Shock and Awe

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Arise, Awaken

What are you doing right now? Surfing? Just for fun? Great. Are you studying? Or earning? How much? Is it enough? Are you happy with what you have? No? Great. You want to go higher, don’t you? Good. Keep climbing. How many forwards did you check today? How many did you pass on? How much time did that take? Are you completely happy with what you are doing? Why not?

When was the last time you met an old friend (over coffee – or beer) ? What did you talk about? The bloody infosys interview? Or about GRE? Or CAT? Or GMAT? Or your boss? Or the wretched prof? What fun it was bitching about them. :-D. How sad are we.

Did you watch the latest youth movie? Wasn’t it fabulous? That’s how we want to be. Stylish. And fun. A little reckless too, perhaps? But we are all that already, aren’t we? Then why don’t they make a movie about us, damn it? There’s something missing, ain’t there? Why are we just dudes and dudettes, and not heroes? Why don’t I feel complete? Why don’t I feel like a hero? Like I’m making every moment of my life count?

Arise, awaken said Swami Vivekananda. And arise, we did. More than half a century later, we are ready to take over the world. We are easily the best-educated young people in the world. We are known world over for our IQ. We are ready to program our way to being the next superpower. And yet there’s so much baggage we carry. Crores of unemployed people. Crores eking out a living from anything they can lay hands on.. scrap, waste, shoe polish, asbestos, washing… Crores of people virtually living in forests, with no inkling of any kind of education, forget C++. Who’s to blame? I don’t know. What can we do about it? Nothing much.. I’m working16 hours already. And I want a bigger salary.

Swami Vivekananda spent his life trying to change things. He wore just a saffron robe. He taught the poor. He tried to explain to all how meaningless our little fights are. At times, he went without food for days. But don’t ask me to do that. I’m not a saint or a hero. I’m just a normal guy. And to be honest, I really don’t feel that much compassion about people to spend my life serving and stuff. And come on, how much can I change? I mean, there’s like a million people there wanting to be fed. Do I spend my whole salary and borrow money? Besides you know our politicians. They want to keep them that way. The whole system is corrupt.

And yet, when I listen to my favourite patriotic song, my heart just swells with pride. I really wish, in those moments, that I could do something for my country. Anything, you know. And I really feel I’m a different person then. I feel there is something to life. It’s not all crap. I don’t know why, but I just feel elevated, above everyone-everything else. It’s a good feeling, that. I like that song.

And that feeling goes away after some time. It just goes. It was a nice five minutes.

Arise, Awaken. I think its time for a second call. We woke up once. We prospered. And I think it’s time for us to wake up again. We can really work hard and progress. But let’s take everyone along with us. I don’t know what we can do, but if a bunch of us get together, I think we can work magic. That’s the power of youth.
Maybe we can clean the roads and ask people to stop spitting on the roads. Maybe we can put together a team and find out what happens to all the money that the government disburses and that never reaches the people. Maybe we can teach slum children. I don’t know. And I don’t have time. I’m working most Sundays too. But I’ll try to find some time. A little time. And if we have a big group, at least a few guys can find time at a time, right?

And now that I think of it, whom am I writing all this for? For all my educated friends? Not really. They are smart enough. For my country? Well, kinda, but what’s so special about India anyways? Most of my friends have already flown abroad. Then, for the love of humanity? Nah.. I told you I’m not one of those compassionate people. Yes.. I got it. I’m doing this for ME. I’m doing this for that elevated feeling. Because I want to feel complete. Because I want every moment of my life to count. Because I want to feel like a hero. Don’t you? Please tell me. Write back to me. Let’s do something. Let’s arise. Let’s wake up.

First shock

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