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Sugarless Coffee
M.Hariharamahadevan


A diabetic patient went to a restaurant and asked for the menu. Tempted by the varieties of sweets and encouraged by the absence of his controlling wife, he ordered one by one under the delicious varieties of sweets. With the sumptuous sweets and satisfied stomach, fulfilled after a long time (thanks to the absence of his wife) he was staring at the waiter, who in turn asked, ’what next?’ ‘Sugarless coffee’ came the smiling reply from him. The waiter too reciprocated his smile. Credit card got exchanged for the billed amount. The swiping of the card and leaving the restaurant followed in quick succession. The imminent blood test was posing a frightening threat to him. Oh! that can be managed, quick consoling came from his tempting mind.

The sugarless coffee mentioned here is not only a drink. It is a metaphor. We do so many unwanted, undesired and sometimes unscrupulous things. In the name of undoing the committed, we tend to act in such a way so as to nullify the effect of the things committed. But in the actual practice, it won’t. It is either the sugarless coffee or the delicious sweets that precede the other. We make ourselves consoled by our action. The cognisance of the value system is conspicuously absent. Many a times we retain the husk leaving the grain. A diabetic has to take sugarless coffee to avoid sugar which will shoot up his blood sugar level. That is the grain. When he consumes more varieties of sweets and then takes the prescribed sugarless coffee, the grain is thrown off, retaining the customary husk. To put it in an other way round, customs are blindly followed, the ideals behind the custom are totally pushed to the background.

I am going to quote more instances from our day to day life-public, private, highlighting the paradoxes in each case.

To start from the macro level, let me remind you of the oath taking ceremony of our MLA’s MP’s and ministers of our nation.

In the name of God or their beloved, they swear about their pledge to their nation.. The sugarless coffee comes first here. What unscrupulous atrocious deeds that would follow, that go against the basic ideals in the swearing in ceremony is anybody’s guess. The grain of pledge and promises in the name of God or others is thrown to the waste. During the national festivals-be it Independent day. Republic day or Gandhi Jayanthi day, the customary husk takes the prominence and they pose themselves as the saviours of nation. God alone should save the common man from the clutches of these unscrupulous people.

To go to the micro level of a family situation, sons or daughters who never take care of their aged parents till their death, started pouring their devotion to their parents after their departure from this world. The grain of basic love and affection towards their parents is being pushed to the backseat, the husk of rituals taking the prominence. When the shraddha (meaning the utmost seriousness and care) is absent, what is the use of doing the shrardha (thithi)? Many go to the temple not with the real bhakthi(devotion) but with the bhaya (fear) The sugarless coffee of rituals done by the wards after the death of their parents in this case is preceded with their worst treatment meted out to their parents during their presence in this world. They conveniently forget that there is a cause and effect phenomena for each and every activity, meticulously programmed by HIM. Nobody can escape the clutches of Karma. Rituals by themselves are not important unless the causes are well understood. The sugarless coffee syndrome comes again.


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