Sera, Sera (What will
be, will be) is a song from the 1956 Hitchcock movie, The Man Who Knew Too
Much. As a child, the singer asked her mother what she would be? Would she
be pretty and rich? And mother’s reply was: Que sera, sera. The future’s not
ours to see, she added. When the girl grew up and became a young woman, she
repeated the question with a slight change to her sweetheart and the reply was
the same. Once again, the question is repeated. This time it comes from her
children. And she gives them too the same answer.
song has started playing again and again in my mind these days. I imagine a
girl who is not so little – let’s call her Sara – and who is not quite happy
with that answer.
little kids in the Kiev flat, left there by their
20-year-old mother for nine days without food and one of whom died,” Sara tells
me with tears welling up in her eyes.
has a genuine concern about our world. “What will be is what we make it to be,”
she tells me vehemently. Why did Russia do this to hundreds of thousands of
people? Should those hundreds of thousands just sit looking at the ruins of
their lives consoling themselves singing “Que sera, sera”?
images of people staring in frustration at the debris of their bombarded houses
rise in my mind. Haven’t we been doing this to each other all the time? I
wonder. Look at the 20th century. Two World Wars. And so many other
smaller wars and acts of terrorism and violence. It was also the best century
in many other ways. The best of times and the worst of times, Dickens would
have said. It was born in hope but developed in disaster. There was so much
creativity, effort, technical resourcefulness, more freedom than ever, more
human rights… But also the most destructive wars, most inhuman massacres,
gaping extremes of wealth and poverty, foulest environmental degradation, the
most trash, the cruellest disillusionment. It promised much and betrayed more.*
the 20th century sustain the philosophy of Que sera, sera? Or did it
reminds me of what is happening in our own neighbourhood: Sri Lanka, Nepal and
Pakistan. Are we far from a similar fate? Sara asks me with sorrow in her deep
dark eyes. She advises me to check my accounts. What I spend on petrol these
days, for example. On grocery and other necessary items. “Isn’t that how it all
started in Sri Lanka too?”
future is ours to see, Sara tells me. If only we care to open our eyes. Look at
our leaders who are all blinded by hatred. Sara cites example after example. Sadhvi
Ritambhara tells Hindus to have four children, two of whom should be given to
RSS or Bajrang Dal. A Dalit
boy is assaulted and forced to lick the feet of people who call themselves
Thakurs in a state governed by an ascetic whose heart is
filled with poison. A Dalit
woman-journalist is abused, threatened with death
for questioning the Manusmriti.
list is long, too long.
hold her close to me. I have no words to answer her questions. I am left with
nothing more than this gentle hug, Sara, which just means that I am with you.
That’s all. I am with you in this.
These lines are adapted from the book, Civilizations, by Felipe
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