Sunday, May 31, 2020

Lies that my childhood was full of and i want to now reject

1. The rich are bad and the poor are good.
2. If the rich and poor socialise, the poor person will automatically be good at heart.
3. If a person is poor, they deserve help/sympathy just because they are poor relative to us.

This third one became clear when i did field work. We dont feel poor in our matchbox houses. When I lived in a house in what is now euphemistically called a lower middle class colony (read: Poor) , i didnt feel "poor"

Also, in doing field work, I started to ask a question again and again - why is someone poor? And the answer (unlike what Satyajit Ray and Yashpal would like you to believe) was not always 'circumstances'.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

What I think is wrong with ppl forever complaining..

सोचते जो चला गया, पाते हम अवसाद
सोचें जो हम पा गए, जैसे आशीर्वाद।

Why are they walking?

India, like the rest of the world, is in the middle of a pandemic caused by Covid 19. The casualties are small - just 3000 odd. The numbers are not staggering. This has been the result of a really strict lockdown imposed by the government.

But there is a really curious phenomenon unfolding here. 
Since March, we have had lakhs of migrant workers travelling home on foot. 

The earliest report I found on this phenomenon was this one, published on March 27th  

Since then, the story remains the same. People without resources, walking hundreds of kms, falling ill, dying, reaching home to find that there is nothing to eat. 

The other side of this story is that literally thousands of people came forward to help - individuals, NGOs, spontaneous initiatives, just popping up out of nowhere. People were helped on the roads, they were helped once they reached the villages, they were helped before they could leave. At literally every step, people thronged to help. 

This question, however, needs an answer - WHY WERE THEY WALKING? 

The answers in various media reports were similar - we have no money. We have no home to go to. But here's the thing - they had no money where they were going either. there is NOTHING to eat back home. That's why they left their villages in the first place. They knew that.

But here's the thing: Imagine you lost your job. But there are NGOs that are giving food in the slums. There is a minor support system - some ppl from the same village.

On the other hand, is the village - far away, with no means to travel there (because of the lockdown). You have no money to make that journey. At the destination, what is waiting for you is a 15 day quarantine and more hunger (because there are no jobs in the village. None at all. That was why you left in the first place).  On the way, is the risk of hunger, starvation, heat, and Covid.

As the poorest of the poor, would you:
A. Try to find an NGO that is giving food in the city and live on the footpath with your family
B. Try to leave on foot with your little children - with hunger, heat, and disease on the way, and no guarantee of actually reaching home.

Which of the two will you choose? Why?

It is obvious that a person will NOT subject their children to disease, heat, and starvation at this time. Yet, millions did just that. Which means that the information they received, somehow changed the options to:
A. Stay in the city and starve
B. Leave for the village and MAYBE you will survive there.

Please note - both the options are PATENTLY UNTRUE. Very few ppl are starving in the cities. Workplaces are opening up. NGOs and individuals are providing food and dry rations. Why did they think they'd starve?

The village is dry. And starved. Reaching the village only means that you will live in a house instead of the footpath. But there is nothing to eat. The NGO structure is even more overburdened and the ppl who reach there are completely dependant on the NGOs even for their 2  basic meals. People are getting infected on the way. They are getting heat stroke. Its not "going home" .

2 things happened here:
A. Pervasive misinformation
B. Action based on that misinformation. 

In any mass movement like this, many people being influenced is key. How did that happen? Inertia is the default state of humanity, even more so of those who are underprivileged. In fact, the privileged depend on this inertia to remain in power. So, it does need escape velocity for misinformation to read the tipping point where it becomes action. Massive escape velocity. 


Here is my assertion: 

The Indian migrant labour has been the victim of a mass scam. A pernicious and malicious campaign was run to ensure that this migrant labour - millions of them, take to the streets. 

In my head, that is a crime. A genocide. To send people to ill-health, financial distress, and potentially, death. If that is not a crime, I don't know what is. 

Like all previous campaigns, this one was done in the subterranean layer, no one can tell who was behind the program, and no one can trace the chain of whatsapp forwards. No one can trace the trail of misinformation. 

Just like the other malicious campaigns by opposition parties, this one will go unnoticed and untraced too. But not forgotten. There is no evidence. But there is a pattern. In this case, it is not the evidence of this case that gives the perpetrator away. It is the unfailing pattern of the perpetrator. Always the same thing. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Best thing heard today

You deceived me, sure..... but you gave me hope.
- The Mentalist.

How much would you pay for hope ?

Friday, May 15, 2020

What is the future of domestic work in India?

The world has just changed - at least for the foreseeable future. In the life of a migrant worker, 2-3 months is a really long time. For the rest of us, the change will last for much longer than 2-3 months. Some of us will be looking for jobs for a few months at least, and some others will find avenues to employ themselves in things other than traditional jobs.

For the employers, I think, the following changes will happen wrt their domestic staff:

A. Some of them will equip themselves with appliances and reduce their dependence on domestic staff. Especially those who are looking at an uncertain future.

B. Some will move from part timers who work in many homes to permanent staff that works only with them in the 12/24 hour format.

C. Some, who find themselves without a job, will take on the roles of housekeeping while looking for a job and will not hire a replacement until they are employed.

D. Some others will call domestic staff only on need basis, and through reliable aggregators like UC, mybai and others.

For the domestic staff, I see the following:
A. Those who do not have EMIs, will go home and work in their fields for the next 5-6 months.

B. Some will move to the 12/24 hour format where the earning is less, but there is stability.

C. Many will send their children home to the village, where cost of living is lower, and take up longer hours of work here.

D. Many, especially young working mothers, will register with aggregators and work through them instead of seeking direct part time employment.

I do not see a mass exodus to the village as many have predicted. Even though the trains have started, there is a sense among the staff that once they go home, they may not be able to come back in time when employment begins. On the other hand, there is the issue of paying house rent without stable income. This is what will be the catalyst for a change. They are likely to take a decision this month - the first month when the salaries are not guaranteed.

On meditation

The Gods don't judge you. Your spiritual guides don't judge. There is karma for that. And Karma is a self-regulated, perfect algorithm for crime and punishment. It doesn't need supervision. It is the most brilliant energy based algorithm in the world.

The Gods Love. In that dimension, there is only love and acceptance. If you want to see a negative imagery and participate in that, sure. If you want to be a part of a positive image, that too. That world is yours to create, yours to be in. It is not Second Life. It is your primary life - that is lived across dimensions, of which, the Earth is only one.

If you are not able to feel that love on any one day, the gateway is closed to you. Why? We dont know. But its not judgement. At best, it is karma. If the portals are opened and you do not enter, the portals close themselves. That is karma. when the portals do open, there will as much love as there ever was. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Aaj ka original quote

Hosting a Thappad screening for Women's Day is like hosting a special screening of Bandini for prison inmates on Independence Day.

Hindi poem on Corona

लोग अपने घरवालों के साथ समय बिता रहे हैं. 
किसी को दिखावे की होड़ नहीं है.
आपके पास कौन सी गाडी है, कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता।
आप किस कॉलोनी में रहते हैं, कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता।
किसी को कहीं नहीं जाना।
हवा साफ़ है, परिंदे आज़ाद.

घर का बना खाना खाया जा रहा है
एक दुसरे के साथ रहने की विधा सीखी जा रही है
भागकर जाने को कोई जगह नहीं है
अपने अपनों से
न दफ्तर, न छुट्टियां।

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ॥४-७॥

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे 

भगवान् कभी कभी कृष्ण बन कर नहीं, 
कोरोना बन कर आते हैं 

Indians are neither Bhakts nor liberandus. Here's why

Most Indians think that most other Indians are either Bhakts or Liberandus. But most Indians are basically selfish and will vote for whoever serves their own interest.

They don't vote for caste. They vote for the derived power that will accrue to them if someone from their caste is in power. They don't vote for religion. They vote for the derived power that will be theirs if someone from their religion is ruling.

Monday, May 04, 2020

The things i keep to myself

I usually delete my comments on posts I don't agree with, but this one cannot be lost. Its not just a repartee. It is fossilised evidence that once upon a time, I did speak like this:

Someone wrote: I am sure our leadership knows more than average people like us.

A response: Please don't count me among these 'average' people. I am definitely not average. (and some other disrespectful stuff that I don't want to reproduce here)

My response (which I did not publish on that thread): You're right. You're definitely not average. But if you try hard enough, you will get there some day.
Until then, I suggest Conceited Anonymous.


Some person who just won't give up:

Person: Why did you delete your comment? Are you scared that I will blow you to pieces?
Me: I checked my lowest common denominator of stupidity tolerance. You're below it.

Is there a Cynicists Anonymous? I suggest you consider a membership.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

The Game Theory and intimate partner violence

You are not a perfectionist. You are just a critic.

During this lockdown, I have listened to people - on social media, my own friends, the news. Read the newspapers. Things are very different now. Things people used to take for granted - going out with friends, having domestic help, going to office to get away from it all and meeting one's extra-marital partner there - none of these is now possible.

This has led to an observation about human beings as a species.

I think, that at the core, human beings are a species of monkeys. If they can snatch something and run, they will do that. In terms of game theory, if they can get away without paying their share, they will do that. We do not complete the transaction. We 'make a profit' on as many transactions as possible.

It doesn't matter what the currency is - physical, social, emotional, monetary. We are just snatchers. And in relationships, one will typically be the giver, and one the taker.

The one who is the giver, gives and gives. The one who is the taker, takes shamelessly, and usually, relentlessly.

Once again, it doesn't matter what the currency is. For some, it is physical work. For some, emotional succour, and for some sexual. The numbers for intimate partner violence have always been staggering, but I think the lockdown tells us why.

Because we are inherently takers and snatchers, intimate partner violence is core to intimate partnerships.