Vague thoughts of an idyllic world meandered out of my mind very early, and the stark reality of earth struck me blind. Pleasure is bound in inaccessible crevices of the planet, hard to reach in abstemious conditions. Tumbling and falling all along the way, I reach the destination barely in one piece, only to find the goal-post farther away.
Trying hard to view the world in binary format, all black and white, zeros and ones, right and wrong, conveniently filtering divergent thoughts, focusing on what can be sold and bought, my world could have been perfect. Except, without my knowledge, I heard a solitary voice and chose to let myself contemplate its contents. Ah! And this would change my life forever.
What with coming from a country surging ahead, neo-liberally, information technology consuming all sectors, becoming an engineer is invariably the supreme of all middle class dreams. And there I was, in love with paper-back, and black-ink pens…the reaper growing on the computer’s integrated chip; burnt by short circuits. But this is not about computers.
I discovered Noam Chomsky, and it’s anyone’s guess what happens to a twenty three year old mind encountering ideas of liberty; already quite drenched in thoughts of Vedic Hinduism and heavy doses of Buddhism. The result: berserk.
, reality is what’s on the Liquid Crystal Display screen, truth is what the cinema stars in revealing clothes tell us in unsophisticated language on main-stream television. What’s not reported on the internet is not crime. Genocides which are not on television, ethnic cleansing with no pictures on the internet, and anything without market value is non-existent, non-real. Sensational stories on the Indian news channels about bickering politicians, ghastly wardrobe choices of international actors, cricketers dressing white women in saris on live programs….this is our reality. The farmer in Vidharba who killed himself caught up in poverty, the Manipuri poetess who undertook a fast-unto-death asking the government to scrap iniquitous laws, those tortured unfairly in India Kashmir, tribes in Jharkand…non-real, non-existent.
It’s as though the realms of reality which the Buddhist Sutta Pitakas describe are all existent side by side here, but are not real, because they are not yet digitized. So here I am, doing my almost insignificant part, recording these thoughts in cyberspace, digitizing human pain, so that this reality also exists.
I do, of course, wish sometimes that my quandaries were confined to not being able to get a table in the night-club, that my favourite singer didn’t win on American Idol, that I wish
becomes a super-power, that I belonged to virtual reality. To the contrary, I cannot claim to be a Ghandian, for I enjoy fine dining, the Jacuzzi, and champagne. I am in a maze, as contradictions abound… along with many others of my generation, trying to break through virtual walls, trying to reach a hand across the borders with a poem, a few benign words, a humane thought….to encounter reality, the truth. India