Sunday, May 20, 2018

105. Johny Johny Yes Papa

My moral predisposition has been put to test, or should I say 'rest'. Friends tell me to avoid being indifferent to those who tell a lie; because both as a noun and a verb, lie is passe. What about all those years of mugging up 'Johny Johny Yes Papa', I ask? Just open you mouth one last time, and say 'Ha, Ha, Ha'. In this digital level playing field, lie has got a makeover to its less offensive universally acceptable avatar - fake. In fact, fake is a potent currency in the market which earns rich dividends in a short time as it travels faster than the speed of light.

A lie may need to be told often enough times to become the truth, but fake is a one-time wonder. You release it once and what returns to your inbox is nothing but the ultimate truth. It will earn you mass following on Twitter, help you receive unprecedented number of likes on Facebook, and inundate you with innumerable compliments on WhatsApp. You begin to wonder if the world was waiting out their to lap it up, and give it a cooperative legitimacy. I am beginning to learn that fake is fast becoming euphemism for instant fame! Is it the new normal lurking around?            

Had Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn been alive he would have rephrased his remarks to read: 'fake has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the state'. To rally with fake (whatever be it) is considered an act of cooperation, that politicians use for projecting so-called public good in the guise of pursuing vested interests. Far from being challenged, the enduring qualities of fake engage the media and the public like never before. Like milk, the more you churn it the better it is. Utterly butterly fake-cious!

What worries me most is the fact that fake is gaining public recognition, as an essential aspect of our collective existence. George Bush Jr must be credited for setting up the stage for it. By virtue of having stayed in the White House for almost a decade, the former US President had inadvertently become fond of telling white lies. Else, he could not have convinced the world that there were 'weapons of mass destruction' hidden in Iraq? The shocking truth is that there is a new history, rather a bloody history, being written in the middle-east on a rather fake edifice.  

I checked with my intellectual buddies on it, and found them to be as bewildered. Psycho-analysts are still juggling on their diagnosis, almost close to arguing that fake is but an evolved form of lie. For every thing real there is an equivalent fake too aka the Chinese goods! 

My conclusion on the subject is that we have come a along way. While truth could be 'half-truth' or even a 'quarter', fake is the new truth that we may have to live with for the rest of our lives. I hope I am not too early with my judgement, but as of now fake seems essential to humanity but not truth. While truth is desirable, fake is inevitable! Otherwise, no parents would wake up their school goings kids in the morning by faking - 'get up, it is already 8 while the clock shows 7'. It is another matter that over breakfast they are lessoned on virtues of being truthful in life!   

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

104. What a bore? Thanks for the compliments.

Bored of being Bored because being Bored is Boring
I remember my professor who would consider our boredom of having had enough lecture classes before his, by inviting us to do a quick write-up on 'what made you feel bored' before he could let us be free of any lecturing on that day. The onus was squarely upon us to do some quick thinking,  but writing on boredom was no less boring. It was a kind of drubbing that we could hardly escape. Net result, rarely could we take advantage of his generous offer.

We did feel bored surely, but were not able to translate it into words. Back to back lecture classes were often tedious and monotonous, and I suspect if these are any different now. Back home, my mother would often wonder what made youngsters feel bored as there was no such word in her dictionary. She thought we were too lethargic to engage ourselves meaningfully, and therefore felt bored. As for her concern, she always had some household chore to perform.  

Like many of the present generation, we didn't know that Greek philosopher Lucious Seneca had coined boredom in his writings much before Charles Dickens had drawn reference to it in his novels. That we felt bored was a reality which we were often up against. Little did we know that factory workers in Europe tried all kind of drugs to counter what is referred to as 'situational boredom'. What gave us solace (and dismay too), however, was that teenagers in every era defaced public property to counter 'temporary boredom'.

That boredom has a darker and a more complicated side, akin to depression, is a later day revelation for me. Had it not been so, literature would not have created characters (like Madame Bovary or Jack Torrance) for whom boredom had become dangerously existential. But I am sure not all humans respond to their boredom as these characters have, because boredom isn’t all bad as by encouraging contemplation and daydreaming, it can spur creativity. Surprisingly, it is considered to be the stuff that can help unlock the next big idea.

Equally surprising is the fact that the world's bore flock to deliberate on their boredom at what is called the London Boring Conference. Now in its eighth edition, the conference wants people to use the mundane as an impetus to creative thinking and observation. What worries the deliberations is that far from using boredom as an intellectual stimulus, the world is achieving intense stimulation at the click of a mouse or touch of a screen. This is killing the much desired human trait -- boredom.  

Since boredom is considered 'an aversive experience of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activity', it is viewed as an amazing idea that should be carefully nurtured. Don't get me wrong if I suggest you enforce boredom across your family members, especially the children. But to be able to do so, you must first be a big 'bore' yourself. Only by pumping boredom can we make children to seek engagement in creative ventures. We may need to make them watch light flicker or milk boil, by putting away their smartphone for a while. Else, it is only a matter of time that the world will become a boring place, if it isn't already!.  

First published in Deccan Herald dated May 11, 2018.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

103. LESS is MORE is LESS

Aren't technology and its gadgets a great leveler? Indeed these are, as my house help gives me an edge in breaking news of all kind. Be it 'mann ki baat' or 'padosan ki chat', she often chuckles to find me struggling to stay abreast. She seems no less excited to have whatsapp powering her to stay informed, even if most of those recycled tidbits do pretty little to ease her life, and her increasing workload. There is a sense of empowerment nonetheless, getting more by paying less for the second hand smart phone.              

Little over a decade ago, a phone was just a phone. It could only help dial a number provided one could reach a phone. No more no less! It could neither act like an alarm nor a torch, it could neither click pictures nor convey written messages, and it could neither help you surf the virtual web nor assist the perverted mind to set off time bombs. Mobile phone is one among several gadgets that modernity has smartly milked to capacity, gifting the user more on each purchase. More of the world seems to have been squeezed into a small chip. 

Aren't we getting more from less in all purchases? Buy a trouser and get a shirt free; buy a television and get a mixer grinder free; buy a car and get a refrigerator free; buy a house and get the swimming pool free are market manifestations of a growing culture of 'less for more'. Without doubt, less for more has enticed all and sundry into it without any aspersion being cast on how and who pays for the so-called more in our lives. That more mobiles in a home may mean less sparrows in the courtyard is just one manifestation of 'yeh dil maange more', for less. 

Across almost all areas of human endeavor, less has created an illusion of more. A growing economy is generating less jobs; and never before has there been a more people suffering starvation, malnutrition, and general poverty. But I haven't found many who are complaining yet, unable to decide whether we are worse off or better off. My sense is that while numbing our senses, smart technology has nonetheless given us a semblance of equality, and a so-called good quality of life!     

The question worth exploring is whether this so-called good quality of life makes us happy? Outwardly, it may seem so and most people do demonstrate such an exuberance. The reality is not only far from truth, but grossly painful and annoying too. Else, why would Indians rank 133 in the UN World Happiness Index out of 156 countries, dropping 11 spots from last year. An elderly neighbor sums it up saying that 'we are an insecure lot, seeking solace in acquiring gadgets' and feeling happy about what keeps us ahead of our neighbor. 

No surprise we live in 'deficit' amidst so-called plenty. It is perhaps the greatest of all paradoxes as we plunge ourselves into seeking more from less.

First published in The Tribune on May 8, 2018.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

102. Draining tears work wonders

On-screen King & Queen of 'tragedy' 
Forced laughter is what I often get to hear during early hours or late evenings from the neighborhood park. Few tired housewives and many retired employees squat together to muscle laughter as a means to unload their worries. I only wish it does make them feel lighter, but post this daily ritual rarely do they wear even a smile. There are laughter clubs too many, but there are any number of drooping faces that lurk all around. Does this form of yoga achieve anything beyond giving facial muscles some exercise?  

I would imagine that laughter clubs achieve only as much as the comedy shows, providing no more than momentary balm to an aching soul. It doesn't go any further, as people continue to carry huge weight of worries on their shoulders. Failure to offload it has led the society feel the unprecedented accumulation of frustration, depression, anxiety, and anger. It is a fuse that can and does trigger massive explosions every now and then. Won't you agree that not forced laughter but spontaneous tears can ease peoples lives? 

It did work however, and in not too distant a past. Middle-aged movie buffs would reminiscent with me the time when emotional family dramas on screen would have hundred of viewers sobbing in the darkness of a cinema hall. Not anymore, as wholesome movies have been replaced with wholesale products with first-week box office collection being the only indicator of a success. A market economy has little room for sob stories! 

It goes without saying that for the better part of the last hundred years, ever since Indian cinema came to life in 1912, the Bollywood movies have helped millions of viewers drain excess tears to remain psychologically healthy. It is an act of emotional incontinence that provides a variety of emotions find an easy escape. Once you are done with it, you are ready again to face the vagaries of life again. No wonder, sobbing stories have been the biggest hits of commercial cinema. 

Hundred years of Indian cinema produced tragedy kings and queens, irresistible Dilip Kumar and quintessential Meena Kumari (see picture) portrayed grief-stricken tragic roles pulled out from real life, which helped millions of viewers fulfill their biological and psychological obligation of shedding tears. At an immense personal cost, the actors proved that far from being a sign of weakness shedding tears was indeed an act of strength. There is nothing quite as cathartic as a good cry!

Time has come to give 'cry' a public image of strengthening vulnerable souls, much like in Japan where adults gather together to watch tear-jerking movies, and cry in public as a way of releasing stress. Dubbed 'rui-katsu' meaning tear-seeking, this new social phenomenon is spreading across the country as most people have come to realize that only through a good old cry can one get the feeling of having a huge weight removed from their shoulders. Any takers!

First published in The Tribune dated March 26, 2018. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

101. Rest assured, nobody takes rest there!

It is tough to convince my young nephew that 'rest room' is another expression for a 'toilet' only. In his early years of double-digit age, he has been as inquisitive as reflective in questioning what a majority of us would consider given. Even it had missed my attention that toilet as a term is passé, although not its functions under the new nomenclature. When indeed 'toilet' signs got replaced with 'rest room' boards? Hasn't it been a transition that we have got used to without wondering when did we ever enter a toilet to take 'rest'?

One could go at length to debate the semantics, and the interpretation of the term 'rest' in the context of being relieved of the nature's call. But I have learnt that 'rest room' is an american expression aimed at outwitting the prevailing terminologies for a public convenience i.e., Latrine is Latin, Loo is French and Toilet is English. Like one global currency, how about 'one' expression for a global human daily engagement! My nephew has made me to review this so-called hegemony of verbalization. 

You may wonder what is so uncool about it. Aren't things being made convenient for us, after all? No doubt, but 'cool' too is 'american' in essence that subsumes many linguistic expressions. It's economy may be touching rock bottom but its cultural dominance hasn't, which is a strange mix of arrogance and hegemony that the post-war america has mastered. Despite half the world filled with hate for america, from far-East to middle-East and from latin-America to southern-Europe, there are growing millions who love to talk and walk the american way. Isn't it 'ah-sum'? It indeed is, and if you haven't still got it that's how an american will pronounce 'awesome'.   
Would you call it globalization or will monopolization be a better substitute? Whatever be it, the world around us is fast turning what some commentators call 'americanese'. And the 'ease' with which 'american-ese' is becoming a norm is indeed baffling. From american brands to american sops, it seems to be the new way of life. It is fast turning youngsters of all hues into 'couch potatoes', and they are all 'kewl' (or cool) about it. It is, however, different matter that their parents are absolutely 'uncool' about it, and are often found fuming with rage at the growing trend that has caught on everybody, from Karol Bagh to Kasargod. 
Pardon me for my naivety but till the other day 'dude' for me was somewhat of a rhythmic expression for the word 'dud'. I may indeed be wrong, but I have logical reasons for persisting with it. I wonder why youngsters don't take offence to being called a 'dud(e)', and I checked it up with a younger colleague about it. I was told that there is nothing stupid about being called a 'dude'. it is a Scottish word that has been americanized since the early 1970's. 

Often a person belonging to the male gender is called a 'dude'. And for God-sake, I was cautioned, don't ask what's that which makes a dude distinct? Not only will it be 'uncool' but that I'll end up proving myself to be a 'dud'. 

First published in Deccan Herald, dated Jan 15, 2018.

Monday, October 30, 2017

100. 'Drinking water' by another name!

Not in reality but such pictures help sell bottled water
No sooner had I made my selection from a severely restricted vegetarian menu, the waiter at the restaurant in Kensington, London had surprised me by quizzing: `still' or `sparkle'? It took me few seconds before I could fathom that the query was related to my choice between the 'ordinary' and the'carbonated' water. Choice for water was a cultural shock, making me wonder why the British didn't learn from those whom they ruled for no less than two centuries. Serving water to guests is an accepted norm, a bare minimum courtesy! 

Need it be said that the Swiss are different from the Brits. In a Lucerne restaurant, the waiter took me by surprise when I had asked for a glass of water. Big or small glass? It was a moment of reckoning for me. I was almost about to shower my appreciation for the Swiss ingenuity for saving water by determining the thirst upfront, when the waiter had given me a rude shock by explaining that it is one euro in price what separates the small from a big glass of water.  

Far from making the west learn hydro-courtesy from the east, the reverse is becoming more of an exception with us. Walk into any restaurant and be summarily quizzed: `tap' or `bottled'. Unless one is in a glitzy hotel where a much expensive water menu is on offer, from Rs 50 to Rs 150 or more per bottle, seeking customer's preference for water has become an accepted norm across all kinds of street restaurants, and even roadside dhabas. And, no one seems to be complaining! 

Make no mistake, market economy that thrives on rapid turnover of product diversity have had its impact on consumers' choice for `water' too. Asking `drinking water' is passé for its suspect quality, but branded variants of packaged water with varied degrees of dubious quality assurances have been universally accepted. From ordinary to premium, from spring to glacial, and from aerated to flavored, drinking water has built its own range of products wherein brand draws more value than its contents.

Like ambidextrous master archer Arjuna, who was known by several names, water too has attained an equally evolving nomenclature viz., drinking water, bottled water, aerated water, river water, irrigation water, flood water, grey water, brown water, green water, sea water, revenue water and transboundary water. Each variant has its distinct origin with associated physical features. Does each variant not create a distinct liquid relation based on its (water) fast-changing biological and physical attributes? 

Of all the types of water on offer, it is only the 'blue' which seems to be missing from the list. Rightfully so because `blue' has long ceased to be the true color of water, and it survives more on computer screens than as earthly reality! Need it be said that the elixir of life is facing a crises of identity. Each new identity only degenerates its cosmic existence, hinting at the severity of the impending crises. No surprise, therefore, that even the Mahakal temple in Ujjain is now asking devotees to offer treated water to the deity lord.        

The world seems to have come full circle on its hydrological cycle. What is found in nature, whether flowing or impounded, is anything but 'sick water'. Amen! 

This piece was first published in The Tribune dated Dec 6, 2017. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

99. Grow More Good

Grow More Good
The engraving on the pulpit of the house had seemed to me a cemented error. How could the mason inscribe 'Grow More Good' on the wall when there were resounding cries for growing more food during the 70's? Heavens would have fallen on the beleaguered mason for this misadventure, I had thought! Instead, it showcased the house owner's sublime character and a lifelong quest for spreading goodness. Privy to that household during my school/college days, I carry vivid memories of the time spent with the house owner - the inimitable Sardar Sobha Singh - immortalized by his alluring portrait of Sohni-Mahiwal. 

Close to our family and a frequent visitor to our household, daarji's (as he was fondly called) greatness lay in his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful words, by which, he would abbreviate his artistic thoughts. A man of few words, he had once told me that politics is nothing but ‘poly-tricks’. For the world at large he was the greatest spiritual painter of all times, but for us and especially for my mother he was a saint incarnate in white robes, and a matching flowing beard. A celebrated artist of his stature often visited our middle-class household because, as he would tell us, 'you have a taste for books that not many have'! My interest in books has only grown ever since. I possess less of everything but books.  

Daarji - Sardar Sobha Singh 
Daar-ji once borrowed a book from us, and didn't visit us for several weeks thereafter. We were worried. Telephone was a rarity then, and the only option at hand was to visit him at Andretta, then a small village not far from Palampur in Himachal Pradesh. Though hard of hearing, daar-ji enjoyed the relentless chirping of birds in the big cage placed in the verandah. Paradoxically, a red cockerel ruling the courtyard was an added surprise. But for the artist in him, the cock-a-doodle-doo was a perfect wake-up call in the morning. 

Months later daar-ji visited us with a copy of the borrowed title, regretting the delay in replacing the book that someone had further borrowed from him, and had failed to return. Without sounding preachy, daar-ji reflected goodness through subtle deeds. His greatness lay in his simplicity.

Undoubtedly, daar-ji was a perfectionist who didn't miss out on life's finer details. Seeing quite a few unfinished portraits in his study, I could notice the power of his imagination in capturing many moods of Guru Nanak. How do you get ideas, I had asked him once! 'That is my inspiration', he had said pointing towards the majestic Shiwalik mountain range from the window in his study. Daar-ji believed in the power of place I'd imagine, and had therefore refused government's offer of relocating his studio to Chandigarh.

It has been three decades that the genius last drew on his canvas but his message ‘grow more good’ remains relevant now than ever before.

In a rare interview to All India Radio several years ago, the legendary actor Prithviraj Kapoor had himself mentioned that whenever free he preferred visiting his friend Sardar Sobha Singh in Andreta, Palampur. Without doubt, the place is still worth a visit.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

98. Back in the race

Beating each other in the slush race  
(Pic: Luke Metelerkamp)
It was a race of a lifetime I was witness to. It neither involved horses nor cars but a pair of buffaloes racing on a slushy track with a determined athlete in toe. Much like the sturdy pair of bovine, the six-pack athlete was no less determined to win the race either. With hundreds of villagers cheering the racing duo, it has been a long-held tradition of celebrating the man-animal co-existence for a bountiful harvest in coastal Karnataka. And, there were any number of teams from different coastal villages vying for the coveted title.        

I had my first brush with this cultural extravaganza, called Kambala, few years ago in village Venur in the coastal region of Mangalore. It was a pleasant wintry evening in January 2011, the well-lit arena was decked up in celebration with people in all hues thronging the racing track. What had begun as a thanksgiving event for protecting the cattle against diseases, the annual racing event has grown into a competitive sport that enthralls and entertains. The animal rights activists may continue to think otherwise!     

Keeping pace with raging buffaloes on the slush track was indeed testing, as if bovines were running for their life. Racing at an incredible speed, it was a perfect test for human endurance against incredible bovine power. For the fear of running over, half a dozen villagers had to herd together to take control of the animals at the finish line. They would calm the animals by giving it a hug, make it eat and rest before the next race. Each of the racing pairs looked well groomed and healthy, as did the accompanying athletes.

At the finish line
(Pic: Luke Metelerkamp)
Were the animals tortured during training? Were these creatures intoxicated to run the way they did? The organizers had led me to the animal resting places to find for myself if that was the case. 'These are no ordinary cattle, they bring laurels to the village', quipped a team member. These are treated like sportsmen, nurtured and trained in the art of racing from early years. No wonder, there were no marks of external injury on any of the participating animals. So much is at stake that some owners train their buffaloes in separate swimming pool for getting them used to conditions before every race.  

That these are special animals, treated like children and selected for their sturdy features including disease resistance, make me think that this annual cultural event is more than just an occasion for fun and frolic. It promotes the process of natural selection in disguise. The best among buffaloes get selected, nurtured and tested. The animals people race are the animals that help breed the next generation of calves, sturdy to withstand adverse conditions. That such a valuable process is conducted by the communities at their own initiative, and for the benefit of the society at large surely calls for a celebration!        

With hardly anything worth celebrating in the countryside these days, the assent for re-conduct of Kambala by the first citizen of the country has given something for the last citizens to cheer about. Let the race begin again. 

Kambala was banned in 2014, but the outgoing President of India gave a parting gift to the people of Karnataka by granting assent for (re)conducting the sporting event on July 3, 2017.  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

97. I think everyone should know it!

Don't get me wrong if I say that girls spend more time looking for a bridal lehenga, that they wear just once, than a groom whom they seek for life.

In my wildest of dreams I could not have imagined that a six-meter apparel, which came into existence eons ago in this part of the world, could spin a recession-proof billion dollar industry. From the ordinary to the special, or extra-special, it isn't the traditional outfit anymore that my grandmother and mother would wear before setting out in the public. Laced with exquisite embroidery and inexpensive pearls, this earliest stitched skirt has come of age on the global stage by winning accolades on red carpets across the world. And, it is not done yet. 

A raunchy lehenga dance from a Bollywood movie 
Secured at woman's waist but leaving the lower back and midriff bare may have set off its multiple cinematic renditions, from sublime to the raunchiest, but not without letting all-pervasive lehenga earn its meteoric rise as a secular apparel for festivals and weddings. So much so that its traditional variants - ghagra, chaniya, pavdai or lacha - have long faded into oblivion as an annual lehenga business in excess of US$10 billion leaps center-stage into the ever growing wedding industry. It will be sacrilege to imagine a bride without a lehenga!   

No surprise, it remains one of the most sought after apparel for any wedding. Don't get me wrong if I say that girls spend more time looking for a lehenga, that they wear just once, than a groom whom they seek for life. With as many as 10 million marriages in the making each year in India, the six-meter apparel could not have had a better prospect. Celebrity endorsements have set the market abuzz. As designer studios and neighborhood boutiques surface all over, the ubiquitous lehenga has revolutionized the marriage market like never before.

The two-minute lehenga 
Should one buy such an expensive apparel that is worn just once (as its assemblage weighs heavy) or would it make better sense to take it on hire instead? The sociology of lehenga, if there was one, could have offered some interesting insights. Suffice it to say that the lehenga reflects the social status of the bride's family. If that was not the case, most bride families would have conveniently taken a lehenga on hire for the ceremony. Rarely if ever they do so, knowing well that it is worth a single wear only a'la a two-minute lehenga

For the expanding middle class with a notion of false pride, the price of a lehenga isn't worth any serious attention. After all, marriage is once-in-a-lifetime event for which families like to splurge at least a fourth of their lifetime savings, such that the wedding remains talk of the town. Who would want the story of a hired lehenga doing the rounds instead! Little do they realize that for no good reasons the sociology of lehenga is fueling the economy of lehenga on a scale. I've been cautioned to refrain from raking up an issue lest I earn the ire of the lehenga industry.   

But a friend inspired me to bring the lehenga story up. If hiring a lehenga is against the prestige of the bride's family, he tells me,  then why should the family stop at just the lehenga? Will it not add to their pride if they were to buy the ghodi (mare), the band-baaza (musical band) and the rest of it? Well said, I think everyone should know it! 

Some readers have mentioned that 'false pride' extends beyond 'lehenga' into male wardrobe. None of the 'sherwanis' and 'glitzy suits' bought for the occasion (marriage) ever get worn thereafter. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

96. Reduced to numbers

....our inner wear has a number and so has our outer wear; neither is a shoe without a number nor is a sandal; phone without number doesn't ring and neither does a mobile; success counts on number as failure rues the lack of getting the desired number. 

Being a preferred client, I got a call from my bank's relationship manager about why I had not submitted my 12-digits Unique Identification Number to the Bank. 'Since getting such a number is not yet obligatory by law why should I reduce my identity into just a number', I had responded with a matter-of-fact clarity on the subject. I thought i was tacit in my response, notwithstanding a sigh of exasperation at the other end.     
From being a digit on the population register to a number on the electoral rolls, we have been reduced to a number on the cash book at the bank, on the directory of the mobile service provider, on the currency that is but largely plastic in nature and so on. One's birth is a number and so is one's departure; an inner wear has a number and so has an outer wear; neither is a shoe without a number nor is a sandal; phone without number doesn't ring and neither does a mobile; success counts on number as failure rues the lack of getting the desired number. 

With everything but a number, what is a big deal about a person being numbered. But for a crazy soul like me, no one seems to be complaining. What is in a name after all, most seem to be in agreement with Shakespeare. However, my parents don't see any sense in it having named me and my siblings in an elaborate social exercise. Assigning a name to a new born has cultural and spiritual ramifications, that they say can hardly be undone in a jiffy.

And, I don't buy the argument that a number can hide my 'caste', and can put to rest the prevailing social disparity around our cultural identity. Come to think of it, each identification number is only assigned after securing an in-depth social and economic profile of an individual. It could be anybody's guess how this number game might play up at the end, by those in power holding these numbers in big databases to their advantage. I shudder to think about the myriad possibilities.      

Born with the largest brain relative to body weight, nature has bestowed a unique position for humans among all other species. Our upright posture and the ability to walk on two legs have placed us on top of the ecological pyramid, making us the master of not only our own destiny but that of others too. But far from using the big brain to bridge the gap between the physical and the spiritual and beyond, it is pathetic that we have ended up being an exercise in sheer 'numbers'.

The more critical I think the more it surprises me that there is a indeed an unending fascination for numbers among everyone around me. The psychology of numbers has played so heavy on the democracy of numbers in an era dominated by the economics of numbers, that its cumulative impact has been felt by each one of us. No wonder, our house help is as enamored by it as my better half. The game of numbers has caught on with everybody.  
Irrespective of caste, class, creed, competence or credibility, the quest of each human of late has been to attain the first six digits. A six figure income is all that each one of us is craving for (as of today). Ironically, those who have already attained these 'six digits' are more unhappy than those who are striving to achieve it. Yet, the race to gain access to a higher digit is relentless. I wonder what worth is life that has been reduced to numbers!