Very often, I let my thoughts drift. They wander far and wide, twist and turn, trying to take shape. Very often they just dissipate like a cloud of smoke, some other times they collude and coalesce into a workable idea. So, I just had this epiphany of sorts. The way our life plays out, has uncanny similarities to how Quidditch is played. Think about. I feel, the entire game along with its various facets and dimensions, is so symbolic of what our life is all about. It epitomizes life in all its ever changing moods and forms. It amalgamates the purpose of this life and its underlying material cum spiritual value. All through life, we wear several hats and simultaneously don the roles of Chaser, Beater, Keeper and Seeker respectively, whenever the need arises. How deftly we manage these roles, in the end, determines the quality of the life we lead.
Chasers and the Quaffle– The Material Pursuit
Now let us break Quidditch down to its basic elements. Let us start with its most basic premise. Goal Scoring. What do the Chasers do? They get hold of the Quaffle, tackle rival Chasers, dodge several obstacles(Bludgers, Beaters) and score goals past the Keeper. Quaffle represents an opportunity. Once we get hold of a Quaffle, it is a potential scoring opportunity and we earnestly try to make the most of it. So chasing, in essence, is a journey, outward. It is the external hunt for material fotunes. It is akin to what we do in our day to day lives. Scoring a goal, directly correlates to achieving our respective goals and our relentless pursuit of material needs. We need to keep scoring. Once we’re done scoring one goal, we move on to the next. It’s a continuous, never ending process. It is also, in a sense, a wild goose “chase”, owing to its perpetuality. Once we stop moving forward, we begin to stagnate, we become irrelevant and start drawing a negative balance very soon (opponent chasers scoring goals). In life too, we overcome odds on a daily basis, navigate through troubled waters and finally attain our momentary goals. “Chasing” thus aptly depicts the “Rat Race” that all of us participate in, willingly or otherwise. In the highway of life, the endless list of material goals represent the milestones that come to pass, but not the ultimate destination per se. While it is important to cross many of these milestones, but that in itself does not mark the end of the journey. The game doesn’t stop there. Scoring goals just gives you points, a lead, a headstart. It doesn’t necessarily salvage victory. The Chasers thus symbolise the materialistic ideals and ends, that we pursue relentlessly: education, money, property and the like, which are instrumental in attaining material stability and harmony. It is very important to be a good chaser in life. However, in life, as in Quidditch, that is not the ultimate objective.
Beaters and the Bludger-The Struggle and the Solution
The volatility and vicissitudes of life are beautifully depicted in Quidditch. Life is inherently unpredictable and full of surprises. It is not always rosy and sanguine. The path to our goal is laden with obstacles and unforseen dangers. One day everything seems to fall in place and seems to move ahead like clockwork and BAM! Out of the blue we are knocked over by a bludger. The bludger is the proverbial spanner in the works. We wouldn’t have even seen that coming. All of a sudden, what seemed like a breezy ride, becomes a bumpy one. What seemed like a simple and straightforward pathway to our goal, becomes tough and tortuous. Not everything in life proceeds according our volition. Life is full of bludgers swarming all around us, threatening to knock us down. What Quidditch teaches us is to be on the vigil constantly, avoid and dodge these bludgers, which represent the pitfalls and potholes in our path. Constant Vigilance, like Mad Eye Moody would say. We have the weapons, the tools to tackle and overcome even seemingly insurmountable odds. The clubs that the Beaters brandish, are symbolic of this. We are well equipped to weather any storm that may come to pass. Nodobby can stop us, not even a rogue bludger ;).
Seeker and the Golden Snitch- The Higher Pursuit
Enter, the seeker. Consider the word “Seeker”. Its similar to “Chaser” isn’t it? And yet it is entirely different. We chase “after” something(usually something of gross material value) but we seek “for” something(Something subtle, something innate and spiritual). It is pretty subtle. But its in this subtlety that they inherently differ. We are all seekers, aren’t we. We are vagabonds dallying through life incessantly searching, constantly seeking. But what exactly is it that we seek? True Happiness, isn’t it? Life is a constant journey and all of us, gravitate towards happiness. And by happiness I don’t mean the transience of material satisfaction, I refer to the happiness that is immutable. The kind of happiness that is not chained to the whims of circumstance. We roam far and wide in search of things that make our life worthwhile and happy. We keep “chasing” after it, wherein the right thing to do is to “seek” for it. It’s an inward journey. As chasers, we might have chased after a lot of material things in life. We might possess all things that we have craved for and worked for. Money, property and all other desired tangibles might be at our disposal. But that doesn’t guarantee happiness. Does it? This happiness , its a slippery character, a wily fox. It’s elusive and shifty. It’s almost always out of reach. We’re almost there, but never quite there. Just like the Golden snitch. The Seeker bolts after it in hot pursuit but it expertly evades, escapes and eludes, always trying to outfox its seeker. In life too, Getting there isn’t easy, but therein lies the beauty of life isn’t it? If getting there were that easy then, the destination would lose much of the enigmatic charm and peerless value, that it wields. The prospect of reaching the destination, then ceases to be that enticing. So amidst all the indefatigable activity of goal scoring, bludger dodging, it is ultimately the golden snitch, that we seek. Unless we attain that, we remain unfulfilled and unhappy. Bagging that snitch is what ultimately makes the difference in our lives, not scoring a few goals(Not to underestimate its importance). As opposed to Chasing, Seeking is more of an inward journey. What is the color of the snitch again? Golden. Not Blue, not Red nor any other color, but GOLDEN. Aurum Est Potestas (Oh wait, that’s not Potter). The color Gold, is regal. It signifies the paramount importance and value of our pursuit. It is the only thing that matters in the end. All of us are seeking those elusive Golden snitches, in life. To catch it and to not lose it. That, ultimately makes the difference between winning and losing. In life, just like Quidditch, you bag the snitch, you win. Period. (Erm..In Quidditch that’s bound by a precondition, but lets not get into that now). Just like how The Chasers represent the material ideal, the Seeker symbolizes the higher, more profound ideals in life. The spiritual ones. WHile all our facile and superficial needs may be satiated by being good Chasers in life, the real triumph in life lies in the attainment of what we seek on a deeper level. its ultimately the spiritual attainment that we get upon bagging the elusive Golden Snitch(Happiness) that will matter in the end irrespective of the material assets that we rack up. That alone, makes the difference between winning and losing.
The parallels between Quidditch and Life are quite fascinating. The correlation might be a tad bit exaggerated and might be the by product of an overactive imagination (boring Friday afternoons are a perfect recipe for that). It might even be an obvious correlation to many of you. Quidditch and its various symbolism is representational of the life we lead. In a very metaphorical manner, Quidditch encapsulates the essence of life, in my opinion. Just saying.
– Sri Krishna,