The morning sun produced warm circles on the floor of the cafe. M stretched his right leg into a dancing column of dust.
“Tell me brother, don’t you want to be the maker of your destiny?” Mr. A asked M in his knocking-sense-into-head voice. “Don’t you want the power to decide what happens in your life? Let me tell you. No man in his sane mind would leave the control of his life to some Mr. Mohammed Vishnu Christ. That is so prehistoric. All that bullshit is for wussies. Tell me brother, are you a wuss?”
A silent smile dawned and left M’s brown beardless face. Wuss. The child of the unholy marriage of a wimp and a pussy. A portmanteau for weakness and cowardice. Another name to my being. Mr. M Wussy. Mr. M Wussy drinking frizzy coffee.
“For God’s sake, this is the 21st century.” Mr. A continued, munching his muffin. “Do you know who created the book-keeping God? The God who keeps records of all our sins in a thick brown register to be read out on the Judgement Day? The corrupt people. The power-hungry people of the church. They do it because they want to control fools like you. They want to feel superior. There is no such God, goddammit.”
M continued to listen to Mr. A’s theories. Over the long years of their acquaintance, M has learned that it is best not to interrupt Mr. A when he is in the zone of his all-clear-no-doubt answers to everything. Moreover, M likes to be a quiet listener.
“It is not difficult to see what I say is true. Just use your head for once, will you? We have such beautiful scientific explanations for the origins of our species over billions of years of evolution. Science is reason. It gives rational answers. Still people flock to the irrational religions like flies to fire. Exactly like flies into fire. All of them will burn and die without the power of reason.”
An innocent fly seeing light in darkness. Knowing not the perils it may bring. Seeking answers. Answers to its existence. To its suffering. Arjuna to Krishna. Ananda to Buddha. Mary Magdalene to Jesus. Whom will I turn to? Who will baptize me with fire? For indeed, our God is a consuming fire.
M had shunned the labyrinthine tenets of all established religions even as a boy. He too was drawn into the fire of reason. Nevertheless, he attended the holy masses on Sundays. He knelt down at his mother’s deathbed to pray with her. Stephen Dedalus vs. Mr. M Wussy.
But reason is indeed a tricky sword. Equips to face the world in one’s own terms. Being one’s own master. Complete control. Like the ingenious gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. Quite a rational man of sound reason. M smiled. Don Quixote’s broken lance.
Reason stems from knowledge. Our truths shape our rationality. Reasoning is valid only when our knowledge is true. But can true knowledge be ever attained in this protean world? Can we break the barriers of the diaphane? Rope is indeed a snake in darkness. And we believe with all our strength of reasoning that we could have died from that snake.
“It’s alright to be confused at this young age perhaps”. Mr. A said pondering over the last drops of coffee. “But let me tell you. Make money, enjoy life. That’s all there’s to it. It’s so simple. Make your way through the world with the power of your money and the strength of your reason”.
Mr. A got up, paid the bill, waved goodbye and walked away. A Don Quixote marching for glorious battles. May be he is following his truth. And following one’s truth shown by the path of reason may be our only real duty. Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves”. May be I am a Byron’s slave. But isn’t that my truth?
M got up and slowly walked out into the warm soothing sun.