Tag Archives: Random

Doomsday scenario: In true perspective

Some shallow people have jumped to the conclusion that Hurricane Sandy is the start of the Doomsday show. They cite the movie 2012, as being prophetic.

Poor fools. What do they of Doomsday know, who only of Doomsday know.

[An aside: We are doomed if we have to continue to live. Here. In hell. In the way that we do.

This old joke makes the point better:

An old man and his wife die and reach heaven. Heaven is sensational – fairies and flowers and good days till eternity.

The old man gets raving mad and starts shouting at his wife.

The angels are worried and ask him, ‘Sir, what is the problem?’

‘Nothing,’ says the old man, ‘this woman made me exercise and live a life of purity so I lived till 90. I could have reached here 40 years earlier, if I had not met her@#$!’

The only assumption in this joke is that we would actually land in a place called heaven.

But assuming there is a better place than earth, it would be pain silly to stick to this oil slick infested, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber infested, mosquito infested, power-doped world.]

But back to the main subject – the theory that Sandy is Act One of D-day. I do not think so. It is too localized, in real global terms, and as far as Hurricanes go, not big enough. Like Hollywood and CNN, Sandy thinks New York is the world.

The prowling Mayan and Inca agents, who did regular rounds on my blog (see earlier posts), have gone missing. Instead, there are lot of American tourists – eager, full of money (I presume), but with little knowledge of Doom – who are visiting my doomsday pages these days. They are looking for decent ideas for upper-middle class type Doomsday – something like Sandy, in fact.

Had these people paid attention to Bible, and its description of plagues of Egypt, they would have realized, doomsday is a serious business – not a CNN coverage of Iraq war. It is more like Vietnam and Afghanistan. Doomsday is not likely to be TV friendly – it would unfold slowly and painstakingly, the way great empires fold up and give way to barbarians.

The signs are there, and have been there for some time now, that the western civilization, and liberal-democratic world order for that matter, would give way to barbarians in the coming decades. And that would spell a doom for the world as we, on the internet, know it.

I would not speculate who the barbarians would be this time. It could be the right wing fanatics of the capitalist kind, or the right wing of the Church or Mosque kind.

But there is time yet, to push back the hordes to another age. Let the Doomsday speculation lead to genuine introspection on climate change. Let it make us think again on religious intolerance. Let us take slogans on sustainable living seriously. Let 21st December be a doomsday for those habits of 20th century that have outlived their use. Let us not hide the alternate-to-petroleum-technologies from the world. Let us not get bullied by dictators or fooled by the bankers. Let us not take the fashion of Paris Hilton and Lady Gaga seriously.

Let us not forget that for majority in the poor world, Doomsday would in fact be a day of deliverance from injustice and pain.

****

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Modern Parables 3: The succession

The wily old fox was not feeling too wily at the moment – just hungry and irritated. He had called a meeting of the jackals, foxes, wolves and other middle class intellectuals of the jungle kingdom to brain storm on the rising lawlessness and the declining authority of Sher Singh the king. But the meeting was going nowhere, with lots of useless arguments and intellectual clap-trap being bandied about as wisdom. He decided to take charge of the meeting.

“Fellow middle class carnivores,” he began with dignity, “you are aware of the mobs of elephants and boars and wildebeests and chimps and other riff-raff who are taking the jungle to hostage with their strikes and demonstrations. Sher Singh our king is getting on in years and is not sufficiently threatening – his terror is waning. The question before us today is what is to be done to restore order.”

What he did not say, but was understood by all was – how to ensure the subservience of the herbivores, an assured supply of food and how to check the threat of a revolution against the ‘just’ order of nature. It would be too easy to depose the old lion, but a lion-less jungle was not in the interest of his class.

“We must find a new king,” suggested the leader of the jackals.

“Easier said than done,” replied the fox. “There are no strong adult lions in the area that can be propped up as successor. The tiger that lives across the river is too temperamental to be relied upon – and he does not suffer sycophants and fools.”

The jackals nodded. They were afraid to snatch the leftover of a tiger-kill and had never succeeded in developing a working relation with the bad tempered, nocturnal beast. Moreover their own children were not safe with the tiger around.

After a while, an old wolf cleared his throat and in an apologetic tone began his speech: “Though it may sound farfetched at the moment, we must think of natural succession as the answer to our woes.”

A gasp went round the assembly. No one could believe that the wise wolf could forward such a stupid-sounding suggestion.

The only son and ‘natural heir’ of Sher Singh was Rex Singh – a youth devoid of any sense or ability. The general consensus was that under Rex, the fragile monarchy of the lion dynasty would collapse in a matter of days. Not only was the fellow lazy, moody and an idiot, he was also a coward. A combination that is tailor made to encourage the chimps and the monkeys and the cows to raise the banner of revolt.

“Do not get me wrong,” continued the wolf in a soft tone, “I know the limitations of Rex, but these are nothing that cannot be rectified. Such situations have arisen in the past in our great jungle. The answer has been careful mentoring of the ruler by us, the class who have been given brains for the purpose of ensuring that natural order is not disturbed. Listen carefully. The old fox, our leader, should take on the thankless task of befriending Rex and making him his protégé.”

He looked directly at the wily old fox and continued, “Be at your oily best, use all your sycophantic talents, show full subservience, encourage him to feel powerful, teach him his role – rule in his name and protect the interest of our class.”

The proposal was discussed at length, and at the end of it, towards day-break, the assembled animals felt reassured. They soon dispersed. Only the wolf and the leader of the hyenas remained.

“I do not trust the fox with so much power,” said the hyena, shaking his head, and expressing his discomfort.

“Don’t worry about the fox,” said the wolf. “He will grow too big for his boots for some time, but very soon the young lion cub will outgrow him, and will not have any use for him. For now, begin a rumor campaign about sickness and impending demise of Sher Singh and of the terrifying feats of Rex.”

Moral: The world is not as it seems.

 

***


Aging

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Age is not a number
It is the ticking of the clock
It is the language of the wrinkles
It is that part of the story where you are
It is the linear distance from death.
 
Age is not a feeling
Do not let them fool you,
It is the ebb and tide of confidence
It is the waxing and waning of pride
It is the final text, the moral, the crux.
 
Age is not a myth
You can see it on your skin like a timepiece,
It cannot be hidden under layers
Or erased or cut away by doctors
It is the reminder of the job yet to be done.
 
Age is not an enemy
To be fought, to be conquered
It is the journey, the experience
It is the joy of living,
It is the promise of liberation.
 
***

Modern Parables-1: The elections

The annual election for the Presidency was around the corner and the incumbent, Mr Lion was in a bit of a bother. His ratings were rock-bottom. His speech on protecting the jungle from the outsiders was booed – the ‘foreign hand’ bogey was not working this time.

The fox had propped up Mr Monkey in a straight contest. Monkey’s plank of better internal security and law and order had hit the popular mood.

Lion decided to have a word with the fox.

‘You have shifted your loyalties, foxy,’ observed the lion coldly when they met one night.

‘Umm no. I believe in the need for a better deal for the animals…’ said the fox, but was cut short.

‘Cut the crap,’ snarled the lion, ‘what do you want, name your price.’

The fox thought for a while. ‘I am all for development. If you could just stay off the north of the country, the humans can mine the area for coal and uranium. They offer a good deal.’

The lion asked for details, and the more he heard about it, the more he liked it.

Soon the fox switched sides; the lion got a new manifesto printed, promising economic development.

In a close contest, the lion won another term in office. The northern parts of the country were made out-of-bounds for the animals. They were told big projects need long gestation periods, and that some sacrifices have to be made for a better future.

Moral (If there is any left): Dreams work well with democracy.

***


The dream

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In his dreams
He sees he is awake-
Pinching does not help
Pinching hurts, even in dreams.
 
In his dreams
His friends embrace him,
Love him, stab him
In the back, and say sorry.
 
In his dreams
The world is hazy,
Surreal, chimerical,
Empty, lonely, grey, gloomy.
 
In his dreams
His lover smiles,
And frowns, and disappears
And reappears and smiles some more.
In his dreams
There are no enemies-
The gun totting fellows
Share cigars and dirty jokes.
 
In his dreams
He feels he is in a coma,
And struggles to wake up,
And cries, without sound or tears.
 
In his dreams
He sees sunsets, and worries
That he has to reach home
And runs, and runs and is exhausted.
 
In his dreams
He shouts at beggars
And throws stones at mongrels
And loathes himself for it.
 
In his dreams
He sees rivers, and snakes
Lots of smiling snakes
That coil around his legs like children.
 
In his dreams
He gives speeches
To angry crowds, and wonders
What his speeches are about.
 
In his dreams
He searches for his mother,
Until he suddenly remembers,
That it is only a dream.
 
In his dreams
He worries that this might be for real,
That this might not be a dream after all,
And that there might be no awakening.
 
***

Catch them young

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Let me capture the moods
When they are young.
For a novice like me
It is easier to catch them
When they are innocent
And true.
 
Anger, when young,
Is destructive,
But not conniving.
I can recognize
Its fiery eyes and
Its tantrums easily.
Later, when it grows up
It will hide
Behind a smile.
 
Love, when young,
Will jump on you
And follow you
Like a puppy
It will fall, and
Hurt itself, and cry.
Later, when it grows up
It will hide
Behind poetry, and shyly
Avoid you.
 
I could go on
About hate, jealousy,
Joy or fear.
They are all the same
When young – boisterous,
Spontaneous, honest.
It is only later,
When they grow up,
That they hide,
And are difficult
To catch.
 
***

Spring cleaning

The other day
I made an inventory
Of all that i have,
And of things
That can be discarded.
 
I have lost
(I found)
Most of my memories.
The useless clutter
It seems
Has pushed out
My entire childhood.
Only some fading
Sepia snaps
With mom and dad
Remain.
 
As i tried to access
The inner recess
Of the heart,
(I found)
Amidst the cobwebs,
The darkness and the stench
Of old clothes,
Some broken toys,
A rusting scooter,
Yellowing textbooks,
Some loose sheets
Scribbled with poems
And an old album
With photos
Ruined by moisture
And neglect.
 
For a while
I struggled with the junk.
I sifted through
The passwords,
The dates for filing
The forms, the brochures
For the next home,
The next car, the next holidays,
Birthday dates
Of many acquaintances
Their calling cards,
Memories of evenings
Spent in futile parties,
The false smiles, the
Bitching, the frustrations,
And lots of pride
Over manipulated
Achievements.
 
This calls for
Some serious
Spring cleaning!
I shall throw out
(I decided)
The useless desires,
The worthless goalposts
The hates, the jealousies,
The anger, the grievances,
And the expectations
That i have collected
Over the years.
 
Is it too late
(I wonder)
To restore the old photos,
To bring back
The innocence
Of the carefree afternoons
And the rowdy evenings?
Or are the memories
Of the summers spent
Under the peepal tree,
Of the winters
Spent shivering under
The thick blankets,
Lost forever?
 
***
 
 

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