Deceiving the Scythe of Time

  • And when is it time to take a bow and bid farewell

Time, that oldest master of man, decide fates. Time, that cruellest of friends, sits silently and watches momentary rise and pathetic fall of us petty mortals. Time, that handmaiden of creation, imprisons us. Time, that beautiful, beautiful illusion, makes us sacrifice the only life we have for transitory causes. Time, that henchman of Lucifer, makes us kill with sheer abandon, complete madness and without even a pinch of regret.

Time, dear reader, is the triumphant Sovereign that surveys all, sustains all, and ends all. The scythe of Time reaps all that is sowed. We all know it, some among us try to forget it, fewer among us dare to deceive it.

Those who dare to deceive the scythe of time are the doomed ones. And right now, right here in our fatherland, former prime minister Nawaz has invited the ire of Lord Time.

At the expense of sounding off the hook, allow me to narrate the famed fable of how our lion got doomed. It is said that he did the unpardonable; he not only forgotten about the scythe of time but also tried to deceive it. The mighty lion was once ‘down’ but most definitely not ‘out’. The crafty lion was cornered but still held his might in the arena, he had his acolytes by his side (which he is fast losing at a steady pace). Then the doomed lion was condemned by gods, ridiculed by his opponents, abused by all and sundry and had to vie to have his way. Frustrated, anxious, paranoid the doomed lion decided to fire the last arrow in his quiver.

We are doomed for we have one set of rules for those on top of the food chain as they are ‘innocent until proven guilty’ (Read: Bigger fish accused of money laundering, assets beyond means, mega corruption and use of public office for private gains)

Once the act was done, there was a deluge. The khakis were irate, the masses were on fire, the believers started to shed their belief, the staunch fanatics hunted for reasons to stay loyal, the casual critics turn toxic, and the whole apple cart is in disarray.

Mere weeks from the Grand Game of Fortunes (read elections), our doomed lion struggles against horrendous odds to make peace with diminishing time, hostile fate, chequered past, gloomy present and a bleak future.

The House of Sharif, many believe, is shredding apart as its patriarch is weeks, if not days, away from a final blow, its scions are on the run, and a clear divide from within is for all to see. We, the spectators, laugh as we punish the symptoms of our dreaded blight, while the actual reign of the disease continues.

I’ve written last year that all we do is either laugh or condemn the goings-on in political theater, as it is the easiest way to go about such things. We laugh as we witness the top predator being cut to size by more powerful, more mighty, more vicious beasts. If it is a general in power for long, we strive to send him home. If it is a civvy trying to flex his muscles, box him in. We, the easily bored mortals, seek novelty, bewail routine, yearn for Eden, and turn our earth into an inferno.

We relish and revel in the downfall of high, powerful, and mighty. We are the spectators. We are the onlookers. We are, truth be told, are the doomed ones.

We are doomed as in the guise of accountability, an offspring of justice, we launch witch hunts. Justice, we keep on forgetting, is the attribute of the impartial, a habit of the unbiased, and the wisdom of the one who has nothing to gain from the produce of the farm under dispute.

About time that we realise that political dissent is not war, a conflict of opinion is not to be resolved in a battlefield but talked out in assemblies, in protest rallies, in negotiations. In simple and plain words, on a table. If arms are taken up to bulldose these differences, it perpetuates itself till no man is left standing or sitting or breathing.

We are doomed for we have one set of rules for those on top of the food chain as they are ‘innocent until proven guilty’ (Read: Bigger fish accused of money laundering, assets beyond means, mega corruption and use of public office for private gains). While for the riff-raff, the great unwashed, the petty, dispensable mass their sole presence in and around a crime is evidence enough to send them to the gallows.

Lastly, we are doomed for in vendetta we seek salvation. Imagine, in the vilest of all things that are without an end lies our solace.

Time to wrap up this piece. Albert Camus, the startlingly brilliant scribe of 20th century, in his novel The Plague wrote a memorable line that keeps on popping in my head. ‘So all a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories’. We won memories and knowledge but alas, the memories we have of conflict between plague and life are horrid. Alas, the knowledge we accrued makes us ruin ourselves beyond redemption.

And yet we march on.