Forward March

Suddenly I’ve started feeling envious of all the 24 year-old youngsters. Not that I’m old compared to them, but I wish I WERE 24 today to possess the same energy, liveliness and excitement to do things. With these thoughts I was reeking in a wee bit misery last night, when I ended up reading late at night, a seminal text from 1911 written by Emma Goldman titled, Marriage and Love. It’s an unfortunate reality that society even today in the second decade of this 21st century pressures people and especially women into undergoing choices that are out of their will. Goldman writes succinctly about the institution of marriage and child rearing as these were considered the only circle in a woman’s life back then. The difference between texts and essays written by feminists from all the decades from the suffragette movement is that each one of them clearly expresses their anger and resolve to create a new inclusive world for women instead of disappointment and helplessness at the slow pace of the events that changed the course of politics around the world. Imagine this changed world with little improvements yet for women who still have to fight for legislation for Abortions, Planned Parenthood, Reproductive rights and ownership of their bodies. What would these feminists had they lived long enough think about the current state of women in the world today? Certainly, not a very encouraging scenario from how they started the movement. Isn’t it tragic in a way that we as society still link marriage and love together in a vain connection whose onus solely depends on a woman’s conduct, both inside and outside the home? What are men doing if not put us under a burden of their patriarchal diktats further pushing us away from liberation and freedom for our individual selves? Even today, as I write here, I see and hear talk of marriage as the sole highest point of achievement for women. Not even urban women are spared from the third party decisions took on their behalf for their well-being by people who perhaps don’t understand the pace of their lives any more. If only, as society we let individuals be themselves without any inter-dependence on these age-old institutions and perceived moral cages of social order, the planet would be a definite better place to live for men and women alike.

My thought trail kept on treading too many a different topics. I realised that at age 24, I did not have the luxury of dwelling on the many ideas and ventures I do now. Also, don’t we always pine for the past days and long for them in the belief that it was the best time of our lives regardless of whatever else is happening now in the present? With every bygone year, I keep an account of my foolish and wise ways, of the many good and not-so-good things that have happened in my life, my emotional strength and mental spirit that carries me through everything. In doing so, I believe that we grow in our capacities towards being better than we ever are and could be. Every change is after all an ever-evolving process towards progress. It’s a forward march always!


‘Shut your eyes and see’, wrote James Joyce.

And what is it that we shall see, sadly no one wrote a manual for it. Why is it that some people can see things the way they are while others just fail to look beyond the superficiality we are presented with? I wish there were an easy answer. As I sit here, writing behind the computer screen wishing for a boon to understand the mechanism of finding answers to the many questions that plague my existence, it’s hard not to feel dejected and cynical about expressing it. A friend sent me a quote about Zero. It reads as follows: The terms ‘void’ and ‘zero’ do not imply that nothing is present. ‘Zero’ is a point from which the scope for progress is infinite, and ‘zero’ is complete in itself. It’s this nothingness I am afraid of, aren’t we all?

There is a vacuum inside us that we all fear. Some people go insane trying to figure out the meaning of this void that dominates our psyche. Others who maintain their neurological balance are still somewhere searching for this troublesome phantom that creates an havoc in our everyday lives. We can’t run away or dissociate ourselves from this ghost. It remains inside us and we have to fight him as long as we live. Perhaps this is where individuals with spilt personality disorders end up struggling and coping with the inadequate systems, we as society have created for them. Mental healthcare is one of the most sought after health systems in our country today. Yet we do not put enough emphasis on helping individuals deal with stress, depression and anxiety. Does our physical and social environment play a much more greater role in ascertaining to the needs of individuals with frail nervous systems? It definitely, does. Except, we are ignorant of such methods of mental health care available. We don’t even recognise the signals of mentally ill individuals unless they end their lives. That is when the wake up calls and sirens start screeching but it is always too late till then.

I am writing about this here because of the pressure our fast paced lifestyles have put on us and the absence of a slow moment in our metro lives. All of us seem to have ingrained a chip in our bodies. If we stop, we are finished and if we slow down, everyone else shall tramp on us and move ahead. I read this very analytical and carefully researched article titled ‘A world without Work’ a few days ago. It details the world in another 30 years as a world where machines would function everything, an age where humans will not be needed because of their comparative work inefficiency with the machines. This is already a reality in a few nations, Germany for example. The bad dream that we saw in sci-fi movies of the late 90’s about humans becoming extinct and Earth ruled by machines is sadly almost a reality in beginning. The planet inhabitants will reach a number of 10 billion by 2050 and everything that was predicted by Plato, Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes will be seen in truth. It is now that this future seems to be the darkest hour in lives of those who dwell now yet don’t wish to align themselves with the bitter reality of coming years. All the literature that speaks of Utopian future is soon to be a reality in another few decades. Which is why I still can’t believe the callous attitude of indifference our global leaders have been holding so dear and which is why the irrelevant troubles of a few individuals seem to be so imbecile and worthless today.

I truly cannot figure out if my inner turmoil of an emptiness should be given so much importance when there are clearly bigger things that are waiting to devour our world in a few years’ time. Or is this the zero from where I need to focus on my individual advancement that shall give justice to my existence today?