Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Current Affairs

Three weeks of rigorous writing - for a client's travel site - is what I was upto during this 'break'. There were so many things that I wanted to write about, but completing my assignment was first preference. First of all, an online friend asked me if everything was fine at my end, given all the bad news going out of Pakistan. Yes, we're all well, but that obviously doesn't mean that Pakistanis aren't in pain. We are losing innocent lives everyday, and that is tragic. The height of it is that we have sadly grown somewhat immune to it all, unless it strikes somewhere nearby. Sounds cruel, but life goes on...

Talking about terrorism, Avatar has a thing or two to say about state terrorism (aka U.S. Foreign Policy). I finally saw the movie a couple of days back. People have been going mad about it since it first hit the cinemas. Okay, its good. Nice special effects, but I certainly did not think that they were out of the ordinary. Or perhaps I didn't have the facility to see it in 3D. In any case, I think the movie deserves more accolades for its political underpinnings. James Cameron has put across a very strong message, and effectively at that. Why don't people talk about the plot or the story itself; why just the special effects! It makes one wonder whether the technological expertise invested in the movie has been its own undoing - at the end of the day, lessons learnt stick with us. Special effects will only keep improving with time. In about 10 years' time, people will have forgotten Avatar, the visual wonder.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

3 Idiots: Not a Movie Review

One of the bloggers I follow with a lot interest and respect, recently wrote about ‘3 Idiots’, the movie. Iditis, being from the U.S., came out of the theatre asking whether Indian parents really were so cruel in defining their childrens’ career paths and whether Indian children, in turn, do not give their ‘pre-destinations’ a good fight. While I myself have never been to India, I can safely assume that the climate is the same, this side of the border.

I think my friend’s questions are well-founded but I also think that these arise because he/she has not experienced what developing nations do. In our part of the world, people do not have the opportunity or the resources to pursue every kind of career. A very basic concern for everybody is that of survival, so earning money is important - very important. Taxation money goes places, but those places are never the homes of the poor or the middle classes; they need to fend for themselves entirely.

Vocational training is usually the answer to many amongst the poor. They cannot afford to aim high. Many people wonder why despite poverty, poorer couples opt for bigger families. The answer is simple: they want more earning hands. These hands enter the job market at the ages of 5, and even lower at times. The only job markets available to them are domestic help, mechanics’ workshops, tailor shops, tea vendors and the sort. (This also explains why terrorists are having a ball in poorer countries. Little children from low-income families can easily be bought over.)

The middle-class cannot afford to aim much higher either. A father might recognize the artist in his son, or a mother might sense a keen researcher in her daughter, but this is as far as they go: dream, and then, let go. At the end of the day, an artist or a researcher has no real opportunities to earn locally, and that is very important in an economically struggling society. Doctors and engineers are always in-demand in societies yet working to decrease infant mortality and death rates, and looking for proper infrastructure like roads, bridges, dams etc. Can you blame the parents?

Having said that, I still support the message brought forward by ‘3 Idiots’, because for me, happiness and contentment of the heart and mind is far more important than that of the physical world. No wonder then that one will find many poor people who always have a bright smile to greet the morning sun, and a lot of rich people who say, “I need to get a life!”