Saturday, February 20, 2016

The F- word

Every so often, it becomes important to sit down and question. And so, the Question of the Day, seems to be something on the lines of –

“Does anyone, anyone at all, know what the hell is going on?”

It’s all nice and easy to say that X is anti-national, or Y is autocratic or whatever. But whatever it is that you are saying, with so much certainty and sense of finality, it implies you are very well aware of the repercussions of what you say, and with the knowledge of this, you stand by what you say.

Even if all you have done, is actually pressed on that WhatsApp message, copied that message and then touched that right arrow and broadcast it to the 256 contacts on your phone, who then have forwarded to 256 more such blow-hards.

You still stand by what you say. Or forward. 

But then, that implicitly assumes you know what is going on.

What if you don’t? What if you’re being played? 

This thought keeps coming to me, when I see people express their anger on social media. Eminently normal people, people who I meet and see every once in a while, some close, some not so, all evidently have a humongous reservoir of anger deep inside, where they express what’s deep inside. They call people names, they advocate murder, support lynching on the foundation of whataboutery, call for armed revolt, and what not. Many of these do this, even though, their “side” is supposedly the responsible one.

Do these people have any clue to what they’re saying?

And then people like this, vote for people like them, who then land up in the corridors of power.

Either completely clueless, or extremely cognizant, of the power they wield.

The worst part is, I don’t know which of the two, is the scarier scenario. 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. 
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)  

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Life in the age of Razzle Dazzle

It's amazing.. Simply amazing!!! 

How is it that no matter what I try, I never have time to do anything that I want?? So many things, often meaningless, mundane bull crap, that occupy my mind, that need my immediate attention, and the day just speeds by as if it's Dash on steroids.. 

You'd think there's been some technological miracle that has made a day last only 19 hours!!!

The funny thing is that I hear so many people, who keep saying this to me about their own lives. 

If only there was some free time for me to just concentrate!! 

So then I sat this morning, and tried to figure out what the problem was.. And it hit me that there indeed has been a technological miracle.. One that has been in my hands for the longest time.. 

The frikkin' smartphone!!

Earlier, there used to be some time to switch off. Some "down time" which allowed the brain to relax a bit. Now, with the addiction of the smartphone and the gadgetry and apps and the non-stop blast of information coming at me, the brain is consistently occupied with no refresh mode.. 

The problem is not the down-time, or lack thereof.. Rather it's more to do with the fact that the feeling of being rushed into things is not something that I am very fond of. It makes me take short cuts, where I shouldn't. It forces me to speed through things which I should spend more time thinking about. 

Like reading the headlines of the newspaper, most information thrown at me hardly provides any details of what actually is going on. 

The rush to the next bling, is the closest I have come to an addiction.. 

The problem with this, is that with incomplete information, it is always possible that my thoughts and decisions are half-baked and not well thought through.. I might be taking the easy way out, instead of doing what is right.

In short my brain is more System 1, rather than System 2.. The sad part is, it's quite possible that I am not the only one.. 

A state of affairs where Donald Trump can be looked at as a possible Leader of the Free World, suggests that I am definitely not the only one obsessed with the next glitter in town. One where the simple promise of "Acche Din" has a greater connect than detailed policy specifics, and where a prestigious military event needs the likes of Akshay Kumar and Kangna Ranaut as "brand ambassadors"  is not the one I was told that I would be growing up in. 

Is it possible, that all the nonsense spewing in the world, is basically a side-effect of our own busy schedules and inability to find the time to think?? 

I think he knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they'll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they'll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate, it's the sand of the coliseum. He'll bring them death - and they will love him for it 

(Full disclosure: Even as I type this, I have Apple Music streaming on my phone)