“The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed–
Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.”
– Lewis Carrol
We are the oysters of this world. Oysters that are led by the hand, spoon-fed information, force fed when we aren’t good, little things, and eventually, effectively brainwashed. It might not lead to an ending as final as death for us, but I doubt a life that has been mostly lies is much better. I suppose it doesn’t matter whether we’re oysters in the world inside the looking glass or oysters in the real world. Our problems are the same. Or maybe it is because it is only when we look in the mirror that we realise what is wrong with us.
There are oysters who have it worse. We have it better than our Manchurian neighbours whose food is so laden with Ajinomoto that it ruins the palate for anything that might even remotely taste like truth, or their malnourished cousins in North Korea, who are on a questionable diet of the Walrus’ propaganda.
Not for us, all that oriental nonsense. No, no, sturdy oysters like ourselves are stuffed with the ghee our revered gau mata bestows on us courtesy our Carpenter with a Chhappan inch ki chhaati; desi tadka and spices ,courtesy our media, which is a firm believer in taking plain, simple facts and presenting them with a twist because there’s nothing like the thought of truth twisted beyond recognition to whet one’s appetite, is there? And, of course, no salt to taste. Who needs boring, old, common salt (read truth), anyway ? It is bitter and hard to swallow . A final garnish of gibberish and voila! We’re ready to be served on a platter.
P.S. As I was reading this poem yesterday, it struck me how similar we are to those naive, helpless oysters, especially in this age of media trials, censorship and government propaganda. It left me with just one thought –“To believe or not to believe?”
That is the question.
This post was written by Samyukta Menon, III year.