Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The great big ruse

This past weekend, I was at my aunt's place and in the midst of a commercial break for a cooking show, the conversation took a dramatic turn for the serious. We (my aunt's family and me) talked about the fallacy that is democracy. Democracy we said was what kept a smile on our face as we basked in the notion that we were at an equal level to the Prime Minister, while the powerful and the mighty robbed us blind. What after all is a vote? Will it make any difference at all to the massive forces that shape the grimy underbelly of every democracy as politicians make a wonderful show of the importance of the common man every 5 years to ensure a life of comfort and easy pickings for themselves over the next 5 years.

Democracy seems like a joke, an exercise in worthlessness and misplaced self-importance. Self-importance or the much maligned word 'ego' is central to the idea of democracy. It is this insane belief that one vote can determine who sweeps into power and proceeds to fulfil his promises that makes villagers from the furthest villages brave the sun and forgo a day of work just to line up at the polling booth. We the educated are really busy sneering at such simple mindedness. These are the times when I feel that knowledge is a really bad thing. When we learn too much and begin to see the world in its myriad shades of grey, the cancer of cynicism gnaws away at the last remaining positive gut feelings. We the supposedly 'educated' elite rapidly lose sight of the fact that one is a crowd, in fact one is an army.

Democracy is fuelled by the unlimited power of a man's dreams. Dreams which say that he is one and equal with all his fellow men if not better and is a stakeholder in all that he can see. The dream is misleading all right but that is the greatest gift that could be given to any man, the ability to dream. Not all may be able to flesh out their dreams in the end, but it's their possibility of becoming true that make democracy such a beautiful concept. Much as I hate Ayn Rand, there is one thing on which I'll have to agree with her. There is nothing more spectacular than a man standing his ground all alone, oblivious to the world's insistent pressures to conform, intent on his craft. Democracy is the only political system that allows every man a genuine chance to reach into that glorious part of himself. If all the world's merely a stage, democracy sure brings along the best freestyle performers.

Monday, September 8, 2008

And I try, and I try...

I find myself in this kind of a bind all too frequently. It's been a week since I returned from my first visit to California and my first glimpse of the Pacific. My head is swimming with images from that trip, my ears have recorded the unique soundscapes and my fingers are literally swelling with all the tales that they want to type out. 

But that's where the problem lies. I'll probably need another blog just to get down everything I want to about San Francisco and California. It's always like that for me when I return from any place that has long been on my wishlist and has now swamped my senses. It was like this for Benares too when I returned with a thousand vivid situations for my writing to exploit and all I have on record is a single paragraph for my blog. A similar task beckons tantalisingly again and I find myself overwhelmed once more by the magnitude of what awaits me. As I psyche myself upto the point when I actually write something about what has been the best trip of my life, make do with the extended album of images from the link below!