Chapter III: The creatures who followed rules

 An Autobiography of a Cancer Cell

Chapter III. The creatures who followed rules

{Creatures who followed rules: Author was debating within him about the appropriate name for this chapter. Whether to name the chapter as “Persons who followed rules” or “Creatures who/that followed rules”? Finally, author decided on the latter, because there usually is an element of contempt or association of impracticality in the society towards the people who follow rules. Probably, those who follow rules are considered as people without sense of “adventure”. Perhaps there lies an ingredient of excitement in violating rules. Routinely, it might help in saving time and energy by circumventing rules. Because of this element of disdain prevalent in the society, the nomenclature, “creatures,” seems appropriate.}

One aspect of life that amazed me immensely was the creatures around me who followed rules {These could be the perspectivesof a cancer cell regarding cells which maintain the “body” impeccably i.e. normal cells}. A vague sense of my past life indicated that somehow I was connected to them, which however did not bother me {Cancer cells are rebel normal cells}. I studied them out of curiosity, even though their attitude mattered to me nil.  At least it was an entertainment to watch them, before devouring them {Cancer cell arises from normal cell but devours the latter for its sustenance}.

They considered their world perfect. Their movements were well orchestrated. All, well almost all, believed that they were controlled by hidden force. Every event, every movement, and every rhythm every expression of theirs appeared to them to be controlled by an unseen force. For them, the force was everywhere. Nothing could get out of place. Everything followed the order. The messages were omnipresent. Everything supervised, unseen. There was something, beyond visibility, beyond feelings deciding on the birth, taking care, nurturing growth, supervising senility and finally death. Prematurely some would have to die, to take care of the others, preventing events hurtling to chaos {Functioning of normal cell is selfless community service and is undisputedly responsible for survival  and normalcy of a living being}.

Basically, they were laid down, lazy and would react only when the message came from somewhere. They waited for everything. Even to sleep, to have the food they waited. Only when the message came for eating they would eat. When the message came for sleeping they would sleep, lazy nitwits. No initiative, no aggressiveness, no vision. They believed rules in life as paramount; the rules are the purpose of life. One would live by the rules and one should die by the rules. Their actions were supposed to be for order and harmony. Live and let live was their motto. Tolerance was the buzz word. For procreation they waited for the message, for death they waited for the supreme message. They fought for love, affection, appreciation from others. They would wait for the signal to cross the road, with utmost patience would stand in the queue for the food. When the message came they would stand still and waited for another message to move.

Thiers was the world run by messengers. There were messengers everywhere, and there were varied types of messengers. Their every movement, every action and every expression were based on the messages coming from somewhere. Nobody knew where the messages came. However, everybody sent messages and everybody received messages. Every message was implemented immediately and scrupulously. If they did not like any message, they would send the protest message back but work was executed instantly. They were totally controlled lot {The entire body’s function is like a harmonious symphony and is based on feedback system. To initiate a function, a message is sent by the brain and when the job is accomplished, a return message is sent to the brain and in turn brain orders other cells to slow down or stop the function. Or cells send a message to the brain to initiate an action}.

The most curious thing was their community feelings. If there is a problem all types of people will swoop in suddenly to help each other. They would suffer together and fight together. They would build their house together and clean the streets together. Alone, they were so helpless, so useless and so pathetic. Occasionally there would be an invasion of frightful beasts and alone they were very inadequate. All would go to a tizzy and all would suffer. Sometimes would take them days come to normal {During Infection and fever}. Grudgingly, transiently, I would admire their togetherness, which I knew was hogwash.

Funniest of all was the rules of sharing. Everything was shared, rationed as per the availability. They appeared to have a sense of elation with sharing, believed that their survival depended on it. To top it all they shared the poison as well. They built a house in their allotted space and would not step others place unless invited with a message. They never realized one had the ability to forcibly take over others place or position. They had no ambition beyond the dictates and no vile to influence.

They did not mind their monotonous life. Thiers was of life with routine drudgery to be carried out every day. Same work, same place and same actions. Some would be born in the same place and die in the same place. Some never travelled elsewhere. Some never stayed in the same place. Most were bothered only about taking care of others; selfless services to others till the end of life – can one just comprehend that! It was just unbelievable.

They were totally subservient to the law. They followed the dictates of the police more than asked for. Law was the ultimate for them. One would not step out of line, would not question even the exploitation. When asked to work more, even beyond their limits, they would do so even to the extent of dying out of exhaustion. For the greater good of all, they presumed.

They had only perfected the non-violent way of life. Their demands were just about sending the message and keeping quit. Wait patiently for the things to be decided in the unknown place in an unknown time. If the help did not arrive in time, the action was limited to continue to send a stream of messages. Their protest was also limited to sending the message even when in the brink of extinction. They just did not know to force the issue or they did not know that violent demonstration could bring about faster justice. They just harped on the greater good and others wellbeing.

The extent to which they went to maintain and streamline orderly life was astounding. Every small bit is meticulously taken care of as if life depended on it. Messengers would go into a frenzy even with the smallest of damage in the neighbourhood. Unknown people would descend all over the place and would clear the debris which sometimes takes weeks and months and only then quietness would return. Instead, all that was required was devouring and destroying the entire area, which could have been done in minutes {Saving a life is the inherent part of normal life. Cancer cells are known to subsist on other cancer cells – this feature is named as autophagy}.

However, most amazing of all when the message came for them to end themselves and commit suicide. They would swell fully and burst instantly, without batting an eyelid {This feature of cell is called apoptosis. This happens when excessive cells are produced. Cells would have sent the stop request to the brain and more than required cells are produced when the “stop multiplying” message is on the way. Supplementary message is sent to the cell to destroy itself. And, a normal cell executes it promptly}. Others said it serves the purpose of life. Life is dying and being born again. After death one would be reborn again, as somebody, somewhere else. One cannot be destroyed. It just a cycle of life {Stem cells are capable of producing exactly similar cells}. According to me there was nothing more stupid than this. It was a poppy cock to justify killing the weak and willing. To sacrifice for others, I thought would only be a sniggering matter for those who are allowed to live.

I could not care less for such a philosophy. I knew from the beginning that I should control my life; I should be my master {Not bothered about anything, other than self, is the philosophy of a cancer cell}. And, above all I did not want to die, however strong the message is. I was plumb scared of death. I wanted to live forever and ever. But, I never realized at that time that I was truly destined to live forever and also I was “chosen” to do so. Nevertheless, I never dreamt that I should revisit all these thinking and one day I would understand the true glory of life.