Richard Cory and the world

by 21cstories

English: Happy and Sad face are together.

There was this poem, Richard Cory, that we read in school. Richard Cory was a gentleman, from sole to crown. He was rich, fluttered pulses, and was graced in every virtue. Everyone wished to be like him. And yet, one fine evening, he went home and…

The last line, when we read it, only amused our young minds. We didn’t wonder much about his last act. It even seemed like, sort of natural… a result of some hidden misfortune, pain or grief. Adults could harbour such pain, we felt, and it could happen. It was a normal, volitional act of a well meaning, healthy man. There was no point speculating on what ailed him; the poem gave no clues.

That’s how complex life could be.

Looking at today’s booming world, it could drive normal sensitive men nuts. Is there a cause to be happy?

The ones who are happy are happy. The sadder lot carries its misfortunes alone. Some can take it in their stride, a few can’t. For man was meant to be victorious. Never to be defeated. In the end, the war of the world is not so much about being happy or sad, but winning or losing. Losing your face, dignity and respect — these count more than personal pitfalls. Which means society rules our lives much more than we usually presume.

Is there a way out? Can we change society? Make losing respectable, and defeat a moment that will pass away?

The ladders of success in society had been laid before we arrived. But Cory was a successful man too, in every worldly aspect. And we know how balanced and happy criminals can be too. With not many regrets.

The world is aligned against the common man. Every time we celebrate happiness, we err against the normal, sane man who isn’t madly after success. Happiness is as much an aberration from the mean as is its counterpart. But the world has chosen happiness as its standard, its ideal plan for the rest to be modelled after. No wonder, harassment is the comic going after of one sad man against another with the stick of happiness. No matter how much we denounce and declaim this false ideal, it bounces back in myriad ways to flay our tranquil peace at every step.

Observe the street dog curled up on the staircase. The poor guy could be depressed. But goes out searching for lunch with as much strength as he did the previous day. We only need to smile while doing the same. Those who can admit to the false social formalities survive. The poor ones, looking for truth, disappear in its pursuit. Cory tried to be happy in conformity, but couldn’t go on beyond a point. The same fate awaits our lot. With the addition of the online smiley. 🙂

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