Mankind has contracted with a type of cancer

Every cell in the human body has certain specific functions. At a higher level, it is the synthesis of proteins. A cell in the eye produces a certain type of protein while the cells of the ear produce another type of protein; and a hemopoietic cell (blood-producing cell) in the bone marrow produces another type of protein. But they all originate from the same type of primitive cells. Stem cells are certain type of cells which can be made to evolve into any type of cell. So they say, if a person has a disease of the liver; the stem cells stored in a stem-cell bank (mainly cells from the umbilical cord at the time of his birth) can be used to produce the liver-cells the person badly needs.

But when cancer invades a particular body part, the cells lose their identity. If we examine the cells under a microscope, we can see that it loses its distinct identity and reverts back to a primitive form. This process is called “undifferentiation”. This is a medical term. This is true with cancerous cells of any body part. Cells which were originally evolved to perform specific higher functions of the body revert to its undifferentiated, primitive form.

It is believed that man is evolved from a primitive state. Science believes that man had a “hunter-gatherer” past which got evolved into a condition where he inhabited the land, cultivating it. Again, he started to engage in other activities like trade and commerce. We have a narrative, albeit a fragmented one, from early BC to the present where the story becomes progressively chronicled and archived better and better.

Man is a body with a mind. He has a soul also. DNA-wise, man is 98.9% similar to certain apes. In that regard, he has to put food into one-end of the digestive system, the alimentary canal, and excrete the waste products of it through the other end. He has to reproduce. His body needs a certain amount of rest and sleep to function properly. In that sense, we are similar to monkeys.

But man is much more dignified, and glorified, than any other animal on earth. We simply can’t behave like monkeys. Every human being has a special purpose for his existence. He is unique. But when man behaves in a way that he ignores his higher ideals and behaves just like a carnal-being, problems start to surface. For me, it is “undifferentiation” of mankind. It is cancer.

Man has got an intellect, and free-will, which are part of his higher self. That puts him into an obligatory state also. I believe our life is much more of a zero-sum game. A lot of religions teach us that diseases, and suffering, are caused by the deeds of man himself. If a man does no physical activity (which is his original calling) and eats all day long, he is almost certain to contract with a lot of diseases from morbid obesity to diabetes.

Modern man has abused his body to a large extend. For higher ideals, man and woman are supposed to marry and raise children. But if they behave like apes and indulge in promiscuous activities, like any other activity, more and more of it is required to sustain it. You can’t have too much of a good thing. Finally, man loses all interest in it and starts to seek partners of the same sex. Same-sex marriage and gay rights are nonsense. It is “undifferentiation” at the blatant best. (Notwithstanding the fact that gay people has to be considered with empathy and understanding).

All the knowledge in this world will not save the man. Discipline, and love and justice will. When Christian missionaries went to a place, they did not firstly start a big educational institution. First, they erected a cross and a church; then, a parochial educational institution. From there, man became edified and cultured; and got socially and economically uplifted. They became educated and enlightened.

The spread of knowledge alone should not be our sole aim. Kindness and goodwill should be. A lot of people argue that God’s laws are for anyone. No. It is not. Otherwise, it would be like the hypothetical situation where a terrorist organization receives the know-how for a nuclear weapon.

TAT and the schematic of writing a blog

There is psychological test known as the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) which is used by people from psychologists to potential employers. The test is quite simple. A theme is given, more often than not: a picture. And the candidate is asked to write a small essay about the theme. This is the apperception part. What is interesting about this test is the whole gamut of subjective emotions and experiences a simple picture can elicit which results in the candidates’ widely dissimilar literary compositions.

A lot of people believe that writing a blog is good. It brushes up on writing skills. It conveys your ideas to the world. Writing a blog is commitment. You have to deliver. It even develops self discipline. Putting your ideas to paper (or a computer screen) gives you satisfaction. It tells the world that you are still alive.

Blogging is writing. It conveys the writer’s subjective thoughts and experiences more than objective reality. The blogger conveys feelings that are unique to his point of view. I believe the more a person thinks and experiences the better he can write. Just as the proponents of TAT believe, this can reveal your personality. Since a blog is a chronicled list of your writings it can uncover your personality structure.

To write fiction, I guess writers have to put on the shoes of another person. We have to think, say, and act like another person – someone who is totally different than us. Every character has a distinct personality. So everyone would think and behave idiosyncratically. Our job as writers is to give life to the foibles. A lot of readers might like it. That is, on my point of view, a fruitful endeavor: writing fiction.

The real criminals

My cousin was the top-ranked cop, the Director-General of Police in Kerala. Notwithstanding that fact, in my experience, police and criminals represent the ‘underworld’ side of the society. The only difference is that criminals run rampant, but the police are somewhat accountable to the society. In fact, they are the two sides of the same coin.

It is the duty of every business to stay in the race. To stay relevant to people. To avoid going out of business they will do whatever that needs to be done. From a constable to the Director-General, everyone likes to stay ‘relevant’ to people and what they are supposed to do is ‘serve the people’. In a perfect world where the crime rate is zero, every cop will lose their job. A policeman does not like going out of job.

The government also needs the police. Since we are a democracy, it is pretty routine that there would be clashes for power between members of different political parties. Like, the government drafts a bill. The opposition thinks that it is against their interests. They mobilize people and a ‘strike’ is announced. So, to control the mob in such situations it is necessary to have a proper police force.

Take a real life situation. After a pickpocket is arrested, he is brought before the court; before remanding him into jail. If he has any money with him, the cops are supposed to report that to the court. In practice, a lot of cops take the money and they divide it among themselves. And the judicial officer sitting-in as the magistrate does not even get to know about it. So a pickpocket picks a purse, and later, the cops divide it among themselves. So who is behaving the real pickpocket?

Since the police department is an important face of the government itself, every top-ranked cop would behave in a manner that exemplifies nobility and service. But in reality, it is a criminal organization where some good officers find it really hard to tend the lower-ranked men.

Look at the public. There are a lot of people who have never gone to a police station in their entire lives. Not even once with a petition. It is second nature for them to think of the cops as good people. But in reality, they tend to stand by the criminals; because without criminals there would not be any cops. In some cases, it is only when they feel really accountable that they muster enough resources to crack the criminals.

I feel this is almost a global phenomenon. We have not forgotten the predicament of the tennis player, James Blake during the 2015 US Open. The former US Open quarter-finalist-turned-commentator was waiting for a bus outside his hotel to go to the US Open when he was nabbed, handcuffed, and made to sit on the curb for about 15 minutes by a plainclothes black-cop in New York. His identity was mistaken, and though he was released after about 15 minutes the damage was already done.

As this writer commented on a You Tube channel, this became news only because a celebrity was involved. This is how a cop generally behaves.

See it for yourself. This is how NYPD ‘arrests’ a criminal there in New York.

My hitherto last Twenty20 tournament match

A quick tip for business school students. You have to look at what people need and what the people really want; and then have to ignore the established way of doing business. Because what people do will prevail in the long run.

Because, in first-class cricket we used to have only the long formats of the game; the shortest being a one-day match. We used to play cricket in the school playgrounds, in open grounds, and literally on the courtyards of our homes. Since we had only few players and less time; we had to shorten it into 20 overs, 10 overs, or even 5 overs. In the local tournaments, it was Twenty20; because nobody had the time and the finances to conduct a tournament that took one-day for the completion of just one match!

The trend took on, and nobody even thought about it getting international recognition until the International Cricket council, ICC, held its first World Twenty20 in 2007 and the Indian Premier league, IPL, was established in 2008. Currently, it is the most popular form of cricket.

It was one fine morning about 16 years ago that I got a call from a friend.

“Hello.”

“We have got a Twenty20 tournament today. We got fewer players. You should come. Also, can you find someone else who is really good to play for us, please?”

“I try.”

The phone was hung up, and I dialed another friend who introduced me to cricket after a Sunday-school class when I was only six-or-seven years old. I still remember it vividly.

“You know cricket?”

“Oh yes. It is something I always play.”

“Then come to my home after catechism. We play.”

I went to his home, and my Sunday school friend gave me a makeshift cricket bat made of timber and proceeded to take a hockey ball. He also taught me how to take a stance with the bat.

“You ready?

“Yes.”

He took a few steps back, took the run up and bowled. I was totally unaware of everything, until the heavy lead-like ball, at least a pound heavy, hit one of my legs in decent speed.

Wincing in pain, I started to cry loudly. And what I still remember is the friend’s face who was laughing at me.

Only if I had stopped the habit of empty swagger.

That was how I started to play cricket. And today I called him. We need his services.

He agreed to play, and we both proceeded toward the tournament-venue in my automatic-gear scooter.

It was a very big ground where once it was a natural-brick-stone quarry which felt carved out of the hill like a gigantic Coliseum. We parked the scooter near the side of the entrance and we had to walk down to the center of the ground where the players were waiting. Half-a-kilometer? No, I might be exaggerating. But certainly more than 100 meters.

There were also a few spectators who were scattered along the lines and beyond.

The toss was done and we got to bat first.

After my Sunday-school friend was out for a ‘duck’, I went-in as the number three batsman. I remember hitting a six off the first ball I faced. (over long off.) Second ball, I swung again and I missed. On the third ball, I did a square-cut. The ball spun viciously and skidded slowly to the square-leg fielder. Poor timing. No run. And the fourth ball I tried to steer-down to third-man, I got a leading edge, and the wicket-keeper took the catch. Out. 6 runs off 4 balls.

We scored only about 90-plus in the 20 overs. Only a few players got into double digits.

The good thing about batting first is that it sometimes gives even the poorest-of-poor sides an outside chance. On a good day, sometimes the minnows have toppled the mighty.

We started to bowl, determined to win. I remember my Sunday-school friend having a good time with the ball. His medium pace generally had accuracy, and was sometimes very troubling for the batting side.

I was wicket-keeper for some time, and I was relegated to fine-leg after some time. I remember running down to save one boundary by sticking out one leg against the ball. It had a bad bounce, and the ball hit my shin-bone instead; almost injuring it. That is how I remember we played with a real cricket-ball that particular tournament, because tennis-ball cricket tournaments were also in vogue then.

Toward the end, the other team, the batting side, somehow pulled off a win. The asking run-rate was too low, and they simply had to stay in there for a victory which they eventually did.

We shook hands with the players, and we left the arena in my auto-gear scooter. Though I have played cricket afterward, it was the last ‘tournament’ I have played so far. With the Sunday school classmate who taught me, in the first place, how to play this wonderful game of cricket.