Of course, this post is going to be about rape. Just like almost every powerless citizen of India, I am jumping on the bandwagon and having my say on the topic. And like everyone else, I claim to have a different opinion on the events that have transpired over the past few weeks.
Let me be honest here. Unlike the majority of the Indian populace, I am neither outraged nor grief-stricken. (People who know me personally might say the former holds true even if I get randomly picked up and thrown into prison). Yes, I do feel empathy for the victim of a horrendous crime, and I sympathize with everyone who has known her personally and will miss her. Even with the perceived inappropriateness of this hour, the cynic in me has something to complain about this matter, and that is the subject of my post.
Rape isn’t new to India. According to a statistic that we will assume to be true for now, there is a rape somewhere in India every 22 minutes. This is a horrendous statistic and it gives tremendous insight to the magnanimity of the problem. I bet that a lot of people were aware of this statistic or atleast had an idea that this was the general trend. However, the interesting thing is that this statistic simply didn’t cause any outrage. After all, it is just a number!
Replace this horrendous statistic with a ‘personalized’ story. A story so deeply in the scrutiny of the media that you suddenly feel a personal bond with the victim. You feel the need to deliver her justice. You feel the need to protest and make your voice heard. You want to castrate, hang, and burn the perpetrators of this particular crime. Which brings me to my complaint…
I am not against the protests or the outrage that has ensued amongst the Indian public over the past few days. In fact, I think it signifies a shift in societal attitudes and is a first step towards changing the general mindset of the public. I think that this particular incident represented a tipping point and the media has played its part well by not letting go of this issue that easily. The sad part about all this is that we needed one particular incident to awaken us from our slumber. To put it in more clear terms, we needed a well crafted media-provided story.
Why does it matter? It matters because statistics (or the broader picture) is more important than any individual story. It doesn’t take long for the particular girl to be forgotten by the general public. However, the statistics say the same (and correct) story, at all times.
I don’t have any problem with people mourning over this particular incident. They have complete freedom over whom they decide to mourn over. However, we have to remind ourselves that it is the media who are making us mourn or rejoice over a particular incident. They set the agenda and we lap it up! It reminds me of the so many instances where I have seen people feel bad and cry over the predicament of their heroes/heroines in soap operas, even when they don’t necessarily feel the same sympathy for people with similar problems in real life.
The point I am trying to make is that we should take statistics seriously. It should not take a media story to cause outrage over an issue, the one rape every 22 minutes statistic is gross enough to have our attention. Selective empathy might be seen as unfair (perhaps) by hundreds of thousands of other rape victims who are still trying to recover from their emotional trauma.
P.S : A very common argument used in these situations is “ Dude, you didn’t go to the protests and hence you don’t have any right to complain”. I vehemently disagree with this opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and just because someone took the initiative to protest doesn’t necessarily elevate them to a higher moral ground.
Every Sunday, I am witness to a nationalistic feel-goody outburst on all the social networks and discussion forums that I frequent. I have been made to feel morally inferior to others, and have also been at the receiving end of attempts to assure me that a huge socio-economic revolution is on the cards. Yes, I am talking about #SMJ (never mind that ‘meva’ is not a real word). As usual, I am one of those people who are a thorn in India’s progress by criticizing any developments that aim to uplift society.
(For the uninitiated, SMJ (Satyameva Jayate) is an Indian TV show that has caused a furore among its audience and non-audience as well. )
So what is my fucking problem with this show? Why am I being a pain in the ass to all the do-gooders of society? This post is an attempt to clear my thoughts.
Firstly, let me tell you that I am not anti-Aamir in any way. He looks like he has the best of intentions, and if so, then cheers to him. He just happens to be a host in a TV show which is mired in controversy. The show itself is pretty good (Good production standards, a host that can evoke emotion, interviews with the common man that have the potential to inspire people)
My problem is with the general response of this show. It just shows how gullible we as a nation are. Here are some reactions to the show that disappointed me.
The notion that SMJ is a pioneer in investigative journalism: I have seen a lot of tweets bearing this sentiment “Oh my God, I never knew this happens, SMJ opened my eyes”. This just shows how disconnected is the rich and intellectual class from the lower strata of society. Of course, one needs to know the exact figures and statistics to know the gravity of the problem, but do you think this is the first time that these issues are being investigated? Countless magazines and news channels have already done substantial research on these topics. But no, we are not ready to listen to some journalist with poor fashion sense going to affected places and interacting with victims at the ground level. We need Aamir Khan and his silicon tears to understand the gravity of the problem.
The blind belief placed on Aamir Khan: This is a sad trend. The intellectual public who are so sceptical about politicians or the mainstream media (which they, in their creative genius, refer to as the lamestream media), suddenly lose all their skepticism and blindly believe everything that comes from Aamir’s mouth.
I remember a friend arguing me with about this. He said “Don’t tell that you knew all the problems that were plaguing India beforehand. Did you know about generic medicines? Aamir’s revolution will make all medicines 80% cheaper! Imagine the decrease in the death rate. Don’t tell me you were aware of this already”.
He had already started taking the debate a little too personally, so I didn’t want him to get hurt and just changed the topic. But hello friend, if you are reading this, I wish you did the same amount of background research for things that get spoken on SMJ that you do for things you listen from the ‘lamestream media’ . Generic medicines are not advisable for a reason. In a country like India where corruption is so rampant, it is pretty easy to get a license to manufacture medicines. It is also pretty easy to mix your tablets with chalk powder. Ever wondered why medicines you find at some government hospitals are not that effective? There is no fool-proof system in place that can ensure the quality of these generic medicines. There is a reason why pharmaceutical companies charge so much for these medicines. Of course, everyone is busy demonizing these companies and the evil doctors that it has escaped the notice of the general public that Cipla recently slashed the rate of their cancer medications by 80% as part of a humanitarian move.
The holier-than-thou stance: A friend of mine remarked once “The only show I watch now is SMJ. Even you should watch it man. It is like a duty to our nation”. I trollishly replied “Well, sorry man, I actually missed yesterday’s episode of Roadies. Need to watch that”
You can imagine his reaction. I have seen people comparing this show to Roadies and telling the fans of the latter to get a life. This intellectual snobbery is beyond any sort of reasoning. For those who feel this way, I would just like to say this “Get a life. Shame on you for being an engineer/businessman/teacher. People there are potentially saving millions of lives by doing cancer research while you are doing something so insignificant in comparison”
State sycophancy: This is the most distressing and serious effect of this show. I recently read that Aamir was called to address a parliamentary panel. Calling a TV show host to participate in a policy making process is one of the reasons why change in our country is close to an impossibility. This just shows how undemocratic our country is. Certain people have easier access to the top than others. You can argue that Aamir is doing this for a ‘noble’ cause, but this sets a dangerous precedent for people in future who may not have a noble cause.
I watched some snippets of this show and couldn’t help notice the condescending tone employed by Aamir. (Of course he is not to blame completely for this, it is the speech writer)
The intellectual class has seriously undermined the capabilities and intelligence of the general public. The general public is not stupid. The fact that they are able to survive in a country that is fucked from so many directions proves it (Oh yeah, call me a pompous NRI now who loves dissing India). The general public didn’t make any such patriotic noises after watching this show. Some got inspired, some got entertained, and some got their emotional prescription. But they are not stupid. Kindly give them that privilege.
One of the never ending debates/discussions/dialogues (and in my case, diatribes) is about the definitions of abstract concepts. These concepts are usually described usually using some ill-conceived metaphors, whose trivialness fails to sufficiently portray the magnanimity of the concept in question. Google “Definition of Life” and you see people comparing life to all sorts of mundane stuff like washing machines to key-chains to tomato ketchup (“Life is like tomato ketchup. Sometimes you squirt it, sometimes you spill it.” Never heard of it? Well, it is because I just created it)
I think defining life is too complex, especially for someone who has seen just 22 years of it. (Ok, 23, I should start getting truthful about my age) So I will try to define something else, something that I have seen an abundance of, especially in my age group. The concept of ‘love’ .Aha! I will try my best not to compare love to blindness or acidity or cheeseburgers. If I indeed trespass my creative authority and embark on such a comparison, then kindly forgive me and banish me to Planet Hippocratica.
One thing that has always befuddled me is that how can ‘love’ be always just a two sided affair. Isn’t there any scope for love to exist in the higher dimensional space? I mean, what is the deal with ‘couple’? What about the triples? Oh yeah, threesome’s are always relegated to one-night wildness that ‘should be forgotten the next day’. My point is, what aspect of the human nervous system conditions us into loving just a single person? Is it entirely possible to distribute all your love exclusively and unconditionally to a single entity? Is that what love is all about? Exclusiveness?
I will come back to my point later. Before that, I would like to define what love is, and break it down. A lot of people who try to define love treat it like an atomic concept, that which cannot be broken down further. I respectfully disagree. A concept like love is a complex compound of several elements that needs to broken down in order for it to be analysed closely.
Well, here is how it works. Man needs to satisfy some of his needs, his desires, and his urges. To this end, he turns to love. I can identify 3 major needs that a man/woman wants to be fulfilled. He can satisfy each of these needs through a different person (thus bringing the concept of multiple partners) or he can search (sometimes elusively) to find a single person who can satisfy all his needs. Here are the 3 ‘needs’.
1. Friendship: Friendship here doesn’t refer to an ordinary ‘I scratch my back, you scratch mine’ kind of alliance, it is more far reaching than that. Ever had a friend (male/female) with whom you kept absolutely NO secrets? Ever had a friend with whom you can crack jokes that no one else except the two of you could understand? Ever had a friend whom you could understand so well that you can predict his next moves in a situation or even predict his opinions on a previously un-encountered topic? That is the friend I am talking about.
I can say that I have had such a friend (male). We became friends in PUC, 8 long years ago. We have never been in the same city after that, and we have been out of touch. But whenever we talk (once in a blue moon), conversation is just not difficult. We both can predict each other’s actions very accurately. And we still crack jokes about the world that no other person can laugh at. By the ‘No Secrets’ part, I mean absolutely none.
There were a couple of friends who came very close, but there was always something lacking. One person who came very extremely close was a friend I made here in the Netherlands (this time, female). Over the course of time, I came to understand so well that I can now look at links and statuses in Facebook and accurately predict which ones she is going to like when she would log in later. I was so accurate that it was actually scary. However, I screwed it up, majorly because of my own doing.
2. Companionship – Now this is the person that you would like to be with all the time. The person whose presence in the room would mean the same as you sitting alone. I mean, the person to whom none of the privacy laws that you have set for yourself don’t apply. The person whom you would love to go on a trip with, or go to a movie, or a restaurant. Just the two of you. For more mature people, it is also the person who you would like to have a family with. Have babies, slap the naughtiest ones among them on the back, go to the graduation ceremonies of your kids together, all that stuff. There is a person that you need here. It is important to note that the person who satisfies condition 1 may not satisfy condition 2. Your best friend need not be necessarily the best companion. That is where the concept of people craving for multiple partners comes from. It is because you are subconsciously trying to satisfy your three needs. and if one person can’t satisfy all three, then you turn to another one to compensate.
3. Sex – This is the person who you are physically attracted to. Some swear this is the most important, while I think it may as well be the least important (at least in a society that is not sex starved). There is that one person whom you can surrender all your body to, and own theirs. It is like home. You may travel to a lot of places, but in the end there is just one place that you call home.
For people who are confused if they are in love or not, I would like to ask this. Does your partner satisfy all three needs of yours? If they satisfy all 3 needs, then cool, you are in love. If not, sooner or later, you will start exploring avenues.
Of course, this has to be two sided, making it all the more complicated. Both sides need to satisfy all their three needs through the other. Only then can a successful relationship take place.
Which comes to the question, am I in love?
Well, the answer is no. I don’t get attracted to females (a self-imposed non-religious non-spiritual exercise that I would be eager to share in another post). These are the observations I made from looking at other relationships.
Update : In my opinion, these are the only three elements that make up love. Ever felt possessive about your boyfriend/ girlfriend? Have you ever been jealous of your partner? Have you been secretly competing with your partner(in terms of academics, money-making, baby-making etc)? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then the answer is no. I will defer my reasoning to the next post.
Some things in life are best left unexplained.
What a clichéd statement!
Let me go at it again.
Actually, some things in life are best left explained. Failure to do so will result in situations, ranging from the sultry to the calamitous, that always make you feel that nothing short of an explanation will satiate your sense of satisfaction.
One such thing is my appearance.
Before you can start getting ideas, and by that, I don’t mean a new mobile connection, I would like to iterate that it is not about the fact that I have failed to enrol and win in any Mr. Handsome pageants, nor is it a racist whim whose solution may or may not be Fair and Lovely depending on how far you are willing to believe advertising claims, but it is just that… I somehow have a Mongoloid look.
Chinese. Japanese. Korean. Naga. Tibetan. Pilipino, Thai… Even Chinki (Racist Mo’fu’ers). I have been asked if I am that and much more.
The unexplained part is that I just don’t know how I got that look. For some background on me, I hail from a purely Konkani family that hasn’t seen many intercaste marriages happen in its fold. Everyone else in the family possesses the Aryan look that is characteristic of Hindu Konkani families. I have confirmed through reliable sources that I was not adopted, there is no one in my family with even remote connections to remote North East Indian places, and to my knowledge,and no one in my family has participated in a wicked genetic experiment conducted by the Chinese with the leakage of classified secrets being the primary goal. Moreover, none in my immediate family feel that I possess the Mongoloid look. This means that I was either born with that look, or I gradually morphed into a mascot for Sino-Indian relations over the course of 22 years.
Let me clarify that I have absolutely no problem when someone mixes up with my nationality. I have been in several hilarious situations that have risen because of the confusion regarding my nationality, many a times to my advantage. I still remember how a watchman at the electricity board thought that I was perhaps some foreign investor and gave me a full-fledged salute much to the amusement of myself and my accompanying friends. I remember how I have fooled various people into believing that I am a Tibetan refugee, a Kung-Fu master, a son of a Sumo-Wrestler, a Thai chef and many more! I even memorized a few Mandarin syllables so that I can mix them up and create gibberish sentences which I can then pass of as any of Korean/ Japanese/Insert any Oriental language.
Why I am blogging about this now? Just yesterday, a young guy in the bus asked me if I am from Meghalaya. He even cared to tell me that there are no schools in Meghalaya and that is why “you people come here na”. I will leave this story for another blog post and tell you an incident that I remembered when this Meghalaya guy was talking. So lights off, and here it is.
I was travelling in one of the best bus routes in Mangalore (Route No. 19. For those who agree, give me a Hell, Yeah! ) As usual I was preoccupied with some thoughts which usually involve my mind proposing an argument and my mind doubling up as a Devil’s Advocate too. Halfway to my destination, at a place called Bejai, a guy boarded the bus and sat next to me. He was a balding guy and wore a T-shirt that could have said “Be my bitch” but at the moment was only interested in saying “Explore Dubai. Now” , with a picture of a person skiing with swimming goggles. (Really).(Nah, not personally insulting the guy in any way, just making some observations). The guy in question suddenly looks at his side and remarks “So, how do you find Mangalore?”
Me (gives a smile that plainly says ‘A little more context may help, boss ‘) : “Ummm….”
Stranger: “Mangalore is a very pleasant place right? I too love this place.”
Me (still not sure what is it all about, but gives a nodding smile anyway)
Stranger:“Have you visited all the tourist places? “
Me(oh, just harmless friendly chatter): “Yep, all that there has to be seen”.
Stranger: “Oh that is nice. How many days more are you going to stay in Mangalore?”
Me (Oh, so this is what it is all about! Let me play along): “Actually, I am a Tibetan refugee. I came to India a year back. I was staying in the Coorg camp (with the Coorg word spoken in as Tibetan an accent I can manage).I have enrolled in an engineering college so I am going to stay here for a few years.”
Stranger:” Ok. Mangalore people are very hospitable. But I should not see more of your country men settle here and spoil my beautiful city. Did I make myself clear? Keep your hands out of our daughters and get lost to your ching-chong country as soon as possible”
Me (in a meek voice) : “Yes, sir”
I wanted to teach this racist scumbag a lesson. So I suddenly asked the conductor who was standing nearby “Nale eno bus bandh anta suddi keliddene. Enu vishaya gotta?” No need of translation. It was a statement in pure Kannada.
I loved the look on that man’s face when he heard me utter those words. I loved the way he got out of the bus the next stop even if he had purchased a ticket to a place that had not yet come.
Update : The sentence in kannada meant ” I heard there is a bus bandh tomorrow. What is the reason behind it ” . I said that just to show the guy that I knew kannada, that too fluently.
As I type this, I feel something heavy being pushed up my throat. I feel like I am in an unrecoverable hangover induced by drinking too much vinegar. Well, this is the closest I get to explaining my predicament in terms of physical terms. Because it is all in the mind, you see.
My last post ended on a very positive note, with me triumphantly pointing out that passion is the root of all satisfaction. So did I reach that holy grail of happiness? The negativity at the start of the post should more than answer this question.
Another semester is starting tomorrow, and I can’t deny that deep inside, I am still thinking of doing a “Shawshank Job “, or to better describe it, an “English, August” (escape).This time, it gets worse as I don’t even know if I have a Plan B if I indeed escape from my current reality. My friends all over have only one thing to say “If you leave this now, you will be making your biggest and most foolish mistake of my life”. I am not so blinded with distorted perceptions of happiness to disagree them. And in all probability, I am going to stay the course with the deeply calming thought that nothing is permanent.
When my vacations started, I vowed myself to get passionate about things, get immersed into them so much that I will never have an idle mind. This has never been a problem for me right through all my childhood and I love the fact that I have so many hobbies that 24 hours always sounds too less for a day.
But then, I realized that I had lost it. The fire was missing. It has become exceedingly harder for anything to catch my interest. In short, I have become numb.
For perhaps the first time in my life, I seem to have lost interest in quizzing. I fall asleep through movies now. Even music seems to have failed me. I don’t follow the Premier League anymore. It has been months since I made my last Wikipedia edit and I am content these days seeing my edits get vandalized. My tech projects are gasping for life. My writing seems to have deteriorated to the point of no return. I have stopped following education trends and no longer provide counselling to students. The idea of travel no longer gives me an adrenalin rush. My Hacker News addiction seems to have ended. Coding contests are greeted with indifference. My innumerable plans for many initiatives no longer get me excited with anticipation.
The most irritating part of it is that life has never been more normal before. I don’t have to worry about cooking my own food. I get a stipend for just attending classes. I studied only about 10% of what some of my fellow classmates did, but still ended up with good marks. (Friends say “That is because you are Suhas Pai. You don’t need to study!” Some of them are heavily over-rating me. The others are perhaps sarcastic). Contrary to all my complaints, I actually had a very productive semester. I am finally in an engineering college which I feel makes a sincere effort to impart education. I had a lot of “career or resume enhancing” moments. (Do I care about it anymore?)
So what’s wrong? As I end my post, I suddenly find myself coming out of the vinegar hangover. Apparently, writing it down brings some relief. I suddenly feel positive and vow myself to get myself interested in things. How will I do it? Well, not everything in life has answers.
Yesterday, I was a man on a mission. The unfortunate usage of the past tense in the previous sentence can mean only one thing. Either I am no longer a man or I am no longer on a mission. Of course, some of the more intelligent and indulgent readers may point out that I could have lost my manhood as well as my mission and will be looking forward to reading this piece with juicy fingernails to extract the gory details of the former. Although I can verify that I have successfully retained my manhood(physically, if not metaphorically), it has to be with shameless apathy that I declare myself to have completed the mission in the time it takes for the word ‘today’ to indicate a newer time frame.
The mission in question is the act of reading all my blog posts. (What a lame climax! Fire this guy.) It was a piece of cake since the combined word count of all my posts still cannot match the length of a standard Arundhathi Roy essay, the more alarming part being that the information content in my posts are far less than those in the latter. Apart from noticing that my writing has taken a turn for the worse on every post, it occurred to me that the tone of the blog had changed, from being a blog that touched philosophy (for those readers with a smirk on their faces who have scrolled down to the end of the page and then remarked with a distasteful frown “He is lying”, Friends, the “philosophy” was introduced too subtly, which is the motive of this blog in the first place, or maybe it is my imagination) to being a blog that has acquired a more personal nature. A simple explanation to this paradigm shift would be that I would like to solve my own problems before poking fun at the world. Unsolved problems? A booming voice in my head, which is the voice I always imagine that I would possess 30 years from now, told me in its lecturer-like sing-song tone “Instead of writing pointless sentences, whose gist in the end can be summarized in fewer than 140 characters on a popular website, why don’t you solve your problems?”
Fickle-minded that I am, I promptly forgot the topic I was going to spew some sentences on and instead replaced my brain with a Turing machine that can accept only rationality.
With the preliminaries taken care of(drumming on the mouse pad of my laptop in anticipation, throwing threatening glances at my dog, making a common gesture with the middle finger held upright and then smiling at how funny human fingers look, and tossing a coin to see if it eventually falls flat because I had watched Inception just a day ago, and ensure that the coin falls right inside my pocket because I have been practicing Rajni’s tricks from Shivaji) , I finally settle down to exercising my right and the art of solving problems. The fact that there were preliminaries meant I was hesitant. I usually don’t ROFL looking at my fingers and my dog doesn’t entertain eye-to-eye conversations, although it is true that I sometimes prefer hand gestures over face gestures.
Problem Definition: My previous posts indicate that I have a problem finding happiness. I could work that one out, thanks to the suggestive title of one of my posts “In pursuit of happi(y)ness”.
OK. Going down towards finer layers of granularity. Define “Happiness”. At this point I have to remember that because of the rationality- only condition, I can’t use abstract dictionary meanings nor quote conveniently from Wordsworth (or keeping with the present times, Chetan Bhagat). I need an explicitly quantifiable expression representing happiness which can be manipulated mathematically in several contexts.
Then let’s take a different path. Why do I feel that I am missing happiness now when I haven’t felt that before? Can this revelation imply that I was happier before?
The previous question gave me a glint in the eye. Yes, I had been happier before. My childhood was like an ultra-long honeymoon with no sex and full frolic. I had gone through some tough times since then, only to be back to my previous self in the last two years of my engineering days. Was I happy during my engineering days? For those who know me well, I hated my college (not the management but the environment) with a passion. I lived in an ocean of regret on my choice of college and was always ready with my grumblings to anyone with so much as half an ear to listen to them.
But let’s get back rationality into the picture. Hatred and regret doesn’t necessarily translate into unhappiness. Contentment and happiness have two very distinct meanings. The last sentence rang a bell. Are contentment and happiness inversely proportional? If you aren’t content with how things are panning out, then you lose happiness. When you get things going your way, you get happiness. But then in this characterization, happiness becomes a mirage. It is an endless loop, which by the way, is exactly what life is all about. What if you are the embodiment of contentment? This leads to a static characterization. You are either happy all the time or you are not. Which possibility is true?
Statistics point to the latter. Opinion Polls, the Human Happiness Index, the Happiness Quotient etc all point out that the Scandinavian countries are the least happy of all. Yes, the Scandinavian countries that have the lowest poverty rate, the lowest crime rates, the lowest corruption rates in the world. While I don’t believe in opinion polls for many reasons like the sample space being too small, the questions being not representative of the general trend, and the human inability to know what they know, so many polls bringing out the same results bring some credibility to the results.
One can infer from the above that it is the lack of contentment that leads to happiness indirectly.But…I am not convinced. Let me explore another angle.
Why did I have a happy childhood? Was it because of a lack of contentment? Bringing back rational reasoning, innocence of childhood doesn’t translate to a happy childhood. We all had innocent childhoods with our parents shielding us from all our problems, but a happy childhood is a totally different matter. I know quite a few people whose childhood sucked and they readily agree to that. So what was so special in my life back then?
Before I could get caught into a nostalgia spree, I already got the connect (Quizzer style). There was one common thread that ran through all the earlier days of my life.
This brings me to a time when a few of my friends had “fallen in love” .Some of them requited, others unrequited. While the “love failures” were planning of leading a life in the Himalayas for mourning(ROFL), I told them it is not love as they thought, but it was a psychological condition called “Limerence”(Check Wikipedia for an awesome article on it. P.S : Jimmy Wales ads rock) The main cause of this condition is an idle mind, which is not only a devil’s workshop, but also an abattoir of happiness.(Ever heard of the phrase “Too busy to fall in love”?)
I succumbed to my fickle-mindedness and digressed from the plot. Getting back, passion was what made me busy. Passion was what made me have so many hobbies. Passion was why I wished a day had more than twenty four hours. Passion was why I fell asleep as soon as I went to bed because I had so many exciting things to do the next day.
But now all that has changed. Why? I don’t have an answer. I work much lesser than all of my classmates. (for a different reason). In fact, I am almost as free as I was during my B.E days, except that I spend an unnatural amount of time grumbling that I don’t have time for anything else. I have just lost interest in a lot of my hobbies.
No. I need to erase my last sentence. I have not lost interest in any of my hobbies. I have lost the passion in them. My mind is idle, like that of an animal. Suboptimal use of optimal organs. I haven’t fallen prey to limerance or other psychological conditions (I am stronger than that), but then an idle mind has made me lose my piece of mind.
Therefore, this vacations. I make a resolution. To end all sorts of procrastination, and to regain my passion. And to retain my passion for the rest of my life.
This is my new mission. As all “cool” mission names go, I have a Greek name in handy : Mission Pi.
Anyone wants to join me?
Update: Philosophy apart, I finished my first semester to a much anticipated break. From sleeping in corridors to getting featured on the front page of Hacker News for totally unexpected reasons, it has been a wild journey. A journey, which has been a learning curve in the bigger scheme of things.
“Which is the biggest problem that India is facing these days”? Asked my friend to me one day. Before I could open my mouth to reply, he had already delivered the reply. “One Word. The Media”. Basic arithmetic skills apart, there was so much wrong with that sentence or rather the way it was delivered that I put on my menacing gesture which signalled that I was all ready for a debate, except that it didn’t look threatening at all.
“So what about the media? What did they do?” I wanted a stupid answer so that I could attack it. He delivered it in style.
“The Media? What did they NOT do? And what are they NOT doing right this moment? I don’t blame you for your ignorance. Six years without a T.V is a good enough excuse for you. In fact, it is a blessing. You know, the media is making our life hell these days. So much sensationalization, so much undue hype, so much concentration on trivial matters. Did you see their breaking news? Today it was about Amitabh tweeting to his son about coming home early to lunch! The media have been discussing whether Amitabh has declared war on cellular operators and decided to use Twitter as his main communication medium! What use is this news to us? Bland, dirty celebrity gossip! No wonder the whole world calls us as voyeurs! Now you know who the culprit is.
Did you see the systematic way with which the media destroyed the Commonwealth Games? With all that hype over a few unclean toilets, they have successfully and irreparably damaged the reputation of India. Welcome back, snake charmer days! Why couldn’t they be responsible and shown the good things about the CommonWealth Games too? Why not show the world class stadiums? Ok. Leave it at that. How about the Ayodhya mess? Do you think anyone is still bothered over that? It is their hype that made it a serious issue in the first place.
And what is that all about “How do you feel “type of questions? It seems to be on every journalist’s default questions list. They ask that question everywhere, when a woman is raped, when a man loses his child in a terrorist attack, when a player wins a cricket match, even when a bookie is caught. Are we so stupid? Don’t we know what they must be feeling? Why hear it from the horse’s mouth every time? Whenever I switch on the T.V these days, I feel like puking. Just check my Twitter account; it is full of angry tweets that come from my bruised mind fresh from the media assault. I AM SICK AND TIRED OF IT!”
He was gasping for breath at the end of his rant. I was almost alarmed but then I remembered that I had to give him a fitting response. There were so many things that were fundamentally wrong with that outburst. As a nihilist, I don’t think anything is “wrong”, so I need to change that word to “logically void”. So, giving him my nasty “I am going to win anyway” look, I began my offense.
“Ok. So the media has made your life hell. You just can’t stand those “sensationalist” T. V channels right? I have a solution for you, a simple one at that. Ever heard of a remote control? Man’s greatest invention after democracy, this device provides you with a great thing. Choice. If you don’t like it, you are free to change the channel! No one is forcing you to watch things that make your life hell.
And celebrity gossip as headlines? No one finds it important? Well, let me tell you. The Media is run by shrewd businessmen, with one word in mind” T.R.P”. And before you talk about my arithmetic skills, let me tell you it is three words because it is an acronym. They run celebrity gossip news because there is a market for it. Why on earth would they publish news that no one would not watch? And I bet you, regardless of what you think, a bigger part of India is more concerned about Salman Khan’s receding hairline than the effects of sand mining on the Coramandel coast. This is not a bad thing, because you know what, it is their choice! If all that people want is celebrity gossip, then let them watch it and let the media feed them with it!
If you are concerned with the “How do you feel” questions, which I agree is a pretty redundant thing to ask, again the solution is the same. Switch to another channel! Maybe News Channel A is just not your cup of tea!. I hear some news channels are brainwashing innocent people by feeding propaganda. Well, this is certainly not a threat to the country unless it is government controlled. If you feel disgruntled, worry not, for the opposite party has equal rights to start a new news channel which serves as their propaganda machine! That is the great thing about a democracy and rather than complaining, you should feel proud of this system.
If you feel these news channels are depriving you of savouring “real” news by providing only sensationalist Breaking News, I have a choice for you. DD News. They are as “news-like” as a channel can get. They are not sensationalist, they are not filled with reporters with high decibel levels, they even cover the weather and the most important, they are not a government mouth piece. Did you realize the importance of that? There are so many countries in the world where the government owned/controlled news channels are just propaganda engines; in fact private news channels are not even allowed to operate in many countries. Did you realize the privileges we have been enjoying?
Now, back to DD News. Why is it not so popular? After all, it is the only channel which is a “true news channel” by your standards. I have seen the news readers there and some of them could fancy their chances in a beauty contest with the more popular females from the private channels. Yet, nobody cares. Why?
Because there is no rock music playing in the background when the breaking news are announced. Because there is no yelling, screaming and chest thumping. Because no one syas repeatedly “This is a DD News Exclusive”. Because some of the women wear saris your grandmothers used to wear.(Nothing wrong with that).
And more importantly, because they deliver only plain boring news.