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13 Jun 2009

Angels and Demons

When I was a kid, all movies with the hero emerging a winner. The villians were bashed up by the hero and they either died, retired hurt or turned over a new leaf. I was given to believe that movies, like the 'moral' stories we heard so often, had a message - something about good prevailing over evil.

Times change, themes change, movies change but for a long time the ending never did. The heroes always won, the baddies ended up losers.

In the recent past, I have noticed a change in the trend. It's not the traditional 'good wins bad' story anymore. Movies aim at touching the mean streak in a person. Take the The Dark Knight, for example. The Joker completely over-shadowed every other character in the movie - not just the actor but the role itself. Come to think of it, this 'villain' did not even have one of those all-famous 'bad childhood', 'abused by society' stories behind his evil streak.

Think 'Angels and Demons'. You see a dark picture forming... not one of fairies or white, fluffy clouds. Not to blame anyone. The movie was made that way, the story was told in that fashion. Where are the angels in this story? The hero wins, nevertheless he is not what is most talked about or remembered.

Someone once told me to 'step into the real world' as if it was foolishness to expect an honourable act to bring results. Time and again I've heard people say that it "doesn't work" to be too straight, that honesty is only good in theory. Words like 'saint' & 'naive' are used to mock someone. No doubt people write books and publish papers talking about the wonderfulness of all of this, biographies claim that all their protagonists are men of truth and honour. Only because that is what will sell. People will not practice any of this because it 'does not work in the real world' but everyone likes to read that the path of righteousness is the only way to nirvana. Nobody wants to tread that path for fear of losing foothold!

There are so many who make harsh decisions and stick to it, as a show of strength. The resolve is stronger if it hurts someone... the claim is that it's harder to make that decision but they are 'being strong'. Have you tried being true to yourself is what I want to ask them. If you want to show your strength of mind, hold tight and make it through that difficult journey. Everyone chooses the easier path and convinces themselves that it's the best. Eventually, the road to kindness becomes the one less trodden and therefore harder.

It's easier to become a demon because everyone around you is. Is that true? Everyone has a shade of light and a dash of dark in their hearts. You view the tyrant in others in order to favour yourself. It's easier to look outside then peek inside. Right?

When you smile at a stranger they will smile back at you. Try thanking a door-man for opening the door or the security guard who stops you for a 'bag check' outside a building. He will smile at you, for theirs is a thankless job.

Cut your neighbours some slack. Step back and re-do your actions differently. Think of the people you have touched in your life and think of the nice things that you missed to see in them. Take a chance with life. Try kindness, try good even when the world is bad to you.

Rudyard Kipling writes about this beautifully in his poem 'If' (that's my next blog).


  1. The Joker: [to Det. Stephens] Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can't savor all the... little emotions. In... you see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?

  2. Batman: You're garbage who kills for money.
    The Joker: Don't talk like one of them. You're not! Even if you'd like to be. To them, you're just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they don't, they'll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve.

  3. Two-Face: You thought we could be decent men in an indecent time. But you were wrong. The world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance.