Friday, December 04, 2009

Here’s Looking at You 2009 – Part II

Yes, yesterday I nearly collapsed on my laptop writing the post that appears somewhere, ah, just below this one. It was about change and how it happens unannounced, how things change, how we grow old and how things change but they remain the same. I promised to expand this theme and here it is:

Things that Changed

In 2009 Bombay entered the terror map. Everywhere I turn there are armed policemen, their eyes alert, fearful, on edge. Will they fire on me, a crazy burst? One feels a bit insecure, a bit on the edge and wants to leave the city as soon as one can after finishing work; don't know if the Toyota Qualis coming from the opposite directions would contain the deadly barrel of a Kalashnikov pointed at one by "external terrorists". These agents of death are funny, they kill without reason, quite randomly at that. So, it's just a throw of dice or a game of Russian roulette. Bomb blasts, grenade blasts, AK47 fire, in a laidback trading town, which has never been conquered, pillaged, or desecrated, sounds odd, and for this suburban boy from the somnolent suburb of Chembur - a bit ingenuous at that - it is a difficult thing to digest.

It is also the year when the government thought about aerially attacking its own people in tribal areas it suspects are hideouts of what I call "internal terrorists". No, terror isn't good. It's the worst thing that happened to ever since the Afgan hoards invaded India. And to attack one's own people using bombs and firepower from the skies is like declaring war on its own people. Has anyone heard of discussing it with them sitting across the table? Has anyone found out why tribals in the hinterlands are taking to extremism? Anyone? We have a responsibility to be compassionate to our own citizens before dropping bombs on them, which only tinpot regimes contemplate doing.

It is also the year of two reality shows called "Rekha Sawant Ki Swayamvar" and "Flawless Bride" both of which touched nadirs in television content programming in India. Can you call these reality shows when everything is gaudily made up, and just about everything appears artificial and crassly vulgar? Give me a break. The "Tamashas" and "Lavnis" are more real in this respect.

Things that Haven't Changed

India continues to be bad to writers and their ilk. I am still unpublished, despite trying my best. Yes, I will go on being like this only, just to see where it leads. I am the eternal hopeful. What was hoped to be the great middle-class reading public is no longer extent. People listen to music while commuting, they don't even buy pirated low-cost books, forget the fancy priced ones. Homes don't feature book shelves they feature plasma television sets and home theatre.

Apart from a few print newspapers and magazines who ply their craft with diligence, the rest of the print media has been bought by business interests. It's the age of Rupert Murdoch, who I am not quite sure if he will be another Robert Maxwell, notice the similarity in names.

I have to go. More anon. Watch this space.

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