What makes you sing? What makes you jive? What makes you go around the world? What makes you click a photograph? And the possibilities are endless.

Thinking of these possibilities, I came up with a question as to what makes a person act or react. I surmised that a person, place, thing or situation doesn’t always garner a reaction from all. And when it does, the reactions can be extensively and intensively different. An example would illustrate my point better. When a group of people listen to a song at the same time, the first instantly thinks about its raag, taal and pitch, the second delves into its rhyme and lyrics, the third begins to choreograph it in his mind and the fourth predicts its commercial appeal while the fifth only wonders what to cook for dinner tonight.  Isn’t it fascinating how our mind evolves in different dimensions and the same thing impresses different people so distinctly?

It is this variety in thought that makes life so interesting. A recent treasure hunt that I participated in accentuated this fact most humorously and concretely. The organizers couldn’t have ever imagined that their clues could have so many possible interpretations as the participants came out with.  For example, one of the clues to be solved in a particular area just mentioned “Father on the board”, now with that hint we had to actually find the signage “Appa Garden Street” (appa means father in the local language) which is put at the corner of the road but coincidentally there is a church in the same vicinity and some of our friends went around the church looking for a message of the ‘Father’ as in “Jesus” put up on some board. And others went further to find the ‘Father’ inside the church in the form of a ‘priest’. Isn’t it hilarious and contemplative at the same time? There were several such stories of my treasure hunt with the most imaginative interpretation of every clue. I am sure the organizers never thought that their clues would be source of such reflective fun.

Another thing that I found quite interesting about that day was that none of the interpretations were literally right or wrong, they were simply different. The organizers thought in one way while the participants thought in quite the other. Of course the interpretation as meant by the organizers would have helped to decipher the clue and win the treasure but we can’t judge the “interpretations” per se.

The same holds true between individuals, families and societies. We are all entitled to our own interpretation but asserting it as the verdict creates conflicts and rifts. Each thinks himself to be right and the other as follied, but in truth we are just different. To think differently is the beauty of the mind but to react differently is the test of the mind.
We live in a world of differences – pun intended, where Salman Rushdie’s book is acclaimed by one society but he is issued a fatwa for the same book by another society; where music is considered a path to God by one community yet it is labeled blasphemous by another; where Agent Vinod might run a marathon at the box office in one country but it is already banned in another.
You see, we have the right to our thoughts, but do we also have the right to wrong others’?