A Story by O Henry; A Cosmopolitan in a Cafe:
“My cosmopolite was named E. Rushmore Coglan, and he will be heard from next summer at Coney Island. He is to establish a new “attraction” there, he informed me, offering kingly diversion. And then his conversation rang along parallels of latitude and longitude. He took the great, round world in his hand, so to speak, familiarly, contemptuously, and it seemed no larger than the seed of a Maraschino cherry in a table d’hôte grape fruit. He spoke disrespectfully of the equator, he skipped from continent to continent, he derided the zones, he mopped up the high seas with his napkin. With a wave of his hand he would speak of a certain bazaar in Hyderabad. Whiff! He would have you on skis in Lapland. Zip! Now you rode the breakers with the Kanakas at Kealaikahiki. Presto! He dragged you through an Arkansas post-oak swamp, let you dry for a moment on the alkali plains of his Idaho ranch, then whirled you into the society of Viennese archdukes. Anon he would be telling you of a cold he acquired in a Chicago lake breeze and how old Escamila cured it in Buenos Ayres with a hot infusion of the chuchula weed. You would have addressed a letter to “E. Rushmore Coglan, Esq., the Earth, Solar System, the Universe,” and have mailed it, feeling confident that it would be delivered to him.
I was sure that I had found at last the one true cosmopolite since Adam, and I listened to his worldwide discourse fearful lest I should discover in it the local note of the mere globe-trotter. But his opinions never fluttered or drooped; he was as impartial to cities, countries and continents as the winds or gravitation.
And as E. Rushmore Coglan prattled of this little planet I thought with glee of a great almost-cosmopolite who wrote for the whole world and dedicated himself to Bombay. In a poem he has to say that there is pride and rivalry between the cities of the earth, and that “the men that breed from them, they traffic up and down, but cling to their cities’ hem as a child to the mother’s gown.” And whenever they walk “by roaring streets unknown” they remember their native city “most faithful, foolish, fond; making her mere-breathed name their bond upon their bond.” And my glee was roused because I had caught Mr. Kipling napping. Here I had found a man not made from dust; one who had no narrow boasts of birthplace or country, one who, if he bragged at all, would brag of his whole round globe against the Martians and the inhabitants of the Moon.”
So what happened to Cosmopolitan, when his home town was mentioned with profanity? Read full story: ‘O Henry: A Cosmopolitan in a Cafe’.
Belief and Disbelief.
We are no different when we discuss our belief. Formed with or without reason, a belief is a mere belief not worth the trouble of action. It is a creation of mind and has nothing to do with life or living. Often beliefs are commands enforced by rituals of religions, tribes, nations, villages or hordes. We conditioned as we are prostrate at the feet, we find to be more glistening. Disbelief is nothing short of belief. A movement from belief to disbelief may take a life time or a moment ridden on an event but both, belief and disbelief, are reflection of same thought. A thought which is a projection of a dream state, unexperienced and untraveled. An accumulation which fills our emptiness. Without it the despair and depression fills our emptiness. We choose accumulation of belief or disbelief. Experiencing can wait.
Like cosmopolitan we project ourselves as Honest, Forthright, Patriot or Intellectuals, ready to embrace the logic and reason of every thought but are trapped in different layers of memories, reacting differently to same or similar things or similarly to dissimilar things. Mind in deafening sleep is so verbose. But dreams are so dear. Why wake up is not a question but a challenge. Let’s see if or when we face it.