Whatever happens to me and is beyond my control is my destiny. Natural calamities like earthquakes are beyond my control. If I happen to be in a place where the terrorists have planted a bomb, that’s my destiny. Accidents, diseases or other chance occurrences can alter my destiny in ways I could not have foreseen. The stars that shine in the firmament above me are as much part of my destiny as is the darkness that descends ineluctably into the nooks and crannies along the way.
What I am is my destiny. What I am is not entirely beyond my control, I know. Except my genes and hormones. Except the environment that brought me up and certain impacts of that upbringing. “I am the sum total of everything that went before me...,” as Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Child says, “of everything done-to-me.” I am a product of the history that went before me as much as the one that is unfolding around me. The martyrdom of two Prime Ministers of my country is part of my destiny as much the stratagems of the reigning one. A lot of people came and went, and still come and go, leaving their marks on my destiny.
I try to produce art out of the marks. Scars refuse to change shapes. Scars are beyond my control. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be scars.
There is an invisible pied piper playing his tune to which the cosmos dances. The planets move round prospective black holes. Meteors collide. Even the microscopic bacteria sway to that music.
In spite of all, in spite of all, there’s much that’s within my control.
I choose certain steps of my existential dance. However, inelegant they may turn out to be. I have some choice, after all.
In spite of the inelegance.
Many times, when the steps are inelegant I find my way. My way. Such discoveries are not miraculous epiphanies. Those are the ways in which I create myself. Ways in which I alter my destiny.