Thursday, March 16, 2006

Children of Lesser Gods

I am an Indian. Every morning, I wake up and compete with 1 billion other human beings for survival, all of whom I am expected to acknowledge as my brothers and sisters. My family is so large, and the contributing members so few.

I am an Indian. Everything I want must be fought for. Whether in queues or in competitive examinations. Our aspirations are so many, our opportunities so few.

I am an Indian. Every radical change I envision, must survive the bludgeonings of chance. The statistics are so many, the exceptions so few.

Social Science never really was a subject I paid much attention to. As a student in Kendriya Vidyalaya, I used to pepper my examination answers generously with a few stock phrases such as "population explosion", "vicious circle" and so forth.
Now, when faced with the realities of life as an Indian citizen, those stock phrases seem to come back to haunt me.
As my mother battles with Bipolar Affective Disorder and I prepare for my first independent trip abroad, I realise how population can be a problem.
When you compete with 1 billion other human beings for survival, living must take priority 2.
You may wish to pursue your dreams, but that requires a passport, which can be obtained only by competing in some measure with a number of other people who also wish to pursue their dreams. The metric that will ultimately determine the length of time that you take to achieve what you desire then reduces to deciding who can stand longer in a queue. He who cannot stand must fall over and die. Survival of the fittest, more cruel than Darwin ever described it.
I once read a joke about Communist Russia. When people see a queue in Russia, they just go and join it, irrespective of what's being distributed. It seemd funny at the time, but I can now relate to the desperation that the speaker must have felt when he made the crack.

I love my country, because I see it's potential. I hate my country, because I see the odds.
This bipolarity could help create the vibrations of a Requiem. Or it could tear me to pieces.
Tagore said:
"Where the mind is without fear,
And the head is held high,
Into that dawn of freedom, my Father,
Let my country awake"

But if all of India wakes up at the same time, wont the queues outside toilets stretch the length and breadth of the country?

When one is at one's lowest, one turns to God.
But which God do I turn to?

I am an Indian. For 1 billion Indians there are 330,000,013 Gods. With so many Gods, we still have a deficit. The children are so many, the Gods so few.


Divya Chakravarthy said...

I just think all this is because of your constant struggle to prove that you are "living" and not surviving. What you fail to see is you are certainly living. But then, living is an extension of survival. You have to survive to live. You cant not choose to live and not survive.
Hell, actually you dont survive life!! You die!

Divya Chakravarthy said...

and about which of the 330,000,013 gods to choose, how many can you name or how many do you know?????

Arjun Venkatraman said...

Well, survival as opposed to living is necessity as opposed to enjoyment.

And for the 330,000,013...that just proves my point...when the numbers are so heavy...names become numbers.

Ashwin Raj said...

Thou doth potray a grim scenario.

Lets just enjoy the ride while it lasts to the fullest.While one might feel satisfied looking back at the number of people still waiting behind him in the queue,one shouldn't neglect keeping an eye upfront looking for an oppotunity to cut into the line ahead.

Arjun Venkatraman said...

Spoken like a true Indian, my brother.
Riders of the storm eh?

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