Cafe Conversations: Murder, Karma & Morality

Scene: 3 friends at a cafe.

Characters: Sonya sits on the sofa, hair pulled up in a bun, dressed in white cotton top and loose pants, feet up on a chair.

Avinash lounges low in an armchair, and frowns at Sonya across the table, mulling over their conversation.

Jai sits next to Avinash, struggling to understand the conversation.

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Jai (to Sonya): So, you’re telling me that even if you murder some poor innocent chap, you know, take his life… then just because you don’t have a conscience, you’ll get away with it?

Sonya: I’m not talking legally here. Ethically, yes.

Jai: But why should you get away with it? Murder is wrong; it’s the highest degree of evil. You’d be taking someone’s life.

Sonya: Assuming that I am able to carry out the perfect murder, you know, one where I take care of the body, and no one ever finds me. Then if I have absolutely no guilt, what happens to me?

Avinash: I’m sorry; these are just a lot of assumptions. We have a legal system in the first place, to punish wrong-doers and to make sure there is free will. One person does not have the right to take another person’s life, and he should be punished. As simple as that.

Sonya: Free will? (Snorts loudly) There is no such thing as free will.

(speaks agitedly, waving her hands) When you’re a child, they preach you these things, ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’, or, ‘Anything you set your mind to, if you work hard for it, you will get it.’ So naïve! Humans have always believed that on a specie level, they are free. That their actions are resuts of their own grasp over the way they should lead their lives. But that in itself is such a micro, narrow and yet a superior sense perception to this gift of life.

You know what, let’s NOT get into that argument.

Jai: Save it for another day. Coming back to this murder discussion, my point is, I believe in Karma. So even if you, Sonya, are really a perfect-murderess who has us all fooled with your charm and personality – (Sonya takes a mock bow) – someday, you’ll have something bad coming your way. It’s the universe’s way of setting things right.

(Waiter comes up with their coffees)

Avinash (squinting at Sonya): I can just see it. I bet she already has bodies stuffed into the water duct on the terrace of her building – no wonder that place has creepy noises at night. It’s haunted!

(The waiter throws them all bewildered looks and goes off)

Jai: I agree. She’s devilishly deceptive, plus there have been nights when no one knows where she was and she wasn’t home…

(Jai goes into his dramatic zone)

So one day… she just gives in to all her pent-up, dark, evil, angry, twisted thoughts… puts on some scary, gothic makeup, stashes her gun in her…uh…

Avinash (with big eyes): Where? Where DO you stash your gun, Sonya?

(Sonya rolls her eyes at him)

Sonya (laughing): Look. Karma is just correlating good things against bad things that have happened to you. Maybe the bad things were just bound to happen to you, like the result of a random probability distribution. And because of your conscience, you end up assuming that it was because of something you did!

Jai: That’s crazy! It’s just plain crazy to imply that Karma can affect only those with a conscience. Someone without a conscience is already a bad person – I say ‘bad’ because we seem to be assuming the world is split into ‘good’ or ‘bad’ things happening to us – but then, my point is, such a person, through his immoral character itself, is leading an unhappy life. A person cannot survive on committing evil deeds in society; even ethically, the very society he feeds on will make sure he pays.

Avinash (starts clapping): Well done, my friends. Both very good points. I half agree with both. But… I’m afraid I need proof. Proof, in the form of the highest degree of evil.

Jai (solemnly): I do have an acquaintance I wouldn’t miss terribly if he disappeared from the face of the earth. In fact, not a lot of people who would miss him… (looks at Sonya) I vote thee for this highly esteemed task…

Matchmaking

The concept of ‘matchmaking’ has begun to greatly interest me. I’ll roughly define the term for you guys:

Matchmaking

Noun

The act of finding the right match / partner / spouse for a relative, friend or acquaintance*, and including negotiations between families till culmination of the same into marriage.

*Acquaintance for this purpose includes friend of a friend, colleague, neighbor, neighbor’s dog, watchman, Life insurance agent, salesman / grocery storekeeper...

This noble profession is usually taken care of by bored middle-aged aunties, who have perfected the necessary skills over the ages, such as:

  • Sharp hearing sense – Their ears prick as soon as the word ‘marriage’ is uttered or whispered in households in a radius of 10 miles
  • Analytical sense – They will give the candidate a sneak, keen once-over as they pass by, and collect a bio which includes height, weight, skin tone, income, fitness levels, artistic talents, cultural views and even the ability to cook.
  • Marketing skills – They are born saleswomen when the product is an eligible bachelor / bachelorette.

The youth of recent times, however, seem to have more faith in Matrimonial Services, which are efficient and impersonal, and can cast a wider net in deeper seas. You can simply access their secure online database (which has pictures), and just filter through categories such as caste, language, religion, location, education, mansion, perception, inception, hypertension, suspension, acceleration…

A third party matchmaker like these matrimonial sites, forces you to apply your judgment in doing a rough character assessment, based on which your whole life will be shaped. You need to accurately assess if the potential match has all the qualities you look for in an ideal life partner (Yes, all candidates know EXACTLY the qualities that their ideal match should possess). And if you find a match, in matchmaking terms it is a success!

In case you’re thinking THIS is scary, just hold on.

As if online marriage databases are not enough, China has a “Marriage Market”. The Shanghai Marriage Market. It is a very real & tangible market, in which “parents of unmarried adults flock to People’s Park in Shanghai, China every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 pm”.

If parents don’t do this, how else can their only child, their little baby, find a wife and have kids, so as to continue their family’s lineage, oh dear Lord!

Mail-order bride

A mail-order bride is a woman who lists herself in catalogs (online or otherwise) and is selected by a man for marriage.

“Women in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other Eastern European countries are common white mail-order bride candidates.”

This concept is still present. Wikipedia is not kidding!

Well, where love is blind, arranged marriages pull your eyes wide shut.

Interesting, right? I’m fascinated. Already flicking through mental catalogues of deliciously well-built mail-order men in swimsuits!! Do I need to make my intentions clear before placing an order? And how do I pay, in cash or in kind? 😉