Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. These days, he makes his living playing poker as he works on his second novel.
My first book, My Friend Sancho, was published in May 2009, and went on to become the biggest selling debut novel released that year in India. It is a contemporary love story set in Mumbai, and had earlier been longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2008. To learn more about the book, click here.
If you're interested, do join the Facebook group for My Friend Sancho
Click here for more about my publisher, Hachette India.
My posts on India Uncut about My Friend Sancho can be found here.
A version of this piece was published today as the 15th installment of my weekly column for Mint, Thinking it Through.
This is to inform you that I quit. I have enjoyed being God for an eternity now – thank you for the opportunity – but I cannot bear the thought of going on and on like this. Enough is enough. I have informed my angels of my impending resignation, though I didn’t expect them to rush off to buy horns and black clothing right away. This Sunday will be my last day in office, after which I intend to spend some time with my family. (Ok, I’m kidding about the family. Heh.)
I started off badly, I confess. I was a beginning God and there was no roadmap, so what do you expect? My brief was to create a star, a planet and a satellite with a golf course. The rest of the universe wasn’t in the plans – that’s all the failed attempts. I was finally told that I could stop when I made earth, even though I got the golf-course wrong. Still, I’m sure there are other entertaining things you can do on the moon.
Then I was asked to populate the earth, and that’s when I had the most fun. I tried various funky things – I thought bacteria were pretty cool, and would rule the earth for sure. I also thought that of all the prehensile organs I gave my creatures, the penis of the whale was much more useful than the opposable thumbs of humans. I mean, how much fun it must be to grip something with that?
But you guys triumphed, largely because I gave you greater computing power. Had I put in a few trillion neurons less, it could all have been different. (And perhaps I should have worked harder on the dinosaurs.) I admit I got carried away by you because you were the first creatures to notice that I existed. Look, validation matters, period.
Then, when you were just beginning to come out of caves and get civilized, I decided to take a nap. It’s hard work, all this creation, especially at the level of detail involved, and I was tired. And really, what could go wrong while I slept? Humankind was on the rise, using all its neural computing power to create new things, and I thought I’ll wake up refreshed and see a better world, and maybe I’ll get back to work on the moon after a snack or something. Golf is good.
Well, it may seem like I’ve been absent for a long time, but a few millennia is nothing in galactic terms. So I wake up, rub my prehensile eyes, wrap them round the world, and what do I see? I see that you humans are running the place, which is fine, no issues with that. But then I see what you’ve done to me. I look here and go, “That isn’t me!” I look there and remark, “I don’t look like that!” I hear myself quoted and say, “I didn’t say that!” It’s a mess.
Now, I don’t want to get into details, so I’ll just take up three broad points. One, I was supposed to make you in my image. Instead, while I was napping, you went and cast me in yours. I protest. I am not bigoted, misogynist, genocidal or egotistic. I look at how I’ve been portrayed in all the major religions and I’m appalled that anyone would even consider worshipping that.
The talk of worship brings me to my second point: Why have I been portrayed as corrupt? If I am supposed to reward people for their behaviour, why should prayer matter? I am not so insecure that I need to hear praises of me all the time? Or that I need temples or churches or mosques built to honour me, or any of the ritualistic things that you people do? You do not need to bribe me, ok? Just behave well.
Three, why do you assume I need your puny protection? If anyone insults me and I’m petty enough to want to take action against them, there’s always lightning – or less subtle punishments such as Himesh Reshammiya music videos. Stop getting offended on my behalf, please. Especially the more devout ones among you, who embarrass me hugely.
I could go on forever about how all notions of me are corrupted, and used by men – yes, mostly men – for their own selfish purposes. But who will listen to me forever? The one good thing I did was make you mortal, which I now realize is a feature and not a bug. Anyway, I accept culpability for creating a flawed product in the first place, and then for falling asleep. I’m disgusted at my failure, and the only honourable option I have left now is to resign.
See you in Hell.