Thursday, January 02, 2014

A Few Musings at the End of an Eventful 2013

A few thoughts at the end of an eventful 2013. We live in troubled times. Well, yes, that’s an obvious truth we need not emphasise. However, trouble is of the variety that never existed in our days, halcyon days in which we lived a deprived but enjoyable life nevertheless. Yet, we ignore certain realities, take risks, trust our intuition – which turns out to be wrong – and proceed gingerly. We forgive but we can’t forget. We hold hands and try to forget those piercing barbs aimed at us, we gamely accept kitsch such as reality shows and the petty tripe shown therein just to go with the flow. And, this worries us. Time heals but also leaves scars.

Many people left us for their heavenly abodes, among them our friends. Sarasa Gopal’s death shocked us, as did that of Varghese Mathew, a regular church-attendee and active member in all spiritual activities. You were never meant to die, people. You were supposed to live and share the milk of human kindness and joy with us. As the above, so did Mandela’s departure disturb us. We have an idea that may be a distortion of truth which goes: God calls all good people to him and leaves the trash – like us – to haunt the earth with our inanity (MS Word changed this to “insanity” and, shocked as I was, changed it back).

India’s biggest business brat (we call him immature little chap [ILC]) drunkenly crashed his car and hurts a few people. We say, no, it’s okay, brats are meant to crash cars. What else are they for? Already police may have been bought. We know. This brat’s mother – who is into serving the poor – doesn’t like to see peons (this is hearsay from someone who works in the office) around the office. So when she arrives peons are told to hide their poverty-stricken personage somewhere. All this they do because the brat’s grandfather worked hard and built an empire for his sons and grandchildren. We have ingrained in us this concept of dynasty, the bade log (big people) syndrome which makes things easy for the ILC to get away scot free. Is this a good thing? Why don’t we introspect on this?

We had the occasion of working with a few ILCs. Believe you me, they, with their immaturity can make your life hell. We had to correct their incompetence and also praise them for attributes they didn’t have. Another ILC is making it big in music, another ILC is making it in films, another ILC is making it in politics. And, ironically, we all are standing aside, giving way to these ILCs. Nay, we are even endorsing them and condoning their transgressions with the law.

One such ILC who is in prison now, should have been in an institution long ago for drug possession and terror-related activities. Another ILC is facing manslaughter charges for recklessly killing a few people with his SUV. We shut our eyes to all these, seemingly trivial atrocities, which really aren’t. Then can we blame them for turning into monster wife-beaters and social psychopaths? Can we invite them for a public function knowing their background? Can we wait in queue for a glimpse of them inside a theatre, hall, or, public place?

No, none of the above. But they are the pillars of society, turning up at social functions and invited to functions of Governors, Prime Ministers, and Presidents. So, hm, where are we going wrong? Can morality be judged by the tenets we clung to earlier? We don’t know.

We digress. On the culture-literature front we see nothing great happening. The Tata Litlive and Times Carnival went by without much ado. A trend started by Pablo Ganguli with his “Kitab” events has set off a chain of literary festivals throughout the country. Hats off to Pablo. Though he was ostracised because of allegations made by vested-interested people, he was the precursor and originator of the idea of literary festivals in India. We wonder why the same people who criticized Ganguly have their tongues firmly in mouth about the other festivals, where they may have been treated worse.

Our politics will see a cataclysmic something happening this year. The AAP’s success will change the equation quite a lot. Popular leaders have upset staid political set ups – such as Congress and BJP – before as well. This is the age of instant gratifications and in a fire if you shout “follow me I know a way out” people will follow you. Well, ahem, that’s what is happening to the world now.

There’s more to be said but do come again to read them. Meanwhile, saying goodbye with hope for the new year that’s at our door. Happy 2014!

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