Skip to main content

Posts

World War III Bingo

Recent posts

The slowness of digital life

Digital connections = Speed.
Instantaneous reactions,
Instantaneous gratification,
Instantaneous outrage
and so on.
Everything is instantaneous.

Or not?

Recently, while  my own phone was getting recharged and I had no option but to look around, I saw a person sitting there, with phone in hand. Waiting with anticipation for a like, a comment or some such. The digital slot machine was not throwing up interesting enough things for him. I went away and came back a while later.
The man was still there.
exactly there.
with exactly the same blank face and wide eyed anticipation.
And apparently the same screen.
 Nothing had changed. He was still. and he didn't know it.

We are all still. and we don't know it.

In reality, everything is not instantaneous. Our expectations though, are.
In search of dopamine hit, we keep refreshing, checking, rechecking... but real world refuses to move with the speed we want it to move. We prod at it with refreshes. We pull at it by pulling down at …

Serenaded by the pied piper, people are divorcing from their self-interest

I have friends who supports the current majoritarian dispensation in India - the cow-protecting (killing muslims and scaring poor farmers in the process or as the real motive?), day dreaming (of imagined glories), women berating (length of skirts and access to phones has again become a topic to deliberate), surveillance instituting (aadhar is a support to the police state, not to conscientious people), economy breaking (demonetisation, finance bill, GST mess, deaf to farmer's pleas) establishment.

These friends are film-makers, science educators, bankers etc. And I wonder how these people are supporting a majoritarianism that is killing their own trades, their own careers -

Film makers - look what has happened at FTII and with the censor board. Film education is curbed, so is artistic freedom. Censorship is growing to ridiculous levels. It is a direct assault on the very practice of film-making and yet the bhakt film-maker remains blind.

The science educator - So the govt is publis…

Beware of what you 'need to believe in'.

Consider these three scenarios

1. A distraught wife - catches cheating husband. Husband outshouts her to the point where she begins questioning her own narrative - maybe she was to blame? She is terrified of ending the relationship. She 'needs to believe that she can trust her husband'.

2. An unemployed graduate who had voted for Modi's promises three years ago - Believed that Modi would usher us in a new world of opportunities and social justice - instead he has remained unemployed and has to prove his nationalist credentials to random hooligans again and again. He  'needs to believe in Modi's acche din promise'.  He is the 'andh bhakt' - the mother of karan and arjun (except for the fact that Karan and Arjun never turn up).

3. Consider a dalit farmer. He 'knows' he is being fleeced by the local strongman/ patil/ landlord... but he can't afford to question him. He is not afforded the freedom to ask questions when the procurement weighs hi…

How many shots of the girl dancing or laughing aimlessly does it take to establish her as a Manic pixie dream girl?

Learning from bad writing: Meri Pyaru bindu These days I am writing my first story that I intend to complete and publish. So as you can imagine, I am in the writer mode most of the time - anxiously looking for writer's intent, choices, character arcs, alternate story lines etc, while watching any movie or reading any novel. With a well written story, these choices are not that apparent. You have to look hard and yet you might miss out on essential choices that the writer made, to make the film/ novel a great piece of art. It feels as if the story flowed out from the author's mind onto paper with zero loss in translation. For that reason, it is difficult to learn much from good writing. It inspires, yes of course. It helps you get in the mood or get into the right frame of mind. But it can't teach as well as a badly written movie/ novel can.
A badly written story makes you aware of your own fallibility. It grounds you. Most importantly, it helps you see the many ways in wh…

The real John Galts of the world

There was a crazy old lady who mesmerised the capitalist folks back in the era of cold war, with her emotional appeal to their selfish egos. She was successful because, she managed to turn cold selfishness into a virtue. She made usurpation morally palatable. She made individuality that destroys social fabric of communities, a morally superior choice.  While I understand her perspective coming as it was from a immigrant fleeing communist excesses, I don't understand today's people still seeking inspirations in the nonsensical steam-letting of an old woman whose grip on reality was heavily coloured and biased by narrow experiences and perspectives.
Her name was Ayn Rand and she legitimised her biases by giving it a name - objectivism.
One of Ayn Rand's most famous character is a certain 'John Galt' - a maverick engineer who  organises a strike among the world's smartest, most creative entrepreneur and artists and thereby - "stops the motor of the world&qu…

Reading India through 'Dictator's handbook'

What's the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship?
The book says, not much. India, agrees. Current political dispensation especially agrees vigorously.

"Soma" of hindutva and past glory + divided impoverished amnesiac masses + legitimised attack on individual rights + tremendous wealth shared among few = brave new world of oligarchical India.


Essentially, democracies/ dictatorships etc., are simply variants of the same power dynamic between the ruler, essentials, influentials and inter-changeables.

Interchangeables are the nominal selectorate - the individual voters who have nominal (or cosmetic) power to choose leader - most of us.
Influentials  are the real selectorate - the guys who really choose the leader. In US recently, the electoral college famously went against the popular vote and elected a clown as their president instead. In India, theoretically, the system is a bit better in terms of a wider base of influentials - it could be religious gurus, party…