Things are going crazy out there.
The latest: a 27-year-old Indian man plans to sue his parents for giving birth to him “without his consent”.
What’s next? A woman taking a baseball bat to a fast food outlet for lack of beef?
I tell you, the world may be really going to hell in a hand basket.
– Back to the legal eagle. No one has seriously challenged Jho Low a.k.a Felonious Fatso for resident poster-child for birth control but Mumbai businessman Raphael Samuel is putting up a stiff fight.
He told the British Broadcasting Corporation that it was wrong to bring children into the world because they then have to put up with lifelong suffering.
The bitter businessman thought he could prove it too. He first pointed out that the leading cause of death was birth. Having laid down that shyster-slick legal foundation, he invoked echoes of Thomas Hobbes – “life is nasty, brutish and short” – to claim that everyone was born “naked, wet and hungry.”
“Then it simply gets worse,” the morose merchant concluded mournfully. “Don’t you see?”
It is well known that ignorance of the law excuses no one. In India, it also excuses no one from practicing it.
Mr Samuel, of course, understands that our consent cannot be sought before we are born, but insists that “it was not our decision to be born”.
So, as we didn’t ask to be born, we should be paid for the rest of our lives to live, he argues.
Apparently, Mr Samuel’s mission has its roots in a philosophy called anti-natalism – a school of thought that argues that life is so full of misery that people should stop procreating at once.
In fact, Mr Samuel was ceaselessly haunted by the awful and hellish knowledge that somehow, somewhere, a baby was being born every twenty seconds or so on Planet Earth.
It was something he brooded over constantly, sometimes in the dead of night, and he thought the incessant production should cease immediately or – and here, he choked back a bitter sob – “it would all end up in tears.”
Woody Allen knew it would all end up in tears but he thought about these things more in a sort of rueful abstract. “Life is full of misery, suffering and loneliness,” the wannabe saxophonist once said. “And it’s over much too soon.”
Raphael did not know Woody and secretly suspected he would not like the fellow one bit either. “What kind of name is Woody anyway?” demanded the embittered entrepreneur indignantly. “I mean, that’s the whole problem right there…too many Woodies!”
Maybe there was always something slightly off-kilter about the mournful Mumbaikar. Here was a man trapped in a woman’s body – for nine months and only then was Raphael born. It seemed he had never got over that initial introduction to the world.
That was then. The once-irate industrialist is now a freshly minted debonair-dandy-about-town. Meet Raphael Samuel, whose face peers out of advertising hoardings and whose address women write to daily proposing marriage.
What is the moral of this tale, you may ask?
It is simply this: Some men are born famous, other men achieve fame but Raphael talked to the BBC and got fame thrust on him.
Then he hired a really good publicist.