Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Pale Blue Dot

(guest post by Shruti: she has now revived her own blog too:

Life ha a funny way of reminding you where your stand in the whole scheme of things. Thanks to the latest announcement on demonetization, i suddenly feel stifled and restricted. Though most of my big purchases can be done on cards, I feel restricted in terms of daily commute where only cash prevails. Walking to and from home from the railway station to save every penny worth ofchutta,eating only at restaurants that accept cards, disliking people when they shamelessly ask for cash post their services; these are just some of the many daily situations I come across post 8th of November, 2016.

But this post is not about demonetization (even the American version of demonetisation restricts my freedom of self expression). This post is about how life changes in a jiffy. In one moment, you are rich and comfortable with your cash, cards and the works and the next moment you are standing in never ending queues at the ATM for somechuttas.The worst part is the restriction on these cash exchange transactions and withdrawals. Ofcourse it wont be right to say that I feel like how people would have felt during the Great Depression but I seriously do empathize with them much more.

Life has changed overnight for many people. People whose business depended solely on cash have seen atleast a 50% drop. People have stopped going out often. Patients have suffered, waiters have suffered without their tiny tips and people like me are such feeling the heat of things when someone argues in a local train either supporting or defaming this move. There is blatant restlessness palpitating among the crowd. I am worried now. Worried for humanity, for justice and most of all I think we are going to relive the era of "The Silent Generation." The happy Millennials and iGeneration will need to re-read their history books to learn a lesson or two from their ancestors.

I suddenly feel a profound sense of helplessness. I am worried for my future. Just plain worried. I cannot trust anything anymore. In one moment, a government move changes my life, in one day my aunt falls critically ill and her world turns upside down. What do we humans gloat about so much? We are helpless on so many fronts. I have cash in bank but I can hardly use it. My aunt has the power and money to get her way out of things but today she is helpless in front of what sits inside her body. We are helpless if tomorrow an airstrike (just like the one in Syria and other war stricken countries) hits Mumbai. We will be homeless and poor in the tiny speck of a moment if our house collapses or our banks go bust. Banks do not guarantee our entire money. I know I read cynical here but what can this "Pale Blue Dot" do when an asteroid welcomes its way in?

Humans are a complex mix of vulnerabilities and strengths. Spirituality teaches us that the power of the Universe is also the power within us. Science teaches us the heavy realization of how seriously we take ourselves even though we are such a tiny speck on the face of this vast Universe.

All these years growing up, I had a sense of relief that let me take care of myself and things will fall in place. I also believed that life is full of choices and it is largely our choices thatmaketh thee.But I blindly ignored the possibilities of life changing experiences through fate. Some will not agree with me on this as they believe that it is solely their deeds and words that made them who they are today. But you cannot ignore the factors of getting a good foundation as a child, living in a conflict-free positive environment. That is where fate comes in. Maybe it is theill-fateof Syrians or Palestinians or even Kashmiris to suffer in an induced poverty and see their life savings burnt down due to a choice made by few men.

I hope my bubbly optimism surfaces soon and takes over this induced cynicism. I am amazed at how deeply things affect me these days. My sensitivity is to its fore. A good outcome of this though is that I am writing much more and I feel free in doing so.

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