Musing The following are my thoughts on a few issues that have been occupying space in my mind for quite

sometime now. Except for the last one, the rest leave me irritated when I ponder over them for long. So, this outpouring of words is a way to cleanse my mind at your expense. As for the last topic – writing about it was an emotional safari to which I now invite all my readers especially those who are parents or contemplate becoming one some day. ******************** a) SCRIBD I do not think we are deriving optimal benefit from the platform that SCRIBD provides us. I am as guilty as anyone else but I hope by sharing these lines with you, I shall commit myself irrevocably to do something about it at my level. Everyone is either only appreciative in his / her comments or else silent. Surely, without being rude, disrespectful or mean, we can still give a constructive, detailed feedback that analyses more and appreciates less. Why are we -creative individuals all- behaving as “fans” and not as “critics” when it comes to other people’s articles? Why is it that it almost appears to be a classic case of, “You pat my back and I shall pat yours!”? Some articles /stories are not worth it but, surely, some deserve our careful consideration. Maybe, like me, some of you are struck by some write-up and, just like me, all you reply with is, “Wow! That was great…” and back it up with a 5 star rating / including the article in your list of favourites. I think this kind of a feedback is irrelevant and, perhaps, even harmful. I do not know about you but I see myself as a writer imprinting my insides on paper in an attempt to first make clear to my own self the whisperings of my soul and, then, to communicate the same across to others of my species in order to invite their help in my struggle to understand myself better. I want to read in their eyes my own reflections and feel in their sighs my own yearnings and trace in their smiles my own victories and spot in their frowns my own confusions. What draws me to SCRIBD is that without knowing me personally readers can go through my work; that, too, without spending a penny and then respond openly and directly. Your appreciation is heady stuff and I like it but your analysis is what I crave for – not only analysis of how I write but also of how it affected you and whether, in your opinion, I did justice to the concept. At my end, I want to do likewise with your articles…unless, of course, if you tell me that I should rather not. I do remember giving one or two such feedbacks and receiving a couple myself. That’s just not enough considering that it has been close to nine months since I joined SCRIBD during which time I contributed some 20 odd articles/stories and read numerous write-ups, many of whom I enjoyed. I guess to do what I mentioned above, we’ll have to slow down the rate at which we contribute / respond through SCRIBD. We need to give ourselves time to “stand and stare” instead of rushing about either submitting our write-ups or commenting in a few inconsequential lines (howsoever appreciative) on someone else’s work. Or is it that I want from SCRIBD something that it was not meant to deliver in the first place? I’ll let you all be the judge of that. ****************

b) The Western Financial Crisis The crisis that hit the West and then travelled to the rest of the globe has provided a life time of work to many professors –most of whom failed to see what was wrong with a world where the consumption levels of a select few were supporting the production choices, intellectual rigours and aesthetic values of the rest. Some intellectuals did have misgivings but, really, no one seriously explored the faulty premise on which the world economy rested –unbridled, unwarranted, unquestioned consumption. This is because the idea of consuming not as per one’s desires but as per one’s needs is yet to make headway in the West. Till this does not happen, the West’s cries of bewilderment at its predicament are not likely to result in anything useful. Western banks, credit rating agencies, securitisation companies, Wall Street honchos –all have been discredited by the crisis. But three equally guilty agencies have escaped relatively unscathed: the governments, the media and the academicians. I do not have much to say about the first –whoever expects governments to be prescient or wise is living in a fools’ world; I won’t say anything about the second –media is still in its teens, all energy but little purpose. However, I do have something to say about the intellectuals: the least this class can do before it goes about telling us why everything came down like a pack of cards (and pocketing fat pay cheques while they are at it) is to apologise -with a capital A. And, while we are on the letter A: - how about a little Accountability? Let us make no mistake. The crisis that struck the West is not a financial one but an intellectual one that has philosophical undertones. A recovery won’t begin and, even if it does, won’t be sustainable (never mind the numbers and the pie-charts) unless the dons at all those reputed business schools and Universities utilise their expensive research facilities and impressive journals to create and popularise an economic system that, at the very least, ensures that no one anywhere in the world goes to bed hungry for any reason whatsoever. One malnourished child should be enough to blast our faith in all those erudite lectures. We must also accept that our fascinatingly complex mathematical models do not as yet have the ability to appreciate what is otherwise a self evident truth: that a man, any man –white, brown, yellow or black - is more than the soft drinks he has the ability or the whim to purchase. *****************
c) Israel and the Palestine (and, generally speaking, all such internecine conflict zones

around the world) A displaced race needs a home. It gets one at the cost of another that was too weak to resist effectively. And everyone lived happily ever after…just who can seriously consider this ending as anything but improbable? So, what have we before us courtesy that smart nonsense our grandfathers engaged in almost 65 years ago? Palestinians are outgunned every time they rebel but they keep rebelling. Meanwhile, the Israelis, a gifted set of people, are busy garrisoning themselves morning, noon and night even as their benefactors, the Western powers, keep reassuring them that they are not alone in a hostile world. But no matter what is done for them, the Israelis still feel threatened. Nobody is safe. None is happy. The Palestinians keep finding new ways to die; the Israelis keep finding new ways to kill. Both sides are a lot less human with each passing day. Both sides (and the world at large but more so the Western nations) are culpable.

So, this is why I think the feud would continue longer than you and I want it to: because both Israelis and Palestinians feel like all victims do –insecure, at the receiving end of injustice – and use their victimhood to justify committing all sorts of heinous activities. This is when the feud would end: when both sides would accept that the other side, too, is a victim -of fate, circumstances and human short-sightedness. And, this is when they would reclaim their destiny: when both sides would realize that eventually victimhood is a state of mind to overcome and not to indulge in. **************** d) Decision to become a Parent I am absolutely clear in my mind that the decision to become a parent is the most selfish decision one can possibly make in his /her lifetime. One does it for company, for security in old age or because everyone else does it. Whatever be the cause, one does no one else a favour by deciding to go for it. All those arguments about helping in the propagation of the human race are disingenuous. Nobody thinks of that while planning a baby. One does not even do it for the baby itself who, I suspect, in nine cases out of ten would not be too enthused about the idea if it had any choice in the matter. It is also the most absurd decision one can possibly make. Self torture, if you ask me. I know I can stand any pain or at least rationalize it except the pain of seeing my baby suffer. No matter what I do, my child would suffer because pain is inseparable from existence and still I willingly, even enthusiastically, agreed to bring it on Earth. What can be more absurd than that? So, why did I decide to become a father? I love my parents. I love my brothers and sisters. I love my friends. I love my wife. I love them very much. Yet, there is still so much love locked up inside me and which I am incapable of showering on anyone –anyone except my child. The day this realization dawned on me, I knew that I would have to beget a child or else ask the love inside me to go and murder itself in cold blood. Right now I am getting ready to bear a lifetime of pain for, irrespective of what it does, my child would bring me more pain than I can even imagine. Its joys would make me tremble with the pain of happiness and the tenuous nature of all human happiness; its sadness would render me numb with grief and with my own helplessness to alleviate the situation. To go back to the selfishness of my decision: If I have it my way, my child would live a long life only to die without me anywhere near it for I would have long ago selfishly retired to the happy hunting grounds rather than see it gasp for its last breath. Whoever said parental love is selfless did not know what he was talking about.

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