Rat race to liberty
Contributed by Eman Hatim   
Thursday, 01 May 2008

A slit in your right eyelid reveals another morning, another pursuit and the correct timing by the minute at which you must rise and rid yourself of your comfortable nightwear. It is once again, time for the soap to be used, the white pearls to be brushed and the spotless, crisp cotton to be worn and admired. As you grudgingly or delightfully say your goodbyes, which depends on the day of the week, the condition of your night and the crispness of your morning toast, the thought of the undertakings of the day clouds your mind.

The tasks begin their pattern of continuum at work; may you answer the call, this contract needs signing, Miss Stella has collapsed, sort the virus out, the case has been adjourned and so on and so forth. Before you know it, the ticking of the clock resonates more loudly, springing you back to reality and the realization that lunch was already and forgetfully consumed and it is indeed time to depart back to your abode. Where has the time gone you self enquire? Could the day have passed this swiftly? But it does not end, for the academics have reading to contend with, the mothers have domestic thrill to enlighten them and partners have words and much more to be negotiated and exchanged. And that is the cycle with which many, if not all of us spend in our personal ticking time bombs until we expire. The daily rituals, chores and challenges are the trimmings which garnish the meal of life and without them blandness would be the flavour of discussion shared over copious cups of tea. However, with all the expectant phases of life which one looks forward to and with the stimulation of one’s daily episodes, how come the feeling of futility may strike some of us? How come grandeur in living does not conceal you from the tedium of cushy living? This in truth is the cycle of life but how liberating is it for the mind’s well being?

It is not. If it was, man would not need to forget with an intoxicant and would not crave to be unchained by suicide. Tears would no longer recall the impact of plummeting on supple, bouncy fabric or solid granite flooring. Brutality would no longer electrify a victim into trepidation and fists would not be prone to coating its target in red bloody blotches. Caffeine would no longer be a piece of good fortune in disguise for the voyager, indulged at a time of greatest need but rather at the time when least required. It is only when we become adults that we appreciate this rat race, for children are untied of such concerns and lavish in their childhood with thoughts of fantasy and eternity provided it is not robbed off them. But if life is not liberating how can we become liberated? How can we change our perceptions and attitudes towards the confinements we are under in this life?

Limitation is the weakness of every soul, limitation in knowing, possessing, receiving, doing, declaring and in every sphere of one’s life. However, if limitation is allowed to preside over and dampen the curbed spaces within which we live this life, we will indeed never be mentally freed. To be liberated is to treat the inner before the outer, to please the upper before the lower, to look beyond before looking into and to do and to act now before tomorrow. Liberation is in the steadiness of actions, the incessant hard headedness of endeavoring, the arduous labour of discovering and rectifying and imparting when and to whom it is hardest to give.

I do not know why the phrase employs a rat out of all creatures. It may be because rats are able to identify precisely where to find solutions and can take care of themselves. They use their instinctive sense of observation, selfishness and prudence to endure almost any situation. Hence there may be hope for the homo sapiens, if only we were to be more calculating, insightful and instinctive then we may, just may, be able to run along the treadmill of life and achieve some good at the end of it.

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