Thursday, June 12, 2014

The One That Escaped The Rat Race


True story.

Growing up, I had these furry little rodent-like creatures - Hamsters, or to be more specific, Roborovski Hamsters.

Like any enthusiastic kid out there, I pestered my parents to get them a really nice cage and all the other fancy paraphernalia that came with it. As a result of my incessant pestering, those hamsters lived in a cosmic-themed cage, fitted with a glow-in-the-dark rat wheel. 

Yes, a glow-in-the-dark rat wheel. 

And every time one of the hamsters spun the wheel like a crazed victim being chased by a figment of its own imagination, I would watch in amazement. Did it really think it was going somewhere? Was it that silly? Or, was it intelligent enough to know that its little act entertains me enough for me to reward it with more sunflower seeds and grains?

That, I'll never know.

But, unlike the rest, there was one that was different. Grandpa named it Putin, after Vladimir Putin. 

Instead of running on the rat wheel, it would spend its time digging and gnawing on the edges of the fancy cage. We thought it was as silly as the rest. It was, after all, another futile attempt at escaping - until one day, on that one fateful morning, I woke up to find that Putin was nowhere to be found.

Spellbound, I examined the cage closely and found that there was a gap between the metal grills and the plastic base of the cage. It was a gap that was not a result of its gnawing, a gap that was there all along - a gap... that was large enough for it to squeeze its flat body through. 

Putin was never to be seen again.

Well, it probably got chewed up by the dog as it made a mad dash across the living room. But I'd like to think that it made its way to a bright and sunny grassland, basking in the comfort of some dried hay.

Putin's disappearance was not the only surprise of that morning. What's more surprising is that the other hamsters were still there, at their daily routine, running on the little rat wheel.

They did not escape, when they had the chance to.


*****

It may seem like a funny story to you, but today as I'm writing this, I realize how our roles are reversed, how we have become the hamsters trapped in fancy cages, how we became white-collar workers trapped in fancy offices. 

Those hamsters are but a reflection of ourselves. 

At this very same moment, I could relate to Putin. Like oil in water, our conscience no longer accepted the thought of being enslaved by a life of running on the rat wheel and coexisting with peers that are already dead in hope.

"Most people die at 25 and aren't buried until they're 75" - Benjamin Franklin




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