Dumbing down the conversation

As expected, justifications and rationale for Modi’s appeal – to switch off the lights at 9 PM and holding on candles/flashlights for 9min…………are swamping up the social media space. 
Positively looking at his appeal, it is supposed to be an act of solidarity and sceptically it could be another PR stunt. 
But the rationale of attributing to some numerological, cosmic significance, light & heatwaves and all the illogical stuff thrown in, that is being shared across the social media – makes one wonder the existence of any thinking faculties of that sharing. 

While these do amuse to an extent, it isn’t funny anymore. 

The dumbing down of intelligence en masse is quite evident. 

My concern is on two aspects, 
1. When an announcement is made a global pandemic that there would be a video address by the Prime Minister the next day. The expectation is that he would try to address the issues concerning the pandemic: 
• The state of testing and plans to ramp it up. 
• The migration situation and the relief being offered to address it. (only 4 hrs. window period prior to lockdown could be for the public, but not for govt. They could have planned well in advance and were ready for the situation). 
• The resources and facilities for the health support system. 
• The religious narrative being expounded. 
• Clarity on MP CARES 
• Economy, job losses, relief for business etc. esp. MSME. 

Few might argue that the government has been making the relevant announcements. However, the information related to these is so scarce and ambiguous that a purported good communicator like Modi could have clearly explained it. 

With all the build-up, what is announced does not make much sense. 

The second and the bigger concern are the people. 

2. Religion, nationalism or any other affinity does have a tendency to dumb down the intellect when consumed more. 
The fact that SM is flooded with senseless logic within less time, does give rise to questions if these are also a pre-planned effort. 
Even if it is, the fact that a large number of people believe and share them is beyond my understanding. This includes a good number of educated and supposed to be well-read ones, who I generally see to be saner individuals on most of the occasions. 
This does point to a new lower bar of intelligence and logical thinking. 

The curse of this dumbness is that it does not allow people to question things that ought to be. It creates a state wherein a narrative is set and is being consumed without questions. 
Something, which is a much bigger issue. 

More than the theatrics, it is the un-questioned consumption that is a cause of worry.

Image Source : https://twitter.com/_ericalynn3/status/866781324769714176

Other Falls that matter

A few days back, the video of Narendra Modi slipping on Ganga Ghat went viral.

It did not take much longer for people to react, share and come up with a host of memes relating to his slipping. He obviously missed a slip and yeah was amusing to see him slip and fall.

Such things are funny and do invoke an instant reaction, especially when someone like him is involved. Looking at the reaction which this particular slip received from people, I couldn’t help but ponder over, if only people reacted to all his slips and falls. There were many.

Might not be the physical ones, but other instances where he slipped and fell flat on many promises he fooled the public with. The biggest and the overarching of them all, the promise of “Acche Dn” i.e “good days” which he successfully sold to a nation, which believed and voted him to power in 2014. After 5 plus years and even after his re-election, the wait for ache din is still on. If the economic and other indicators are to be considered, we are primed for some real “bure din” i.e bad days.

His time at the helm is replete with such slips. Demonetization, the big one. It was supposed to be bungle for – fight against corruption, cashless economy, fight against terrorism etc etc etc…. whatever reason that they could think off. After three years, the fall was so bad that they don’t even talk about it. Quite unusual for a regime that has the habit of shouting over the top for the smallest of achievements, of which many are perceived ones.

GST was another huge slip. The fall set into motion at midnight with people just getting to fathom the hurt. There have been other major falls. The Standoff at Dhoklam which we sort of meekly pulled back. The terror attacks at Pathankot, and the one at Uri before that. They were some real big falls. Of course, they did try to apply bandages in name of surgical attacks. The attack at Pulwama is a mystery, with the purpose more or less met in the 2019 general elections.

There are these cases of financial offenders fleeing the country and the mess of unrecovered loans in banks.

The fumble with Rafale deal has been hushed and covered up, so is the attempt in respect to backing up of crony capitalism. The tumbling down of economy , is something there for all to see and feel but not many speak up.

These are few that I can think on top of my mind, where Modi managed to slip and fall. Alas, all these weren’t as amusing for our public as the one at Ganga Ghat.

Hope, CAA is a fall which people would take notice off

Picture Courtesy : https://inshorts.com/en/news/pm-modi-slips-on-stairs-after-returning-from-boating-in-ganga-video-surfaces-1576334793851

A tribute

With all the vilification that happens about you and the misinformation which is spread, it is tough for anyone to forget you. 
But we do need to make an effort to try to remember you for the right reasons. 
For the visionary that you were, to take a nation burdened by the past and weakened by colonial loot and set it on a path towards development. We failed you many times- the people, the leaders. But in spite of all it, the foundation was so strong that we continued to grow. For standing tall and being futuristic in guiding us in spite of knowing that the nation cannot match up to you, we still aren’t even after all these years.
For being an Institution builder. The institutions that you established and envisioned still are the ones that we rely on. The fact that there aren’t many others apart from what you envisioned, makes one think of what it could have been if it wasn’t for your vision. 
For having the trust in democratic process and institutions. Being able to say “don’t spare me Shankar”, emphasises the importance of criticism in democracy. 
For having the priorities right in respect to the need for education as a right every one ought behaving and believing in scientific temper. A trait the nation – leaders and people alike, lack now. 
For being a true world statesman who set an alternate vision amidst a bipolar world, unlike the global trotter we have now. 
For outliving the romanticism of Freedom struggle and taking up the burden of nation-building, as all your pals from freedom movement gone before the reality of the state of nation kicked in.
Yes, it has not always been a success story, there have been ones we hoped you did better. For a man of your stature and influence- there are things that did have repercussions as we introspect in a later day. 
The wealth of knowledge that you penned down, not only the books but also your various correspondences are a treasure trove for anyone ready to spare the effort. I am still exploring. 
This age could have been great for you, with all the technology and know-how. We can only imagine what you could have envisioned and achieved, for you did achieve a lot in spite of all the handicaps of those days. But, it is also true we might not have been where we are if it wasn’t for you at that point in our history. 
I know you through the ones you wrote and the ones others wrote about you. There is a lot that I need to read, but the admiration for you runs deep. 
We are so accustomed to deciding and judging retrospectively that we fail to take cognisance of those times and circumstances. The failures of the current crop only show we would have been worse off if it was they. 
Conveniently flogged for sins of those who came after and the nation, we fail to realise what you achieved. As I recall someone writing “ we still live in the house Nehru built”. 
Happy Birthday Jawaharlal Nehru.

The relative comfort

It has been a long time, a couple of years to be precise. The reminder on FB of a post from last year brought the memory back.

It was late in the evening and I was waiting at a bus stand. If my memory serves me right, It was raining as well. After a long wait, I decided to have a seat. The seating bench was a new one at the bus stand and after sitting for some time, I felt that the seat could be a couple of inches wider for me to sit comfortably. I am not one of the bigger guys around, so was pretty sure that a larger portion of the population would find it uncomfortable to sit on this new seating in the bus stand. The metal frame of the seat didn’t do any good to the seating comfort.

It was at that moment, that I see a person come towards the place I was seated. Seems to be homeless, the small package he carried and his overall condition indicated the same. He comes over, finds an empty space on the seat a bit away from me. He dusts off the space with a cloth he has, places the small package on the seat proceeds to lie down on the seating bench with the package doubling up as a pillow. Within no time, I could see that he fell into a deep sleep and here I am still struggling to seat myself comfortably.

The concept of relative comfort dawned upon me at that moment. Many a time, our comfort zones are what we defined them to be and there are many who find it a luxury about something that we struggle to come to terms with.

While I am not much of a taker for a life-changing single incident, such instances in life do offer some perspective. Over the past couple of years, I did go back to this incident in my life when faced with a situation of choice and was able to make a decision by coming out of self-defined comfort zones, because comfort is what one makes of it.

p.c: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/27/Homeless_person_in_Brisbane_in_2017.jpg

Stuck being a Draft

“You need to click on the send button. Unless you want it to remain as a draft, with the content known only to you.”

I in jest remarked at a colleague who was contemplating for quite a good time after drafting an email.

As I looked back at my screen, my eyes fell on the “drafts” folder in my mailbox and the number “29” indicating the number of drafts in the folder.

Out of curiosity, I thought of checking as to why there were so many drafts and why they remained so.

Few of the mails were blanks – with only the recipient’s id but no content. Wonder what I intended to communicate to that person and then did not go ahead with it.

Few other’s had the content but did not have any recipient id. I could not recollect whom I intended to send these mail to save a few of them. For those I could remember, the question did pop up, why I did not proceed to send them.

There were a few others, which did not require much thought as both the content as well as the recipients’ ids were clearly stated. As in the earlier case, the question was about ” why I did not send it”.

A bit of contemplation, and there were multiple reasons for those mails remaining as drafts.

Many of the emails with no content, were the ones where I had an idea whom to send but could not come up with the content to say. They seem to be a result of a momentary intent to respond to something, which on a later thought I decided not to pursue.

So seems to be the case with the mails which were drafted but at the last moment decided not to pursue or thought of postponing them to a later date. The sad part, many of such emails have no relevance now. In a few of the cases, holding back seemed the better option but most of the time, they did seem to be a lost opportunity.

The half drafted ones with no recipients are the ones that do cause more pain looking back. They were part of an idea intended to be said but never fully expressed.

I had a quick glance at my blog sites and there I find many drafts which did not manage to be completed or published.

The draft folder seems to have parlance with life. Thoughts, feelings and ideas – intended to be said but remaining as drafts without being given an opportunity to be expressed or acted upon. Fear, uncertainty, improbability, lack of will, sheer laziness or prudence – the reasons could be varied.

As I contemplate on the draft folder of my life, I realise that there were many which I should have acted upon and many others that proved to be good choices by being not actioned upon.

But it did give me a good opportunity to reflect upon and gain some insights which could help me in dealing with the present and future.

Might be it is a good idea, to time and again look into the draft folder of life and reflect upon those which were stuck as drafts. Few might still be worthy of being sent, even if not they still would offer some insights on life.