Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Strange Confession

I have recently started looking at the world through apocalypse eyes. It usually begins when i start driving down the lanes of bangalore, through the great metro project that is happening in the city. The inconvenience, the delays, the accidents, the heat, and yet, yet..people are busy doing their work and still bustling around in their daily routine. All of this seems so solid, so permanent, so unmovable, so necessary.

As as one of my dear friends keeps talking about it, it would just take one war, a single riot, a dirty bomb, a natural disaster, one ravaging army, a single bottle with a single virus to bring it all down, dashingly! Oh yes..we have seen these before... Hiroshima, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kashmir, Gujarat, Bombay, Hyderabad...hmm..the list is endless when i start speaking about my country.

Sometimes, i wonder what kind of society are we trying to build. My parents and lots and lots of other folks, believe that its built out of "concrete custom". But i think, its just a temporary resting place, a hotel, our ancestors(or lets call it civilization) checked in a few hundred years ago and must one day checkout. How many of us visit the Mayan, Egyptian, Greek and Roman ruins. But, do we ever wonder when is someone going to visit the Indian ruins(apart from Indus valley ruins and Harrappa and Mohenjodaro ruins).

You know...thats how the world looks through apocalyse eyes. You see blanks between a thriving city or state and a devastated one and you start filling these blanks. And as you start filling these blanks, you start imagining its occurrence, its impact, and most importantly, whether you and the people you love could escape from it. Yes, i don't want it to happen! No one wants, i guess. But, for the first time, in my life, i started feeling, there is a possibility it could happen. And that is enough to motivate me to save myself and my loved ones, while there is still time.

No, i don't want to be behind bars, or be tortured like the prisoners in abhu ghraib, or seen fighting with old men and women for some food, or dying of some strange disease in some refugee camp or undergo anything horrendous that i have read in those history books. Hell No! On the contrary, i would rather want to end up writing those history books, on lets say, a nice beach, far away from the mess created by corrupt politicians, Crooked CEOs, and other committed madmen, who make the so called "modern world"! Yes, i just want to get away from all this, and be the grand winner of the survival casino.

But actually, i didn't always think like this. But then again, i was naive. Yes, i belong to the grand Indian culture and history and all that, which made me believe that these things are beyond our control. But thinking about this, nothing as terrible has happened to us, like what has been happening in the past century. Those who came to age in the first twenty years of the previous century, had to either fight World War I(by their virtue of joining the british troops) or fight the britishers , themselves. Then, the next twenty years was spent on the Great Depression(that affected other parts of the world, thanks to non-globalization, we weren't affected too much). But, we had our own enemies to fight - Maharajas, Middle Men, Brokers and above all, the foreign invaders.The next twenty years were spent in World War -II and in gaining Independent India. The next generation inherited our friendly neighbourhood countries and the great gandhian family of politicians.

And then, from the 1960s to the close of the century or even further - Economic and Scientific Developments on one hand and dealing with our neighbours on the other. In spite of several re-defining moments like Kargil War, Bomb blasts in different cities, there was nothing to pull us out of our self centered, solipsistic world. There was nothing powerful enough to drag us , outside our preoccupation, our financial and emotional well being, outside our "comfort zone".

Ofcourse, society wasn't perfect before either. But, the current state we are in - Terrorist attacks, domestic crackdowns, flooded cities, farmers eating dead rats, Rape-Murder and brutal slaughter of a few hundred innocent children and burrying them under the closet - all, all happened switfly, without warning. HISTORY, HAPPENED TO US!

I can't tell you the exact date along the way i lost faith in the system - In every system of every country. And over the course of this gradual awakening, i decided to equip myself with the tools necessary to survive whatever politics and history threw at me next. Preparing myself for hard times has been an incredibly challenging task, because some people, as they say are born tough. I wasn't, probably. In fact, the last time i ever fought and i mean physically fought with someone was when i was taking my martial arts classes when i was 10-12 years. Damn, i haven't been capable enough to pick up a fight with anyone, though i have been mugged once :(.

In short, if the system ever breaks down, there are two useful skills i have(or i think i have) are, (a) To develop software and associated math to build things back or (b) the ability to write about the breakdown. Perhaps, i could probably "discuss" with someone, who has the practical knowledge into helping me out. But what is the guarantee that they aren't going to mug me?


guilt said...

I initially believed that it was all about Survival of the Fittest; By logical destiny the earliest fittest would turn out to be the finalist.

I saw that nature was too dynamic to make these fit guys move into the finals. Simple people with humble origins and strong will have changed everything, controlled the economy and have made a difference. Their number is small, but they are significant.

They prove that it boils down to how much you are willing to wade into it and thrash about it. You might like it after some initial struggle. Even if there is no guarantee you will reach, it makes sense to hang on to the wagon.

I, however, find this as an exercise in futility.

ND said...

Venki, interesting post.

Like someone said, "The planet's survival has become so uncertain that any effort, any thought that presupposes an assured future amounts to a mad gamble."

Build those software programs if you like,however, in the meanwhile build some love as well. :) That could be a better bet/program :)

Cheers ! :)

Venkatv said...

"Earliest fittest would turn out to be the finalist" - Well, not really. Being fit is a continuous process. Its not a waterfall model, where the growth stops. Hence, anyone becoming fitter after the already fit one, poses threat to the already fit beings.

"Simple people with humble origins and strong will have changed everything, controlled the economy and have made a difference" - I am not being cynical here. But how many economies have been really made without the existence of one corrupt politician or a crooked ceo or lack of bureaucracy?