Saturday, May 05, 2007

Chalk and cheese

This is the story of chalk and cheese. According to myths some people don't believe, the first cheese did not give an apple to the first chalk while they were both not in the garden of Eden. Many thousand years later, some people believe in a magical f-word, or more appropriately, a c-word, just to keep the story buzzing and away from the censors. Some others, like me, don't think much of it.

All very well. Trouble is, nobody knows what the f-word means, although the consensus amidst the chaos seems to indicate that all is not well between chalks and cheese. As per informed sources, at the very basic level, the problem revolves around whether cheese and chalk are equal, or equivalent or any related comparitive qualifier, whether physically or mentally or some other splendidly inappropriate adverb. There are as many definitions and interpretations of the word as there are people who don't know what it means. I will admit, first and foremost, I don't know what it means either, but with people celebrating a carnival of sorts of the f-word, I figured I could add to the noise as well. It seems that there is this whole-hearted personal connection and inclusiveness built into this f-word that makes it impossible for some people to understand yet irresistible for some others to comment on. This makes every person's interpretation acceptable (shhh! so long as its a cheese's personal interpretation.....or, a chalk's sympathetic interpretation if it is not wholesomely disagreeable to a insignificantly large majority of the cheese-folk). One of the more simplistic (and profound?) and most-commended interpretations to come up recently asks people to judge for themselvs if they are f-nists (believers in the f-word) based on their answer to the question, "Are you white?". The preposterous idea being that all things white being equal, if a chalk believed it was white, it was suddenly forced by default to become a believer in the f-word, lest it be known that it was probably black!

Some say there is a quiet movement taking place as well (with the aforementioned carnival supposedly most likely taking its rightful place as a part of that process) with the the modus operandi taking multiple grotesque forms. Some of these forms include perpetuation of the ever-growing repository of of existing interpretations, publication of inflammatory propaganda and anti-chalk rhetoric, confounding the uninformed and provoking unrest among chalk and cheese alike who would rather prefer hear George Bush talk on the pressing need for democracy in oil-rich countries. Needless to say, the views expressed in such propoganda are predominantly comprised of cheese-folk describing in varying levels of detail their chronicles of the systematic abuse, discrimination and violation of cheese-folk by the more-power hungry, dominating chalks. Their leit motif is a graphic tale of cheese-folk hitherto being chained to the lowly confines of the kitchen seeking escape and liberation in the chalk-bastions, those glamourous black-boards in offices. Some words often thrown in for good measure are freedom, respect, esteem and such. While some displays of emotionally violent rhetoric often make personifications of tradition, religion and society as the preferred scapegoats, there are more extreme advocates who want nothing less than making chalks redundant and inconsequential to cheese. It is no surprise, therefore to note that the all-encompassing circus of the f-word reeks of ridiculous hypocrisy, both in idealogy and practice. The righteous fight against oppression, exploitation and violence have been entirely consumed by jealousy, covetousness and self-gratification. With no clear purpose, unity will mean nothing. To gain something, you lose something. Equality is an abstract ideal, it will remain elusive for as long as you have incomparable entities. To the more practically oriented, the world is a marketplace - even for chalks and cheese. I couldn't care less if the f-nists don't buy that. In the end, strength and character come from within. A test of fire may help, perhaps.


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