The first thing that greeted Govinda as he stepped out of home early in the morning was a spider web which stood right at the entrance to his house. He had come out, as usual every morning, to pick up the newspaper that the delivery man would throw into the yard from the road.
The spider web brought out the philosopher in Govinda. His mind went on a contemplation trip.
Why did nature create spiders? Just to make webs and trap insects. Insects are created to be trapped in spider webs. What a fate! What a futile life! To eat and to be eaten. And reproduce. How redundant are these creatures? Govinda wondered. How redundant is life itself by and large?
He thought of people. Most people meant nothing to him: like the passengers who travelled in the same compartment in a metro train, for example. They just jostle us along: into the compartment at one station and then out of it at another. And then we go on. Jostling. The jostling becomes more personal at the workplace. More intimidating. Like the spider and the insects. The boss and the staff. Among the staff, there are those who are close to the boss on the one side and those who don’t know how to get close on the other. Jostle becomes hassle. The push eventually comes to shove and the spiders win.
Govinda had once asked Karunasagar Guru about the futility of such a life. “Life is an illusion,” explained the Guru. “The result of our karma. The self is the only reality and it is one with the infinite. Aham Brahmasmi. Those who don’t attain that level of realisation are destined to be reborn. As spiders, insects, anything according to their karma.”
“But spiders eventually win, don’t they?” Govinda asked.
“When spiders are themselves illusions, maya, what does victory mean?” answered the Guru. “Maybe, such victories necessitate the incarnation of God to put an end to the mounting evil. Sambhavami yuge yuge.”
Govinda never liked that idea. Even those gods who incarnated to put an end to evil were themselves deceptive and malicious. He could never justify many of the things that Krishna, the god of Karunasagar Guru, did. He perpetrated much duplicity during the Kurukshetra war.
“Bindaas!” Leslie Pereira would say. Leslie was a recent addition in Govinda’s office. He loved music, wine and women. In that order. “Never in excess,” he would warn, “unless you want to be knocked out of the Brownian motion.”
Life is nothing but the Brownian motion. That was Leslie Pereira’s philosophy. Jostle and hassle. Push and shove. Some win and some lose. Naturally. But the motion goes on. Inexorably. Relentlessly. Without any purpose other than the fun in the push and the shove.
Govinda was awakened from his contemplation. The newspaper was still lying in the yard.
He stood before the spider web that stood between him and the newspaper. “Karma. Brownian motion.” He muttered to himself as he cut the anchor threads of the spider web.
The spider became alert. It moved a little and then stopped. Even the spider knows how far a push can go to become a shove. It retreated.