It has been a while since my last post.
After the parental high I found myself in due to the events described in my previous post, it was difficult to find much else, which would merit regaling my readers with excruciating prose. (basically, i couldn’t figure out what to write.)
Not that nothing has happened since then. Au contraire… the earth has been spinning faster than ever. Rahman got a Golden Globe and a few Oscar nominations. I saw (and heard) Slumdog, and came out wondering what the hype was all about. I did my bit for “the Mumbai spirit” by participating in the marathon – and didn’t kill myself in the process – leading me to re-assess the state of my health and lifestyle. Post Satyam-Maytas, spent a day researching the internet for shady undertakings with names similar to or mirror images of the name of my employer – and came out confident that our founder could not gain much by apportioning funds to a manufacturer of conveyer belts in Dakar, Senegal. Flew to Delhi for a performance review, with numbers reflecting the health of the world’s economy, yet came out unscathed (and surprisingly motivated). Crooned “Groovy Kind of Love” at the post review party in a dungeon-like karaoke bar and was as good as a corny love song sung in a third-world accent could be. Saw Obama bungling his oath and then making up by guiding the winsome Michelle gracefully through the various balls and then by making good some of the promises he had made to the world – in quick no-nonsense style.
So much has happened…then why is my sixth-sense tingling like a rattlesnake in a mongoose hole?
I thought about it. I looked at all the happenings around me – did a quick scan of Google news and my RSS feeds – hoping to find a pattern which had rattled my premonitive senses. Nah…more of the usual stuff…nothing foreboding here. Then as many a willful enterprise has done in times of uncertainty – I adopted the McKinsey method.
List. Distill. Abstract. Analyze. (from the McKinsey method for dummies)
So – I took my place along with Kranga-doo and Dr.Doo-little on their celestial ship and tried to “abstract” from the apparently harmless melee’ below.
I saw that people were still partying and spending hundreds of millions on a presidential party, despite job-losses across industries, like we have never seen before…with even companies like Microsoft cutting down. (and these guys are sitting on TONNES of cash) I saw Israel still killing children in Palestine – with the world doing nothing to stop them. I saw people forgetting about Darfur – where the battle still rages, and is a contender for the title of “genocide”. I saw property prices in cities still beyond the reach of the common man – relegating him to long commutes on choked streets, breathing more noxious fumes than a chain-smoker – yet not stopping millions like him from flooding into what is fast-becoming urban squalor. I saw the baby-counter ticking faster than ever in places which really do not need more babies. I saw no one talking about sustainability. I saw the news of an Arctic shelf of the size of Texas breaking off, pushed to the gutter-space on the 12th page in the newspaper. I saw virtual silence from the house of the islamic fundamentalists – and people around the world (mis)construing this silence as inaction. I saw China still denying basic human rights in Tibet, while editing parts of Obama’s speech for consumption by its people – with the world standing by and watching.
It was then I realized the source of the sense of foreboding that had penetrated deep under my skin. Suspended animation. It was as if, humanity, you-me-your neighbour-beyonce-bin laden, everyone, has fallen into their ant-like, pre-determined, action sequences. Britney Spears will go to rehab once again. Mugabe will spit at the rest of the world once again. The world leaders will offer mutual pats on the back to one another at the World Economic Forum once again. The Somalian pirates will pillage once again. The UN will come out with a downright scary report on the growing ozone hole once again. Champions of industry will be caught stealing from their own backyard once again.
We are like 6 billion pendulums powering a ticking time-bomb. Pre-conceived, genetically programmed paths with a fixed amplitude… tick-tock from birth to death.
Does the sense of foreboding I feel – and I suspect many of you do too (if you are intuitive enough to feel it) – arise from a sense of being a pendulum? Does it arise from being a part of a clock-machinery which has long since stopped working?
As I stared down at the stasis below – I realized it is not that, what has flooded my senses with a cocktail mix of adrenaline and novocaine. No… it is something far scarier than that. It is the sense of the train of consequences hurtling down towards us – while we sleep in ignorance. It is the sense of a dam about to break from its shaky foundations – while we try to fix individual cracks with superglue. It is the feeling of a young man, who has neglected and tormented his furious-paced life, not knowing that there is a 98% chance of a cardiac arrest in the next few weeks…
The sense of foreboding, my readers, is there. I can feel it. Maybe only I feel it. But – do what I did. Step back and look at the world and all its events as one whole. You might feel what I feel. You might realize that all that obsession over those little things in life which go wrong or right, was just wasted time.