This happened yesterday. I sat there numb as I read the headline, too dumb for words. My whole life flashed past me as if I was about to die, as if, as if, it isn’t worth doing anything anymore, writing this blog, being alive and active, working the local authorities to bring light, road repairs, postal services, water supply, electric supply to my locality (being the earliest inhabitants of Artiste Village, I had to do all this and am proud of my achievements). And then petitioning the railway mandarins for better seats in trains. I believe in small and local activities, not the big picture. But then the big picture hit me between my eyes like a bullet shot through my brain yesterday.
The words make whatever I have done fade away into the paleness of the paper at which I am staring. It says, “Humans to be extinct in 100 years,” convincingly. It says the world will end not because of climate change (which, of course, is one of the causes) but out of over-population. Another oracle says cutting down on emissions and other stuff of environmental mumbo-jumbo will only buy us some more time, not total reversal of the process of degeneration.
There’s great grief and disquiet amongst us. I can sense it among the people against whom my body grazes as I get into the train. They stare at me with loathing, as they did this morning. They are sweating and impatient, I can understand. The morning, in spite of the rain, is unnaturally humid and hot. And they don’t know from where so many people are coming only. According to Anthonybhai, “Dey just land up with plastic bag, work as waiters, put their own betelnut shops, and bring dere entire families, man, just fooling, fooling us peoples, like we dunno, we original-voriginal [no, not virginal, he mean that not!] peoples of this city.”
People are saying, “What do I care?” as if they didn’t really care. Al Gore the champion of Global Warming and all things proper went and divorced his wife. The ultimate “What do I care?” That was after his one-time-boss was found to be fond of cigars stuck in unseemly places. Closer home families and relationships are breaking down or have broken down and are temporarily being held up by “cello tape.” Girls as young as three are being raped. A man who professed to love his wife and children walked out on them and now lives with his girlfriend. An eighty year old politician, a nicely avuncular figure was found carousing with three nude apsaras, the last bastion of intellectual certitude was shaken when the golden boy of publishing was found out and charged with molestation, and on top of it, sustained sexual harassment.
Oh, our griefs are indeed great, our redemption nowhere in sight, our leaders are besmirched, our women unsafe, the world is progressing towards apocalypse. Enough of this, I am off to sleep.