Wake up to the harsh reality

I’ve been reading, of late, the William Monk series by Anne Perry. The author’s portrayal of Victorian England is at once vivid and brutally real. The plot is also pretty good. The setting and her narrative might influence the reader to think that she’s inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dame Agatha Christie in equal measure. The protagonist is a police officer in nineteenth century England, who lost his memory after an accident. How he manages to solve one knotty case after another is the premise of the series. If Sherlock Holmes portrayed the rich and powerful of Victorian England, William Monk portrays the commoner, the layman who isn’t given much importance by the law, or rather the lawmakers.

The first book in this series that I read is Dark Assassin, which mom had bought sometime ago. I loved the book, and got most of the other books too. I am reading the second book in the series now, and a character’s words set my mind in motion, just what one needs at the fag end of a working day. Here are the words:

About aspiring actors in a public house: “They have imagination to take them out of the commonplace, to forget the defeats of reality and feed on the triumphs of dreams. They can evoke any mood they want into their faces and make themselves believe it for an hour or two. That takes courage; it takes a rare inner strength.”

This sums up the attitude of the Indian people. We have corruption everywhere, but we do believe that our country will become a beacon of honesty as in olden days. We see poverty reign our slums, streets and villages; but we take solace in Mukesh Ambani’s billion dollar home. We don’t hesitate even a moment while bribing public officials, but we debate about the ethics of politicians who swallow monstrous amounts of money. We complain about mosquitoes and the diseases that they bring, but joyfully spit on the road and pee on the walls. We admire a rhapsodizing politician on the stage, but curse when (s)he fails to turn promises into action. Indeed, we turn a blind eye to reality and live in dreams.

If we can still surmount what is natural and believe what we wish to believe, in spite of the force of evidence, then for a while at least we are masters of our own fate, and we can paint the world we want.

This is exactly what we do, attain bliss in our Utopia, while the real world stares harshly at us. Until we wake up to the reality that is engulfing our lives, we will continue to vote for the same dirty leaders and scandals will be a way of life.

Breaking News: More Robotic freebies for next TN polls

In what is seen as a historic decision by Sun Pictures and their network of TV channels, the Tamil Nadu government today decided to throw in tickets to the movie into the brimming basket of pre-poll freebies. In an exclusive interview to be telecast when there are no other TRP-worthy programs on Sun TV, the producer will talk about this move and its repercussions. He chides Yash Chopra for saying that the government is not doing enough to promote cinema. “What more can a government do,” he asks, “more than owning the two big production houses in the state, and giving free tickets to its citizens.”

After this news leaked out, the opposition party leader in TN has resorted to the usual remarks about family politics and corruption. She demanded that robots be sent to the parliament in place of corrupt MPs from the ruling party, and – as is her wont – demanded an independent inquiry into this issue. Another leader of a political party wanted the government to implement quota for his caste, allowing them to see the movie before the elections at Escape cinemas.

Independent watchers view this move as a ploy to lengthen the screen run of the movie as well as the the current ruling party’s stay in power. In related news, Vijaya T. Rajendar says that he has been approached by Sun Pictures to do a movie Thanthiran where he portrays a scientist trying to create human emotions in a bear(that bears an uncanny resemblance to the man himself, we’re told) . They’re having difficulties finding a bear that doesn’t run away or faint at the sight of TR.

Note: In case you haven’t figured out, this is just a fragment of my (at times wicked) imagination and not real. There is no malice in this post, only

Why Mission 2020 will fail.

We all know about the great Dr. Abdul Kalam’s vision for India to become a developed nation by 2020. We’re just 11 years away from that deadline, and what have we done in the past decade moving in that direction? We’ve had three elections, but none of the government seems to figure out and do something about the root causes of stagnation. Yes, there have been several development schemes, but do they deliver to the people? No, sir, the politicians swell their bellies with that money which needs to go and reach the people. Corruption! Unrelentlessly pursued and has become a normal occurrence in our day to day lives. This ought to change, but who is to start the change?

I’ve heard of, read about and seen people shamelessly demanding bribe(Ah, they prefer to call them tokens of appreciation!) even from the poorest of the poor. If this has to stop, people need to change our outlook. Sure, if someone really performs well in their job, you can reward their hard work. But you don’t need to reward  them to carry out their duties! Aung San Suu Kyi once rightly remarked: It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.

Our politicians have become so used to power – its misuse and abuse – that they can’t live without it. OK! I get the point, why can’t they just exit earth and continue their work somewhere? Last I heard, they need lots of people capable of cheating and boring out others in hell.

We need to have a young and dynamic government, and all the old fellows need to accept moral responsibility for the current state of affairs and give up. Yes sir, morality. Many politicians don’t know or have never heard this word. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as:

morality
1    principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour. A system of values and moral principles.
2    the extent to which an action is right or wrong.

Now, another thing politicians do is pamper – especially those parts of the societies who are gullible and are always looking out for things to happen rather than making things happen. Well, they are the so called minorities. I don’t deny there are some sections that are really pitiful and could do with some pampering. But the reality is that, if over six decades of pampering has not helped them grow, nothing else will. Leave them on their own, and let them rise on their own legs. This surely is unthinkable in India. Reason: votebank politics. Since the middle class has better things to do than go out and vote for people who’d never care to think of the voters’ welfare. Now that’s another thing that needs change.

India is becoming a country that could have been the superpower, but was not to be. If these evils and many others are not weeded out, then the saint Kalam’s dreams wouldn’t be a reality even in 2120.