Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thou shall not steal

Krzysztof Kieslowski was a remarkable film maker. His Trois Couleurs: Bleu is in my all time favorites list. These days I'm watching his ten part Decalogue series where each movie represents one or more of the Ten Commandments.

The story of the seventh movie on 'Thou shall not Steal' goes like this. A sixteen year old Majka gives birth to a girl due to the mistakes of her age. To avoid embarrassment, the girl is brought up as her sister by Majka's mother. As the girl grows up, there is an unusual struggle between the two 'mothers' to take possession of the child. Now you have to be a master like Kieslowski to sell this gripping story on 'Theft'.

The other day, I ordered Earl Grey tea with my lunch. Earl Grey is a great tea if my might add here. It was served with Honey. As I sipped that elixir, it occurred to me that Honey is one of the most horrible food we can have. Those countless bees worked for innumerable hours gathering this from countless flowers. And I have stolen their food. Many bees may have been killed during this theft. Can I be more cruel?

In another remarkable movie 'Mouna Raagam', the wife tells her husband that, she feels like a worm moving through her skin when he touches her! Now how many women watched that scene wearing silk sarees? Did they feel the several hundred silk worms moving through their skin albeit as ghosts?

In my decade long association with a temple, I have witnessed several 'divine baths' ala Abhishekams. The 'god' was bathed in milk (you know my views on milk, don't you?) and honey. He was then wrapped in a Silk Saree/Veshti. How would have he felt? God help him!

I have always been told that an Ashwamedha Yagna was performed by Lord Rama. Well, this Yagna in its earliest form meant the horse was consigned to the flames. Don't know whether the later practice of letting it loose had caught up with Rama. But considering the astronomical dates people give to Rama's birth, I would assume that they killed that horse! And don't forget to read 'Ravana Kaviyam' which describes how the 'God' murders Vali who had done no harm to Rama.

Yagna anyway is a waste of resources. During my latest India trip, my Grandma had both an Abhishekam and a Homam (small yagna?) performed, though not entirely on my behalf. Will that add to my good karma or the bad? I have never eaten the 'old rice' (soaked in water) in my life. But I have always been told that it 'cools down' the system. Is the whole point of eating that, consuming and/or stealing from the yeast?!

See...I'm a psycho out on the loose to hurt people's feelings. But if I can save one creature from a cruel death, then so be it! On the lighter side, by writing my views on Silk Sarees here, I have ensured that my future 'wife' has no hope of getting a silk saree from me! A good investment, I would say.


Vijayanand said...

what abt the precious time of readers like me, that you steal so mercilessly by writing crap like this.

Just kidding - actually this article, I thought, was nicely written. Although, the content as always is highly debatable.

Anonymous said...

You are hitting Darwin's theory again - survival of the fittest. Man try to put his needs for survival and/or pleasure first. Many things can be argued about our consumption. We cannont simply survive without killing other species. While things like honey,silk saree are not absolutely essential to our living, many many things are -paper,food etc. Now you an live technically without paper, but is it practically feasible?
We cant even kill germs then. Germs have life too!
IMO thinking about things like this is like questioning the fundamental basis of life. I mean the conclusion is very subjective and cannot be universally accepted .You know- Im a person who thinks eating non-veg is same as eating veg while most veggies dont consider so.

Arun said...

neverthless a good post !
my future wife wont get any saree at all :))

Balaji said...


We have discussed this threadbare already! I feel no other creature does more damage to its surroundings than human beings. As they say there is enough in this world to satisfy everyone's need but not greed. Eating non-veg food may be called 'need' in Siberia but in India and most parts of the world it shud be called 'greed'.

Anyway this post is not about vegetarianism. Its about 'theft' which people inadvertantly commit!

Arun said...

the line between need and greed is very subjective.

Anonymous said...

What will you do if your wife buys silk saree from her money?

Balaji said...

oops! my instinctive answer for this question will be very inappropriate for a 'family blog' like this!

if you meant, how do I handle friends/relatives who don't subscribe my dogmatic views, just read how arun and I bicker about things.

FlyingHigh said...

ayyo you have a problem with silk sarees also??

Hmmm I am tempted to say something nasty but I wont. Read my latest post to know why :P


Balaji said...

haha! well, as I said in the post, I don't mind ruffling few feathers to get the message across.

Puru said...

Have u noticed that you dont kill a cow everyday to wear a new belt? Same logic for a silk saree, its not like eating meat on a regular basis.

On the other hand Balaji - I think you have gone mad. :)

Balaji said...

what makes you think that I will defend wearing a belt?! ofcourse I'm not proud of that.

But there are differences between silk sarees and leather products.

1. There are easy alternatives for Silk but not for leather. I wear floaters which I think has no leather. If I can find a belt without leather, I would be glad.
2. I don't think cows are killed exclusively for leather. Meat is the first reason. Besides there is always a possibility that we can get leather from dead animals. But Silk worms are specifically killed for Silk.
3. Silk Sarees for me represent moral bankruptcy just like leather bags, leather jackets etc. Need vs greed logic. Think about the number of lives lost for one bloody silk saree.
4. I have been to both a raw leather market and a silk growing place. If you had seen how huge circular rakes of live silk worms are lowered into hot water, you will not wear Silk again in your life.
5. Anyway this post is about Theft! Don't you think we are stealing from silk worms?

Puru said...

I agree that it is a valid point - infact i was going to use it against my mom when need be.
However, we all have to depend on nature for our existence, and its upto you where to draw the line. For some, life without silk sarees would'nt be worth living.

Anonymous said...

Eating 'Old Rice' takes the cake. You were actually worried about consuming yeast (which by large was considered as a plant life earlier).
Without the so called 'theft' no organism will survive. Men steal the energy that plants conserve.

Balaji said...

True. I do consider fruitarians (those who eat fruits that fall by themselves) to be the best.

GuNs said...

You've been away for a month again. I thought you were back to active blogging ! Busy with work eh?


Balaji said...

yeah work, how sad. besides my laptop is not working properly. been too lazy/busy even to fix that. if only my awful piece of code would work miraculously, I will be back to blogging!

I said...

Dravidian Thamizh should not have anything to with Aryan's vedams