London Burnt, Paris Stood Still, Madrid Marched, and Delhi Yawns

This heading concludes the remark of the Indian mass that has been too busy playing “angry birds” on their China-made android-based phones, making Tom Cat do meow on their iPhones, and flashing their newly bought iPads. The rest stay glued to substandard soaps and gross “reality porn” served on their 40” glazing 3D LCD screens.

by | Aug 17, 2011

The headline speaks of my frustration and anger over the over-placid Indian masses. We have learnt to lament the demise of TV Bahus, and get angry over the dismal defeat of the Dare Devils. We have learnt to live in blips, in Jameson’s “Perpetual Present”. We have learnt, and yet we have to master the art.

In the week that ended on India’s Independence Day eve, the world saw the haughty flame bursting out of the Carpet Right building in Tottenham, and licking the London air with a fiery tongue, the dropping saliva of which spoke volumes about London burning.

We also heard, or perhaps never did, about the thousands of Spaniards trampling every inch of their own Tahrir Square – Puerta del Sol square – in the heart of Madrid to denounce the current democratic and economic systems which have carefully kept 44% under-25 Spaniards out of job, and also against police brutality – contrast it against our reaction to police brutality in Ram Leela Maidan. We didn’t speak because we didn’t like the “yoga guru” who was being dragged, and whose supporters were getting beaten. They were not us.[pullquote_right]The LCD screens and play stations kept them glued while the fuel prices were going up. They stayed glued when the bus fares were going up. [/pullquote_right]

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In another event, the dead gladiator souls in the Romans pumped adrenaline for one more time and they flashed their banners against Silvio Berlusconi’s austerity drive (read increase in tax for common people and a cut in public expenditure like healthcare, education, etc.). We don’t care because we do not have such benefits. We are happy people because we pay for health and education in the great democratic welfare state.

People in France, on more than one occasion, since 2005, have brought the government on its knees punishing the tear gas discharged at them to penetrate into the blank-sockets of the couch potatoes munching on the snacks while they see French suburbs burning.

…but what the heck

This heading concludes the remark of the Indian mass that has been too busy playing “angry birds” on their China-made android-based phones, making Tom Cat do meow on their iPhones, and flashing their newly bought iPads. The rest stay glued to substandard soaps and gross “reality porn” served on their 40” glazing 3D LCD screens.

The LCD screens and play stations kept them glued while the fuel prices were going up. They stayed glued when the bus fares were going up.

Death of the Indian mass

The actual time and date of the said death is not known. Perhaps it died in 1947, only for the ghosts to come alive in JP movement and then during Emergency, or did it die in 1991 when the Sonys and Pepsis of the world were made available in the corner shops, or did it die when iPhones and Blackberry came to life, or was it the IPL that caused it? Or was it always dead only to wake-up sporadically like ghosts in new moon and dark moon nights.

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Dying people, vying people

Elderly men and women, and pre-school children in Orissa laid flat on their chests to protect their lands, and others, who do not need to empathize, laid flat on their backs watching TV and sipping colas and updating Facebook. While farmers in the villages of Uttar Pradesh kept on shouting against the government, urbanites gave ears to sponsored tirades, which in India passes for talk shows, about how the money of investors are going down the drain, and how builders are sympathetic towards them, yet remain as helpless and lonely as they are.

We spoke “I am Anna” and lit candles and were taken for a ride. Everything was like a Bollywood movie – no substance, no style, and not even real emotions. We do not even question the legitimacy of that movement, if that was movement at all. It was mere a friction between two different interest groups with the same agenda – to squelch, and we happened to be on the side of the one who looked more sleek, more sexy, and more “in fashion”.

We rejoiced on the construction of the world’s first billion-dollar house, Antilla. We thought we have arrived and the man deserves it, despite the fact that it rose like an inselberg looking with a disdainful look on scree deposited like filth, all-around it. And we do not care about the dying millions and brain-dead all others who want to work hard to make others rich. We do not have qualm with it. We think he deserves to put us all in our offices till 12 in the night fueling his kitchen.

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The world today is not much different than the days when Gladiators walked this earth. The only difference is Gladiators spilled blood and basked in its sweetness, and sportsmen and actors shine in the reflection of the oozing salty sweat droplets. All for the entertainment of the common man, to keep him away from things he already hates – politics and social engagement.

While London burns, Paris stands still, and Madrid Marches, Delhi still yawns.

Bikram Kumar Singh

Bikram Kumar Singh

Bikram K. Singh is a freelance writer who after a brief stint with a leading media company got disenchanted with the corporate scene, and began his solitary journey thereafter. He tries to maintain an independence of thought and a critical outlook on the things that happen in the highly institutionalized world of ours.

email: bikram@probinglens.com

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