Skip to main content


Recently I saw a documentary called 'Superheroes'. Its about a bunch of people who wear costumes and patrol their city streets to fight crime. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about watching it; I felt that it would make me cringe. (I cringe seeing people being made fun of. Can't help it. I hate it when people do that to others. I cannot see those TV shows where we are supposed to laugh at someone else's misery/ embarrassment. I hate it when TV shows trivialize real feeling of people or glorify the emotions to turn it into a farce. Just can't stand it.) But it turned out to be a very human story of genuine people who are fed up with the apathy of people around them.

Often they were victims first and vigilante as a result of it. It was an act in empathy and escape combined that propelled them to wear mask and attempt at creating a change for the better. It was inspiring to me. Not for the caped crusading (well, not going to happen), but for the beautiful people behind the mask. Some were perhaps naive, some seeking an escape, but everyone was 100% human. That is a rarity. A human who feels and reacts. And I feel in not reacting, we are turning into zombies.
What is a typical test for checking if a thing is alive or not? It is to touch/ nudge/ do whatever it takes to elicit a reaction. If a thing reacts, its a living being. If it does not react irrespective of your actions, it might be just a lifeless object.
No wonder 21st century is witnessing an epidemic of self-doubt and a growing desperation for 'purpose' and    theories of 'carpe diem' blaring through advertising all the time. We feel the need to be 'more alive' because we are in reality 'less alive'. We are less alive because we are relinquishing our reactions.

A grievously injured girl and a boy lay naked one cold morning on the streets of Delhi. No bystander came to their rescue. NO ONE. But millions displayed their outrage on the streets of Delhi when the incident was amplified through media.
Its as if only mediated image is real and deserving of a reaction. A real body, a real person, a fellow citizen's pain doesn't instigate us to react.
Yet, post media outrage, the reaction was substantial. It was unprecedented. People were truly angry, vulnerable and filled with an energy to do 'something'. But there's this little problem that the Indian middle class faces. The energy to do 'something' quickly evaporates as the 'something' begins to take a concrete shape.

The question to my mind was how come India hasn't seen much of a vigilante action? Is it because we are actually quite rational and do not want to take up law in our hands? Or is it because we are beyond cynicism towards the effect of any possible citizen reaction?

After the incident, I circulated the idea of a mass pledge where we would take an oath to 'always react' to any injustice we witness anywhere. The reaction can be of any kind - need not be life threatening for your self. But people disregarded the idea with such ease that I felt the idea might be really silly.

But I believe that we need to create a culture of 'more alive' Indians - Indian who react to their surroundings, to the actions in their surrounding in any way possible.
Is it a viable goal? 


Ajinkya said…
if there's one thing we need to change, is to teach each other to react. react every time and with whatever you have. we must react to our world, to whats being done to us or people around us.

Popular posts from this blog

Why I repair my shoe

I have 3 shoes. One formal, One sport shoe and another a mix of the two. The last one is particularly awesome, cause of its uniqueness. It looks like a formal shoe, but is as comfortable and flexible as a sport shoe. I bought it for my first job in Mumbai. I was newly rich and was expected to behave like one. I found this gem of pure black leather in a Colaba Causeway showroom. Quite a find. But its been almost two years now and the shoe shows its age. For all its awesomeness, its quite a weak shoe, to give out so early. I have stitched it, got new laces, and strengthened its sole. It doesn't look shiny anymore cause the leather has suffered from a few hostile trespasses. I think, like a man, things too should be allowed to carry their scars. Shiny scar-less men are just so... irrelevant. 

Since childhood, I have been used to using things for long times. Clothes, equipments, shoes etc. I can't just throw things away cause they don't look as good anymore or they don't w…

Walk about - II

I have been living in Gurgaon for the last 5 years. 5 years! in Gurgaon! I never thought I would end up staying this long here. In my head, it always was just a transit camp - to earn money to fund travel to Himalayas, come back and refill, go back and chill.. repeat until one figures out a way to break out of the cycle.
For the first 2 odd years that reflected in my lifestyle - My house was small and barely functional, a temporary base camp to return to 'home' in the hills. That 'home' was among strangers in the farthest corners and alleys of small villages in the hills. The home was not peopled really. It had no walls. It was the crisp cool air of the hills, the majesty of Himalaya, the clarity of sun's rays, the hot vapours rising from the ginger tea and the never ending walks in the forests, up the hills, down the valleys and through gullies and alleys of small villages and towns. When I was alone, that's what home was for me: A living breathing intimate …

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…