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Que Será, Será

Que 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.

This 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.

“Imagine those two 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.

Sara 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”?

The 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.*

Did the 20th century sustain the philosophy of Que sera, sera? Or did it mock it?

Sara 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?”

The 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.

Sara’s list is long, too long.

I 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 Fernandez-Armesto.

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  1. :( I feel like Sara many a times - thats a lovely fav song, I play every day for daughter but now the perspective is different. Seriously is there nothing to be done ? should whatever will be will always be the same? Same questions parading my mind!

    Dropping by from a to z "The Pensive"

    1. We are passing through bleak times.. And, worst of all, our leaders have no clue about solutions - they are problems themselves.

  2. Que Sera Sera used to be my favorite song once upon a time. Now it just reeks of resignation.. of giving up too soon, of not putting up a fight.
    But when I think about what Sara said, I wonder what fight could those Ukranian kids possibly put up? Was that their destiny. Or is fate running on a theory of randomness?
    Questions that grieve the mind!

    1. A lot of questions. Seemingly without answers. A lot of these questions - the problems that raise the questions - are created by silly people with ostensibly big ideals. My tomorrow's post in this A2Z series is on that: Raina's Romance.

  3. Hari Om
    We have both asked questions of our race, in today's posts - but yours is so much more eloquent than mine! I might explain my lack being due to the very weight of the question/s posed by "Sara"... and that the answers are beyond any single person to provide. YAM xx

    1. Tough world ours is. Both you and I know the answers but those answers are useless.

  4. One of my favourite songs, but as you said, looking at the state of the world today, the words seem rather dire. As old timers did predict, this is Kali Yuga, the era when evil overshadows good.

  5. I just read on Twitter, it is high time this world ended. Maybe that is the only solution left, to start with a clean slate

  6. A hard hitting post that urges me to introspect. Despite the carnage, it's the hope in your offer of a hug for Sara-- the fact that we do stand by each other still--that I choose to take away. Thank you for writing the way you do.

    1. I have students belonging to three different religions and they are all equally important to me. I have learnt to love all. I can hug, not hate.


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