Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Truth of Truth

"You know, there's an old Hindu story about Truth. It seems a brash young warrior sought the hand of a beautiful princess. Her father, the king, thought he was a bit too cocksure and callow. He decreed that the warrior could only marry the princess after he had found Truth. So the warrior set out into the world on a quest for Truth. He went to temples and monasteries, to mountaintops where sages meditated, to remote forests where ascetics scourged themselves, but nowhere could he find Truth. Despairing one day and seeking shelter from a thunderstorm, he took refuge in a musty cave, There was an old crone there, a hag with matted hair and warts on her face, the skin hanging loose from her bony limbs, her teeth yellow and rotting, her breath malodorous. But as he spoke to her, with each question she answered, he realized he had come to the end of his journey: she was Truth. They spoke all night, and when the storm cleared, the warrior told her he had fulfilled his quest. 'Now that I have found Truth,' he said, 'what shall I tell them at the palace about you?' The wizened old creature smiled. 'Tell them,' she said, 'tell them that I am young and beautiful.'"

The above excerpt from Shashi Tharoor's Riot, a novel brings to us the very truth of Truth. Not that the writing in this very paragraph is splendid yet, it presents the philosophy of truth in most basic style. Yes, truth is not beautiful and yes, truth is not true itself all the time either.

Lately, I have been reading this book and so far, has been an endearing, to say the least, experience that has kept me bound to it. Tharoor's hold on India, its history, its religions, its stories, its people, their mindset and above all the very Indianness keeps you along with itself. Looking forward to writing about in much detail once I finish it...

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