Survival instinct

September 23, 2005

I believed in non-violence. And this belief extended to other living beings, other than the human kind.

I believed in nature. I believed nature has a purpose in everything. So much so that I found most of what modern life takes for granted, as going against nature.

My belief in non-violence wouldn’t even allow me to kill a spider, ant or cockroach in my house. With utmost care, I would collect them in a newspaper and throw them out. My family protested endlessly saying the creatures were easily going make their way back into the house. I would simply turn a deaf ear to all the protests!! I was not going to kill them. Period. Ofcourse I had no control over others’ actions and in my absence the house would be duly sprayed with insecticides and pesticides every week.

My belief in nature made be feel very guilty about trimming the garden. I loved my creepers which reached my balcony and covered it completely. The garden always wore a unkempt look. But, I believed if the plants were growing wildly, nature intended them to grow that way.

I was convinced my beliefs were unshakeable and my actions rational! Then one fine day I managed to shock myself.

My first newborn was home from the hospital. One day I saw a tiny spider close to my little one. Without a thought I folded a newspaper and ‘whack’! I killed it. No remorse. No guilt. One blow and it was over!

As the ants carried the dead spider away, I stared blankly.

The next week we spotted a snake in the garden. Everybody in the house was instructed to always keep the backdoor closed during the rainy season. Someone mentioned the snake could easily climb the creeper and get into the house. A scissor in hand I snipped off the ropes holding
the creeper. The gardener was summoned and the creeper was trimmed off.

As I stood in the balcony, the open balcony felt strange. I felt even stranger within.

I realised I had changed, without realising. No struggle. No rationalising my behaviour. Is this what nature intends to do when it strengthens and sharpens your survival instinct?

I still believe in non-violence. I still believe in nature. I still believe nature has a purpose in everything.


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