The Tribune - Spectrum

, April 28, 2002

All ye ants of the world unite!
Rooma Mehra

Fate wait-2: A sculpture by the writer
Fate wait-2: A sculpture by the writer

SOMETIMES I find myself stealing envious glances, in the midst of heated debates, at those who have handed the course of their lives over to the secure keeping of kismet.

For one, they never seem to be trying too hard. For another, and to me definitely of infinite more importance, they never seem to be plagued by constant worry. Why should they? What will be, will be! If not overly successful, they always look content and rarely suffer the disappointment of a mammoth, heartbreaking effort gone waste.

It is another story that most of the total believers in kismet leave all the donkey’s work to the believers of "karma" — and God knows, sometimes it is a trifle difficult to hide one’s disappointment at the lack of fruit one’s hard work.

So the ants trudge on and, their respective burdens on their respective backs, working and worrying last and working ..saving their last pennies for the insecure futures of the happy-go lucky fun-loving secure-in-the-loving-lap-of-kismet grasshoppers! So God forgive me, if I err in my conclusion, but the grasshopper is having his cake and eating it, too. And irresponsibility is infinitely never mind the dent on the self respect front —when there is a repository of generous humanity, crushed under the weight of responsibility, too decent to say "no" to starving grasshoppers in their hour of need.


The ant has a difficult present and if the grasshopper takes fair share of her future savings, an equally difficult future.. The grasshopper on the other hand, has a carefree, fun filled present and a similarly rosy future! Thank you kismet!

Among my numerous experiences of working in offices I remember one particularly unpleasant one where a diligent elderly South Indian colleague did the donkey’s work, including the disclosure on paper of his unique productivity enhancing ideas, to find the credit taken unfailingly each time by a thumb-twiddling senior".

I remember accosting this senior on numerous occasions about his plans for the future since he seemed to spend most of his time chatting rather than working! "Public relations are important". Quoth he,".. and I believe in kismet."

His kismet sure took him far! He owns a sprawling bungalow and a car befitting the bungalow today and has climbed several rungs up the corporate ladder, while the believer in "selfless effort" is still working his old age off in the same chair. Perhaps, he is a happy person, but I personally would be happier if the ants of the world would learn "no" sometime, or perhaps, at least choose worthier candidates for their philanthropy..

Correction.. that is also easier said than done!

I used to wonder at the "sleeping grasshoppers" occupying three large rooms of another office that I worked for. Their slumber, surprisingly, inevitably broke,when the boss entered their offices and —abracadabra—fingers flew busily on previously neglected typewriters while closed files flew open to the tune of the boss’ approaching footsteps, beating his entry by an incredible half a second it was a veritable miracle, I mused, every time I saw this feat. Of course, I was naive enough to ask the same question of them on my first day of work, "How will you get your work done if you sleep most of the time?" I received one withering look before beauty sleep overtook the lady again.

One week, an aching back , tired fingers and a buzzing-mind-on-the-verge-of collapse later, I found the answer. I would be doing the work, of course, along with another old scapegoat. They did not worry. They believed in kismet! ( I resigned two months and three weeks later).

Kismet is yet to let down any of its phony, manipulative believers, but a lot of us are now getting a fight for right" case ready .. for presentation to the " Supreme Court" where ‘God’ originally had something to do with the carving of ‘destinies’.

I always believed He did.

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