka and Masa’s teams were in full attendance too.
Fifteen minutes into the game Masa’s queen and one knight had Shaka’s king locked in a checkmate position. Shaka managed to fake a smile and was about to congratulate his friend when Masa threw up his arms in the air and said, “I win!!! Shaka, eating only vegetarian meals seems to have shrunken your brain cells.”
The media and the bootlickers of Masa broke into enraptured laughter.
“And eating meat has surely expanded your waistline along with your brain cells,” Shaka retorted, swaying his lean self to mock the bouncy flab layered around Masa’s torso.
This delighted Shaka’s followers very much and they responded with thunderous clapping.
“From the sound of applause, it appears that I have more followers than you,” Shaka said.
“Oh really?” responded Masa. “Why don’t you check the number of fans I have on social media? It is more than double the number you have.”
“That’s because you inflate the numbers with paid followers and fake bot accounts,” said Shaka, crossing his arms. “In actual public gatherings, my followers, being real, will always outnumber yours.”
Masa frowned for a second and licked his lips.
“I married the love of your life,” Masa came back. “How do you go to bed, knowing that you want your best friend’s wife?”
“And how do you go to sleep, knowing that you had tried to bed your best friend?” Shaka laughed.
Masa raised his arm (or maybe the arm raised itself out of its own accord) and landed a heavy blow on Shaka’s nose. A thick drop of blood began to course its way out of the left nostril.
Shaka stood still, not moving a muscle and staring hard at Masa.
Masa stared back, silently daring him to hit back.
“I’m not hitting you,” Shaka said after a while. “Not when the weight of truth has crushed your soul already.”
With this Shaka walked off, his huge entourage in tow.
Three days later, Shakahari sued Masahari.
The charges against Masa named him as an evil influencer who was leading the world towards its end.
Masa arranged for a press conference immediately and said that his erstwhile best friend Shakahari was a self-righteous ass who needed to be put in his place. And Masa vowed to do exactly that.
This court case would not have happened if Shaka and Masa had regular problems like having children to feed, a lover to keep and a leak in the roof to fix. But they had too much money, too much free time, and far too less things to worry about. So, the case happened.
I have been following the trial closely. The main accusatory point that Shaka has selected against Masa is an old bone of contention between the two friends.
Shakahari endorses a vegetarian lifestyle while Masahari likes to eat meat. Being rich and powerful social influencers, they consciously encouraged people to emulate their eating habits.
Shaka has now alleged that Masa’s way of life is threatening the very existence of the human race and needs to be sanctioned right away. Masa’s legal team is no fool. They have gathered enough evidence to prove that Masa is quite the saint who is being victimized by a sore loser.
This case between Shakahari and Masahari has been televised to every corner of the world, at the request of both parties. Each of them believes that they are going to win. What about the rest of the human beings? They are as jobless as these two. And since this “to eat or not to eat meat” is a topic that they can all relate to, everybody decided to follow the proceedings with heated curiosity.
That pretty much explains the situation as of now. About half the people believe in Shakahari and want Masahari and his way of eating to be abolished. And the other half is throwing their weight behind Masahari, insisting that it is not ok to shove your opinion down the throat of a body that is not yours.
The case reached an impasse. And that’s when a dimwit remembered us, the gods.
“Hey, why don’t we ask god to take a call?” they said. And somehow everyone thought it was a very good idea.
A representative was sent to us. All gods, small and big, were told to file their nominations to judge the most scintillating case that was holding the entire human race on the edge of their seats.
You should have seen the way my friends scrambled to put down their names. Nobody asked them for a curriculum vitae and yet each one added a thick resume highlighting the number of devotees they had once commanded, the number of books written about them, the number of people (and animals) killed for them, and even the amount of money donated in their names! I just saw Jesus and Chukwu in a heated argument about the conversion rate of dollar while calculating the net wealth that had been raised from their followers in the past.
Truth be told, all this bothered me even more because I had nothing to write on my resume. I submitted a blank page with just my name on it.
During the next twenty-four hours of waiting time that followed, my friends’ body language reflected everything starting from controlled anxiety to complete derangement. I loitered around observing them and smirking occasionally while they chose to ignore me.
Then the wait ended. A team of humans dressed in impeccable suits walked into the auditorium where my friends and I had assembled. They were carrying a large sealed envelope. The team made a small, mind-numbingly boring speech during which I phased out and wondered why could they not memorize just one name? Why did they have to print it on paper, put it inside an envelope and seal it? Wastage of paper, time, and effort!
The sound of hooting zapped me out of my thoughts. The judge must have been named. I looked around wondering who is the one to walk up and be garlanded by the team of humans.
Everyone was looking at me. Hell, no! I could not be the one they have chosen. Was I?
It surely seemed so. I put on what could pass off as a gracious smile and began to step towards the humans.
They looped six garlands around my neck in quick succession and the one standing in the centre said, “Presenting our esteemed judge for the trial, Mitra.”
The next few days passed in a blur. While Allah, Jesus, Chukwu, Saraswati, and Krishna had the courtesy to congratulate me, my old pal Varun offered me a perfunctory hug. The rest of my friends chose to stay away, sulking in the comfort of their homes. Their reaction multiplied my happiness. Apparently, the humans wanted a god whose judgement was not clouded by a bias towards any type of people due to generational flattery offered in the past. And I was the only one who fit the bill.
After the initial euphoria of being the chosen one subsided, I felt the pressure hit me.
I had to make an important decision here. My words would impact everyone living on earth. My goodness! That was huge. And I wanted none of it. I wanted my quiet, old life. But it was too late.
The humans brought the files of the case for me to sift through. Let me place my findings here for you to take a look.
Case title: Shakahari versus Masahari
Shakahari’s demand: The world should go vegetarian and teach Masahari and his followers a lesson.
Shaka’s supporters: 1. Animal Rights Association
2. Climate Control Board
3. Vegans United
4. Health Gurus
5. Global Right to Live Guild
Masahari’s demand: Shakahari should keep his broken nose out of other people’s dietary habits.
Masa’s supporters: 1. Free Speech Association
2. Global Livestock Guild
3. Free Thinkers United
4. Meat Industries Control Board
5. Health Gurus
6. Global Right to Eat Guild
In the next few days, I visited the supporters from both camps and heard them out before forming my own decision.
I could not hold back my tears when I listened to the points put forward by the Animal Rights Association and Vegans United. The Climate Control Board further convinced me of the need for the entire planet to give up meat immediately. When the Health Gurus and the Global Right to Live Guilds prattled on their views, I stopped listening and concentrated on soaking in the feeling of being important to one and all.
By the time I visited Masahari’s supporters, I had already decided to vote for Shakahari. But the Global Livestock Guild and the Meat Industries Control Board proved to me that animals were farmed in an ethical manner. And how closing down their factories would drive thousands of innocent families into abject poverty. I could not help but agree when the Free Thinkers United collaborated with the Free Speech Association and presented to me the importance of not controlling others. I phased out again by the time it was the turn of the Health Gurus and Global Right to Eat Guild to explain their stand. I nodded along and raised my eyebrows every now and then to give them a feeling of intense listening.
Everybody was happy when I was through with the two camps. This was the first time that any god had shown active involvement in the matters of the humans and they were very pleased with their choice of judge.
On the D Day, the team of humans led me to the court and helped me to sit on the esteemed throne of the judge.
A bespectacled lady began to summarize the proceedings of the case. As her soft, firm voice started to boom through the microphone, the din in the courtroom quietened down to rapt silence.
“We are gathered today to witness history,” she began. “The verdict of today’s case will decide the way forward for everyone in this world.
Two powerful men, best friends, and mass influencers are fighting for the principles they have believed in all their life.
I am pleased to inform you all that Shakahari has obtained the vote of the public, comprising of the common men and women of this world. His supporters strongly feel that the world will be a better place if we all chose to follow the eating habits prescribed by their icon, Shaka.
Where does this put Masahari? Nowhere? Certainly not!
I must remind you that Masahari has cornered the vote of the world media, which also represents the people living in this same world. Perhaps they are a little more privileged and have a little more clout. But the fact remains that being the inhabitants of the same planet, their opinion is equally important.
It is time for our respected god Mitra to take centre stage and give out his verdict to end this tie. Today is a day when we can all rise and say for one more time, in god we trust.”
She bowed gracefully as everyone gave her resounding applause. Then as people sank the ambiance into tense silence one more time, I was expected to get up and announce the winner.
I looked around and felt the eyes on me. Both the camps were willing hard for me to sway in their favour and I felt powerful, immensely powerful. And in that second, I realized how flawed this world was.
Nobody cared for the world. Nobody cared for the well-being of others. Nobody even cared for their own well-being. It was the raw display of power that motivated the human race.
And human beings are the highest form of intellect that we have. That itself shows how high the collective stupidity index was for this world.
In that one second, I knew that this planet was a failed project. The longer it lingered, the longer it would take to create another planet and populate it with kinder, better beings.
I picked up the microphone and spoke into it, “I choose Masahari as the winner.”
And then I vanished. Even before Masa’s camp could rush to douse me with praises. Even before Shaka’s people could think of hurling accusations at me. I did not offer to explain my decision. You cannot tell them that continuing on the path of self-destruction will bring the best possible outcome in the universe.
I retired to my quiet life of anonymity one more time. It is so peaceful to watch all the drama from a distance.
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash
The link should work now!