Thursday, November 29, 2012

Do you think the world will be a "better" place in 100 years? Or: long-run optimism or pessimism?

Someone asked me this interesting question on Quora ( which I love btw, one of the best sites to ever be on ), just posting my answer here.

As intriguing a question this is, and being a fan of short answers, this one is difficult difficult, lemon difficult. Let me attempt one anyway based on my narrow  understanding of politics, development and humans in this world.

Where do I start to analyze this?

I will start with one of the major things which change the world order, war. The world today is becoming increasingly averse to war, every country fears nuclear retaliation will result in mutual destruction. But there was an inherent simplicity to war; we had a winner and a loser, hence a good guy and a bad guy (as history is written by the victors). 

So we as humans could find solace that they were the good guys or the bad guys, atleast we had a pro and anti stance. 

Today we have no "real" team do we? We do not have the communists or the fascists or the Nazis or the capitalists or the bourgeois. We only have the '99%' ,struggling to live 99% of the time. The world has swallowed the 80-20 rule, hook line and sinker.

The world today is becoming increasingly global, and the lines have blurred, the language barriers have melted, distance is no longer a limit and we have even discovered the Higgs boson.

The BRIC countries have risen up, or made an unsteady attempt to rise. The economic centers are shifting from the far west to the far east, we are running out of oil, or atleast the corporations want you to think that, we have made breakthrough in LED technologies, and energy sector. Our phones are more powerful than supercomputers of the age past.

We have become an online society. Our reliance on paper has ended, we now rely on electrons, those pesky little particles/waves which transfer money, send messages, fire people, buy shares, blow up airplanes and metros and crowded areas, show you maps, and allow you to 'like' stuff. We are lost.

Yet, everyday, collaboration far and wide helps challenge the very frontiers of our existence, intelligence shared keeps us safe, a few words bring warmth to a family far away from their son.

We are on a knife's edge of existence, but we have always been there. This is the unique property of being a human on this planet. We will never perish, because if enough of us suffer, I think we are capable and intelligent enough to collectively survive ourselves. But, how good or bad we are is ultimately not humanity's prerogative, but an individual's. Because humans never learn from humanity's suffering, only from their own.

So, after all this is said and done.

Q: What does this say about tomorrow?

Me: Nothing.

Q: Will it be better?

Me: Yes, certainly, for some people.

Q: Will it be worse?

Me: Yes, certainly, for some people.

Q: Why do you say so?

Me: Because there will be more people, so mathematically....

Q: You cannot measure that, can you?

Me: Nobody can.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Culture Shmulture and Australia


Before coming to Australia, I was given  warnings by almost everyone I knew. Mom, Dad, grandmothers, grandfathers, various uncles, aunties, cousins, friends, not so good friends, acquaintances, strangers, blogs, my employers and trainers, new co-workers, and well... Wikipedia... the culture of Australia is very different. Don't lose yourself.

Duh.

I would like to begin ranting on this now.

What is culture?

It is a way people live life, I guess.


Correct me if I am wrong here, I really don't see a huge issue people make about culture at all. Maybe, I am not cultural at all... I mean, back home(India) I follow movies, theatre, and sport. I eat the cuisine, chat with my friends, discuss issues ranging from time-management to time-wasting, finance to fun, politics to pornography (though the last topics are one and the same thing).

But then, this is how I live.

If this is not my culture, I don't know what is.

I fail to understand why people choose to make a big fuss about cultures. If you hop on a vehicle, drive 50 km in any direction in our country, the culture would be different. The way of life would be different.

I am going to be 6000 km from home, flying almost a 10000 km to get here. Don't you think the way of life would be different?

OF COURSE IT WILL.

What to do?

Nothing. Have fun. And stop cribbing about the culture thingy.

Live your life, enjoy and have fun like they do. What else there is to it?

It might change you, then?

Of course it might, I might like it, I might not like it, I might start dancing like Gangam style just for the heck of it. Your point being....

Well, would you like to change?

Everything we do, small or big, every decision, every option, every happy or every sad moment teaches us something and changes us. 

You might lose your culture, lose yourself...

...



This conversation is going in circles.

Ciao.







Sunday, June 24, 2012

India: A Sovereign Socialist Democratic Apathetic Average Republic

I am writing this article in support of Justice Katju, former Judge of the Supreme court, who said that 90% of Indians are fools. Please read the article here.

This is not a sudden impulsive decision to write on this topic now. I have been seeing  and observing how we, the people of this great nation, have stooped to an abysmal level of intellect, dialogue and a nation-directed conscience.

In his article Justice Katju, points out certain flaws in the ongoing social agitation and movement. He points out certain intrinsic hypocrisies in the present system and challenges us to think by calling us to move in the direction of rationale and scientific outlook.

I would like to supplement his article by adding a few more points.

1. I have always thoroughly believed that in us, the Indians, lies a core value, as a result of which, thousands of years of invasions by outsiders (Mughals, British and consumerism being the recent ones) have never managed to erase our identity or our culture. In our assimilation lies the true value of self-preservation.

We are extremely defensive people. Perhaps because we have never been part of a democratic structure for thousands of years (including now). We have developed a sense of rebellious attitude, a streak of disestablishmentarianism, an urge to protest.

While this is essential for a healthy functioning of a people's government, in India we-have-too-much-of-a-good-thing case going on.

This feeling is displayed when we do not throw our rubbish in the trash cans and litter the streets.
This feeling can be seen when we spit on DO NOT SPIT signs.
This feeling is evident when we do not wear helmets or seat belts, and drive at high speeds on our city roads.

Our escape to barbarism when we cannot see any obvious authority, causes a lot of problems. I call it a lack of patriotism.


Case in point: Look at how the Delhi Metro is kept clean. Tip of the lathi to you.



2. On the subject of patriotism, we are a bunch of self preserving, opportunistic... well, humans.
Everyone is.

It's evolution , I agree, and sadly we have not stopped evolving into a civil society, which recognizes the reason to stand together as a community, and portray a singular identity.

In other words we are still stuck in the evolutionary cycle.

You may now call me racist.

Did you know? That the English music icons performing in the London Olympics Ceremony charged their government 1 pound only.

Do you see our Indian stars going by the same rate, lets say 75 Indian rupees?

Do you know how much they charged? Do Google to find the answer.

Another Case in point: The Paes-Bhupathi problem. A couple of idiots who cannot put their egos aside to play for our great nation of a billion people.

3. My third point is by far the most important. We are an uneducated bunch. As Justice Katju rightly writes "...when our people go to vote in elections, 90 per cent vote on the basis of caste or community, not the merits of the candidate. That is why Phoolan Devi, a known dacoit-cum-murderer, was elected to Parliament ... Vote banks are on the basis of caste and community, which are manipulated by unscrupulous politicians and others."

It takes but a few minutes of poor Photoshop for people to put up ridiculous posters and ideas. We have a very myopic view when it comes to looking at national news and issues.

I was recently embroiled in a discussion regarding Aamir Khan's Satyameva Jayate with someone. He was attacking him taking potshots at his personal life, relationship with his workers, etc. I responded by saying, he has just used his fame to highlight certain views and asked what he felt was wrong with that. I faced a whole array of questions targeting how much money he earns and Ad charges.

I go to my earlier objection and how actors charge money. I agree he might be raking more than anyone in the small screen. But my question remains, What have you or I done? I have seen similar responses from people in my college when a bunch of students participated zealously in the anti-corruption movement pioneered by Anna Hazare. While I do not personally agree with his methods OR his Lokpal bill modification, I do not deny that he is an active social worker working to bring a positive change in his own way. And so are his followers.

We may choose to condemn a man for his personal life, but we should not and cannot condemn his actions if they are in some way helping our society introspect and come to a realization how unevolved we have been. I urge the readers to stop having such a shortsighted view and look at the bigger picture.



As far as I am concerned I am relieved that finally Indian Television has something more than Bollywood or cricket leagues, or imitation reality shows with a porn stars and idiotic starlets and wannabe "fame-mongers", or game shows which promise instant riches. This is what making it tick, I think.


We have not yet come out of our slave/servant mentality that has so dominated us as a result of being under autocratic rule for all these years. We need to think about our nation as a whole, not just look who is our partner in the tennis doubles team. We need to put differences, ALL DIFFERENCES, past and present aside, and look towards the future.

As I write this, I am afraid my words may be in vain and we may have gone beyond the tipping point of social apocalypse.



Monday, June 18, 2012

...ghar mein Bhai nahin hai kya?

The title will make me sound maybe... I don't know... chauvinistic.

Well, if you call proud of being a guy chauvinistic, I kinda am chauvinistic.

I got the idea of writing this when I was talking to a friend of mine, and we were discussing an incident she had viewed some days ago. Here is a dramatic version.

Once upon a time... there were guys and girls. And guys by virtue of idiotic mannerisms used to try all sort of weird, morally ambiguous, and simply useless way to woo the girls. The girls response was mostly antagonistic, hostile and harsh. But one day the game changed.

Seems like a nice novel.

A girl crept on a boy whom she knew liked her and tied a flowery thread around his wrist...

Mind you this has significance only in India.

...thus entrapping him in bonds of brotherhood. The boy's soul sobbed as he got family-zoned. And walked into the sunset, bleeding invisible droplets of blood from his broken, Rakhi-torn heart.


I don't know if you have witnessed or heard about this, I have, and so have many of my friends (though never had to face it, fortunately). Girls using this below-the-belt Rakhi-solution to bully and bamboozle out a relationship(?) for which neither have any feelings or emotion for.

Don't they know that the guy has non-brotherly feelings for them? Regardless of the fact that the guy might be wanting to get somewhere with you, don't you think this is just plain disrespectful of the sublime bonds that bind a brother to his sister? Doesn't it ... affect their own relationship with their brothers? Would they want to have a brother who HAD (if not now) the hots for them?

Just look at this image which is merely another slap on our culture.


I leave you, here, O treacherous gals who do this to guys who just 'like' them, and direct the question in my title to them. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

End of KGP life.

Yes.

Another one of those sentimental farewell blog writings.

Sigh.



I am not very sentimental. I like this place. Loved it. Still. Moving on promises better avenues no matter what: dynamic is much better than static.
Life in KGP after a prolonged period comes into  a state of stasis.
Even if you a rat racer you will keep on running constantly. Or a person who has limited ambition.



You get comfortable in places you live for long. My life here has become; since a long time, very comfortable.
It's not comfortable as in couches and springy beds. It's mentally comforting, and psychologically reliable place I can stay howsoever long I wish.


But, comfort makes you lazy.


Enough.


I wanna sleep now.



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lingering.


People often say,
When people die and go away.
Their words remain.
I have often doubted the claim,
For capturing a persona, words: seem lame-
and unimpressive.
People often say,
When people die and go away,
Their acts remain.
I have doubted acts remain unsullied
Acts in themselves have no mark,
Society ranks results more.
People often say,
When people die and go away,
Their soul lingers on.
I have doubted soul as a whole,
not because I doubt thee Holy,
but souls have better things to do.
I am more impressed by when
Some child wakes up from the sleep; rubs eyes
Says ” …saw grandpa in the dream again…
And he seemed happy.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Criticizing all Criticizers


I have developed something lately; I will admit. I was a mediocre sort of patriotic person. I used to love my country. I used to celebrate Independence Day and Republic Day like any other person does. Watch the parade and the flag hoisting, celebrate the break from work and studies, sleep the entire day. But recently I have found myself remark on the sheer challenge that hour country IS. Its vast size, heterogeneous nature of problems, all types: economic, social, and philosophical. Any statement I make on the vast size of the problems we say is not enough.

Beautiful, ain't it?

Suffice to say, I have grown to appreciate our country more. I have grown to like it, fall in love, romance the idea of a perfect country. Yes. Any day now.

I was wondering what drew me into this so much. The answer was pretty simple. It was the Criticizers. I invent this proper noun because these people deserve a proper mention. All of us have met more than one. No?

“Our country is headed for doom” “The government policies are screwed up” “ The transportation services are ill maintained” “Noone cleans this place” “There is  absolutely no control over the trade” “The policies kill the small time businessman” “This policy kills the big business” “The education paradigm of India is archaic” “We can never be a developed country”

Yes. I am talking to all of you Criticizers. Whosoever of them  who are reading this.

First of all, Thanks a lot. You have made me more patriotic, more hopeful, and more respectful of my democracy. I have come to realize it is very easy to point fingers at our policy makers, their policies and their efficiency.

Secondly, I agree there is a LOT wrong with my country. But this does not give you the license to crib twenty four- seven-twelve. Try this. Try to see how much have the lives of people around you have changed. And I am not talking about those who were superior to you. See the lives of people who were inferior to you. The maid in our house who used to clean our floors is today a typist working in a small firm. Our dhobi has moved on to bigger business. Our gardener or maali now has two mobiles. Both of them better versions of my phone.  Our greengrocer or sabziwaala has an auto now.

Granted, each of the people listed above worked very hard to reach where they are now. But do you expect progress to reach those who do not make an effort? Do you want people to just give in to poverty: “No  we were, are and will remain poor”; and do you expect your government to feed people like these? And they don’t.

But the people I am talking about are people who worked day and night in honest jobs. You can call these jobs menial, but they are essential nonetheless. So our country has given opportunities to advance to all hardworking people, it has given better lives to all people who wanted it, now, tell me where is the ground to criticize the government.

The examples were just about people around my family house. There are countless, and I say it most emphatically, countless, stories of people making it into the 21st century, alive and kicking poverty’s ass. Call it increasing purchasing power of the masses, increase in Per capita GDP, Net National Output, Food security or any fancy-shmancy economic term but this is DEVELOPMENT 101.

People criticize that the road is narrow yet buses still run on it. It may be of inconvenience to you and your sedan but think about the person who travelled the whole city for Rs. 5 , to do his job. What more do you want? Roads will come one day. Wait and watch you impatient little prick.

People criticize about the rubbish on the roads. Tell me honestly that you haven’t ONCE thrown anything on the road; a wrapper, paper, spittle. Hypocrites.

People say that the trains do not run on time. Honestly, in my humble opinion, Railways are the pure embodiment of the spirit of our country. Huffing, puffing, running late, overcrowded, smelly, hot yet running in profit, yet carrying everyone it can, and yet moving forward.

People say the government is corrupt. In spite of this they are managing to do some good. I say it’s a bargain. We have to keep looking for politicians who are cheaper to maintain. And well that’s what democracy is; bargaining and taking a leap of faith. Try to imagine being the captain of Indian team of eleven people. There’s so much pressure. Now multiply the pressure by a 100 million. That is the pressure the politicians, these supposed sleazebags, should mathematically face.

Life in India is good. There are a LOT of things we need to work upon. But sometimes looking only in one direction, forward, is not good for morale. And trust me, India needs morale. We need individuals to care for our country. Just do your part, please. And Stop worrying about every Tom, Dick and Harry. Oops I mean every Tarun, Dinesh and Hari.

So all Criticizers Listen to Mr. Cee-Lo-Green’s awesome song here.

To all hopeful like me.
 India Rocks! India Rules! India will succeed! And we will be the one invited to the party… not them.