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I am known to be more of a rationalist. I gladly accept the fact that I am, both in my thoughts and in my deeds.

But it feels sad when some people try to brand me an atheist, which I am not. It’s just that my perception of God and godliness is different from that of hard-core religionists. Those who know me well understand and really that’s what matters for me.

I came across this quote yesterday, “Five minutes after your birth, they decide your name, nationality, religion and sect, and you spend rest of your life defending something you didn’t even chose”.

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Any atheist would love these words, but the rationalist me kept pondering over it for a while. Then it dawned upon me that there is nothing wrong in defending. Actually, it’s not just these five things that we never chose for ourselves but keep defending, there are many more too.

In our life, there are so many things that we have not chosen for ourselves, but still defend. I haven’t chosen my skin colour, but will defend my brown skin if anyone tries to demonise it. Same goes with my gender too. Being born as a male was not a choice I made, but would vehemently defend if it’s argued that all men are evil.

I never got to choose my parents too, but I may perhaps defend them if I need to, unless I am sure that they are wrong. For that matter, being an Indian wasn’t a choice I made at birth, but I would be honoured to shed my last drop of blood to defend my country.

Applying this logic, I honestly find no fault in defending our nationality, religion and sect, because they are part of our identity and that’s the way people identity us. There is actually no need to force ourselves to give up our identities and try to identify as only human beings, unless the entire human race is willing to embrace a dystopian world where everything is grey and homogenous

There is no harm in embracing or even celebrating our distinctions wherever and whenever possible, and not try to erase them. Doing it does not certainly make us unenlightened racists.

Being defined into a particular nation, a religion, a sect or being identified with a given name is not just a label for us. Rather, it represents the labour of our ancestors.  The decision which seems to be thrust upon us moments after our birth is actually a record of what our fathers and their fathers and their fathers before them did. This identity is actually a testimony of how our mothers and our mother’s mothers raised their children before we even came into this world.

This identity is actually a story of their struggles and their dreams, their triumphs and their tragedies. Defending it is not just a necessity but a duty as well, something which we need to carry out with pride.

Let us learn to proudly defend the identity that was thrust upon us on birth, our name, nationality, religion and sect. But in this pride, we just need to be careful that in our zest to protect them, we do not blindly exonerate them demeaning the others.

We need to be careful that our pride does not turn into egotism, arrogance and immodesty; we just need to be logical and rationalist in our thoughts and our deeds.

Epilogue:

“Thou shalt not kill”, we all know these words as part of the Ten Commandments. Let us understand the true meaning of it.

Legitimate defense is not only a right, but a grave duty for each one of us, who are responsible for the lives of others. The defense of common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm.

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It was another one of those odd days for Danish as he woke up early, finished his morning chores in a hurry, grabbed a couple of toast slices, while hastily sipping the tea he had made and put over the stove to be ready by the time he finished his routines, and dashed out of home worrying that he should not be even a minute late to where he was heading to.

This routine is nothing distinctive for many, who are used to this humdrum before rushing for work every single day. But, unlike others who may be used to this drill so that they don’t face the ire of their superior at work, Danish ever had to worry about it. He had his own small consultancy firm and being his own boss, could afford to reach at his own convenience.

For Danish, this routine is only once a couple of months; the days he gets a call from the hospices that he is needed urgently. Danish would never like to get late to reach when he is called to donate his blood, which he did regularly.

Danish would complete the tedium as obligated by the sanatoriums and then quietly slip away into the lanes of this big bad fast world in his daily grind, a world where everyone jostles and shoves each other to reach the finish line, a world where nobody really cares for anything other than self.

*****

That day would be no different, Danish had imagined, as he reached the hospital and checked himself in for the tests before he could settle down for the donation. He never had tried to enquire who the patient was, what the need was, while he used to donate till then.

It was just the sight of a frail woman sitting on the bench, who gazed at him as if in appeal, while he passed her on his way to the contribution cabin. The tears dropping down her eyes while he just had a glance at her were something which could not miss his attention.

The image kept playing in his mind throughout that he could not control his curiosity. For some reason, he felt the urge to enquire for whom he was bestowing his plasma that day. A little girl had met with an accident and the infirm female he had glimpsed on his way in was her mother, he was informed.

When Danish came out, the lady was still sedentary at the same position. He just walked up to her and as she saw him approaching her, she just folded her hands in supplication. As if by impulse, he just held her hand, nodded and walked away. They didn’t speak a single word, but he understood that she was thanking her profusely and he had just assured her that her daughter would be fine.

*****

Danish was feeling very uneasy that whole day at work. He kept imagining the face of that little girl, whom he had never seen, but he could perceivably play a tiny part in her probable survival from that fatality. He had a near sleepless night too.

A casual next morning, as he was lazing around before he was to get ready to go for work, Danish was surprised to get a call from the same hospital where he was the previous morning. Calls for this reason were common, but what astounded Danish was to get a call from the same hospital the very next day since medically he would not be allowed to donate blood again for at least a couple of months.

Some strange fear engulfed his mind as he answered the phone with trembling hands. He was relieved when he was informed that the little girl for whom he had gone there the previous day was fine now and she had requested if she could meet him.

Danish immediately confirmed in the affirmative and closed his eyes in prayer. Some strange voice inside him was telling him that he was unwittingly walking into a plot well scripted by the Almighty for him, which was going to change his life for ever.

*****

Angela’s eyes gleamed in happiness as soon as Danish entered the room accompanied by the Doctor and she was informed who he was.  A cherubic little kid, she was perhaps just crossing her teenage, Danish assumed, surely almost half his age.

Ushering himself towards her bed, where she was laying in pain, he could sense the smile on her face as if his presence had suddenly made a huge difference to her health. A strange feeling ran all across him, he could feel as if it was his own daughter, who was lying down there.

Danish caressed her hair and murmured that she would be back to her feet soon. Unspoken words, but understood by the heart, she smiled in response and quickly held his hand as he tried to walk away. As he turned back, she smiled again. Angela hadn’t said anything, but Danish understood that she wanted him to come and see her again.

Angela was recuperating though the near lethal injury was making it a slow progress. Danish would be there for her throughout and everyone had realised that his love for her as his child was soothing enough for her recovery.

*****

Angela would be so excited to see Danish that she would feel sad and dejected whenever he went away.  It was as if just the love and care of this supportive figure worked wonders than all the medications that were being administered on her.

In a few weeks, Angela was discharged from the hospital and taken home but every time she felt the need to share her happiness or absorb her sorrows, she would always find Danish, willing to listen to her, guide her and more importantly understand her. Whenever she felt shaky, she would find his fatherly hands stretched apart to embrace her and save her from falling down.

The attachment kept strengthening over the months of their devotedness till it became inseparable over the few years. It was as if Danish could not even imagine that Angela wasn’t his own child and for Angela, he had become more than what a real father would be. He was someone with whom she could share her mind, pour out her heart, without any inhibitions and without being perturbed about any rebuke.

For Angela, these years were as if she was living the life of a little child all over again. She had never felt so pampered ever in her life during her childhood. The paternal image hovering over her holding her tiny fingers made her feel secure and safe all over again.

Though Danish was always concerned for her as if she was a little kid and not grown up, he knew that Angela was growing up as a mature young lady. He found in her that compassionate ear that an ageing father would need, an angel in disguise. This mutual understanding was what consolidated and reinforced the relationship between him and his little angel.

*****

Blood is thicker than water, it is said. For Danish and Angela, it wasn’t. It’s really not the blood relations that count, not the blood count either. It’s the water that’s shed from the tears and who is there is wipe it away that counts.

For Danish, she will always remain his princess and for Angela, he would be more than a father could ever be. It is a relationship that grew out of a coincidence but cannot be stemmed anymore; a bond that has thickened much more than the real stem cells could do.

*****

thick blood1

Epilogue:

Blood is thicker than water – A mistaken etymology

Often have we heard people say that blood is thicker than water, and when they say it, they mean that family bonds are important than other relationships. How mistaken are we in understanding this phrase correctly, as much as we are mistaken in our thoughts about it.

This phrase is one that’s completely flipped its meaning over the centuries since its origin. It is derived from the original phrase, “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”.

If we read the original phrase, it means that the bond or covenant we have made with someone we have shed or shared blood with (literally or figuratively) is stronger than the one we have with someone with whom we have shared the womb (meaning siblings).

I hope we can really understand that rather than “blood” shared by family, the original interpretation of the term was “literal blood”. I hope we realise that the bonds created by shedding blood for each other makes for stronger bonds than those of the family we happened by chance to be born into.

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alone

Steve sat by the window staring at the darkness outside. The morning sun was shining bright and the birds were chirping but Steve could either see or hear nothing. All Steve could see beyond the horizon was darkness all around.

Steve wasn’t blind with his eyes. In fact, it was his vision that made him realise that he was all alone.

*****

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