The Third Umpire

By Muskan Sharma, Batch of 2022

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”—Oscar Wilde

Feel your life is messed up?

And the universe is conspiring against you in every possible way? 

Then this article is for you.

At some point in our lives we all have felt as despondent and shaky and spiritless as Arjuna did, just before the greatest warriors of India, fought like lions on the dry land of Kurukshetra for eighteen long days. 

Be it failure in an examination, a financial crisis, a heart-break or fighting a fatal disease, we have all felt the Gandiva (Arjuna’s bow) slippery in our hands and tempted to either surrender or run away from these seemingly intimidating turn of events in our happy-go-lucky lives. At times like these, it is essential to pause and play a game called the “The Third Umpire”.

 In this game, you must become oblivious of your existence and analyse everything from a distance akin to a third umpire – indifferent to both misery and happiness. Drop the scales off your eyes and look at the world from a shifted paradigm, miles and miles away from your own ‘mostly harmless’ existence. What you accomplish from this simple exercise is that firstly- you cease being that self-centred, resentful being who keeps ranting about every small challenge that comes his way, and secondly- you realise that there are people whose lives are way worse than yours and you feel contented with what you already have. 

Confused on how to play “The Third Umpire”?Here’s an example featuring characters from Mahabharata to illustrate the rules of the game.

It is a common notion that Karna, one of the best warriors of those times (even better than Arjuna), was the most unfortunate character in the Mahabharata. His mother Kunti, had disowned him right after his birth to thwart the shame and ridicule for being an unwed mother. Karna, therefore, never got the opportunity and respect that a prince of noble bloodline deserved. Rejected by Draupadi for being a Suta Putra (a charioteer’s son),cursed by his teacher for lying about his humble backgrounds, and then dying unlike a warrior, helplessly in the battle-field, it might seem that life was anything but fair to the most benevolent king, the most loyal friend and the mightiest hero of the Mahabharata.

Now, imagine you were Karna and you were to analyse the lives of those who have apparently been born under ‘luckier’ stars.

Let’s start with your arch rival, Arjuna, the finest archer in the world, renowned for his focus and discipline. His life does not seem to have been besmirched with any kind of hassle and inconvenience. Is it so? Arjuna, devoid of his father’s affections, spent more time of his life in the wilderness than in a palace with comforts. Who could have imagined a virile, powerful man of such stature , compelled to bear the horrific sight of his wife being mortified by his own diabolic cousins and then being cursed by an Apsara(nymph) to spend one year of his life as an eunuch? Not to mention the convulsing dilemma of either standing up against one’s kinsmen and fighting like a warrior or fleeing away the battle-field and being remembered as a coward. 

Now, comes the woman who had insulted you publicly for being of inferior birth- Draupadi. She was an impulsive, beautiful, irresistible woman, who had left scores of men yearning for her in the famous Swayamwar (a challenge-based marriage). As fate would have it, she was tossed between her five husbands, year to year. After Yudhishthira lost her in a game of dice(a target of objectivism), she was dragged in the court by her hair and you, Karna, yes you were also a silent spectator of the dignity of a woman being teared down to shreds. Her misery doesn’t end here. She was blamed for triggering a war which devastated an entire clan.

Finally, let’s look at the life of the puppeteer,himself. Krishna’s own uncle trying to kill him even before his birth, being separated from his biological parents, grazing cows instead of learning the tactics of war, destiny should have definitely cut him some slack, considering how He is the beginning and He is the end. Even Lord Krishna must have had a hard time recuperating from the heart-break entailed from his failed union with his one true-love, Radha. 

To cut a long story short- if you feel that life is throwing all the bombs at your head then you just need to dodge them. Keep striding forward, even if the odds aren’t exactly in your favour. Remember the grass is always greener on the other side. And still if none of this makes sense to you, ‘Apna Time Ayega’ will undoubtedly bring you some solace. 


One comment
  1. Mudit Khandelwal

    Hey Muskan, you made a big fan out of me. I absolutely loved the piece specially the Mahabharata analogy. Great work

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