Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Great Indian Middle Class

To be a part of the Great Indian Middle Class is akin to being trapped in an air-tight container. It is suffocating, irritating, and there is no way anything interesting can leak in. In this suburban “comfort”, one is expected to stay, and one’s “progress” along a standard middle-class curve is plotted. Deviation is naturally frowned upon, and one’s success is evaluated on the basis of this ideal graph, which in effect is this:

Over 90% in school (preferably a topper) – taking science in 12th, and 90% again – Entering a professional college (Medicine or Engineering) – MBA if an engineer – a job in a bank – counting your pay of at least 1 lakh rupees a month.

Obviously everyone cannot achieve such wonderful results, hence the above remains an ideal guideline, meant for every middle class child to strive for - natural interests and aptitude be damned! This is what my neighbor’s kid/colleague’s kid/insert any acquaintance’s kid is doing, and hence my child must do the same.

“Hobby classes” rarely reflect the student’s interest, they reflect what the student’s parents think will boost the poor kid’s CV. Anyone with an ounce of imagination or interest in deviating from these strict guidelines is ridiculed, perhaps even pitied for being stupid and/or short sighted.

I have thus come to the conclusion that the Great Indian Middle Class is composed, for most part of philistines. Exceptionally practical people, but with no will to explore, no desire to experience, too scared to venture out and try the unknown, afraid of failing, of becoming a laughing stock, of dying poor. But what is worse, is that their children are also trained to be the same, another generation of cowards, of sissies wanting to stay at home with safe jobs and decent pay packets and being compared to their neighbors. They will never take risks and will learn nothing of life. They will die naïve.

Where is the fun in that?

"तूफानों की ओर घुमा दो नाविक निज पतवार"

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Paradise Lost

I was watching bits of Kashmir ki Kali today. The beauty of the Srinagar valley even on an ancient fourteen inch Onida TV was breathtaking. Its such a pity that the place has been over run by terrorists. Taarif karoon kya uski jisne tujhe banaya?

Can't people just live and let live?


"How many times must cannon balls fly,
Before they're for ever banned?"

Ans: Till we all are dead.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Can schizophrenia be self-induced?

As I was walking back from the station today, I found myself mumbling to myself. This started a train of thought. I wondered if I could separate two distinct “R2B2” personalities, a sort of Jekyll and Hyde, and make them both converse with each other. This thought came suddenly, and I felt that I could do so, especially since my personal philosophy (like I assume most other peoples’) is complex, and aspects of it keep evolving. By this I mean that I can have two differing points of view on a certain matter, each becoming my primary point of view with changing moods and situations. As different fronts of my personality can be controlled by my mood, if I separate my thoughts that depend on my mood, would it be possible to come up with a separate person? Actually, this isn’t exactly what I was thinking, but to explain it is difficult and this is the closest I can get to right now.

Getting back to the point, I tried to separate two bits of my personality: first, what I call my ambitious driven side, and the second, laid-back, lazy, philosophical side. I then simulated a conversation between the two, which was going very well until the point I found myself getting some vague feedbacks about myself. A sort of self-discovery. At this point I got a little unnerved, especially since I found that it was possible for me to separate two aspects of my personality, which started diverging as the “conversation” went on. I thank God (or whatever powers may exist) that there was a third “rational observer” personality too1. I decided to stop at that point because I got scared. I seriously thought that I could go mad. I did not want to delve into something about which I barely knew anything. How our minds work, how thoughts evolve may be the greatest enigmas today, and though I would love to know how they work, I am not willing to subject myself to another fright like that. But it did make me wonder: could schizophrenia be self-induced?

1I’m pretty sure that I could have done away with the “rational observer” which would have probably revealed better results, but I did not want to do away with my safety net.